What can I say.. there is truth in the stereotypes. Lunch in the countryside, with friends and children running around. We spent the weekend in a house with garden, and had visitors for lunch on Saturday. To be honest they brought most of the food. We just prepared the tyrokafteri (a spicy feta cheese spread) with feta from Stratoula, a local producer, originally from Epirus who ended up in Anavyssos (both very good credentials for a feta producer!), and small chillies from the garden. We had every good intention to prepare also a horiatiki salad with watermelon (the first of the season that we bought in the local open market), but we skipped it and had it the following day for dinner. (Stay tunned, the recipe will follow soon…)
On Sunday we strolled in Lavrio, a small port with a very long mining history. We had ouzo and the typical mezes’ that go with it: octapus, marinated anchovies (gavros), fried red mullets (koutsomoures),grilled sardines and some delicious boiled greens (almyra). We gave the establishment an 8 out of 10 and promised to return.
On our way back we tanked in a station that had a small mineral collection on display. In other places you would expect a selection of local marmalades, but Lavrio’s mines date as far back as 3200BC. Its minerals financed Plato and Aristoteles, and are now on display in the local tank station!
And here comes our tyrokafteri recipe.
Spicy feta cheese spread (Tyrokafteri)
Serves 8 as a meze.
- 500g feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 Tbsp greek strained yogurt
- 1/2-1 tsp dried chilli flakes (depending on your spice tolerance)
- 1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
- 6 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over high heat. Add the chilli flakes and the red bell pepper and cook stirring regularly for about 6-8 minutes, until the pepper is very soft and golden brown.
Put the crumbled feta cheese, yogurt, mint (if using), and the content of the pan in a mini food processor and blend until everything is well combined and smooth.
If the feta cheese you are using is to salty, you might want to add some more yogurt.
Place in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving so flavours can blend.
Serve with fresh sourdough bread and crisp fresh vegetables.