When the Greek team won the European Cup in 2008, it came as a major surprise: nobody had seen this coming. It’s not very likely though that they will repeat their success anytime soon, judging by the way they played against Colombia the other day. Perhaps they can muster some of their old determination against Japan tonight, which would keep them in the running.
Greeks have been forever traveling the world – one of my favourite books is Herodotus’ Histories, which contains stories and descriptions of the various countries Herodotus must have visited in the 5th century BC. He is widely considered to be the first Western historian, and his highly biased reports from strange countries, often based entirely on hearsay and prejudice, seem to support that claim.
Over the decades, Greeks have settled all over Europe, and with them they brought their wonderful food. Often overlooked when we speak of mediterranean food – Spain, Italy, Northern Africa and the Middle East somehow get much more publicity – Greek food is often seen as a bit of a cliché, like the Greek salad which I am presenting you here: just as chicken tikka is really an English invention, I am sometimes wondering if what is called a Greek salad here is called an ‘English salad’ in Greece…
The combination of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and feta cheese, however, makes for an excellent salad. And if you fancy trying your hand at something rather more impressive – but not that much more complicated! – give these delicious stuffed peppers a try. Whether it’s for a light lunch or a picnic, apart from the mouthwatering taste, the sheer colour of these two dishes will cheer you up immensely!
Stuffed Peppers (serves 4)
- 4 red peppers
- 1/2 pack of feta cheese
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- fresh or dried osemary and oregano, to taste
- 1 tbs lemon juice
- 1 tbs olive oil
Heat the oven and grill to 250C. Carefully clean the peppers to keep them in one piece. Place them on a piece of baking parchment into the heated oven and grill them for about 5 minutes until the skin becomes brownish and starts throwing bubbles. Turn and repeat the process.
Remove them and let them cool down a bit before peeling off the skin: this should be quite easy, but take care not to break the peppers, which are now quite soft.
Cut the feta cheese into strips the length of the block (makes it easier to stuff the longish peppers with!). The cheese can be quite crumbly, you want the strips to be relatively thin, around 1/2 cm x 2 cm. Mix the herbs with the garlic and coat the cheese with the mix before gently stuffing the peppers.
Salt and pepper, then put them into the still warm oven for a few minutes. Before serving, dress with the lemon juice and oil.
- ripe tomatoes
- cucumber (the smaller the tastier)
- feta cheese
- small black olives
- salt, pepper
- olive oil
Wash and cut the vegetables into chunks, depending on your taste. Mix with the olives and arrange on your dish. Dice the cheese and arrange on top, Sprinkle the oregano over it and dress with salt, pepper and olive oil. Sorry for being so vague – I adapted it to use up the feta left from the stuffed peppers, as well as using up the whole cucumber rather than having a bit left over to be forgotten in the fridge…
Serve with my Turkish flatbreads, but never call them that in Greek company. Enjoy your meal, or καλή όρεξη!