|Dishes||Moussaka, Spanakopita (vegan), Greek salad|
|Population||10,718,565 (85th largest)|
|Land mass||131,957 km2 (95th largest)|
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Greece (officially ‘the Hellenic Republic’) is a country in South-east Europe bordered by the Aegean, Ionian, Cretan and Mediterranean Seas. Within these expansive waters, lies 227 inhabited greek islands. Greece is a country with huge ancient significance for civilisation on Earth including democracy, philosophy, politics, sporting events, science, maths, and the arts. Today, Greece exists as a developed economy with a high quality life for its citizens.
Greek cuisine is a classic example of the healthy Mediterranean diet, which uses a lot of fresh ingredients. Olives and olive oil feature in many Greek dishes, as does staple ingredients such as fish, feta cheese, honey, nuts, and herbs.
For Greek week, we prepared moussaka, spanakopita, and greek salad. Moussaka is one of the most popular and classic Greek dishes – a combo of tasty aubergine, a rich tomato mince sauce and creamy béchamel. Spanakopita is a traditional veggie dish of pastry and spinach. It is classically made with fresh crumbled feta cheese, however, we used a vegan tofu alternative. To top off our Greek feast, we made a classic greek salad. Everything was delicious and easy to make – give it a go!
- 6 aubergine
- veg oil (for frying)
- 750g beef mince
- 2 large red onions (chopped)
- 2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
- 400g chopped tomatoes (1 tin)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 125ml red wine (1 small glass)
- 1 tsp sugar
- salt + pepper to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 900ml milk
- 120g butter
- 120g flour
- 2 egg yolks
- 100g Parmesan (grated)
- Prepare all the vegetables. Slice the aubergine into thin rounds and salt to remove excess water. Then fry the slices in plenty of oil.
- Remove the aubergines and use the oil to fry the onions and garlic. When the onions have browned, add in the tomato paste and red wine, and cook off some of the liquid. Add in the mince, breaking it up nicely. Add in the tinned tomatoes, sugar, cinnamon, bay leaf and salt + pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes.
- Now make the béchamel sauce by melting the butter in a large pan over a medium-high heat. Then add in the flour, whisking continuously into make a paste. Do the same with the milk, whisking to avoid lumps Cook the sauce for a few minutes to get it nice and thick.
- Once the béchamel has been taken off of the heat, whisk in the egg yolks, salt, pepper, nutmeg and most of the grated cheese.
- Butter the bottom and sides of a large baking dish. Layer half of the aubergine into the bottom. Pour all of the meat sauce into the dish and spread it out evenly. Then add a second layer of aubergine slices and top it with the béchamel sauce.
- Sprinkle the rest of the grated cheese on top of the dish and bake it in a pre-heated oven (at 180 C) for 60 minuted until the edges turn crusty and brown. Allow the moussaka to cool before cutting it into squares and digging in!
- shop-bought filo pastry
- 500g spinach / chard
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- 200g tofu/cashew cheese alternative (cheese free version)
- 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
- oil / vegan butter
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- salt + pepper to taste
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 C. Prepare the spanakopita filling by frying the onion and garlic in oil on a medium heat until golden. Cook the spinach in batches until all is wilted. Then mix in the nutmeg, salt + pepper, spring onion + cheese alternative.
- On a non-stick baking tray, lay out the first sheet of filo and sprinkle with olive oil. Continue with the 2 – 3 more sheets. Then mould the filling into the middle of the pastry and fold over the excess pastry to cover. Top with 1 – 2 more sheets for full coverage.
- Brush the top with olive oil and cut several slits in the top of the pastry. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 50 – 60 minutes until the top of the pastry is golden. Allow to cool + ENJOY!
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- feta cheese, cubed
- 1/2 jar kalmata olives, halved
- DRESSING: red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt + pepper
- Mix all the ingredients well together with the dressing.
ευχαριστώ and see you in Grenada! M + B x