Having recently returned from a holiday in Corfu, where I sampled many traditional Greek and local Corfu dishes, I decided to have another week of Greek Food at home!
Food in Greece
Whilst away, I really wanted to try and eat as many different Greek dishes as I could. I’m not a fan of going abroad and being all British and having full English breakfasts every day and fish and chips. (Won’t lie though I did have one full English!!)
Here are some Greek meals I have tried and would recommend should you be visiting Greece.
- Lamb Kleftiko; similar to lamb shank, slow-cooked in a tomato based sauce and Greek herbs.
- Beef Stifado; beef slow-cooked in a red wine sauce with a generous helping of onions and peppers and Greek herbs.
- Moussaka; similar to a lasagne but layers of aubergine instead of pasta, with courgettes potatoes and minced lamb.
- Souvlaki; a choice of meat, cooked and served on a skewer with herbs.
- Sofrito (Traditional to Corfu); veal cooked in wine sauce, garlic and white pepper.
- Stamna; beef stew, flavoured with cinnamon, cooked and served in a pot with potatoes and vegetables, topped with cheese.
- Gyros; you HAVE to try one of these. Very comforting Greek “junk food”, but such a treat and so cheap. Pork or chicken, with onions, tomatoes, tzatziki and chips served wrapped in a pitta!
As well as the traditional main meals above, I also LOVED “picking” at the starters that were on offer. I particularly liked the pitta with hummus and tzatziki dips, the dolmades (stuffed vine leaves) and saganaki (deep fried cheese similar to halloumi). These are all great to snack on before your main meal, or order a few of them to accompany some beers as a light meal!
Bringing Greece Home
Still experiencing the holiday blues and craving holiday food, I decided to pretend I was Greek and have a week eating Mediterranean style cuisine at home. Here are some of the recipes from my week of being Greek, that went down an abosolute treat, and I could eat over and over again! (Anyone wanna fly me back to Greece yet??!!)
Pork Souvlaki with homemade Tzatziki (the tzatziki is SO easy to make and absolutely delicious!!)
- 1/2 Cucumber
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 2 X 150g British Pork Loin Steaks
- 2 Skewers
- 15g Capers
- 1 Shallot
- 8ml soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
- 25g Honey
- 125g Cherry Tomatoes
- 80g Natural Yoghurt
- 300g Potatoes
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/ 200°C (fan)/ 425°F/ Gas 7. Soak your skewers in cold water (this prevents them from burning whilst cooking). Slice the pork loin steaks in half
- Add the soy sauce, honey, dried oregano and a drizzle of olive oil to a medium bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper and mix everything up. Add the sliced pork steaks and coat them fully in the marinade and set aside.
- Cut the potatoes (skins on) into chips. Add the chips to a large baking tray with a drizzle of vegetable oil and a generous pinch of salt and give everything a good mix up. Put the tray in the oven for 25-30 min or until the chips are golden and starting to crisp.
- Meanwhile, dice half of the cucumber and grate the remainder. Chop the cherry tomatoes in half. Peel and slice the shallot finely. Peel and finely chop (or grate) the garlic.
- Squeeze the water out of the grated cucumber. Combine the grated cucumber, natural yoghurt and chopped garlic (Don’t like raw garlic? Go easy!) in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper – this is your tzatziki.
- Add the halved tomatoes, diced cucumber, sliced shallot and capers to a medium bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper – this is your Greek salad.
- Heat a large, wide-based pan (preferably non-stick) over a high heat. Thread the pork onto the skewers (2 pieces onto each skewer!) Once hot, add the skewers to the pan and cook for 2-3 min on each side (alternatively, cook the skewers on the BBQ until they are slightly charred and cooked through!) Tip: pour any remaining marinade over the pork in the pan – this is your pork souvlaki
- Serve the pork souvlaki with the chips, Greek salad and tzatziki to the side. Enjoy!
Greek Salad (lunch prep for work)
For 4 – 5 lunches;
- 1 Romaine Lettuce Hearts, chopped
- 2 green peppers, thinly slices
- 1/2 large red onion, thinly slices
- 3 tomatoes, cut into chunks
- 1/4 cucumber cut into chunks
- Handful of black olives
- 1 block of feta
Divide all of the above ingredients into 4 – 5 lunch boxes for the week (consume within 3 days), and sprinkle oregano on top! I also drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the salad when I serve it fresh. So simple, but so yummy!
Greek Lamb pasta with Feta & Dill
- 200g Conchiglie pasta shapes (shells)
- 10g Dill
- 100g Greek Feta Cheese
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 30g Pitted Black Olives
- 1 Red Onion
- 1 Tomato
- 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- 1 Tsp Dried Oregano
- Dried Bay Leaves
- 250g British Lamb Mince
- 15ml Tomato Ketchup / 1 sachet
- Peel and finely dice the red onion. Peel and finely chop (or grate) the garlic. Boil a kettle.
- Heat a large, wide-based pan (preferably non-stick) with a drizzle of olive oil over a medium heat. Once hot, add the diced onion with a pinch of salt and cook for 3-5 min or until it’s softened. Meanwhile, chop the black olives and tomato coarsely.
- Add the lamb mince, tomato paste, dried oregano and chopped garlic to the pan. Cook for 2-4 min or until the mince has started to brown, breaking it up as you go.
- Meanwhile, add the conchiglie pasta to a large pot of boiled water with a pinch of salt. Cook over a high heat for 8-12 min or until cooked but with a slight bite.
- Meanwhile, add the chopped tomato, black olives, tomato ketchup and dried bay leaves to the pan. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 min or until everything is bubbling and starting to caramelise (and go a little bit crispy).
- Meanwhile, break up the feta cheese. Chop the dill finely, including the stalks.
- Once the conchiglie is cooked, drain and return it to the cooking pot, reserving 200ml of the starchy cooking water. Add the reserved starchy cooking water to the lamb and stir vigorously over a medium heat for approx. 5-7 min or until a thick ragù sauce remains. Once done, discard the bay leaves.
- Stir half of the chopped dill through the drained conchiglie and season generously with salt and pepper. Serve the lamb ragù over the conchiglie. Garnish with the feta, remaining chopped dill and a drizzle of olive oil and enjoy! I enjoyed this with toasted pitta/flatbreads, oils and olive pate (tapenade ).
Some very noteworthy Mediterranean Restaurants in Leeds
Lime Tree Bistro, Morley. Lovely, tasty authentic Mediterranean food. Could be a hidden gem in the centre of Morley which is great seen as it’s very local to me! Ready my review here.
Souvlaki, Leeds City Centre. Very traditional Greek food served here, and in large portions! Try the meze between a few of you if you want to sample a variety of dishes. Looking at around spending £40pp here if you are planning on eating and drinking quite a lot!
Santorini, Headingley. Similar to Lime Tree but definitely worth a try. Fantastic, tasty food in a great venue, and the staff are very friendly.
Well I hope you enjoyed reading about my recent obsession with Greek food, and I hope you try some of the recipes and visit the restaurants! As always I would love to see your pictures / hear your comments on my recipes or places I have reviewed.