What’s a donkey doing in a cooking blog? This cute animal is grazing on Mount Hymettus. Certainly it has nothing to do with the blog but this donkey has more sense than most people have.
Each summer we have the same problems. Fires! Today, this beautiful mountain is on fire.
Athens, is surrounded by mountains and in the East of Athens is Mount Hemettus which is just near my house. Just a couple of kilometres from where the picture was taken is where I live. It’s a very beautiful mountain and we usually go and walk in its trails. The mountain is long, narrow, rocky and arid, with flora that numbers over 600 plants, consisting mostly of several kinds of pine trees and cypresses but there are also olive trees, fig trees, oak trees, carob trees, judas trees, citrus trees, eucalyptus and many other kinds and lots of bushes. No wonder why the Attic honey is considered to be one of the best in the world. It’s full of laurel and rosemary, thyme and oregano and lots of other kinds. On the lower parts of the mountain, it’s fauna is, donkeys which are used for transportation where cars do not go, astray cats and dogs but the real fauna consists of rabbits, foxes, turtles, hares, porcupines, serpants and of course lots of birds, among them endangered species. I hope to post some beautiful pictures I have taken of its flora in another post.
Each year a piece of it’s forest is burnt. Last year it was on our side of the mountain and this time it’s on the other side. As I am writing this, the mountain is still on fire, as fierce winds sweep it towards our side.As I hear on the T.V., they say that it is a malicious forest fire as they heard some explosions before the fire. The fire reached the peak and now it’s on our side of the mountain and the aeroplanes and helicopters are throwing water.
We had power failure because of the fire and you know what that means.No cooking, no ironing, no air condition (the temperature is about 90 degrees, no cold water and no internet).
This is really a coincidence as I planned to write about souvlakia which is one of the most popular street foods in Greece.
Souvla means skewers and souvlaki is the diminutive of souvla (little skewer). You can find street vendors selling souvlaki kalamaki, which is skewered meat with a regular piece of bread. However souvlaki is also sold in pita with lots of onions, tomatoes or tzatziki.
I serve them with Sheftalia in homemade Pita, with tabbouleh which is the best salad for souvlaki as it has all ingredients needed for a souvlaki: tomatoes, cucumber, onion, parsley, lemon juice and finally some tzatziki.
- 1 leg of lamb, deboned
- 1/2 cup Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon Salt
Cut lamb into 1 inch cubes. Let them stand in oil mixed with 4 tablespoons lemon juice, salt and pepper and leave for about 1 hour and thread on metal skewers.
Grill meat over glowing coals, turning once, until done. Sprinkle with oregano.
Alternatively, you can cook them under a very hot grill, turning constantly, so that the meat becomes well seared on the outside and tender and juicy inside.
Similar recipes are included in my cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste as well as in Volume 1 of my e-cookbook, sold on all Amazon stores.
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,