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A fellow food blogger (Cook Eat Blog) tweeted a rather inviting photograph of a dish he had just cooked up last week, which happened to catch my eye immediately. It was ‘Prawn Saganaki’, a quick and easy, but tasty Greek dish with tomatoes and melted Feta cheese that I’ve always wanted to try. I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t sample it while holidaying in Skiathos last year for my sister-in-law’s wedding (a treasured memory). However, we did tuck in to an array of other traditional dishes (we made it our business to eat only local fare whilst out there) and both agreed at the time that it’s a very underrated cuisine.

The Saganaki picture put the idea of this wonderful food back in the forefront of my mind, and I had my heart set on a ‘Greek Feast’ for our Saturday night treat. Dan was all for this idea (anything to show off the diversity of his culinary skill) and devised a superb menu which met with my upmost approval. We started off with a homemade replica of the best cheese stuffed garlic bread that I have tasted to date, which was on offer at the taverna on site where we stayed in Greece. My image doesn’t really do it justice in truth, as you can’t see the oozing melted, garlicky Gouda cheese that comes with every bite. It’s good. Very, very good. Especially since Dan has expertly honed the recipe down to just the right amount of cheese to our taste (lots).

We followed this up with ‘Chicken Souvlaki’ (griddled chicken kebab), an authentic Greek salad that was taken from our book ‘300 Traditional Recipes – Greek Cookery’ by Greco Card Ltd, and a refreshing Tzatziki.

To make the stuffed garlic cheese bread (serves two) you will need:
– 300g of pizza base dough
– Three garlic cloves
– One teaspoon of dried oregano
– 200g of Gouda cheese (sliced or grated)
– A pinch of salt
– Olive oil

Method:
– Pre-heat the oven to gas mark seven/220C.
– Pound the garlic and salt together, then blend in some oil to make a paste.
– Roll out the dough into a circle, spread the garlic paste on one half. Top that half with cheese, leaving a border for crimping.
– Sprinkle on the dried oregano, fold and crimp to seal.
– Drizzle over some olive oil, a pinch of oregano and a pinch of salt (optional).
– Bake in the oven until lightly golden (approximately 15-20 minutes).

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To make ‘Chicken Souvlaki’ (serves two) you will need:
– 500g of chicken breast (bite size chunks)
– Four tablespoons of EV olive oil
– Two tablespoons of lemon juice
– One teaspoon of oregano
– Three cloves of garlic (mashed)
– Half a teaspoon of salt

Method:
– Combine all of the ingredients together in a freezer bag and leave to marinate in the fridge for preferably three hours minimum.
– When ready to eat, thread the chicken onto four skewers and griddle each side until cooked (approximately 10-15 minutes in total).

To make the Greek salad (serves two) you will need:
– Two tomatoes (sliced into chunks)
– 75g of Feta cheese (roughly cubed)
– Half a medium onion (finely sliced into rings)
– Half a cucumber (peeled and sliced)
– Half a green pepper (sliced into rings)
– A handful of olives (we used pitted/green)
– A handful of capers
– Quarter of a cup of EV olive oil
– A sprinkling of oregano
– Salt

Method:
– Wash the tomatoes, cucumber and salad. Peel and/or slice all ingredients as required.
– Transfer into a bowl, adding the olives, capers, oregano and a pinch of salt. Mix everything together lightly.
– Place the Feta cheese on top and drizzle with EV olive oil.

To make the Tzatziki (serves two) you will need:
– One cup of natural yoghurt
– Half a cucumber (grated)
– One clove of garlic (crushed)
– A dash of white wine vinegar
– Salt and black pepper to taste

Method:
– Mix all above ingredients together in a bowl thoroughly. Chill in the fridge until needed.

It was like being transported back to that beautiful island for an hour or so, as we happily munched our way through this medley of delights. Oregano always reminds me of Skiathos these days, after it’s aroma filled the air during our holiday (well, that, and olives!) and is now one of my favourite herbs. It perfectly compliments the cheese stuffed garlic bread – which incidentally, is wildly indulgent and massively scrummy. We need to start using Gouda in more cookery, a fine melting cheese with a defined flavour.

The juicy Greek salad has quite an edginess with the addition of the capers, a welcome change…and all working in harmony against the griddled, simply marinated and seasoned meat…with a large helping of zesty, homemade Tzatziki on the side. Could anything be more pleasing on a warm and bright spring evening? I think not.

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