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Greek Salad [Vegetarian]
Taramosalata [Fishy] NEW!
Spicy feta cheese dip. [Vegetarian]
Aubergine Dip [Vegan] NEW!
Carrot and cabbage salad. [Vegan]
Gruntie’s warm spinach and feta salad. [Vegetarian]
Greek [Village] Salad
The classic salad.
Ingredients: To feed one person- 1 ripe large [beefsteak] tomato, half a red onion, quarter of a large cucumber [roughly peeled if the skins are tough], some Kalamon [Kalamata] olives, slab of feta cheese, rigani [Greek oregano], a glug of extra virgin Greek olive oil and a splash of white wine vinegar. All the ingredients can be adjusted according to your preference. Just double the quantities if you want to cater for 2 people.
Method: Roughly chop the tomatoes and cucumbers into large chunks, chop the onion into smaller chunks and add them to a bowl or plate. springle over the olives. Add the slab of feta. Using a circular motion add the olive oil and then the vinegar. Finally sprinkle the rigani over the top. Leave for a bit for the flavours to develop before serving.
Permitted deviations – Rub the bowl with garlic before adding the ingredients. I will also allow some thinly sliced green pepper, don’t you dare to even think of adding lettuce!
This wonderful dip is perfect al fresco on a hot sunny day. Don’t get the shop bought stuff – it’s horrible. Authentic Tzatziki is refreshing and comes with a garlicky kick! Perfect with Greek pitta, chips, grilled meat or anything!
Ingredients: 500g Greek Yoghurt [0% fat- although some people prefer 5% fat which is creamier], half a cucumber, 2- 3 cloves of garlic, dash of white wine vinegar, pinch of salt, dash of Greek extra virgin olive oil. You can adjust the quantities of the ingredients as you desire. You can substitute freshly squeezed lemon juice instead of the vinegar if you want. You can also decorate the tzatziki with fresh dill, it’s up to you. This should be plenty for 2-3 people.
Method: Drain the yoghurt and plonk in a mixing bowl. Roughly grate the cucumber using a fine grater and squeeze all of the excess water out of it using your hands and add the cucumber pulp to the bowl. Smush a couple of cloves of garlic and throw that in too. Mix thoroughly adding the salt, vinegar and olive oil and shove it in the fridge until you need it.
Taramosalata NEW !
Often called a salad in Greece, but us Brits think of it more of a dip. The shop bought stuff is OK but it’s rather pink and salty. It’s much more fun to make your own. You can substitute bread soaked in water instead of the potato if you want.
Ingredients: This should serve 3- 4 peeps as part of a meze platter. 100g of cod roe, 50- 100g of boiled potatoes [the more potato you use the more creamy and subtle the end result- so less is more], one small finely grated or blended onion [if you use a red onion it adds more colour to the dish], a large glug or three of Greek olive oil, the juice of one juicy lemon. Permitted options– You may add a little salt if you have used too many potatoes and a squished clove of garlic if you want.
Method: Start by peeling the potato, cut it into chunks and boil until soft- then allow it to cool. I use floury potatoes not waxy ones as they can go a bit gluey. Then mash or blend the potatoes until creamy and add the grated onion. You can do this in a blender if you want. I like to do the next bit by hand– Scrape the roe from its rather uslightly sac into a bowl and fold in the potato and onion mixture throughly. Discard the empty sac or throw it at a cat. Drizzle and fold in as much olive oil as you fancy until the mixture is a nice consistency. Then mix in the lemon juice. Give the Taramosalata [not Taramasalata] a taste and add more lemon juice if you want. Then shove it in the fridge until required.
Spicy Feta cheese dip
Another wonderful dip and so easy to make! Serve with Greek pitta bread.
Ingredients: One slab of feta cheese, a small fresh red chilli, dash of white wine vinegar and some olive oil. Adjust the chilli to make it more or less spicy as desired. Should be enough for 2 people
Method: Mash the feta in a bowl, finely chop the chilli and throw that in with the vinegar. Mix it all up and add olive oil until it has a nice consistency but be aware that it will absorb oil like a sponge. You can add some yoghurt if you want but I like it as it is. Put the dip in the fridge until required.
Aubergine Dip- NEW!
Garlicky and lemony, another yummy dip.
Ingredients: One chubby aubergine [and for our American friends- aubergine!]. a small onion, a few cloves of garlic, the juice of one lemon, salt and pepper to taste, a large dash or two of Greek olive oil. An olive and parsley leaf for decoration.
Method: Prick the aubergine a few times with a fork to stop it exploding and shove it in a hot oven until it is cooked and the skin is nicely charred, [I like to do this on the barbie if I can]. Allow the aubergine to cool, you can remove the skin at this stage but I often keep it on as I like the burnty flavour it adds to the dish. Whizz it in a blender it with all of the other ingredients until it is smooth. Allow the dip to cool and place it in the fridge until required. Pop a Kalamata olive on the top and serve.You can drizzle more oilive oil over it if you want.
Carrot and Cabbage salad.
Blimey! – A cabbage and carrot salad? That sounds boring doesn’t it? Actually, it’s not. These simple side salads are perfect on a stinking hot day as they are so tasty and refreshing.
Ingredients: Carrot salad- Grated carrot. Lemon or lime juice, fresh finely chopped coriander or parsely, salt and pepper.
Cabbage salad- Grated [or finely sliced] cabbage, a dash of white wine vinegar, dash of olive oil, fresh chopped parsley, salt and pepper. The exact quantities are up to you.
Method: Mix up the ingredients, season to taste and make it look pretty on a plate. That’s it!
Gruntie’s warm spinach and feta salad.
I love the spinach and feta cheese pies in Greece, but as you may have guessed by now I don’t really make pastry based recipes. I have never had this dish in Greece but I think it’s really yummy and simple to make. It goes really well with souvlaki or as part of a mezze.
Ingredients: A large amount of fresh spinach, half a slab of mashed feta cheese, salt and pepper, a healthy squeeze of fresh lemon.
Method: Wash the spinach and then dump it into a large saucepan with the lemon juice [or steam it if you prefer] and watch it wilt and reduce from an enormous amount of shiny bouncy leaves to a rather disappointing amount of wet green sludge [am I putting you off?]. Let the spinach cool and drain in a sieve to get rid of the excess water, and then finely chop it on a chopping board. You can then return it to the pan with all of the other ingredients and mix it all up. You can have a little taste at this point and adjust the ingredients as you feel is necessary. I like it to be very lemony and peppery. Reheat it when required. Easy peasy.