Greece

Why Greece?

Elysia chose Greece, which was a very smart move on Elysia’s part. I’ve never had Greek food that I didn’t love.

My experience of Greece

Karma and I had a weekend in Athens in October 2011, about a week, I think, before the economy collapsed. I was so excited to visit all those historic Greek sites – the Parthenon, Olympic Stadium, Hadrian’s Arch, and the more modern tomb of the unknown soldier and Lycavittos Hill (holy moly, that hill!!!). I bought my very favourite necklace in Athens, and it makes me remember that lovely weekend with Karma every time I wear it.

I also had a week on Crete in October 2008, which was beautiful. We went to the local taverna every night and ate the most delicious meals. On our last night on Crete we asked the owner to serve us food that he liked best. I still smile when I think of that meal. It was to die for.

When I was working in the UK, I worked with a lady who was married to a Greek (hello, Linda!). She eventually convinced me to try Greek honey and yoghurt, neither of which I like. But wow! Greek honey and yoghurt is now right up there with my very favourite dishes. And we can’t get it in Australia! The Greek yoghurt here is much more watery than in Europe and, to protect the bees here, we are not allowed to import any honey. Greek honey is very, very different in taste to anything we can get here. One of the many things I love about going over to England to visit Karma is that I can have Greek honey and yoghurt for breakfast every day.

Preparation

Yassou

Planning is well under way for lunch in Greece this coming Sunday 27 August. The hardest part so far has been what not to include on the menu – there is so much yummy Greek food to be had.

I went to Oakleigh yesterday, which is a mecca of Melbourne-Greek food, and got some kefalotyri cheese for the saganki and vine leaves for the dolmades. Making dolmades from scratch is a little intimidating, but I guess that’s the whole point of this trip around the world.

We’re also having lamb koftas (courtesy of Jan), baklava (courtesy of Helen), chicken gyros (courtesy of Will) and Greek salad (courtesy of Nick). I’m expecting great things of that Greek salad, given that Nick has Greek heritage.

We’ll also have moussaka, spanakopita, skordalia and roast lamb.

The fact sheet is attached below, as is the place mat. Will is the quiz master this time, so here’s hoping he doesn’t make Elysia cry again.

And it’s Lili’s third birthday on Tuesday 29 August, so we might have to have a birthday cake, even if she won’t be there to blow the candles out.

The menu

Our menu is:

  • Lamb kofta
  • Greek salad
  • Skordalia
  • Saganaki
  • Moussaka
  • Spanikopita
  • Lamb and chicken gyros
  • Dolmades
  • Roast lamb
  • Baklava
  • Lili’s birthday cake

Here are the recipes for our faves – Greece best recipes

Click here to see all our favourite recipes.

Lunch in Greece, Sunday 27 August 2017

Wow!

Just how good is Greek food? It’s got to be the best in the world. Reflecting back on today’s feast, we are so lucky in this country to be exposed to so many different cuisines. But Greek rules as far as I’m concerned.

Greeks have lived in Melbourne for a long time, and Greek food is so much a part of Melbourne life. We’ve had a lot of time to decide our favourite dishes, and have lots of shops that specialise in Greek food. I could eat Greek food for a long time before I got sick of it.

Will brought his spit around to cook chicken and lamb gyros. I don’t know where he got the meat from, but it was delicious, and was probably the dish of the day.

The saganaki was yummy – I’m so glad I bought kefalotyri cheese from a Greek deli rather than just buying haloumi at the local supermarket. Helen’s baklava was sooooo delicious, and the spanakopita was right up there as well.

The dolmades turned out really well, and were much easier to make than I feared they would be. They were so easy, in fact, that I know I have eaten my last dolmade from the deli at the supermarket – they just don’t compare.

Browsing through Uncle Dan’s shelves yesterday, I found a bottle of Kokino Kokineli, which the label says is “Greek red wine”. At $13.50 for 1.5 litres, I was a tad worried about how bad it might be but it was surprisingly quaffable, and was exactly the right choice for our food. I’d also bought a bottle of Muscat de Limnos, which remained unopened, mainly because of the extreme quaffability of the red (I might have made up a word there).

It’s Lili’s birthday on Tuesday so even though she was tucked up in her bed in London, we had a cake and sang happy birthday to her. The cake was an experiment that didn’t work very well – it was supposed to look like the Greek flag when it was cut, but it just looked like mixed up layers of blue and white ice-cream. In retrospect there were probably many easier ways to do this – a log cake for example – but, hey, an ice-cream cake still tastes like ice-cream, whatever it looks like.

Here’s the factsheet – Greece_factsheet

Here’s the place-mat – Place-mat_Greece

Thanks again to Elysia, who took all the photos. And thanks to Bec (and Nick) for the salad, Jan for the lamb koftas, Helen for the baklava and Lauren and Will for being a constant help. And another thanks to Elysia for painting Lani’s face!

Where to next?

Sadly, it’s antio sas to Greece, and marhaban to Egypt.

 

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