Cooking or baking, for me, is always a very emotional thing. And unpredictable, that too. I can list on one hand the amount of things that I can cook or bake successfully and consistently and still have fingers left over. I’m not sure what it is about me, but things don’t seem to work the way they do for other people, and I get increasingly stressed and worried when they don’t.
Yesterday I watched a cooking demonstration at the Great British Food festival, by a Cypriot lady* who made Keftedes and Tzatziki. I LOVE Greek food, it brings back such lovely memories of childhood holidays spent on various Greek islands with my family and friends. So it inspired me to have a go, but being vegetarian, I just substituted Quorn mince for the regular mince that was used in the Keftedes recipe. Turns out that was mistake number one. Mistake number 2 was not having a thermometer. When a recipe calls for oil to be heated to a specific temperature, apparently that’s non-negotiable. Result: Meatballs which wouldn’t stick together and then either sizzled and splattered all up my kitchen wall, or that fell apart and didn’t cook at all. Disaster. And then there’s the horrible knowledge that you have wasted a) an hour of your life and b) nearly £10 at the supermarket where I bought my ingredients.
I spent about an hour after this disastrous attempt whining to myself and feeling like the most miserable excuse for a human being on the planet. What kind of person can’t even cook a meal? Why did I even bother – recipes almost always go wrong for me. And most importantly, what was I going to eat for tea now that my ingredients were all used up?
But then I pulled myself together and got down to business – and it turns out my tzatziki-making skills are just as good as they always were. Here’s my recipe. It’s pretty standard but I adjusted the ingredients because I like mine with a lot of taste:
200g Greek yoghurt
Half a cucumber
2 cloves of garlic
the juice from a quarter of a lemon
a sprinkle of salt.
Remove the seeds from the cucumber with a teaspoon and get rid of them. Then, grate the cucumber finely. I learnt from the cookery demonstration yesterday that you can squeeze the cucumber out and get rid of the water, to make your tzatziki thicker. Good tip. Mix this in with the yoghurt, and then grate your garlic finely and add that too. Squeeze the lemon juice directly into the bowl, sprinkle on the salt and give everything a good mix together until it’s all even. Then enjoy with the snack of your choice – Personally I love warm pitta bread cut into strips, but cucumber sticks, celery or even carrot sticks work well too! This made enough for two of us to have with a meal, and there is plenty left over for tomorrow.
Counting down the days til my next trip to Greece 🙂
* I tried to find a link for the cooking demonstration, but all I could find was the Twitter account for the lady who did it. You can follow her here.