As the little domestic goddess I like to think I am, I decided to host a Greek night for my friends. I have been planning this night since last September, even bringing back with me Greek pitta bread (which I froze immediately on arriving at my home-away-from-home in Southampton) and Ouzo, a traditional spirit which has an aniseedy flavour to it. It took me a long time to decide what Greek delicacies I should cook. Having to decide between things I actually thought I was capable of cooking and things I thought my friends would enjoy. As much as I love them, seeing as my friends are fairly fussy about their food this was a particularly tricky process.
I wanted to cook things that for me were typical Greek flavours and would conjure memories of eating in a taverna by a sandy beach in the summer. The thing that first came to mind was tzatziki, a yogurt, garlic and cucumber dip, which nowadays you often find in English supermarkets, but this is no where near as good as the home made stuff. For me, its bliss when you're left with this garlicky oniony flavour in your mouth, as bad as that may sound it just reminds me of eating in our little local taverna. Keep in mind though that I would not advise this dish if you're planning on going out on a date later on.
Next I decided to make "keftedakia" which are like little meatballs that are fried and go perfectly with the tzatziki. They are made with mince meat, a finely chopped onion, breadcrumbs, an egg, salt and a dash of vinegar. What makes this a bit more interesting than you're usual meatballs is that the diced onion is fried till golden brown and then mixed with the rest of the ingredients.
To finish of the whole meal I chose to make a cheese pie and "pastitsio" (which simply put is almost like a pasta bake). The cheese pie is fairly simple: for the filling you first make a basic white sauce and once this has thickened add 3 eggs and 600g of mashed feta cheese to the pan. Once this has cooled you layer a few sheets of filo pastry in a oven proof dish brushing each layer with a mixture of butter and olive oil, then pour in the filling and top with the remaining filo sheets, giving the pie a final brush of oil before popping it into the oven for 45 minutes.
The meal for me was really good, but my friends definitly favoured a few dishes over the others. They enjoyed the pastistio, the keftedakia and the pitta bread which I had grilled and then brushed with a little olive oil and seasoned with salt and oregano and cut into little triangles, the most. On the plus side though this meant I was left with all the left over cheese pie and tzatziki...I can't complain.