Summertime recipes

Happy New Year to you all! I hope it has been a wonderful beginning to the year, filled with deliciousness, of course!
January for me is a time for rest; it’s a time to reflect and plan, a time for lazy days, and long lunches with family and friends.
Here are some summertime recipes to create, share and enjoy…hope you love them as much as I do.

Eggplant rolls with feta, olives and sundried tomato

60 mls olive oil
2 large eggplant, trimmed and sliced into 1.5 thickness lenghthways
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and diced
12 sundried tomatoes, diced
small handful of basil leaves
1 tablespoon parsley, fined chopped
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl combine well the feta, olives, sundried tomatoes, parsley and mint.

Prepare the eggplant and brush the slices with olive oil. Heat a frypan with a little extra olive oil over a medium heat and fry the eggplant slices, about 2-3 minutes on each side or until cooked. You can also cook the eggplant over a grill or barbeque if you prefer. 

Allow to sit on some absorbent paper while cooking the remainder of the eggplant. Season to taste.

Lay out each eggplant slice and place a heaped tablespoon of the feta mixture at wider end and roll up tightly. Place onto a serving platter and drizzle a little more olive oil over, a grind of black pepper and some extra herbs.


Watermelon and haloumi 

30 mls olive oil
1 kilo watermelon, cut into chunks
250 grams halloumi cheese, sliced 1 cm thickness
½ Spanish onion, finely sliced (optional)
½ cup fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
1 lemon

Fry or grill the halloumi cheese on a medium/high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. 

Place the watermelon chunks into a large serving bowl, drizzle with the olive oil, a good squeeze of lemon and add the herbs and onion (if using). Add the halloumi and using your hands combine gently. 

Variations

Watermelon, haloumi with prawns 

24 cooked prawns

Add cooked prawns to the salad and combine gently. 

If using green prawns, sauté the prawns in 30 mls olive oil for 2 minutes, or until cooked. Cool and add to the watermelon and haloumi

Watermelon, haloumi with chicken

1 cup shredded cooked chicken or 2 chicken fillets grilled or pan fried
1 handful baby spinach

Add the baby spinach to the watermelon and haloumi salad. Top the salad with the chicken and combine gently.

from “Everyday Mediterranean”

Mediterranean lifestyle

The Greek Mediterranean diet is not only about the food but also about the lifestyle.  The importance of this lifestyle is evident in the research into the longevity of the people of Ikaria, a Greek island in the Aegean.  This island has been known as “the island where people forget to die”. Similar studies have been made in Crete, which makes one question why the people of these islands live so long; what is the secret to a long life?

The people of Ikaria enjoy a Greek Mediterranean diet, which is rich in olive oil, whole grains, fruit and fish, vegetable and bean dishes often being the main meal and not as a side, and salads being a part of every meal and fruit always following the main.

What I found most interesting was that the Mediterranean diet also includes a lifestyle and the importance of strong social connections…spending time with family and friends, as well as daily physical activity, which could be as simple as making walking part of your daily routine, and taking a nap in the afternoon or simply having some quiet time.

I notice this especially whenever spending time with family in Greece. I love the simplicity of life in the village, mealtimes not only being a time to eat, but to spend together, creating a strong bond between family and friends, young and old.

Eat Greek and live well.

Fish soup avgolemono

You can tell Spring is in the air.  The days are becoming warmer, getting longer and the kitchen will start bringing us lighter meals.

As I sit here at my desk writing I am feeling excited about spring and the beautiful  fruit and vegetables that will come to our table.

Here is my favourite fish soup avgolemono which makes two courses. Soup served as a starter followed  by a plate of vegetables and fish.

Fish Soup Avgolemono

1 ½ kilo fish (I like to use snapper)
olive oil
2 small onions, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, scrubbed and halved
2 zucchini, cut into quarters
2 celery stalks, chopped into quarters
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
10 peppercorns
salt
white pepper to garnish
1/3 cup short/medium grain rice
Egg and lemon sauce

Cook vegetables together with peppercorns and salt in a large saucepan of water.

While they are cooking, wash and clean fish.  If the fish is large cut into half and place into the boiling water with the vegetables.  Simmer for about 15 minutes or until fish is done.

Remove fish and vegetables carefully with a slotted spoon and put aside.  Place the vegetables onto a platter and remove flesh from the fish and arrange onto the platter also.  Drizzle some olive oil and lemon juice.

Sieve stock into a clean pot and bring to the boil, add rice and simmer until cooked.

Add egg and lemon sauce and season to taste.

Serve hot accompanied or followed by the fish and vegetables.

Avgolemono (Egg and lemon sauce)

2 eggs
juice of 1 lemon
juice from stock

Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl adding lemon juice gradually.

Slowly add a little stock into the egg and lemon mixture beating all the time, add a little more stock, continue mixing.  Pour the egg and lemon sauce into your soup or dish stirring well so it doesn’t curdle.