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October 2015
Allahu Ak Bar
&
Grill
Monemvasia

Is what Stuart reckoned would be a brilliant name for a restaurant. Picture that on a T-shirt. Perhaps with the & Grill bit on the back? Imagine the admiring looks :)
Oh oh - too late!

So I'm back from a terrific holiday sailing along the Peloponnese peninsula with Stuart, and others, on a very new Beneteau Oceanis 48 called Skiron (not Σκιρων, oddly) the Greek god of the northwest wind. Out from (a rather broken-down-looking) Athens to Poros (for an excellent Red Snapper dinner), then the sail to Spetses, where we lost the dinghy, and down to the fortress town of Monemvasia - the furthest point on our voyage. And where we broke the canopy with a pomegranate - long pirate story.
We returned via the surprisingly shallow Maggie's Inlet where we broke the outboard. It isn't really called that - it's just that it was our friend Maggie who told us about it. It seems to actually be called Limani Garakas.
Finally back to Athens via the truly fabulous port of Hydra, on the island of, er, Hydra. It's also tiny - and only due to the late time of year that we managed to get any kind of berth there. The island being as barren as it is, virtually everything has to be shipped in, which unfortunately doesn't explain the terrible food they served us - it being a lobster risotto. At least the music was entertaining.

Due to the abundant cafés, bistros, taverns and restaurants ashore everywhere we went, there was little need to cook anything onboard other than a bit of breakfast, and a light lunch. So I return with nothing more than my recipe for Monemvasia Daffodil Soup.
And some olive oil.
And some olives.

The boat The back of the boat The crew Dinner at Poros Dinner at Poros Fish course at Poros Dinner at Poros - the grilled snapper Dinner at Poros - the remains of the fish Karl's crew gift of a pirate flag Pirate Karl Fisk The smallest spinnaker in the Aegean Stuart and a Greek salad Scot and pussies Romantic dinner at Liotrivi Restaurant on Spetses Sunset over Spetses Cecilie admires a donkey in Hydra Port Hydra harbour at night Tiki mugs We didn't do it! Sea turtles Emily pole dancing
Monemvasia

Daffodil Soup
or possibly Wild Onion
nautical veg soup
First, scour the wild rocky shoreline of the Greek island of Monemvasia for plants which look like wild spring onions, smell like onions, taste like onions, but might be daffodils.
Prepare on the sail between Momemvasia and Hydra, by way of Maggie's Inlet and serve for a late lunch (there's a surprisingly long period of peeling and chopping).
Note: Better hope they aren't daffodils because they're toxic, of course.

Serves 9

Ingredients
Method
Make The Stock unless you've bought some...
Heat a small amount of oil in a pan and throw in a peeled, quartered onion, any bulbs from the daffodils wild spring onions, then the roughly chopped carrot. When they've caramelized nicely, throw in the whole garlic cloves to brown a little, then crush the tomatoes into the pan, add water to cover, add the herbs, pepper and lemon zest, and simmer until the vegetables are on the point of disintegrating.

If you can't make the stock in advance you can have it brewing while you work on the soup ingredients, though it would be best to have it ready by the time you've prepared the potatoes, carrots and onions.

Make The Soup
Most of the solid vegetables should be cut to roughly the same size - perhaps slightly less than 1" cubes:
Cube the peeled potatoes, grind over some peppercorns, and fry quickly until browned and put in the soup pot.
Slice the peeled carrots and fry quickly until browned and add to the pot.
Roughly chop the onion and fry quickly until browning at the edges, add the garlic chunks until they too brown slightly then add to the pot.
Add the stock and more fresh herbs and begin gentle simmering while you continue to add more soup ingredients.
Given that I was making this at sea I just dumped the veg as I prepared them into the pot lodged securely in the sink before cooking them up when they were fried to this point. If you had a bit more room on the stove, though, you could start the simmering immediately, and add the veg as it is prepared.
Chop the aubergines (you can try and remove excess seeds if you like, but this pitiful Greek variety seems to have seed incontinence), so that there will not be great skeins of leathery skin in the soup, and fry in a generous amount of oil until collapsing. Add to the soup.
Slice the (mostly) white parts of the daffodils wild spring onions, and add to the soup.
Peel and de-seed the tomatoes, chop them roughly, and add to the soup.
Peel the cucumbers (if necessary), quarter them lengthways and cut out the seeds from their centre, chop roughly and add to the soup.
Season to taste.

Make The Dressing
Roughly chop the Feta, slice the spring onions.
Mash the garlic, mix with the lemon juice and olive oil to make a thin paste. Serve the soup with a scattering of small cubes of Feta cheese, a sprinkling of sliced spring onions and a drizzle of the dressing.
Excellent foraged and leftover soup, even if it does take hours of chopping and frying!
At Stuart's insistence I also threw in the half tin of sliced mushrooms he had leftover. It made no difference.

These wild spring onions are distinctly onion-y if not garlic-y, but are a bit on the tough side too, so best not to use them as a garnish - but cook them somewhat in the soup.

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