Oh my! Have I been away THAT long?
I guess I have, looking at my last post dated 27th July! My blog must have gathered a film of dust. Lol!
Last month was an extraordinary special month as it coincided with my Mum’s and eldest sister’s visit. The last time my Mum was in Belgium was in 2010! Actually, that year we had wanted to head for Asia, but Mum came first 🙂
Again, our plan to visit Malaysia in 2012 was ‘shattered’ as we were moving house then. Lots of packing, un-packing, cleaning, decorating and what have you going on *sigh*. And the clock ticked … it has been 6 years since our last trip to Malaysia in 2008…. My sons have grown from inquisitive little imps to cool teenagers 😉 Their grandma could not even recognise them!
Instead of chanting the usual mantra of being bogged down busy, I’d rather look at my MIA in August different 😉
August has always been a good month – school break, less traffic on the roads, less rain than in July (typical Belgium weather, on the average)… and… Mumsie’s birthday falls in August!
Going Greek but not in Greece!
I am not sure how many times we have been there, but Zorba has been our favourite pick of restaurant reserved for very special occasions, for instance, Mum’s birthday!
Four years ago, Mum had a Belgian birthday but this year, we went Greek.
By the way, it was the first time for Mum eating in a Greek restaurant. I knew she would be over the moon with the renowned Greek appetizer or starter, Meze, as she loves her seafood – a lot!
It was at Zorba that I started to get hook on the white and refreshing dipping sauce. That was some 15 years ago! The sauce came with the huge Meze platter. I asked the waiter (he was Greek, of course) what it was and he said it was a typical Greek sauce, Tzatziki. He even told me the ingredients that went in the sauce!
There are many variations in preparing a good Tzatziki. I’ve prepared this dipping sauce many times already and have changed and modified the ingredients to our liking over the years.
Here’s my version of the Tzatziki I made recently.
- 1 medium cucumber, coarsely grated
- 2 cloves garlic (or more if you like your Tzatziki more garlicky)
- Strained yoghurt
- Fresh dill, coarsely chopped
- Some fresh mint for garnishing
- Salt (I used coarse sea salt)
- Lemon juice (optional)
- Extra virgin olive oil (traditionally Greek olive oil is used)
- Wash the cucumber and grate it coarsely (Note, I did not remove the skin or the seeds). Remove the excess water from the cucumber with a clean kitchen towel. Set aside.
- Traditionally, Greek yoghurt is used, but since I could not find it at the Supermarket near my place, I used a tub of plain yoghurt. You need to strain the yoghurt to remove the whey or excess liquid to get that thick and creamy result similar to Greek yoghurt or sour cream.
- Chop lots of fresh dill. You may want to use fresh mint or parsley or a combination of one or more herbs. We love our Tzatziki with lots of dill!
- Puree the garlic with some coarse sea salt. Salt acts as an abrasive as well as a food enhancer. Set aside.
- Either lemon juice or vinegar may be used, but the Greek waiter told me it’s optional as the yoghurt is quite tangy
- Assemble all the above ingredients in a clean bowl. Mix and combine.
- Drizzle with some olive oil and serve cold with grilled meats, gyros, tortilla wraps or as a dip. Garnish with some fresh mint and dill. Yum!
I’m linking this post to Lavender and Lovage’s Cooking with Herbs challenge for the month of September. I’ve used lots of fresh dill and a touch of fresh mint in this recipe which I thought befits the theme, “Indian Summer & Mediterranean” very well. Enjoy!
Enjoy the rest of the week.