Villa Plus offer self-catering holidays at a range of top European countries. They got in touch to ask me to create a recipe from one of their holiday destinations. This is to highlight their campaign ‘The Cost of Eating Out’, which pitches the cost of eating out at restaurants against the spend required to cook the same meals at your holiday home. It’s an interesting proposition – and, of course, it works out cheaper to cook up a storm yourself.
I chose Greece! We had so many fantastic holidays in the Greek Islands when I was growing up but I’ve not been back to Greece for years. We are lucky enough to have a holiday home in Spain in the family, so over the past few years we have tended to utilise that, but I do miss the Greek Islands. I can’t wait till we visit them with our kids. I’ll definitely be checking out Villa Plus when the time comes, they have some amazing, droolworthy villas – the ones in Kefalonia are, quite frankly, pulse quickening!
When we go on holiday we do tend to ‘cook in’ quite a bit. We do eat out too, but less so… eating in is more relaxing when you’ve got kids I always think. Not to mention cheaper. I love going food shopping in foreign supermarkets and at markets. It’s fun testing out your language skills and seeing what the locals are buying!
Even if you don’t go on holiday this year, you can easily create a little Greek inspired feast at home – cook the souvlaki on the BBQ for the best results, or simply use a griddle pan as I did. Even if you don’t have a griddle pan, a super hot grill would produce a similar effect. Cook the red peppers on a griddle / under a grill too.
Souvlaki can be any meat – so try it with chicken thighs or pork shoulder – or use lamb shoulder instead of leg steaks. You want to choose meat with a little bit of fat on as this keeps the meat really moist and adds flavour too.
We had some homemade houmous with our little spread as we had some in the fridge. Simply whizz up some chick peas (or cannellini beans) with tahini, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, a little cumin and salt.
Serves: 4 people
Prep time: 1 hour (to marinade)
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes
4 x lamb leg steaks (600g), cut into bite size pieces
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
Juice half a lemon
Red pepper and feta salad:
2 x pointed red peppers
1 x 200g pack of feta cheese, sliced or crumbled
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cucumber, grated and squeezed out
250g Greek yoghurt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 clove garlic, grated or pounded with a pestle and mortar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar (or lemon juice)
1 tablespoon of fresh mint
- Cut your meat into bite size pieces. Marinade your meat in the olive oil, lemon, herbs and salt for 1 hour at least. Thread onto skewers.
- Whilst the meat is marinading, griddle your peppers on a very hot BBQ/griddle pan/grill, whole, with no oil, turning them regularly. When they are blackened and juicy, take them off. Remove the seeds and stalk and slice into long pieces. When cool, top with feta, oil and lemon. Season a little.
- Add your skewers to a very hot griddle. Let them cook on one side for at least 6/7 minutes, to get some good colour on them. Turn them to cook on all sides. Give them about 12 minutes in total. Let them rest for 10 minutes.
- Make the tzatziki by grating the cucumber and squeezing out the excess water using a clean tea towel – you must do this or it will be very watery. Add the yoghurt, garlic, oil, mint and vinegar/lemon juice. Season well.
- Toast or griddle your pittas and serve together, letting everyone make their own pitta combos!