Tzatziki

Serves: 4

A bit boring I know, though a good, home-made tzatziki is pretty cool.

Low fat – if you do it with low, or zero fat yoghurt – and tasty with pretty much anything you can throw at it. Meat, crackers, vegetables.

No guilt.

Ingredients

1 Lebanese cucumber, coarsely grated
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
200gm low-fat (or fat free) Greek-style yoghurt
2 tbsp finely chopped mint
1 clove garlic, crushed

Method

  1. Put the grated cucumber in a fine-meshed sieve over a bowl and sprinkled with a pinch of salt. Set aside for 20 minutes or more to drain off the excess moisture.
  2. Place the salted cucumber, yoghurt, mint and garlic in a bowl and mix to combine. Season and enjoy for the next few days.

Prawn Saganaki

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The original… as supplied to me.

Serves: 4

This is a signature Ashes family recipe and it is right on the money. It tastes amazing, it’s warm and it’s filling.

Whether you use saganaki cheese or feta comes down to whether your name is Rob Ashes or Debbie Ashes. When I asked Rob about using saganaki, he said ‘nah, shit doesn’t melt’.

Deb feels the opposite and generally sneaks saganaki into the dish mid-oven. So perhaps this is a compromise and you should use a bit of both.

The other point to make is that if you can find packets of uncooked garlic prawns (the John West variety), get these and eliminate the garlic from the dish.

Otherwise, enjoy what is a fabulous dish and one I have thankfully enjoyed many times at the Ashes dinner table.

Ingredients

1kg medium prawns, shelled
3 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic
250gm feta cheese, sliced
250gm saganaki (or feta), sliced
2 tsp sugar
1 bay leaf
½ c olives
Good handful of coriander, chopped
Slices of sourdough
Salt and pepper

Method

  1. In a saucepan, saute the onions win the olive oil. Add the diced tomato, garlic (if using), bay leaf, sugar, olives and salt and pepper and enough water to keep moist and cook on a medium-low heat for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the oven to 180c.
  3. Add the prawns and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Remote the saucepan from the heat and transfer the mixture to a casserole. Sprinkle the coriander over and then spread thin slices of the feta cheese on top. Top with sourdough bread and top with saganaki slices (or feta).
  5. Cook in the oven until the saganaki cheese has melted (or should have melted). 10 to 15 minutes.

Arni Psito (Greek Roast Lamb)

Serves: 4 – 6

This dish a classic recipe from my incredibly capable mother.

She cooked this countless times for us as teenagers and we had it again last night and my two boys loved it. Talk about a generational recipe!

The original recipe is from the New York Times Cookbook, though she adapted it so that the onions, parsley and mushrooms cook on top, caramelise and blacken. This is where the genius of this dish comes from and I just cannot recommend it enough.

We had it with Greek potatoes, green beans and a wonderful Greek salad and the memories came rushing back.

Thank you Ellen for introducing me to food. What a life skill and fantastic way to spend a weekend!

Ingredients

1 leg of lamb
Salt and pepper
Dried oregano
Chopped garlic or garlic powder
¼ c butter, melted
Juice of 1 lemon
Diced onion
Chopped parsley
Sliced or chopped dried mushrooms

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 C and place the lamb on a rack.
  2. Season the lamb with salt, pepper, oregano and garlic.
  3. Arrange the onion, parsley and mushrooms over the lamb and carefully pour over the butter and lemon juice.
  4. Add ½ cup of water to the pan and roast for 20 minutes.
  5. Add another ½ cup water, lower the temperature to 180 C and roast for 22 minutes per 450gm, basting occasionally.
  6. Serve the lamb with the juices and vegetables spooned over.