Not all Greek to me

This week I went to the movies and I discovered that once more, Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson have a predilection for Greek weddings (big and fat or otherwise).

I was happy to read that it also meant the reunion of the first pop group I was ever a fan of… at the tender age of 5, before I even knew what a fan was…

The film is definitely fun… and sometimes it is just what you need to get your mind off the mundane world… Apparently, Meryl Streep felt the same way when she saw the musical in New York, which is why she asked to play the part of Donna in the film. You can see her next to Agnetha in the photo.

And I guess I won’t spoil the plot for those of you who haven’t seen the film nor the musical by telling you it is all set in the Greek islands…of Skopelos and Skiathos to be precise.

Ahh that water… if nothing else, the film is worth it for the landscapes alone… but of course there is so much more to enjoy than that… I found it really clever that the film is almost a satire of the musical genre, and it is very good when you can laugh about yourself as well.

I am afraid that the closest I have been to Greece so far has been the kitchen.

And that definitely inspired me in my cooking.

What you see in the picture is called Halva, and, as you can also see, it is branded as an “original Greek speciality” which looked suspiciously similar to our very own Mantecol… Now as for who is the copycat… I can’t say. What I can say though is that the taste was remarkably close, even though the halva had a stronger and definitely more bitter chocolatey taste… Anyway, I just thought I’d let you know in case there is an expat reading me from London… who is craving Mantecol right now…

Looking for inspiration I turned, once more, to my most recent discovery: Bill Granger. Being Australian and all, in Britain he does not have all the hoopla more local chefs have. And it’s a shame for his recipes are seriously good.

He confesses that his other big obsession, only second to his cooking, are cookery books. And I couldn’t feel more empathy.

Having said that, yet again, I had to look for inspiration in my local library, where I found this superb recipe for a Greek salad. (I soooo want his books now).

I have to say that I fiddled with the recipe so much I am not sure you can call it Bill’s anymore.

Bill uses Lebanese cucumbers in the recipe, and, since I am not a big fan of cucumbers, I substituted those for gherkins instead. I didn’t have any parsley or mint, so I omitted those, plus, I added some capers I had in the fridge which worked just fine. The olives were Kalamata, though, just as he said.

In spite of that, I still like to give Bill’s version just in case some of you want to follow the original. Enjoy!

Greek salad with fried Halloumi adapted from Bill’s Open Kitchen by Bill Granger


2 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tbsp. olive oil

sea salt


4 ripe tomatoes, quartered

2 Lebanese cucumbers (I used gherkins)

250g Halloumi cheese

95g Kalamata olives (or any other Greek olives you can find)

1 red onion, finely sliced

20g mint leaves

20g parsley

1 tbsp. olive oil

Mix the ingredients of the dressing and set aside.

Arrange the rest of the ingredients in a plate and top with the fried halloumi. Last but not least, season with the dressing.

I had my salad with some garlic bread. Yummy!

Note: don’t get too enthusiastic with the salt, both the halloumi and the capers are quite salty already. You can also run the capers through cold water to get rid of some of the salt.


2 thoughts on “Not all Greek to me

  1. thanks for dropping by my blog (and i know, i know, bill is great, but i got the scones all wrong!)
    love halloumi, not so keen on halva – but that’s just a matter of taste. will have to give this salad a try

  2. Hi Andreea
    Thanks for your comment and please do try the recipe, it is definitely worth it. I have to say, I included the Halva mostly so that other Argentinians know about it but it is quite heavy, I agree… Good luck!

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