I have been visiting the Greek islands every summer for the last forty years and I know no other place that irons out a year’s stress in just a few days. Over the years I have collected some favourite recipes. Every island has local specialities which I enjoy cooking when I get home, but I would love to discover a source for fresh dill in Rome. I have tried growing it on my terrace but I have had no success.
Zucchini filo pie
1 packet filo pastry
1 k zucchini, grated
250 g feta cheese
250 g soft curd cheese
2 eggs, beaten
fresh dill, chopped finely with stalks
dried mint and origano to taste
Remove zucchini ends and grate. Do not peel. Heat some oil and slowly cook the zucchini to remove their liquid. Strain and allow to cool. Mix in the cheese, eggs and herbs.
Line a rectangular baking dish with 4 layers of filo pastry, brushing each layer with oil. Allow the pastry to overlap the edges of the dish. Fill with the mixture and fold over the overlap. Cover with two or three oiled sheets of pastry. Cut round the perimeter and cut into serving size portions. Sprinkle the top lightly with water and bake for 15 minutes in a pre-heated 175° oven. Remove from the oven, cover with foil and bake for another hour.
Keftedes (Small fried meat patties)
I find these very easy to eat on the hottest of summer days. They are excellent with thick Greek yoghurt or tsasiki
250 g lean meat, minced
125 g bread
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 T olive oil
1 t dried mint and 1 t dried oregano, more if fresh
1 T fresh mint
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. Shape into small balls the size of a walnut. Dredge lightly with flour (optional) and fry in olive oil until golden brown. Can be served hot or room temperature.
Thick Greek yoghurt
Dill or Mint
Olive oil salt
Put yoghurt to drain for 2 hours in sieve lined with cheese cloth. Grate cucumber, lightly salt and put to drain. After a couple of hours squeeze out any remaining moisture and stir into the yoghut with the garlic, dill, lemon juice and olive oil.