AFTER THE 1st SYMPOSIUM OF GREEK GASTRONOMY


It is more than three weeks that the 1st of the Symposia on Greek Gastronomy is over but since I can say that it went very well, I wanted to share some thoughts on it …

Speakers were the most critical aspect that contributed to the success of conference. They shared their knowledge and they generated questions on a wide variety of topics related to History and Evolution of Cretan cuisine. You can read the abstracts here:

http://greekgastronomy.wordpress.com/abstracts/

However, much of Symposium’s success was due to all those who supported it or voluntarily contributed to its development.

Because, if a conference doesn’t have much money it must have a team of dedicated people…

But,

our Symposium had a great group of dedicated volunteers,

though they had never met each other…

though they had come from different backgrounds and countries ( and I must say I was impressed with the quick respsonse from foreigner residents of Crete).

Moreover, the whole village that hosted the Symposium volunteered. Yes, the whole thing was embraced enthusiastically by the locals….

And

people of different generational ages, gender and ethnicity worked so well together!

Of course,

I recognise the valuable contribution from our sponsors. They made our job much easier and helped make the Symposium enjoyble for participants. So I won’t forget the constant support Stratos Milidakis gave us (administrator at Oadyk/Project: Gastronomy Routes and Culture of Flavors Network under AXIS 4). I will not forget Mrs Nikolakakis’ kindness (Anek lines).

I will remember with deepest appreciation Philip Exadaktylos, Giorgos Detsis and Vicky Koumantou. We welcomed them as sponsors but they quickly became our friends. They also did volunteer work.

Nor will I forget Alexandra Manousakis and Katernina Douloufakis from the most respected Cretan wineries, Manousakis and Douloufakis respectively. Their wines capture their charm.

And I am touched by the “Iardanos”, the association of tradesmen and entrepreneurs of Platanias. Their packages were filled with wonderful goodies.

 

But

the entire Symposium would look very different without the generosity and support of our volunteers. They helped in all kinds of ways, from fetching, carrying, serving, cooking dinners for 150-250 people, to translating, interpeting (what a demanding job! Two volunteers did it magnificently) , offering hospitality, photographing etc. Their effort is deeply appreciated.

 

 

The youngest and most dedicated volunteers: Orfeas Dialinos (11 years old), George Pantelakis (16 years old), Anna Iakovou (13 years old)

 

Of course,

I would like to give a special thanks to the chairpersons of the sessions and particularly to Jennifer Moody, landscape archaeologist, for taking the time to contribute to Symposium conclusions.

Many many thanks to Evangelia Voutsaki, a gifted and inspired young photographer. Her photographs were shown projected as part of a slide show during the symposium.

Special tribute goes to the women of the village. Women of almost all ages, from their 30s to their 90s, cooked for the dinners. They seduced us with the food and heritage of the region where they live and with their respect for the raw materials and their appropriate seasons. Those enthusiastic home – cooks shared wonderful recipes and stories and they offered their warm hospitality to the Symposium participants.

I deeply thank them all.

 

To see pictures of volunteers, click here.

You will find a man’s image among the pictures of women cooks. When pilafi is made in large quantities, it is a man’s job.

For the menu click  here .

If you speak Greek, watch the videos below to find out more about the dishes of the Saturday dinner.

 

watch?v=231LVm0L6ds&feature=related

watch?v=_oFanvNexyQ&feature=related

watch?v=Ycda8CmBgP4&feature=related

 

Some refreshments were made by volunteers, speakers and sponsors. The lemonade with the wonderful scent of lemon verbena was made by ethonobatnologist Fusun Ertug, who was speaker in our Symposium.  To make it  mix 1 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice with cold  sugar syrup (5 cups of water, 1 cup of sugar. Steep 10 leaves in the mixture of hot syrup for at least ten minutes).    Soumada, a delicious, soft, almond flavored drink was made by  Vicky Koumantou . Click here to read about thassorofon  , its Byzantine version.  A cup of  refreshing iced mountain tea was the perfect  treat to quench our thirst.  To make it, fill a large pot with water and add mountain tea (Sideritis syriaca), some marjoram and 3-4 leaves of sage. Bring water up to a boil and let steep. Strain the mixture  into jag, let it cool  and refrigerate it. This is ideal for summer time.  When ready to serve, add some slices of lemon.  You can drink it as a refreshment, it is perfect to accompany a light meal though.

If you would like to try the dish of lentils and bulgur that was included in the Sunday menu, a cup of iced mountain tea goes so well with it!  The ingredients you will need to make the dish are: 2 parts of boiled lentils and 1 part of wheat grains soaked in water. Strain both lentils and wheat grains, add salt to taste, mix and let cool. Add chopped parsley, chopped onions, cumin, olive oil and wine vinegar.

 

 

Special thanks to the Cultural Association “Risa” for graciously opening up the old school of Karanou to us for two days.

 

 

ΓΙΑ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ ΕΔΩ

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AFTER THREE MONTHS….

Four weeks ago, we arrived back in Athens, after being gone for 3 months. This time I’ve brought  several tons of olives and cheeses, herbs, books and I managed to forget half my clothes.
What I miss while here:
The view from my sister’s kitchen window

 

view-from-the-kitchen-window

 

And the view from my balcony

view-from-balcony

 

Writing under the olive tree very early in the morning

under-the-tree

Weekends in Karranou

Wandering around Chania’s old town

chania1

 

 and harbour

old-harbour

 

I miss the sea….

sea

… always the sea.

And I miss the lazy summer noons

The first autumn rain

The smell of the herbs

My mother and my sister

Sunday morning chat over a cup of coffee

 The old women, who brought me food gifts saying: eat, in order to remember Chania.

Knowing that my friends are either a short drive or a phone call away…
…. always my friends.
Yes I miss my summer home.
However, I am back…
I am back in the swing.
But eating with friends lift my spirits. Oh yes, my Athenian friends….

dinner

Apaki is smoked pork meat. Zelokoumpe or zylokoumpi is a goat or sheep cheese.

Vinegar or lemon juice or fig juice is used instead of rennet

Lentils (fakes)

3 cups lentils

6 cups water

½ cup olive oil + 1tbs

1 medium onion chopped

15 baby onions

4 garlic teeth chopped

3 medium green bell peppers cut into pieces

2 tbs tomato paste

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp grated orange peel

salt and pepper

3 tbs red wine

Rinse the lentils under running water and set aside to drain. Place the peppers and the baby onions in an olive oiled pan and roast them. Place the lentils in a casserole, add the chopped onion, cover with water and cook for 15 minutes. Add peppers and onions into the lentils, stir in the garlic and olive oil, season with salt. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and add the tomato paste, the bay leaves and the orange peel. Cook until thick (adding some water if necessary). Stir in the wine, remove the bay leaves, season with pepper. Serve hot or cold.

Trahanas

This pasta is one of the many recipes for thrahana that are found in Greece. It is made with flour, leaves of white beat, onion, garlic, leek and white fennel and comes from Chios island.

Stir in 2 cups trahana in 4 cups boiling water, add 2 tbs olive oil and cook about 10 minutes (add more water if necessary, to make a thick soup). Then add ½ cup strained yoghurt, ½ cup crumbled feta cheese and stir. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and serve.