Bubble and Squeak

During Greek summers I don’t often eat much in the way of British food as I’m snowed under with delicious med veg that’s cheap too. So come winter, I like to indulge myself in a bit of British stodge as fuel. So I’ve made some Bubble and Squeak. The recipe is from fresh veg but, in our house, in my childhood, it was usually something had on a Monday to use up the mash and savoy cabbage from Sunday dinner (If I hadn’t demanded the mash go to make griddle cakes instead). The recipe can be endlessly messed with (try adding some chunks of apple too!). The pudding was inspired by one of Felicity Cloake’s recipes from her ‘Perfect’ series on the guardian. I can’t recommend Felicity enough. She’s fantastic. I did mine stove top rather than in the oven.

The recipes are for 2 people

 

Bubble and Squeak

10 baby potatoes halved and steamed until tender

half a head of Savoy cabbage shredded

1 onion chopped

3 rashers of bacon chopped (optional)

some butter

a good pinch of nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste.

 

Gently fry the potatoes and bacon in a little butter in a skillet on a medium low heat til the potatoes are a bit golden. Add the onion and cook for a few more minutes. Pile the shredded cabbage on top. Sprinkle over the seasonings and dot with a little butter. Put a lid over the pan and let cook on medium low heat for about 10 mins. Turn all the pan ingredients over so everything is well mixed and taste to check seasoning and see if the cabbage needs more time or not. Adjust seasoning as necessary and give a few more minutes with the lid on if the cabbage isn’t tender.

I like this served with a fried egg on top and lots of HP sauce…

 

Pears in Wine

4 pears peeled and cut into big chunks or chunky slices

half a bottle of red wine

2 tablespoons of vanilla sugar*

1 star anise

1 small piece of cinnamon

1 clove

 

Put the wine, sugar and spice pieces into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over a moderate heat to dissolve the sugar. Add pears and cover with a lid. Gently simmer for about 20 mins to half an hour or so. The time depends on the hardness of your pears and the size of the chunks. The pears are done when tender to the point of a knife. Remove pears with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Reduce the liquid

 

til it thickens to a nice glossy syrup and pour over the pears. Really nice served cold with Greek strained yoghurt.

*I keep a jar of sugar with a vanilla pod in it. I just keep the sugar topped up. Use ordinary sugar if you don’t have vanilla sugar.

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REFUGEE CRISIS IN GREECE

 

 

As far as most of Europe is concerned the refugee crisis began only this year. This is news to Greece, who have been at the frontline of dealing with the largest refugee crisis since WWII for almost as long as the country has had to deal with the biggest economic crisis in its own history since WWII. And it has been ordinary Greeks, the ones most affected by the economic crisis, who have had to deal with this massive disaster (up until very very recently) entirely without aid from their own government, the EU or any aid agencies at all. That has now improved, although many of the frontline islands such as Lesvos, are still under enormous strain from a crisis that shows no sign of abating.

So why did the EU and the rest of the world ignore the crisis as it began to grow from 2011 onwards? As far as I can see, the main reason is simply that it was more expedient to ignore it. The EU/EZ was too busy giving Greece a fiscal waterboarding to give their attention to anything else and there was a policy whereby it was hoped that if rescue missions were discontinued, migrants and refugees would be put off making the dangerous journey into Europe. There’s no need for me to point out how short sighted and heartless that policy was. People who face death in war and abject poverty will always try to escape it.

Things really started to come to a head this spring. The first reactions in Europe were highly critical of Greece. The daily Mail ran stories about how awful it was for British tourists to have to eat at seaside tavernas with their view disrupted by the sight of disheveled refugee children. The next criticism was that Greece had failed to abide by the Dublin II treaty and it was entirely Greece, and Greece alone, that was responsible for policing its 10 thousand kilometres of coastline and processing all refugees and asylum applications. This, apparently, was Greece’s duty as an EU country. Despite not having even enough funds to give a penny in benefits to most of the 25% of Greeks without work and with absolutely no help whatsoever from anyone in Europe, not even aid agencies. Most aid agencies simply complained about the inadequate facilities in Greece (no shit Sherlock!), while countries such as Hungary complained about refugees attempting to walk through the Balkans and Eastern Europe.

The culmination of this was Chancellor’s Merkel’s promise to accommodate refugees in Germany and force refugee quotas on recalcitrant EZ members on pain of removing funding. At no time, while being hailed as a refugee saviour by the short-sighted in Britain, did Germany promise any kind of safe passage of any description for desperate refugees. The upshot of this was that even greater numbers of refugees began to scramble into the tiny plastic dinghies, throwing themselves and their families at the mercy of ruthless smugglers. The frontline islands were put under immense pressure and so were all the Balkan countries that refugees have to cross to get into Germany.

How Germany can claim that it had no idea that their message to refugees would result in a massive build up of pressure on frontline states and an EU wide anti-refugee backlash is beyond me. Now we have a situation where most EU countries do not want to accept virtually any refugees. There is a backlog of refugees in Greece and Italy being herded into fields, tent camps and dumped in hotels and generally treated like cattle, while EU leaders forget about them completely so they can start their bombing campaign against Isis, which, undoubtedly, will only exacerbate the refugee crisis and further entrench anti-refugee sentiment across Europe and the rest of the world.

Greece will remain at the centre of all of this for the forseeable future and while it’s own economic crisis continues to blight the country.

The future does not bode well for either Greece or the refugees.

Anyone interested in reading more on the refugee crisis I recommend.

Teacherdude on Twitter

Patrick Kingsley at the Guardian

Daniel Trilling at The New Humanist magazine

First Post

Welcome to kizbot manor. This will be my new main home from now on, as I thought it was about time I had control over my own writings. I’ll be blogging about life in Greece and Athens, in general, and under the effects of the crisis. Although this won’t, ostensibly, be a political blog, politics cannot but rear its ugly head under the circumstances.

I will, of course, also be talking about food and posting recipes. They are all based on food I make and don’t tend to have much in the way of proper measurements but a more slapdash ‘a handful of this’, ‘a scoop of that’ approximations. They do, however, usually work as I post what I make and how I’ve made it. I’m not the kind of cook (this actually incenses me) who deliberately keeps some things ‘secret’.

Cats may also feature, or even star, at times.

A word on posting comments here. I welcome all friends old and new and only ask that people respect others and remember their manners. Common courtesy costs nothing. If you can’t get a handle on that simple maxim the milk monitor will remind you sure enough.

So… Let’s have a recipe. This is what I’ve had for lunch the past couple of days at work. It’s filling and very tasty. I’ve used smoked trout as I’ve gone off tuna. It’s too dry. But that’s a personal preference. Tuna would work too.

 

Smoked Trout and Potato Salad.

about 400g of baby potatoes, halved and steamed or boiled til tender

150 -200g of smoked trout, flaked into chunks

1 small tin of sweetcorn (rinse off sugar solution)

1 small onion, chopped

½ small green pepper, finely diced

handful of rinsed capers

a small bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped

salt and pepper

lemon or vinegar

EVO oil

Anchovy slices to decorate (optional)

 

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl apart from the anchovies. Break up the potatoes a little so they soak up the dressing. Season to taste and dress with lemon or vinegar and good oil. In my case that means a good generous glug or two of olive oil and a couple of squirts of Greek red wine vinegar. Then I put the anchovy slices on top. Any Greeks looking might like to use marinated sprats instead, γαβρος μαρινατος.

This salad will last me 2 days at work for lunch.