So this might seem a bit weird. Why would a Greek go to see The Real Greek chef make moussaka? “Isn’t it like your national dish?”, “Don’t you know how to make it from birth?” Yes, thank you I get the point, even though I learned how to make it when I was 23.
When I got the e-mail for a moussaka making experience from the lovely Megan I thought exactly that. However, I’m always learning so I really wanted to see this staple of the Greek family table done from a professional chef. Secondly, I had completely stopped going to The Real Greek three years ago so I was super curious.
These days my sister and I are at my mum’s and my stepdad’s house in Atalanti Greece. You can imagine the mayhem.
On Friday we had amazing weather so we went out in the garden to gather wild greens. They are called χόρτα (chorta – wild greens) in Greek and we gather them from gardens and fields. I imagine that in an English garden some of those yummy wonders are killed off as weeds. They are boiled and then served hot or cold with olive oil and lemon. They go amazingly well with fish, but I love them any old way.
Since we started getting an organic fruit and veg box delivery each week I have been trying out all sorts of new things. It’s so exciting to be getting vegetables every week that you’ve never tried. It makes you look for information, learn and do new stuff. Sort of brilliant.
Especially since we are going through Lent (and the Greek version is a bit weird as I was saying the other day) it’s great to be doing different things with veggies.
There is a whole host of dishes we make in Greece which are classed as ‘meze‘. These are small (or big) plates of delicacies and nibbles (not prawns on stick or mini sausage rolls though) which are served with tsipouro (a.k.a. raki) or ouzo. Try not to drink the later if you’re not used to them. Meze can be simple – just a few slices of cheese and tomatoes, more complicated like boureki or just out-of-this-world, like today’s recipe.
There is something about London in November that just makes me ache for hearty soups and curling up on the sofa with thick socks. It’s not so much the cold – it gets worse over December and January. It is all about the sharp smell of the cold to come in the air. Sort of like the promise of winter right around the corner.
I was looking for something seasonal to do this week and I stumbled upon some lovely ambercup squash the other day. They look so lovely, don’t they? Small, round, tough, they are like a toy vegetable I think. In the past I never cooked with squash and pumpkin, for some reason my family is not very big on them. My mum has now started growing them in her garden, too late for me as I have flown the nest and my memories of what we eat “at home” are pretty much set. So using squash and pumpkin is very much a London thing for me.
I uploaded a pic of our dinner today on Google+ and Stratos asked for the recipe. That is to say he actually threatened that he would have a heart attack if I didn’t share it. Fine. You know me, I’m here for my friends.
What you need to know about this recipe is that roasted chicken with potatoes is one of the most frequent things we have in Greece. It is considered ideal for a family Sunday lunch so after a few years you are sick and tired of it. So I just gave the recipe a little twist to make it more interesting.