Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Smashing Plates of Food - a Greek Feast

Fanny encourages us to 'Go Greek' for the final Bill of Fare in this part, but it's not really clear if she's a fan of the cuisine herself, or of the people. She tells us that 'we all know' that the Greeks have a word for many things (although I don't know what that word is, and Fanny doesn't tell us) but when it comes to cookery, a vast number of 'their' dishes are 'far too oily for the people of this island'. Maybe tastes have changed, or maybe Fanny just had some bad food when she visited, but the Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil is certainly celebrated now. Strangely, Fanny celebrates it too more often than not, but clearly either Greece or the Greeks have upset her. I am sure she was utterly charming to them...

Fanny Cradock

Fanny starts her Greek menu with a 'simple and amusing' salad known as Pallas Athene's Salad. Fanny doesn't seem amused recounting the time this was served to her by a famous cook in private service on the Island of Corfu. Fanny claims the 'cook' was bad tempered and needed to be flattered to 'bursting point' otherwise she would not bring her confections to them and her employer for 'picnics on the sands'. Fanny exclaims that this cook ONLY had to walk across the road to do so. Fanny is obviously not used to people who will not jump when she clicked her fingers, and was presumably missing Poor Sarah, Peter or any of her faithful unquestioning assistants while on holiday. At any rate, the salad is indeed simple - chopped tomatoes, green peppers, herbs and olives. Oh did I mention I can't BEAR olives? I replace them with little roasted capsicum antipasti. Drizzle with cottage cheese and sour cream and serve. Simple, although the amusement is a little lost on me.

The main course is a moulded Moussaka which Fanny makes with minced mutton. Try saying that quickly. I happen to have a lovely vegetarian Haggis from Macsweens left over from Burns night which seems to be a perfectly spicy substitute here. The aubergines are sliced in half and fried gently on the cut side until their skins wrinkle. The flesh is then scooped out and mixed with the haggis, a chopped tomato and an onion, some herbs and an egg. The aubergine skins are used to line a soufflé mould, and the mixture packed in and steamed for an hour. The finished Moussaka, but not as we know it, is served turned out with a tomato coulis. It cuts really well, and tastes smashing.

The coulis is made from chopped, skinned tomatoes, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper which is gently heated with a little water and simmered until 'collapse' (the tomatoes not me). The strained juices are mixed with a little of that nasty olive oil Fanny was complaining about. Just not too much, ok?

For this Greek feast, Fanny gives a dessert recipe which doesn't sound Greek at all, but she calls it Solines. They are basically chocolate Mini-Rolls, who knew they were Greek? I make a thin Swiss roll, cut it into squares and cut squares of greaseproof paper to match. Melted chocolate chips are spread onto each sheet of greaseproof, and just as they start to 'lose their gloss' without becoming set, Fanny instructs that the little sponge squares be spread with whipped cream and rolled up in the chocolate papers. Once completely set, the paper is easily peeled off to reveal the, well, chocolate mini-rolls. They do peel well.

Whether Fanny was a fan herself or not, this menu is a lovely taste of Greece, and I managed to prepare it all by myself with no bad tempered cooks helping. Well, apart from Fanny Cradock herself of course.


  1. You are marvelous!
    Just found your blog & your efforts are heroic.
    I love Fanny (la Cradock; that is)! & think she is amazing & much maligned. She may have been awful in some ways, but this makes her all the more fabulous to me.
    I have two parts of this series & they are sooo fantastique!
    Will continue to avidly enjoy your blog - keep Fannying on!

    1. Why thank you, you anonymous person you! I hope you continue to enjoy it... There are 80 parts in all and so hope you'll stick around! Thanks...

  2. Oh I will !
    Judging by your dauntless Fanny-like energy in cooking all that you have thus far I have confidence that you will see it through & acheive your Diplome d'Or.
    Fanny would be proud.
    She clearly wrote every word of the part work herself & comes across so vividly, the series is an absolute delight on so many levels.
    I see her as a role model in many ways, which is probably highly worrying, but I cannot help but admire such a fun & fiesty self-created force of nature!
    I have 1 & 10 & plan on having a go at the infamous chicken fisted with mushrooms.

    1. Keep me posted, and hope that you'll try some of the things you see here too!

  3. You have def. inspired me to make certain things - such as swiss roll like Fanny's (apologies for pun).
    It is great to know which recipes work & which don't - the sucess rate is very high so far. I hope you will report on any horrors - there look to be a few & I'd be a bit dissapointed if Fanny did not throw a few curve balls!

    1. Don't worry, puns are encouraged! I will blog horrors as well as successes, fear not! Thanks...

  4. Ooh I love it all! I do adore olives so would have to keep them in. I've made moussaka a couple of times but that way sounds great. As always your photos look sooo appealing!

    1. Thanks Jacqui, been a very dull and drizzly day in Edinburgh today so was worried about the photos! I have a phobia about olives, so don't expect to see them here!