From grilled fish and dolmades to skordalia and spanakopita, Greek cuisine is a divine marriage of bold flavours, simple ingredients and time-honoured traditions. Many dishes can be traced back to ancient Greece and Byzantium, whereas others were influenced by Ottoman cuisine with names that reveal their Arabic, Persian or Turkish roots: moussaka, tzatziki, yuvarlakia, keftethes and boureki. However, among the icons of modern Greek food culture, one of the most popular must be souvlaki. Infused with the intoxicating scents of oregano, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil, these Pork Kebabs owe their tenderness to a tangy marinade that helps break down even the toughest cuts of meat. Traditionally served wrapped in pita bread and topped with a variety of condiments such as lettuce, tomato, onion, and tzatziki, Souvlaki are also quite delicious all on their own with a great dollop of tzatziki and a lovely fresh Greek Salad. I have also recently discovered Feta and Spinach Twisters by Krinos, which are baked from frozen and absolutely delicious, especially when served with grilled Pork Souvlaki and my sensational homemade tzatziki.
1 1/2 lb pork shoulder or loin, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tbsp dried Greek oregano
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
In large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the pork and toss to coat. Marinate for 15 minutes. Evenly thread the marinated pork onto 4 skewers and grill on a preheated barbecue, turning halfway through, until just a hint of pink remains inside, about 8 minutes per side. Garnish with sliced lemon and fresh oregano, and bowl of tzatziki.
Makes 2 1/2 cups
1/2 English cucumber, seeded and grated with skin on
1 cup plain strained Greek yogurt
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 tsp Maldon salt
Slice the cucumber in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Grate the remaining cucumber, spread it out over a large tea towel and wrap it tight, leaving it at least 30 minutes until the grated cucumber is quite dry. In the meantime, peel and finely crush the garlic, then combine with the oil in a small bowl and allow to marinate for 10-15 minutes. Combine the cucumber with the garlic mixture, then stir through the yoghurt until evenly distributed along with a squeeze of lemon juice. Season with salt to taste.
Spinach and Feta Filo Spirals
1lb/500g frozen spinach
9 oz/250 g feta cheese
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
16 sheets of film pastry
Defrost and drain out all the excess moisture from the spinach and and chop. Crumble the feta using a fork and mix in with the spinach, and season with pepper. Lay the filo pastry on a clean surface and place a damp tea towel overtop to prevent from drying out. Brush each sheet with olive oil, and layer one of top of the other. Spread the spinach and feta mix in a cylindrical shape along one width of the pastry, and then roll into a tube. Brush oil over the pastry tube on all sides and then twirl the tube into a spiral shape. Cover the pastry swirls in cling film or a damp tea towel until ready to bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 25 minutes or until brown.