I felt exactly that in Greece, watching the sun set over the horizon in Oia. We were freezing our asses off (yes, despite the sun. A case of extremely strong sea breezes, high altitudes, and over-optimistic clothing), wondering why the sun refused to set when it was already 730pm. Yet at the same time, not really caring that it's not setting yet, because the scene before us was just too beautiful. The sea, a few hundred feet below us, was so so blue, fading up into the skies, and that little glowing bubble of a sun was bathing everything in its rosy rays. And then I felt it again, standing at the top of the volcano in Santorini, watching the vast expanse of sea/sky and majestic islands stretch across my eyes. And then again, as I breathed in the salty-sweet air and felt the fine licorice-coloured sand between my aching toes at the black beach, though I may have been slightly disoriented after trekking more than 10km up and down the roads of Santorini following the crazy advice of the hostel owner.
All that worked up a giant appetite. We were two very hungry tiny asian girls in Greece.
Gyros/souvlaki, ultimate Greek fast food. Chunks of fatty lamb shaved off a rotating slab, topped with oily fries and wrapped in a toasted pita. Not my usual kind of food, but there's always an occasional place for artery-clogging yum in a healthy diet. Stressing about
"unhealthy" food is more unhealthy than just eating it.
Greece has a fabulous variety of appetisers/sides for sharing, much like the tapas of Spain, or the dimsum of Hong Kong, just that they were called mezze. Just for starters, we had
dolmades (stuffed vine leaves), tzatziki (cucumber yogurt dip), fried marrow balls, baked aubergine with tomato, horta (sauteed wild greens), the greek salad (see feta slab)
baked aubergine dish again, this time with sweet feta, and mini spanakopitas
large spankopita (spinach and feta pie)
fried Santorini tomato balls, fava dip
Looks pretty impressive, but often the dishes were really simple, giving attention to the ingredient itself, with nothing more than (lots of) Greek olive oil, herbs, and a squeeze of lemon to bring out the natural fresh flavours.
On the island of Paros, traditionally a fishing town, we of course had to order grilled seafood. At one place, the owner came out with the catch of the day on a plate, the mackerel still smooth and shiny and its eyes wide and glossy, for us to approve of its freshness. Without doubt, it was delicious later.
Mackerel, simply grilled with the aforementioned essentials, evoo/lemon/parsley.
More seafood! Shrimp and mussel saganaki, grilled octopus (I ate this for you, Susan :p ).
Aubergine (i.e. eggplant) was huge in Greece, I've had more eggplant the past week than I have had in a month, or months really, since the past wintry months haven't been the right time to find aubergines in the farmers' market. Everyone knows the Greek national dish, the signature moussaka, but there was also this amazing dish of aubergine rolls that can only be described as "wow".
Aubergine, stuffed with feta and herbs, fried in a light batter, then smothered with a rich tomato gravy and baked so the flavours and textures all melded together wonderfully
It was called 'Mama Mia'! Mama was a character herself, radiating warmth and cheekiness, exclaiming over every customer (all the ladies were "sex bombs", all the men were "my love"), much like a proud mama welcoming guests into her home. It was hard not to fall in love with her and her food. Actually, its hard not to fall in love with Greece herself. The gorgeous sights, the culture, the atmosphere, the combination of good food and greedy, giggly company.
Rice-stuffed roast peppers and tomatoes
Now stuffed and back in London, I'm already wondering where the sun went ):
General news: I'm killing mummyicancook's facebook page after my one week trial. Too much work for too few fans, sadly. Keeping twitter because it's, scarily, quite a lot of addictive, time-wasting fun.