Posts Tagged ‘Greek Supper Club London’

Three Greek food clichés

November 22, 2010

Is it true that all Greeks love olives? Add feta cheese everywhere? And finally do all Greeks smash plates?

I love these cliches, because they make me laugh!

If there are two things I don’t like eating, it’s just those two mentioned above, feta and olives… I can handle them, I can cook with them and I can cook them, but to eat them raw is not something I enjoy. There’ve been moments when my Greekness has been questioned due to this inclination of mine, not to eat olives or feta. My own father ignores the fact that I don’t eat olives, especially as his mother used to make her own olive oil and olives.

My Greek food with feta pies, meatballs and melomakarona at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith London

So each time around the dinner table he’ll ask someone to pass around the olives my way, as if he doesn’t remember that I don’t eat them and acts as surprised as anyone else at me hearing that I won’t have any olives this time either! Hahahahaha

As I’m planning the menu and ingredients for the next Greek Cookery Class on 23 November, I realise that for a second Greek Cookery Class in a row the feta cheese is excluded. It’s pure coincidence, as I’ve had classes where we’ve done everything possible with feta, melted it, baked it, cubed it, added it raw to a salad, but we’re going feta free for a couple of sessions. There’s more to Greek food than feta cheese and there’s also more cheeses to try out than feta. One of my absolute favourites is the Greek hard cheese called Kefalotyri. It’s a PDO (as EU recognises a product of designated origin) meaning that no other country can produce this cheese under the same name. Just as no one else in the world can produce Cognac or Champagne. Kefalotyri is like a Greek version of the Sardinian pecorino cheese! Tastes delicious grated over pasta dishes and the Greek giouvetsi, or yiouvetsi.

But the fact is that Greece produces as many cheeses as our fellow European country France! So when you next visit Greece, make sure to try more cheeses than the obvious feta!

My next Greek Cookery Class on 23 November will be followed by one more Greek Cookery Class this year, date to be announced soon, and that class will be totally vegan. Traditionally, most of the Greek cuisine is based around vegetables and greens, and people in the old days ate very little meat and very rarely. So I’m planning an all wonderful feast of Greek vegan tasty dishes!

Also two more supper clubs before 2010 departs. One Greek Supper Club on Sun 5 Dec and one New Year’s Eve Greek Supper Club on 31 Dec.

Details for the 5 Dec are on www.facebook.com/GreekCookery and the menu for the 31 NYE dinner party will be up later this week.

Have a lovely week and looking forward to cooking with you soon or at least having the pleasure of feeding you with Greek delicacies!

PS. If you want, bring your plates for the 31 Dec and we can smash them together…. just kidding, who smashes plates anyway?

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Okra, home made bread, half fried half baked and pasta bake with garides saganaki

May 21, 2010

I love cooking for friends, so despite the workload I’ve been facing recently, I took a little time off and started cooking a meal consisting of a starter dish and bread, I’d never made before and just started creating in my mind as I went along with it. As the weather was warm and reminded me of summers in Greece, I decided to go for okra.

Okra us a superhealth food, but hardly a dish you easily find in restaurants in Greece

Okra is a superhealth food, but hardly a dish you easily find in restaurants in Greece

I was a bit unsure of the success okra would have at my small dinner party, in Greece you’d hardly serve this dish for dinner nor find it in restaurants, but only during lunch time and especially at places serving more home-cooked food than fine dining. But the nutritients in this dish and the medicinal properties okra has really makes this simple dish deserve a wider acceptance than it gets.

It’s made usually in a stew with herbs and tomato sauce, with meat or chicken or vegetarian. I remember last time I cooked bamies, the Greek word for okra. It was at my Greek Cookery Class a year ago, when I for the first time had one vegan person attending the class. And as I try to cater for all, I was put on the spot! What to cook for a class this time? No milk, no goat’s milk, no cheese etc. And then I remembered, one of the vegetables so few people know how to cook, so I introduced okra to the class. We made two versions of the dish, one with chicken and one without. I was surprised to see what success this dish was, who would’ve imagined?

So yesterday, I had that in mind, hoping my guests would like the stew with okra. But just in case, I made a hearty and rich starter with aubergines, pasta and garides saganaki baked in the oven!

Garides saganaki - prawn saganaki is a starter eaten on its won with bread. But I finished cooking it in the oven with the pasta and aubergines, in order to make it a more filling starter.

The bottom of the dish has some pre-baked aubergine slices, then pasta, prawns and topped with the sauce of the garides (=prawn) saganaki to keep both pasta and prawns moist after baking it in the oven.

On top of that, I made some dough for bread, but lacking time to bake it in the oven, I thought it’d be quicker to fry the bread in the pan first and finish off baking it for a few minutes in the oven.

It looks like halloumi grande... but it's actually bread fried in the pan from dough to this

The bread turned out so delicious that I ended up eating one whole piece just off the pan. Fairly easy to make, but so easy to burn, so at times the whole kitchen was flooded with smoke…

Garides saganaki with pasta bake, fried and baked home-made bread and salad

Three fairly simple dishes, which took some time to cook. The trick with most Greek cooking is that it is not so difficult to make, you just need the patience for it!

Kali orexi – Enjoy your meal! And if you’re inspired to try some of the authentic home-cooked Greek cuisine, I look forward to cooking for you at my Greekfoodlovers’ Supper Club on the 5th June https://greekcookeryclass.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/greekfoodlovers-supper-club-saturday-5-june-2010/

Email to sign up: greekcookeryclass(at)gmail.com

Credits: My garides saganaki is usually a dish I prepare on it’s own or serve as a main with pasta, which is not a Greek way to eat it. But this time I was inspired to make a pasta bake with aubergines inspired from kalofagas’ blog where he used mince, pasta and aubergines for his baked dish. I took the idea of baking the food and added my pasta, aubergines and garides saganaki to create the garides saganaki pasta bake. If you want to check out a great Greek food blog visit kalofagas on http://kalofagas.ca/lang/el/2010/05/19/makaronopita-with-eggplant-μακαρονόπιτα-με-μελιτζανες/

All pictures and text ©Greekfoodlover 2010