4 May, 2016 What a great way to begin my blog by starting with Mother’s Day. I remember as a child going to the school fete the week before Mother’s Day and seeing all the small gifts on the tables we could purchase. It was so much fun and it was so simple and uncomplicated. Today it seems it’s not so simple anymore and the pressure is on to buy the biggest or most glamourous gift – which of course every mother deserves the best but somehow I am not sure if the best is found in a box wrapped in shiny paper.
Let me share a little about myself.
I was born to Greek immigrants who came to Australia looking for a better life for themselves and for their children. My father’s family came from a small village in Central Greece called Milia, near Karpenisi and my mother’s family came from a seaside village called Velika, near Kalamata.
After the Greek Civil War, there was much poverty and no jobs, so my father set off for Australia, the lucky country. My mother was restless and longed for an adventure, and after her sister migrated a few years earlier, decided to join her in Stanmore, New South Wales.
My early childhood was filled with many family and friends gathering to celebrate a special occasion such as Greek Easter, a christening or a wedding. We always went to the local Greek Orthodox Church first and then came back to an array of deliciously prepared food.
Fast-forward to having my own family, and nothing has changed – except that we all speak English to each other and gather friends to join in the celebrations no matter where one comes from.
But back to Mother’s Day. While growing up, and always asking my mother this question, it’s only now that I truly understand her answer.
“Mum, what do you want for Mother’s Day?” I would ask.
“Nothing, except to have my children with me around the family table sharing good food and good conversation,” she would reply.
I used to think, ‘why would you not want a gift,’ but my mother’s love language was quality time with those she loved and as they say, ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the apple tree,’ I too love quality time with my family and for me, gathering around the family table on Mother’s Day, is the greatest gift I could receive.
I have a lovely recipe I would love to share with you so that you too can sit around your family table and enjoy good food and good conversation.
It’s a rustic kind of dish; my Aunty in Greece shared this recipe with me while visiting her in the village in 2003. She loved to cook for her family, and as we had come to visit with them for the first time since I was a young girl, she went over and above to make us feel welcomed and loved.
Keftedes me Patates (Baked Lamb Patties with Potatoes)
6 - 8 washed potatoes, cut into chunky chips
½ teaspoon paprika
Salt, to taste
¼ cup olive oil
1 (400g) diced Italian tomatoes
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt & pepper, to taste
Parsley, to garnish
½ kg lamb mince
1 medium onion, diced
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
½ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
½ cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
- Place potatoes in an oiled baking dish. Sprinkle potatoes with paprika, season with salt and drizzle oil over potatoes. Bake in a moderate oven for 45 minutes.
- In a medium-size bowl, combine mince, onion, egg, breadcrumbs, spices, dried oregano and herbs. Knead for a few minutes. Cover and place in refrigerator for ½ hour.
- Roll mince into patties. Remove potatoes from oven. Place patties on top. Pour tomatoes on top and sprinkle zest all over patties. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover with foil and bake in oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until patties cooked through. Remove from oven, crumble feta on top and bake a further 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley just before serving.
**For my Gluten Free friends, omit the breadcrumbs or use Gluten Free breadcrumbs, either way works.
Serve this tasty dish with a crispy green salad and fresh bread – it’s a winner!