In this edition of the Food blog, I’m taking you on a journey to beautiful Parga in Greece – with an authentic Greek recipe and a rendition of a simple but tasty dish.
Charming and radiating a warm welcome, Parga is one of my favourite holiday destinations. A small town on the mainland of north western Greece, the beaches and olive groves are idyllic and unforgettable.
Kantouni is a taverna in the centre of Parga’s small, winding streets. The visitor is sat in a small square, tourists and locals milling around – it’s a wonderful location to put your feet up and watch the world go by.
The menu at Kantouni is varied and authentic, with lots of traditional Greek food available. My family and I have visited many times and it’s always delivered excellent food and service, in a unique setting.
Here I’m going to sow you how to recreate a basic taverna meal in the style in which it was served. Kantouni offer many dishes that are more complex than this, but this is easy to replicate with the right ingredients – and attitude.
Kantouni Village Sausage
- Village sausage (available from Lidl in Greek week)
- Pitta bread
- Onion (1)
- Tomato (beef tomato works best) (1)
- Oven chips (French fry style)
- Tzatziki (see below)
- The first step is make sure you know when Lidl are doing Greek week. Get down there and buy a pack of the village sausage from their chiller section.
- Cook your village sausage in the oven for around 12 minutes. Next, cut the sausage lengthwise (ie butterflying) and place in a frying pan to finish off for about 10 minutes. This gives it a more char grilled flavour.
- Cook your oven chips in the oven as normal.
- Wash your tomato and cut into slices, then slice your onion.
- Pop the pitta bread in the toaster and toast till warm.
Yes, this is a very simple meal, but it’s all about recreating a basic dish in the authentic manner. Serve the prepared ingredients on a plate as shown in the picture, together with mustard (American style is best) and tzatziki (we’ll discuss how to make this next). You can eat the meal however you choose, but I recommend combining the ingredients in a pitta to make a sort of sausage gyros.
Don’t forget a glass of retsina or Mythos beer, and ensure you have some Greek music playing in the background. I have an extensive library on Greek vinyl, all of which I’ve bought for pennies from charity shops. So, no excuse.
And now, the really important part: a recipe for authentic Greek tzatziki…
Tztaziki (serves 2)
This is an authentic Greek recipe that was passed on to us from a Parga local. You will need:
- Full fat Greek yoghurt (half tub)
- Cucumber (1/2)
- Fresh garlic (2 cloves)
- Fresh mint
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
- First of all, peel and grate the cucumber. Put this in a sieve over a bowl. Then put a clean tea towel on the cucumber in the sieve – placing a heavy weight on top to draw out the liquid. Leave for 15 minutes.
- Scoop the cucumber up into the tea towel, then ring it out to remove as much liquid as possible.
- In another bowl, put the Greek yoghurt – half a tub should do the job. You need the full fat version, low fat doesn’t work as you need the creaminess. Add to this the cucumber, chopped fresh mint (as much as you like), and chopped garlic. Then add 1 dessert spoon full of olive oil, a splash of lemon juice and salt. Mix this all together.
- This is best made the night before, or at least on the morning that you’re going to serve it. Adjust quantities to suit number of people.
There you go – an easy Greek style meal to make. If you take care to add to the ambience with music and drinks, this can be delicious and bring back holiday memories. Pretend you’re in Greece – a little comfort as travelling is so unlikely at the moment!
Thanks to Vanessa for doing all the work, and to Christos from Irini Studios for the tzatziki recipe!