Not my picture. Copied from - http://www.csd.uoc.gr/~chasap/photogallery/santorini/oia.JPG
Brianna of Oishii recently posted a salmon recipe inspired by a visit to Greece and it got me thinking of my own visits to the country.
My first trip was four years ago. I was living in Finland and had had a pretty hectic spring, not least because I was packing up my life there and moving back home to Scotland. Ahead of me lay another crazy summer working 14 hour days in a residential EFL (English as a Foreign Language) school. I desperately needed to switch off for a while. On a whim, I popped into a travel agent to see what they had on offer and the very next day I was flying across Europe on my way to Santorini.
It was a wonderfully revitalizing week. Other than a walk up a volcano and a swim from a boat out to an island with hot springs, I spent the entire week reading in the sun (nine books in seven days) and sampling Greek food and drink, all the while trying to reassure every Greek I met that being a solitary traveller was not a reason to pity me. Bless.
My most vivid memory of the trip was sitting in a small restaurant in Oia. The sun was setting, I had a stray cat on my lap, a
craft carafe of wine on my table and a full belly from all the souvlaki I had eaten. It was a moment of perfect tranquility. And then came the invasion.
Oia, with its cliff top location and west facing view of the Aegean, is known for its stunning sunsets and the locals seem to come out to watch them like Brits turn on Coronation Street. When an elderly lady motioned towards an empty seat at my table, I nodded. Of course, the old dear could sit with me. Five minutes and fifteen “old dears” later, I was surrounded. Through the Greek gossiping (I could just tell there was some scandal being discussed), the thick clouds of cigarette smoke and the ample, apron adorned bodies of the women I just manage to see the sun sink below a cloudless scarlet horizon. The waiter felt so sorry that my peaceful sunset moment had been spoilt by the gaggle of greek grannies that he waived my bill!
It wasn’t really spoilt at all though. It just added to the moment.
Inspired by these memories of Santorini, I’m having a Greek BBQ for my aunt and uncle this weekend: souvlaki, greek salad, pita bread and tzatziki.
Cucumber, cut into chunks
4 large tomatoes, deseeded and cut into large chunks
2 handfuls of black olives
100g feta cheese, cubed
1 tblspn chopped parsley
1 tblspn chopped marjoram or oregano
2 tblspn olive oil
2 tblspn white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
- Add all cucumber, tomatoes, feta and olives to a large bowl and combine gently using hands.
- Mix dressing well and add to bowl. Mix gently.
- Sprinkle with fresh herbs.
4 pork loin steaks, cut into chunks
1 onion, cut into chunks
2 green peppers, cut into chunks
For the marinade:
Juice, pulp and zest of one lemon
1 tbpsn dried oregano
1 tbspn brown sugar or honey
100ml olive oil
Generous grinding of salt and pepper
- Mix the marinade ingredients well.
- Add the pork, onion and peppers and stir well to coat. Marinade for at least one hour (preferably overnight).
- Thread pork, onion and pepper onto skewers and BBQ over a medium heat (ie fairly high up) for 20 mins, turning frequently.
Will post the tzatziki recipe another time.