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Archive for the ‘Greek Style’ Category

A simple potato salad is a delicious alongside a green salad as part of a summer supper.  This version is combined with Tzatziki, a yoghurt based accompaniment commonly served at Greek meals, but found around the Mediterranean and further afield under other names: all slightly different but all very similar.

The source of this recipe was an idea found at Good to Know Recipes and also called Tzatziki Potato Salad originally taken from Love Dips.  I revisited my recipe for own Tzatsiki, already posted on this site and used this, with the addition of a small amount of sweet red onion, for extra flavour and lots of mint, which very strangely was omitted from the Good to Know recipe.  As an alternative to Greek yoghurt I used a standard plain version, which can be combined with some crème fraîche for extra thickness.  However Greek Yoghurt would also give a thicker consistency and is often available in lower fat versions.  Finally, I sprinkled the whole salad generously with Sumac, a Mediterranean ingredient  more commonly found in the Middle East and North Africa, but also because I like it.  This can be replaced with paprika or some ground black pepper if preferred.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Tzatziki Potato Salad
(Serves 4)

500g new potatoes – substitute old potatoes if new unavailable
2/3 large sprigs of mint
300g Greek yogurt, or a mixture of plain yoghurt and crème fraîche or soured cream
½ clove of garlic
½ small red onion or 2 spring onions (optional – can replace garlic)
½ cucumber
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt & black pepper
Sumac or paprika (optional)

1. Scrub new potatoes and halve or peel and cut old potatoes into large dice. Cover with water, add a pinch of salt and a large stem of mint. Bring to the boil and cook until soft. Do not overcook as they could break up, which could be a problem using old potatoes.

2. Measure the yoghurt or yoghurt and crème fraîche/soured cream into a bowl.

3. Finely chop or crush the garlic and red onion or spring onions. Finely dice the cucumber. Chop the remaining mint, reserving a few whole small leaves to decorate. Mix these into the yoghurt along with the lemon juice and season to taste.

4. Gently combine with the potatoes, spoon into a serving dish, decorate with the reserved mint leaves and sprinkle with a little sumac, paprika or black pepper to serve.

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Sometimes a recipe that I just have to try pops into my Inbox from one of the sites that sends me regular updates.  A trip to the supermarket shortly after I first saw this recipe and I had a attractive jar full of feta cheese waiting for me to try.  I had to be patient and do as the recipe suggested, but as soon as the week was up I ‘dived in’ – and was not disappointed!

So, thank you to my UK Food Bloggers fellow member, Nic at Cherrapeno for her recipe: Make your own Marinated Feta.   Of course, we all adapt and amend recipes to suit our own tastes.  The ingredients below are for my own version, adjusted to complement the size of block of feta cheese available locally, but with some other ‘tweaks’ too.  I love olives so added some to the second jar I made and will definitely add them again.  I halved the number of chillis as I did not want to spicy a flavour.  The oil is delicious too so don’t forget to mop up the puddle on your plate with some of the crusty bread you serve alongside.  I would definitely serve this as a starter, along with some other marinaded items, such as mixed peppers.  I have tried making this with the cheaper feta type cheese you can buy, which is usually called something like ‘Greek style salad cheese’ and it is fine, though for entertaining I would definitely splash out and buy real Feta.  Only problem with this recipe is that the jar doesn’t last long enough!

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Marinaded Feta

200g packet Feta cheese
½tbsp dried oregano
½tsp coriander seeds, ground – ¼tsp ready ground powder if seeds unavailable
½tablespoon cracked black pepper
2 or 3 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, depending on size
1 small fresh red chilli (2 if you wish) – split lengthways, remove seeds for a milder taste
3-4 small sprigs fresh rosemary
25g/1oz green or black pitted olives, or a mixture (optional)
Olive oil

1.  Drain the whey from the packet of feta and pat dry with a paper towel to remove the maximum amount of liquid. 

2.  Cut into cubes: I cut the block into four long pieces lengthways and then crossways into cubes – around 36-40 pieces.  (Make the pieces larger if you wish by making 3 strips and then crossways into larger cubes.) 

3.  Place the cubes in a bowl.  Sprinkle with oregano, crushed coriander seeds and black pepper.

4.  Cut the tomatoes into three our four pieces each.

5.   Sterilise a jar (about 500-600ml) that is big enough to take all the ingredients by pouring in water from a boiling kettle, draining and filling immediately.  (Make sure the lid is sterlised in a similar way.)

6.  Gradually fill the jar with the cubes of cheese, the pieces of tomato and the olives, poking in the chilli and sprigs of rosemary from time to time so all the ingredients are fairly evenly spaced through the jar.  Make sure that all the herbs in the bowl are included as well.

7.  Pour in a little oil from the sun dried tomatoes (about 2-3tbsp) and top up with extra olive oil as needed.  The ingredients need to be fairly tightly packed with the oil filled to the brim.

8.  Seal the jar tightly.  Refrigerate for 1 week before using. (The marinaded feta will keep for 6-8 weeks in the fridge).

9.  Serve at room temperature for lunch or as an starter. This would also make a good culinary gift.  I have used the excess oil and chilli as a starter for the next jar and I think this could be done two or three times, before needing to start again from scratch.

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Versions of this yoghurt mixture are part of the cuisine of a number of cultures, each of which has its own name: Cacik (Turkey), Tzatziki (Greece), Raita (India), Tarator (Eastern Europe), Mast-o-khiar (Iran/Persia)are just some.  The recipes all differ slightly and each cook would have their own version as well, but these are the mixtures I use.  All have two basic ingredients in common: Greek style yoghurt and cucumber. My versions of Tzatziki, Cacik and Raita can be found below. I have not made Tarator, but understand that its ingredients, as well as yoghurt and cucumber, include garlic, dill and walnuts. Mast-o-Khiar – Persian Yogurt & Cucumber Dip is a simple combination which also includes mint.  Sumac, a rusty red powder which has a slightly astringent citrus flavour, is widely used in middle eastern cooking and is available from some ethnic grocers.  I found some in our local Turkish food shop.

100_5701 Tzatziki

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Tzatsiki/Cacik/Raita
(Quantity as appropriate to number of diners. Serve as a side dish or dip)

Greek style yoghurt
Cucumber
Pinch of salt

For Tzatziki add:
Chopped fresh (not dried) mint (plus a sprig to decorate)
Lemon juice (and a little zest if you wish)
Paprika
Olive oil (drizzle over to serve)
Garlic (Rub container with a cut clove. Use fine chopped for a stronger flavour)

For Cacik add:
Chopped fresh (not dried) mint (plus a sprig to decorate)
Sumac powder
Olive oil (drizzle over to serve)
Garlic (Rub container with a cut clove – for a stronger flavour use finely chopped garlic)

For Raita add:
Cumin powder, to taste
Chilli powder, to taste
or ½-1 very finely chopped fresh green chilli
Chopped fresh (not dried) mint (plus a sprig to decorate)
or Finely chopped fresh coriander (plus a sprig to decorate)

1.  Finely chop the cucumber (sometimes the cucumber in raita is grated) and mix with the yoghurt and other flavours as in the individual ingredient lists above.  Store in the fridge, covered, until needed.

2.  Stir again, especially if made in advance, and decorate with a dusting of spice and a mint sprig just before serving. Add a drizzle of olive oil for Tzatziki and Cacik.

3.  Serve as an accompaniment or a dip: Tzatziki with Greek food, Cacik with Turkish & Middle Eastern food, Raita with food from the Indian sub-continent.

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