Spring is coming!
With the worst part of the long and dreary winter behind us and the last scraps of cardboard and wrapping paper recycled (if you got the Christmas bin collection days right) it’s time to think ahead. Longer days, bluer skies, spring flowers and the wonderful wealth of spring produce we have to look forward to not just in the UK but all over Europe.
For a number of years In the 1990’s I was fortunate enough to have lived on a small Greek island in the northern Aegean. It was here that my love affair with seasonality and Greek food started.
Spring in Greece is so full of colour, beautiful fragrances and Greek cuisine certainly doesn’t neglect what mother nature so freely offers. Springtime in Greece brings with it the most delicious dishes that one could not find, cook or enjoy during winter. Although nowadays most products are available in the supermarkets throughout the year, working with seasonal products and preparing food in line with the seasons is both rewarding and healthy too
See below for a few of my favourite Greek spring recipes.
Also….. for the garlic lovers amongst you we are rapidly approaching wild garlic season. An abundance of wild crop available to all and best of all free, Pick before it flowers for the best flavour. These are some of my favourite go to recipes from some great websites!! and one of my own to finish.
• Spring lamb with oven baked lemon potatoes and wild Garlic
• Lamb Kleftiko
• Greek yogurt, pistachio and rhubarb cake
• 450 g rhubarb (1 lb)
• 50 g pistachios (1/2 cup), chopped • 75 g soft light brown sugar (1/2 cup, loosely packed) • 20 g unsalted butter (1 heaped tablespoon), melted
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
• 175 g soft light brown sugar (1 cup) • 50 g unsalted butter (3 tablespoons) • 1 large egg • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 200 g white spelt flour (2 cups) • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt • 120 g Greek yoghurt (1/2 cup)
Cut the rhubarb into chunks and place in a large lidded saucepan with 3 tablespoons of water. Cook over a low-medium heat with the lid on for 10-15 minutes until the fruit is soft. Place in a metal sieve over a large mixing bowl of use the back of a spoon to squeeze out the excess liquid. Leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Line a 9x9 square cake tin with parchment paper. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the chopped pistachios, sugar, melted butter and cardamom.
In another large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and the sugar. Add the egg and the vanilla extract and mix well.
Mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Gently fold in half of these dry ingredients, followed by half of the Greek yoghurt. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Fold in the cooled cooked rhubarb. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Sprinkle with the streusel mixture. Place in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden, firm and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool completely before cutting into 16 squares.