About Greece – and a Sandwich with Tzatziki and Grilled Bell Pepper
by eat in my kitchen
Eat in my kitchen is about food but also about the happiness, peace and pleasure I find in cooking and sharing the dishes I prepare in my kitchen. My recipes are influenced by my life, my friends and family and also by the countries I’ve visited in the past years, by the people I’ve met who were so kind to share their rich culture, traditions, recipes and stories with me. No matter where my travels took me, whenever I sat at table talking to the locals, the real journey started. Without an exception, I can say that all these people enjoyed sharing their food with me at their tables as much as I do at mine. Many years ago I visited a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea, the beautiful Naxos. I felt welcome from the moment I set foot on the ground and stayed with a lovely couple who gave me a delicious insight into Greek cooking besides creating an unforgettable holiday. This couple and their home island have been on my mind a lot recently, how they must feel in these rough times. It seems like it’s all about numbers at the moment, Greece’s failures and debt, and not enough about the people who go through the worst nightmare that none of us would ever want to go through. The worst case scenario of losing everything that you and your family have worked for, for many generations.
The people of Greece have always been an inspiration, not only for Europe and not only because they were the first to set up a democratic state. The keenest thinkers of the world have been influenced by the classic Greek philosophy and literature, science, inventions and arts. I don’t want to simplify Europe’s currant problem but I often miss compassion and respect in the ongoing discussions. Sunday’s decision demanded lots of strength from the Greek people, they raised their voice to question a system, not the democratic but the financial system. And that’s what democracy is about, to think, discuss and voice your own opinion. This is a gift!
I’m sure that most of us have a connection to this country in some way, one that is struggling and fighting at the moment. I feel thankful for all I’ve learned, so thankful that I can’t turn my back on all the people who don’t give up but stick together. And that’s what I wish for Europe, that we stay together and support each other so that the ones who are weak at times can get back on their feet again. I’m not a patriotic person in a national sense at all but I love Europe, its countries and cultural richness. This is my beloved home. I believe that we have to care for each other to keep this treasure, that’s the necessary basic foundation of a union, in a political but first and foremost in a human sense.
A Sandwich with Tzatziki and Grilled Bell Pepper
I will share two recipes for tzatziki with you, one made with quark and one made with yoghurt.
For 4 sandwiches you need
rustic white buns, cut in half, 4
flaky sea salt
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
fresh basil leaves 12
Spread the bottom side of each bun voluptuously with tzatziki, lay slices of grilled bell pepper on top (see recipes below) and sprinkle with a little sea salt, crushed pepper and basil leaves. Enjoy!
For the tzatziki
cucumber, preferably organic, roughly grated and squeezed between your hands, 80g / 3 ounces
(you’ll need about 60g / 2 ounces of squeezed cucumber)
Continue with version 1 or 2
Version 1 (I used this recipe in my photos)
low fat quark 250g / 9 ounces
heavy cream 2 tablespoons plus more to taste
garlic, crushed, 1-2 big cloves
salt and pepper
Greek yoghurt 250g / 9 ounces
sour cream 4 heaped tablespoons
heavy cream 4 tablespoons plus more to taste
garlic, crushed, 1-2 big cloves
salt and pepper
Mix the cucumber with the ingredients of version 1 or 2, season with salt, pepper and garlic to taste, whip in more heavy cream if you prefer your tzatziki a little more smooth.
For the grilled bell peppers
red and yellow bell peppers 2-3
olive oil 1 tablespoon
Set the oven to grill.
Put the bell peppers in a baking dish and grill them in the oven until their skin turns black in small patches, turn them twice (it’s best to cook them on 3 sides). I grill them for about 10 minutes on the first side (depending on your oven it may need more or less), and for 6 minutes on the other 2 sides, so for about 22 minutes in all, but mind that this varies between different ovens. When the bell peppers are soft, take the tray out and cover them immediately with wet kitchen paper (this will help to peel them). Take out 1 bell pepper and peel carefully with a knife, mind that it’s very hot. Once it’s peeled, cut it in half, scrape out the seeds and fibres and cut it into strips. Continue with the remaining bell peppers. On a plate, mix the sliced bell peppers with olive oil.