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August 12, 2016
A Special Summer Holiday Meal!

I still can’t believe that summer is not only here… it is almost over! Time really flies!

The 15th of August holds a special place in everyone’s hearts in Greece since it is a very special holiday and celebration in honor of the Virgin Mary. It is also one of the biggest and important fasting periods of the year.

According to the Greek Orthodox religion, people should not consume any animal products up until the 15th of August and olive oil is allowed to be consumed only over the weekends leading to that day.

Fish is allowed on the 6th of August and meat is allowed when the fast is over. If August 15th falls on a Wednesday or Friday, only fish is allowed; but if it falls on any other day, meat is allowed. This year August 15th falls on a Monday, so people who follow the fast can consume meat.

Apart from being one of the biggest fasts it is also a very special and important holiday in Greece. People named after the Virgin Mary also celebrate… This actually makes up half, if not more of the Greek population of both men and women! Mary, Mario, Panagiota, Panagioti… It’s unbelievable!

This great holiday also takes place during one of the hottest seasons of the year in Greece. It is traditional for the person celebrating their name day to invite friends and family over and make a large homemade meal, traditionally with lamb!

I was inspired by this holiday and would like to share a great summer holiday menu with you, whether you are celebrating this special day or not!

I’d like to recommend that you use ingredients that are in season and that don’t take too long to prepare since you don’t want to spend the whole day cooking in a very hot kitchen! If you are lucky enough to have a wood oven you can use it and keep your home nice and cool!

So! Let’s begin!

A nice way to greet your guest would be with a refreshing Ginger Beer. If you happen to have a cherry tree in your garden you can make a wonderful homemade French Cherry Wine!

Also:

Homemade Iced Tea

An assortment of bruschettas to get the appetite going….

Quick, easy, practical and delicious starters….

Avocado Pesto Sauce

Prosciutto and Bean Spread Bruschetta's

Egg and Anchovy Bruschetta

Goat Cheese and Rocket Bruschetta

As I mentioned earlier, the traditional food to eat on this day is lamb…

So I will begin with lamb! The recipes are listed by order of difficulty… starting from the easiest….

Honey Glazed Roasted Leg of Lamb with Potatoes

Roast Leg of Lamb Stuffed with Eggplant and Gruyere

Roast Lamb with Vegetables

Now for some dishes with chicken....

Chicken and Okra

Chicken and Collard Greens Stew

And of course the traditional dish they serve in Corfu on this day.....

Corfu Chicken and Pasta - Pastitsada

Some great salads....

Panzaella - Tuscan Bread Salad

Grilled Zucchini Salad

and something with different with tomatoes...

Provencal Tomatoes

Now for desserts.....!!! 

Watermelon Cheesecake

Apricot and Gruyere Saute 

Chocolate Tart with Figs

And something a little lighter....

Coffee Granita

I hope I’ve covered everyone’s tastes!!  

Enjoy yourselves for the rest of the summer… and Happy Name Day to all of those celebrating in Greece and abroad!

Akis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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