Foodie Focus: Gorgeous Greek Cuisine

Time for another foodie focus and just as I was beginning to wonder what corner of the world I would opt for this time, George, the dealchecking Sales Manager came to my aide. George has entered a ‘Come Dine With Me’ challenge with eight of his closest friends, including his wife. This is the second round of the contest that saw (highly competitive) George roll in at fourth position last time (his wife was the winner….OUCH!). To add a little more excitement to the competition this time around, participants have been given a particular cuisine to focus their menu on as well.

George has been assigned Greece, so we thought to give him a helping hand, and hopefully provide inspiration for the winning menu, we would choose Greek for this month’s food focus.

Greek cuisine is the epitome of the Mediterranean diet: olive oil, fresh vegetables, grains and bread, fish, various meats, olives, cheese, aubergine, courgette and yoghurt. All washed down with wine or ouzo (the local liqueur). Looking at the list George has a lot of options. The key to Greek style success is to keep it simple and fresh. Sharing is part of Greek culture which could certainly win George points for atmosphere and hosting. Sounds easy G – it’s in the bag!

Ouzo – Photo by jerrroen

Our suggestions are to start with a meze – a variety of small scrumptious dishes (a bit like tapas and the opportunity for G to trump his wife by making his meze better than her tapas). Classic dishes include dips such as tzatiki or taramasalata with home baked breads or dolmas (stuffed vine leaves) or perhaps the traditional Greek soup Fasolada which includes white beans, dry white wine and vegetables. Meze plates could also include Loukaniko the classic Greek pork sausage flavoured with orange peel and fennel seed or cheeses such as Saganaki or feta. The choice for the meze dishes is endless.

Dolmas – Photo by norwichnuts

Main meals are typically formed of fish and meat. Favourite choices are goat and lamb and you will always see classic national dishes such as Moussaka, Yuvarlak or Kofta on the menu in true Greek restaurants. Yuvarlak –meatballs flavoured with cumin, cinnamon and garlic, slow cooked with a tomato sauce or Kleftiko – slow cooked lamb marinated in garlic and lemon juice and served with rice or potatoes would get our vote. To throw the diners off centre, George might want to choose a more localised Greek dish such as Chaniotiko Boureki, a vegetarian main local to Crete consisting of baked potato slices, cheese, mint and courgette.

Moussaka – Photo by j-e-s

Filo pastry features frequently in Greek sweets and desserts. Baklava is probably the most well-known of the sweets: filo pastry layers filled with nuts and drenched in honey. Walnuts and fresh fruit such as figs, oranges and melons are also popular, served up with Greek yoghurt and honey.

Baklava – Photo by gsz

Perhaps George should invest in an extra set of plates for a spot of plate smashing at the end of the evening. Hopefully it will be clean plates all round though. Good luck G!

Top photo by Aster-oid