A Taverna Lunch in The Hills

My mum has just returned from a trip to the Greek Islands and because I don’t go much further overseas than the harbour ferry these days, I am borrowing the recipes in this post (and some gorgeous pics) from her.

This is her in Mykonos in the “Greek mama” dress she had to buy when Qantas left her luggage behind. No one can say the Greek economy didn't get a boost that week!

I don't think she was too bothered by the mix up. Look at that view!

When she got back, the family crowded around her table on a Sunday, as we do, to gossip and share a fantastic taverna lunch of Prawn Saganaki and Kefthedes (recipes below), with an Aussie twist of Sydney rock oysters to start.

We cook a lot of Italian food, but hardly any Greek except for the odd lamb dish, so it was great to try something different like the feta crumbled and grilled on top of the Saganaki.

Keeping the prawn heads on was a tip from a Greek friend and colleague of Mum’s. It gave the dish an authentic taste of the sea but if you prefer your seafood a little milder, I’d leave them out.

Mum always brings back a few “presents” for the house, like this cute, bright bread basket and beautiful silk table runner.

Not so sure about the matching shirts she bought my husband and baby boy!

Larissa x

Prawn Saganaki
Serves 4

1kg green prawns
2 brown onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 tomatoes, finely chopped
1 shot glass of ouzo (Greek liqueur) – if none available use white wine
250g Greek feta
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
Handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Peel the prawns, leaving the tail (and head if using) intact.
Preheat your grill.
Heat a large oven-proof pan and add a generous glug of olive oil. Add the onions, garlic and chilli and fry for a minute or so until fragrant.
Add the prawns and saute for 1-2 mins, then add the tomato, ouzo (or wine) and season to taste.
Simmer for five minutes before stirring in the parsley.
Crumble the feta over the top and place the pan under a hot grill until the feta melts and browns slightly.
Serve in the pan on a hot-plate at the table for guests to help themselves.
If you have the authentic “saganaki” ceramic bowls, even better!

Kefthedes (Greek meatballs)
Mum found this recipe on Honey and Spice (www.honeyandspice.wordpress.com) and I have adapted some measurements to suit.

Serves 4

For the meatballs:

½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
¼ cup milk
½ onion grated
1 garlic clove crushed
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp parsley chopped
250g minced lamb
Olive oil

For the tomato sauce:

410g can crushed tomatoes
Pinch sugar
1 bay leaf
½ onion, finely chopped
Handful parsley
Salt, pepper

Mix together the breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl. Add the onion, garlic, cumin and parsley. Season and stir well.
Add the lamb and mix until all incorporated. Form tablespoons of mixture into small meatballs with wet hands (it’s easiest).
Fry the meatballs in a large pan on medium heat until browned and cooked through (about 5-6 minutes). Set aside.
For the sauce, place tomatoes into the same frying pan with the sugar, bay leaf and onion and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the meatballs and simmer until they are warmed through.
Scatter over the parsley just before serving.
Again, we served this in the pan straight to the table for everyone to dig in.


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