Eating in Leros Greece
We had hoped that Leros would provide us with somewhere nice to eat out during the winter as it is our one treat we both really enjoy. Generally we have found eating out to be really reasonably priced in Greece with a good meal being about £40 including wine and a really good meal for £50.
Leros has a local population of about 6000 and so was told it was a good place to over winter because there would still be shops open and somewhere to eat out. In reality we realise that the Greeks seem to prefer coffee out and don’t eat out much at all. The places open to eat are those doing Gyros which is like a kebab or a variety of burgers. There is one cafe in Lakki that will do us a good chicken in a cream and mushroom source but we haven’t really found anywhere else to eat.
Consequently we have been cooking a lot on the boat and have enjoyed using the oven over the winter (it was far too hot to even contemplate using the oven during the summer) but during the winter has the added advantage of heating the boat too.
So I thought I would share with you some of our boat recipes that we have been exploring over the last few weeks and months whilst being moored up over the winter period. We have a small gas oven and a 3 hob burner. We have used 10kg of gas over the last 3 months, the Greek gas is much cheaper than in the UK with 10kg costing about £15 to refill.
In Greece we can buy lots of fruit and vegetables but we find meat to be expensive to buy and limited in supply. Frozen chicken and meat balls are readily available but I am not sure where they are from. We have found a pig farm on the island so we try to buy local pork when we see it. Greek sausages do not compare to English ones and now we avoid them.
One of our first recipes to learn here was Saginaki, this is a tomato and onion base, with garlic and olive oil in a large frying pan, to which you add whatever you have. When eating out it will often be prawns and chilli, at home it is more likely spinach and meatballs or dried meats. The saginaki is only a saginaki however, if it has feta cheese in it. Nearing the end of the cooking you add squares of feta cheese. It is a quick and easy meal that we quite often cook to use up the remaining vegetables before our next shop.
When we can get some good mince or chicken, I have been making a cottage pie or a chicken and mushroom pie, we haven’t had this for years so it is really nice to go back to our basic hearty one pot recipes that we know and love.
We have been using the slow cooker to cook chick peas which we have been eating more and more. They are readily available on every island we have been to and it is easy to make a chick pea curry in a pan on top of the stove.
For years we have scoffed at vegetarian dishes because we love our meat so much. Because meat is so expensive here our number of vegetarian dishes is expanding. Paul made his first dhal yesterday which we are looking forward to having for lunch today. I am making some flat breads to have with it which we always love.
We have been eating a lot more bread and pasta, potatoes and rice this winter which means our waistlines are expanding again, after being on a low carb diet for the last few years we really notice the difference. The trouble is for us, low carb means more meat and so if we are reducing our meat intake, we are inevitably eating more carbohydrates.
During the summer we happily lived on fruit and yoghurt for breakfast, Greek salad and humus for lunch, we became quite proficient at making our own tzatziki (yoghurt and cucumber based dip) and courgette balls which we thoroughly enjoyed. We often had a barbecued supper, fish if we could find it at an affordable price, vegetable skewers and of course chicken or pork.
We didn’t do very well at fishing ourselves this year but it is on our list to improve next year, we occasionally could pick up a bag of fish straight from the boats but not as often as we thought we would.
During the winter though we succumbed to eating a lot more bread and comfort foods like potato and pasta. One of our favourite lunches at the moment is a warm guacamole on toast wiped with garlic. We can buy a lovely seeded bread here called police boro. (Our Greek is very much phonetically written or else we would never remember how to say it.) The tomato, onion and avocado are gently warmed in a pan, the bread is smeared with a garlic clove then topped with the warmed guacamole mix. It’s perfect.
It has been good to cook again and to investigate new recipes. We just have to have one rule on the boat …. there is only room for one person to cook, so interference doesn’t work. When you are in the Galley … you make all of the decisions, do all of the washing up and take full responsibility for your creation!
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