I think I am lucky – I know not everyone enjoys cooking, but I love it when 5 o’clock comes around, I put the music on, have a look around the garden to see what we have to eat and then get in the kitchen to remind myself what I have in the fridge – and then start cooking! It certainly wasn’t always so enjoyable when I was working full time and had the family’s schedule taking precedent over my limited time – we ended up eating out and having take-away far too often, but I have always found cooking to be perhaps the only creative thing that I may have done that day and, best of all – you then get to eat it.
This recipe for pumpkin fritters is one of those really versatile dishes than you can eat as part of a mezze plate or add a hearty salad to make a really wholesome, cheap and easy meal. This is really a Greek dish, which I first enjoyed on the island of Folegandros, but it is something I have had many times since traveling around Greece – just dressed up in a different ways.
Folegandros – one of the southern-most islands in the Cyclades and the perfect spot to sit in the evening and have a glass of something cold and share a plate of these pumpkin fritters.
1kg pumpkin, grated (I use my food processor to do this – it has a grating plate and saves your knuckles!)
1/2 cup chopped spring onions or chives
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped mint
1 cup plain flour
Salt and pepper
Olive oil for frying
1. Combine all ingredients together and season.
2. Heat oil in large pan. Mould pumpkin mix into patties (make them bite-size for a party platter and larger if you are having them for dinner) and fry for 3-4 minutes until golden on each side. Serve immediately. I’m not a ‘deep fried’ kind of a girl, but you can cook these in little oil and they are really quite delicious.
TOP TIP: For chilli freaks, like me, serve with a sambal of chopped green chilli, fish sauce, soya sauce, lime juice and sugar. For that traditional Greek flavour, serve with yoghurt and chopped mint – you can add some grated fresh ginger to it for a little zing!
Folegandros is a very dry, rocky thyme covered island with soaring cliffs and is often quite windswept but fortunately not when we were there – as you can see – not a ripple. We were also fortunate to stumble upon this deserted and just lovely hotel. We were desperate to bolt from the one we had booked on-line – which would have been OK if it had not been full with a Swedish wedding party determined to party hard about 20 hours a day!.
The main town or Chora of Folegandros is a very sleepy and charming place – no cars with a town square circled by tiny houses built into the Venetian fortifications which dates from the 13th century. We walked up the winding pathway you can see above the hotel, to the church at the top. This is built on the site of an ancient Greek (dated BC) temple to the goddess ARTEMIS with pieces of marble columns and statues just lying around the churchyard or randomly incorporated into the walls of the church. It also contains a precious silver Icon saved by fishermen from marauding pirates. That’s one of the other things I love about traveling around Greece – it is always full of unexpected and interesting surprises.
TOP TIP: Instead of pumpkin you can use grated, uncooked sweet potato or zucchini (with excess liquid squeezed out). If you are using zucchini – add some crumbled feta for extra taste.
For an ITALIAN twist you can use cooked kale CAVOLO NERO – again squeezing out any excess liquid. Omit the mint and parsley and add 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese instead – this is a traditional recipe from my Italian friend Christina.
I never thought that my dusty collection of travel diaries would prove to be such a valuable
memory bank (mostly about food!) and contain such useful and fascinating information – like this for example:
Something that may help you on your travels in Greece from the Lonely Planet Greek phrase-book 2006 – on dating:
1. O thee mu! – Oh my God!
2. Si gha re ghoi! – Easy Tiger!
3. Min ansihis tha to kano monos! – Don’t worry, I’ll do it myself!
(Fortunately I have to say that, so far, I haven’t needed any of these!)