Aug 24, 2015 Anne Zouroudi Featured, Food, Greece, Greek food, Greek Islands, Greek recipes, Hermes - the mysteries of the Greek Detective, moussaka, Settings and inspirations, The Messenger of Athens Comments Off
I’ve been following BBC’s wonderful foodie series From Venice to Istanbul and rejoicing because Rick Stein was in Greece cooking his recipes, specifically in a beautiful kitchen (with a view to die for, see below!) on the island of Symi.
The 6-part BBC series sees Rick Stein sampling the very best of regional dishes all across the Mediterranean – Greece, Venice and Turkey, as well as the more off-the-beaten-track locations of Albania and Croatia. He then cooks his favourites back in Greece, on the island of Symi, one of the smaller Dodecanese islands an hour by high-speed ferry from Rhodes – and an island that is very close to my heart!
The good news is you can follow in Rick Stein’s footsteps and cook up a storm with local fish, produce and wine. Rick Stein cooked in the kitchen of the beautiful Villa Sofia on Symi, which is available to rent.
I have it on good authority that, whilst the crew stayed in the five bed, four bathroom villa, Rick himself chose not to sleep ‘on the job’ but in rooms at the beautiful Iapetos Village.
Rick Stein seemed to enjoy his time on Symi, diving into the blue waters of the Aegean from the quayside outside the villa, enjoying a glass of wine on the balcony as the sun set over the distant mountains of Turkey.
It’s unfortunate that my Greek Detective Hermes Diaktoros was unable to reprise his visit to the Greek island of Symi, as fictionalised as the island of Thiminos in The Messenger of Athens, whilst Rick Stein was in residence.
Hermes is a renowned foodie and would have wholeheartedly approved of Rick’s passion for the region’s produce, and would have been first to sample the Venetian pan-fried prawns with polenta or the Albanian rabbit stew.
I was especially intrigued by the family-run operation roasting lamb over fire-pits in the high hills of Croatia. Rick declared the lamb the best he had ever eaten, and I found the method reminiscent of Greek kleftiko – literally stolen lamb – which featured in the opening scenes of The Feast of Artemis.
It was interesting to see Albanian shepherds make kokoretsi – goat offal speared on a stick, wrapped in intestines and roasted over a fire – which is a dish very popular at Greek Easter, and a lamb stew baked with a custard of yogurt and eggs which was a possible forerunner to everyone’s favourite moussaka (my mother-in-law’s recipe for moussaka is here).
It seems Albania shares Greece’s love of superstition, and Rick described an incident where a weasel ran in front of the car he was travelling in. When his interpreter covered her eyes, Rick asked her what was wrong, and was told it’s unlucky to look a weasel in the eyes, as the animal will then steal the clothes off your washing line.
I once knew a man who stole ladies’ undergarments off washing lines. Perhaps that’s the kind of weasel the young lady meant?
Incidentally, earlier this week I had a message from a friend to say a yacht not unlike Hermes’s Aphrodite was spotted recently in Symi’s harbour. Is it possible Aphrodite has been renamed Seven Sins…?
Author of the Mysteries of the Greek Detective, books with a touch of mythology set in almost-contemporary Greece, and featuring lots of fabulous Greek food.
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