I’ve just got back from a wonderfully relaxing week in Crete. Upon landing, I pretty much immediately missed the place; I missed the idyllic views, the crystal blue sea, and the glorious sunshine. But most of all, I missed the food.
Oh, the food. Mouthwatering salads with creamy, zingy, tzatziki. Sweetly spiced moussaka that seemed to be topped with clouds. Halloumi grilled to perfection and served with a drizzle of olive oil that tasted like it was squeezed between the thighs of Greek goddesses.
What I particularly love about Greek food is its simplicity; the focus on beautifully fresh ingredients, complimented by a handful of herbs and (usually) a good squeeze of lemon.
After a traumatizing flight that landed at 6.30am, I decided needed a feta fix. I headed off to the supermarket and happened to pick up some reduced lamb steaks, some feta, and two large pots of Greek yogurt. I popped to the grocers and got more fruit and vegetables than you can shake a stick at. And I went about creating my big fat Greek feast.
Since Greek food is so simple, there’s no real need for a recipe – just use your eyes and your nose (and a lick of the finger, when no one’s watching). But if you’d like a bit of inspiration, here’s my take on how to transport yourself to Hellenic heaven.
Makes 4 generous kebabs to serve 2 people.
- 2 lamb leg steaks
- 1 large chicken breast
- 2-3tbsp good quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tbsp thyme
- 1 tbsp oregano
- Salt & black pepper
- half of one fresh or pinch of dried chilli flakes – if you like it hot!
- Slice the meat into generous strips or chunks, and layer them in separate dishes
- drizzle with olive oil. Season generously.
- Finely chop garlic, and add to the meat along with the herbs and chilli – I added thisjust to the chicken ’cause we’re a chilli fanatic household.
- Leave to marinate for as long as you can hold off – ideally 3-4 hours or – even better – overnight.
- Grill on a medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes on each side or until cooked through
While your meat is marinating, get stuck into preparing your quick, easy, and essential accompaniments
- 200g Greek yoghurt
- Half a cucumber
- 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil.
- 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- sprinkle of paprika
- 1 clove finely-grated garlic
- 1 tsp dill
- Peel and finely grate your cucumber. Wrap in a muslin cloth to drain off the water, or press down hard on it in the bottom of a bowl. Season with sea salt and black pepper to help remove excess water and avoid watery tzatziki.
- Leave it for a few minutes, before adding to the yogurt. Throw in your olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, dill, and mix.
- Sprinkle over your paprika, et voila!
And don’t forget your beautful, fresh Greek salad – toss together fresh tomatoes, cucumber, thinly-sliced peppers, lettuce if you fancy it. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, crumble over some feta cheese and squeeze over a tablespoon or two of lemon juice.
And there you have it; an easy, delicious Greek feast, fit for the gods. I can’t promise that it’ll come with a spectacular view, or even a glimmer of sunshine, but it’s almost certain to make you feel sunshiney inside. Yiamas!