Liselotte Thøgersen - Denmark
This time, I must write about Greece, and there are obvious reasons for this. I suppose everybody follows Greece in the media hearing about the financial drama they are enduring. The heavy burdens which the Greeks must now carry on their shoulders, makes one shiver.

Personally I am very concerned because I have several very good Greek friends and it is the country in Europe I have visited most times both at work and on vacation, and especially so because our son-in-law is Greek and our two grandchildren therefore small beautiful Greek / Danish girls, Anna Maria and Zoë Kiriaki! They live in England, but their family in Kos, which is strongly affected and whom wethink about all the time. But what can one as an ordinary person do? Personally, I have taken the decision to buy Greek products where at all possible: Greek yogurt (Total 2%), Greek honey, Greek olive oil, Greek feta, dolmades (the good stuffed vine leaves), olives and Greek wine. I wish I could find even more Greek products, but it is difficult and perhaps an explanation for one of the country's problems - lack of export of the many goodies that are manufactured in Greece.

And then it might be worth considering going on holiday to Greece this year. Tourism is one of the most important sources of income for the Greeks, if not the most important - so this is certainly a good way to support them and back them up. And I think they really deserve it!

And then it soon Easter and the most important holiday in the Orthodox Church. This year Easter in Greeceis about one week after our Easter, but in any case, this also inspired me to share some wonderful Greek dishes with you in this edition. Perhaps the Greek cuisine is not the world's most famous and most versatile, but they have great ingredients, and they can make even the most boring vegetables taste heavenly. The secretaccording to a wise Greek mother-in-law to one of our friends is simply olive oil - lots of olive oil!

So let’s start with the beginning:

The other day I read that one of the currently most sought after articles in “Den Store Danske” (the new Danish encyclopedia) was about tzatziki. Yes, the glorious yogurt / garlic sauce that is so easy to make, and which reminds us ofwonderful holidays in Greece. Grate a whole cucumber roughly, put it in a tea towel and press out all the liquid.Add to a few cups of the good Greek yogurt (2% but the 10% will make it even more delicious), add a BIG clove of crushed garlic, salt and then pour a decent splash of olive oil on top. Voila, a nice starter eaten with some rally good bread. Next a few quick, healthy and hearty dishes that can stand alone – perhaps supplemented with a good salad. Enough for 4 people as a main course.

Greek Lentils
: Take 250 g small green lentils. Let them come to the boil then throw the water away. Fry a chopped onion to the pan in a little olive oil, add the lentils and a can of peeled tomatoes, 1-2 cloves of chopped garlic, and finally, a bay leaf and a good splash of red wine vinegar - the last 2 ingredients are the key! Add a little bit of water if necessary, but not too much. They are ready in approx. 30 minutes – add a good splash of olive oil in the last minute. You could also add some grated carrot or selleri.

Greek white beans
: Take 250 g of white beans and soak them overnight or at least 6 hours. Then throw away the water (can be poisonous) and rinse the beans well in a sieve in cold water. Then fry a chopped onion and a couple of cloves of garlic in a little olive oil, add a can of peeled tomatoes and a small can of tomato pure, the beans and a little water. Let it boil for two hours on a low heat. Can be eaten cold or hot, sprinkle with oregano and again a good splash of olive oil.

and Easter go together, and I am convinced that everybody has a good recipe for any piece of the lamb: But to make it really Greek, there must be lots of garlic, potatoes in the bottom of the roasting pan, lots of oregano, lemon juice and olive oil poured all over and salt and pepper of course. With the lamb the Greeks will serve a salad of romaine lettuce with lots of fresh dill, spring onions and a dressing of lemon and olive oil.

And just a wonderful spinach pie with dill - yes, it is also true Greek:

Greek spinach pie with dill

1 short crust or puffed pastry
1 kg fresh spinach
300 g feta cheese
1 large chopped onion
1 bunch of dill
2 eggs
1.5 dl milk or cream
Salt and pepper

Fry the chopped onion in a little olive oil, add the spinach and let it fall together, add some saltand pepper, coarsely chop the dill and let it "cook" with the spinach just for a minute or two. Pour the mixture into a sieve and allow to drain well before putting it on the crust. Mix eggs with milk/cream, pour over the spinach and finally crumble the feta over the surface.

Bake at 200 degrees for 30 minutes.

Yes, this was my Greek inspiration, but to tell you the truth, I've got all the ideas from Anne Glinos! And yes, it is her mother-in-law, I refer to above! So many thanks to Anne! Maybe you or maybe your mother- in-law have some great recipes – if so please send them to me – I am always happy to get exciting new ones!

Bon appétit – and happy Easter!

 Liselotte Thøgersen

17th February 2012
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