We whisk you off to Greece (via Lidl potentially!) for these very simple, but very tasty recipes brought to us our friend and Hellenophile Alun Jones.
In this edition of his Food blog, he takes you on a journey to beautiful Parga in Greece and beguiles you with an authentic Greek recipe and a rendition of a classic and traditional national dish.
Charming and radiating a warm welcome, Parga is one of his favourite holiday destinations. It’s a small town on the northwest coast of mainland Greece with idyllic beaches and stunning olive groves.
Kantouni is a taverna in the centre of Parga’s small, winding streets. You sit in a small square with tourists and locals milling around. It’s a beautiful location to relax and watch the world go by.
The menu at Kantouni is varied and authentic with lots of traditional Greek food available. Alun and his family have visited many times and it delivers excellent food and service all in a unique setting.
Here he shows you how to recreate an essential taverna meal in the style in which it was served. Kantouni offers many dishes that are more complex than this, but this one is easy to replicate with the right ingredients – and attitude.
The authentic sausages are available in the UK via the following websites: Hellenic Grocery, The Greek Deli or Agora Greek Delicacies. If you’re lucky, you can find them in Lidl during one of their Greek Weeks! Go here for more details. There are two branches of Lidl in the county of Wrexham – one near the town centre on Salop Road (LL11 7AF) and the other in Gwersyllt on the Old Mold Road (LL11 4AP).
Kantouni Village Sausage
- Village sausage
- Pitta bread
- One onion
- One beef tomato
- French-fry style oven chips
- Tzatziki (see the next recipe)
- Cook the sausage in the oven for around 12 minutes. Next, cut the sausage lengthwise, ie butterflying, and place in a frying pan to finish off for about 10 minutes. This gives it a more chargrilled flavour.
- Cook your chips in the oven as normal.
- Wash your tomato and cut into slices. Slice your onion.
- Pop the pitta bread in the toaster and toast till warm.
Yes, this is a simple-to-prepare meal, but it’s all about recreating a traditional dish in a traditional manner. Serve the prepared ingredients on a plate as shown in the picture, together with mustard (American-style is best) and tzatziki (we’ll discuss how to make this next). You can eat the meal however you choose, but Alun recommends combining the ingredients in a pitta to make a sort of sausage gyros.
Don’t forget a glass of retsina or Mythos beer (also available online or at Lidl during Greek Week) and ensure you have some Greek music playing in the background. Alun mentions he has an extensive library of Greek vinyl, all of which he’s bought for pennies from charity shops. So, no excuse!
And now, the vital part: a recipe for authentic Greek tzatziki!
Tztaziki (serves two)
This is an authentic Greek recipe that was passed on to Alun from a Parga local. You will need:
- A half-tub of full-fat Greek yoghurt
- Half a cucumber
- Two cloves of fresh garlic
- Fresh mint
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
- First of all, peel and grate the cucumber. Put this in a sieve over a bowl. Put a clean tea towel on the cucumber in the sieve placing a heavy weight on top to draw out the liquid. Leave for 15 minutes.
- Scoop the cucumber up into the tea towel, then wring it out to remove as much liquid as possible.
- Put the Greek yoghurt into a fresh bowl – half a tub should do the You need the full-fat version, low fat doesn’t work as you need the creaminess. Add the cucumber, chopped fresh mint (as much as you like), and chopped garlic. Add one dessert spoonful of olive oil, a splash of lemon juice and salt. Mix this all together.
- This is best made the night before or at least on the morning you’re going to serve it. Adjust quantities to suit the number of people.
There you go – an easy Greek-style meal to make. If you take care to add to the ambience with music and drinks, this can be delicious and bring back holiday memories. Pretend you’re in Greece – a little comfort as travelling is so unlikely at the moment!
Alun would like to thank his wife Vanessa for doing all the work and Christos from Irini Studios for the tzatziki recipe!