If you are a regular reader, you would know that I am passionate about my Greek culture (well mostly the food and the inclusive nature of our culture) but I also love the easy-going Aussie way of life - hence why I married an Aussie and adore his gentleness and quiet manner that is often void in a large Greek gathering!
Growing up in my home, all things were Greek; we spoke Greek, we ate Greek, we entertained Greeks and we even went to Greek school after regular school – well, it’s confession time – I actually skipped Greek school and went down to the local park and played soccer, with my younger brother in tow. What can I say, it was so much more exciting to be kicking a ball about instead of reciting the Greek Alphabet. But nonetheless, we were Greek.
Years later, when I married my Australian husband and we made babies, we were raising bi-cultural children. I was so excited to have three little girls with blonde hair and brown eyes. They looked very much Australian and secretly, I was happy that they would be able to fit in easily with their peers and never be called a chocolate wog, as I heard regularly when growing up.
The fact that they had an Aussie dad and a Greek mum was, in my opinion, the best way to enjoy the fun parts of both cultures. They got to experience holidays on the east coast of New South Wales during the summer holidays with their Aussie grandparents and during the Greek festive season, they experienced the loudness and craziness of Greek Easter and who was going to have the last egg standing! Plus, we travelled over to Europe a number of times to meet the relatives and experience a world beyond our own. No complaints here!
But seriously, how cool is it to learn about another culture outside of the country you live in and even learn how to speak their language. That’s what we did with our girls, we taught them how to speak Greek, we taught them how to cook Greek and we taught them how to have a welcoming and generous attitude towards all people. Alongside that, they naturally mastered the English language, cooked a mean barbecue and enjoyed the chilled lifestyle of Aussies.
The Australian way of life in the country is something to be appreciated; it’s not unlike the Greek hospitality. I love how country folk love to eat good food, love to mingle with their neighbours and love hard work. Country folk are amazing and there are times when we wished we had raised our girls on a farm – but my other love – the big blue ocean took first priority! I love to swim, and if possible, everyday. So we have raised our girls on sandy beaches and rising early on a Saturday morning to go fishing with dad at first light. Not a bad life, hey?
Anyway, I’d love to share with you one of our favourite Aussie dishes, which I have snuck into my up and coming book which is all things Mediterranean. But I figure seeing I am cooking the dishes in the great southland, you know…I am just being inclusive!
This dish is perfect for a dinner party and so easy to prepare the night before, ready to slide into the oven 1 hour before your guests are arriving. Serve with some steamed vegies and you and your guests will walk away very happy and very satisfied.
4 single chicken breast fillets
4 rashes of bacon
125g cream cheese
275g cranberry sauce
250ml plum sauce
½ cup blanched almond flakes, toasted
8 small bamboo skewers
Trim chicken removing any loose strands of chicken. Make a 5 cm long slit in thickest part of each fillet.
Lay bacon flat on bench. Using one single chicken fillet lay it on top of bacon. Place 1 teaspoon full of cream cheese in slit. Add 1 teaspoon of cranberry sauce on top. Sprinkle a teaspoon of almonds on top and roll bacon and chicken into a scroll. Poke skewers through crossways to hold. Repeat.
Place chicken gum-nuts in a baking dish. Place another teaspoon full of cream cheese, cranberry sauce and almonds on top. Repeat and pour plum sauce over gum-nuts, coating well.
Cover with foil and bake in a moderate oven for 1 hour or chicken cooked through. Remove foil, spoon juice over gum-nuts and continue cooking for another 15 minutes.