Rose's June Shop Watch - Odysea
Home to real Greek flavours
Greece on a plate - or a few plates!
Many of us decided long ago to have a staycation not wanting to run the risk of last-minute cancelled holidays abroad, and afraid of all the red tape involved with vaccine passports and tests. So, while it looks like any dream of being on a Greek island is scuppered, the way to experience it this year is by taste - with a Greek picnic lunch outdoors.
Eating outdoors has become a way of life if we want to entertain our friends. In fact, we have invented a new meal occasion – garden picnics. They are neither a picnic or a lunch in the conventional sense of the word. They are a series of sharing dishes to dip in and out of while enjoying being with friends. No arduous cooking. Just simple plates. Everything laid out on a table or even a blanket to eat leisurely all afternoon, and enjoy the sheer luxury of talking to friends together.
What am I planning? Well to begin, a bowl of delicious Greek olives, a plate with warm flatbreads and two things to dip into: an authentic Greek houmous and a dish of a smoky aubergine meze paste based on the traditional Greek recipe for melitzanosalata – a chunky aubergine dip. Then, for the only bit of cooking either on the barbecue or indoors, some simple grilled lamb kebabs or souvlaki. Instead of potatoes I am going to serve them with two vegetable meze dishes. A bowl of smoked strips of red and yellow peppers, scattered with chopped garlic and mint, with good fruity olive oil poured over, and then some feta cheese crumbled on top. There is something about the combination of feta and lamb that works so well.
And the other dish to serve alongside, is a bowl of warm Gigantes beans, in tomato sauce with delicious hot golden crispy fried cheese laid on top. The cheese I am suggesting is Greek Saganaki Kefaloytri cheese which I know is a bit of a mouthful! But it is a cooking cheese (in the same way as halloumi, for which it can be substituted) which has a high frying point making it so suitable for shallow frying. The name comes from the word “saganaki” which is a small pan used for cooking a range of dishes. And the beans are like something out of Brobdingnag – the fictional land of giants in Gulliver’s Travels. Think enormous baked beans with a rich tomato sauce and lots of herbs in. Dip in and out of these dishes all afternoon and you could be in Greece, provided the sun is out.
And I am going to a brilliant company for it all who specialise in quality ingredients from Greece – Odysea. On their website they say that “we have scoured Greece for the finest producers, many of whom we have worked with since the company began in 1991, and have built close personal and professional partnerships with them”. As a result, they can guarantee high quality and true authenticity across their range. This is born out in the number of Great Taste Awards that they have won and it's worth exploring all their products.
So, while it looks like any dream of really escaping to a Greek island can only be experienced by rewatching Mama Mia or dipping into the Durrells series or picking up Captain Corelli’s Mandolin to read, you can still taste Greece in your garden
It's all Greek for lunch
Odysea Houmous 265g: £2.99
Odysea Aubergine Meze 220g: £2.99
Elviart Flat Pita Bread 16cm x 10pcs: £3.49
Odysea Flame Roasted Red and Yellow Peppers 450g: £2.99 (Great Taste Award)
Odysea PDO Feta Cheese 200g £2.99 (Great Taste Award)
Odysea Saganaki Kefalotyri Cheese 200g £3.50 (Great Taste Award)
Odysea Baked Gigantes Beans 355g £2.99 (Great Taste Award)
Odysea PDO Kalamata Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1L tin £12
Price and availability as at 31st May 2021