A Diet of Plenty for a Healthy Population - Food in Athens
Hi Everyone, Blitzy here! YIPPEEE! I am one happy cat today! Here in Athens, the most popular dishes form the basis for the Mediterranean diet, which has been recognized as being the healthiest diet in the world! That means I get to enjoy all the delicious food whilst taking care of myself too, which leaves a little bit of room for those extra indulgences such as sticky Baklava and delicate Kadaifi. So pull up a chair and join me for this healthy, indulgent feast!
The warm climate in Greece makes it perfect for cultivating olives, some of which are pickled, but most of which are made into oil which is used for cooking and for dressing salads. Fruits, vegetables and grains have always played an important part of the Greek diet, including tomatoes, eggplant, lemons, dates, wheat and lentils. Spices were not available in ancient times, but herbs were plentiful and are used to flavor many Greek dishes, such as basil in eggplant moussaka, and mint in Greek salad.
Traditionally, fish was a popular part of the diet but in recent years, meat has become more easily available and more affordable too, and so is being included more often. Popular meat dishes include Kleftiko, a traditional dish served at celebrations, which is often cooked overnight in a sealed container or oven, and Biftekia, which are the Greek version of hamburgers.
Some of the Greeks’ favorite fish dishes include Lakerda, which is pickled fish, usually served as a starter (and of course, liberally drizzled with olive oil!), and Bourdeto, a delicacy which can be made with many different types of fish, cooked in a tomato sauce and flavored with herbs.
Your turn now: A Simple and Delicious Recipe for Greek Salad
This fresh and delicious salad is perfect for sharing with friends. Serve it together with meatballs or a fish dish, along with some crusty bread (with plenty of olive oil to dip it in) and some cold beers. It’s a great way to enjoy a summer bingo evening.
This recipe serves 8 as a generous side-dish
8 fresh vine tomatoes
2 large cucumbers
1 large red onion
2 bell peppers
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 generous cup feta cheese
⅓ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon dried oregano plus a bit extra
Begin by preparing the dressing, mix together the ingredients, adding salt according to your preference, and leaving the extra oregano to the side.
Prep your veg: roughly chop the tomatoes and cucumbers, bell peppers and olives, and thinly slice the red onion
Cut the feta into neat cubes
Mix all the ingredients together, and then add the dressing and toss to mix.
Finish by sprinkling with some sea salt and the reserved oregano flakes.