Sunday 4 November 2007

greek salad w fresh oregano

I’m starting to feel very old.

I’m only in my late twenties but things have been happening very recently to make me very melancholic for my youth.

* People are recycling fashion that I remember the first time around.
* Bands I worshipped in my mid teens are the subject of classic album documentaries.
* Tryhard teenagers are getting top ten hits with candy-pop covers of songs that were gritty and moving and meant something to me when they were first released.
* Grunge is being anthropologically dissected as a ‘movement’.
* I can say, and actually remember, “ten years ago”.

I am sure many of you have been through this before and know the strange bittersweet memories I am talking about.

It’s disturbing me.

I understand I’m moving into a new phase, which I will eventually adore and embrace as much as the old one, but right now I’m on the cusp and I am feeling nostalgic for dingy rooms filled with cigarette smoke, shirtless guys with lanky hair and the aggressive energy of smashing your body against others in furious mosh pits.

Soon I’ll be yearning for brightly coloured clothing, 24 hour parties and the repetitive comfort of break beats (the next phase I went through).

But I know I can’t go back. Even walking into a stinky, cheap pub these days makes my upwardly-mobile nose wrinkle in disgust. I’ve grown up and am beyond the grottiness that moneyless youth forces onto you. I’ve gotten accustomed to the finer things in life and can’t slum it anymore.

You can’t go back. You can only go forward. But you can be nostalgic and melancholic as you forge ahead, and that’s where I am right now.


Now onto more entertaining matters: Weekend Herb Blogging!

Today was a lovely hot day and Jonas and I enjoyed the use of our still-pretty-newly-purchased BBQ.

We grilled some steaks (beef for me, tofu for him) and whipped up a Greek salad.

Greek salad? Sounds pretty easy and boring, doesn’t it. Well, it was blissful.

When we were in Indonesia we ate the best Greek salads of our lives (even better than ones I tried in Greece!) and we replicated it with much success today. It was the usual ingredients, but instead of the traditional dried oregano we used fresh herbs, making it lighter and more fragrant.
It’s also interesting to point out that a traditional horiatiki doesn’t contain any lettuce, something that many Aussies wouldn’t realise.

Salata Horiatiki (Greek Salad)
Anna & Jonas’ very own recipe. Serves 4.
1 cucumber
¼ red onion, thinly slices
1 punnet grape tomatoes
Kalamata olives
Feta cheese
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways, then scrape out the seeds from the centre. Slice the cucumber into thin crescents.
2. Quarter the grape tomatoes
3. Pit and halve the olives
4. Cut feta into cubes
5. Juice lemon to get a few tablespoons of juice, mix with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
6. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss gently to combine.

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is native to the Mediterranean region and southern and central Asia.

It’s name is Greek and means something like “enjoy the mountain”.

It’s used extensively in Greek and Italian dishes and I recall Beppi Polese, the first Italian restaurateur in Sydney, telling me how his relatives mailed him dried oregano because he couldn’t find it in Australia in the 50s.

The dried variety is much stronger than the fresh herb and this makes it a good herb to flavour dishes with pungent ingredients such as olives, chillies and capers.

Oregano has a lot of flavonoids and phenolic acids, which gives it strong antioxidant activity, and its antimicrobial properties make it useful in food preservation, probably another reason why it found itself added to pickle jars.

Interesting, in the Philippines it’s used to treat children's coughs.

This week Kalyn is the host of WHB, so head over the Kalyn’s Kitchen to see what’s cooking.



  1. Thanks for the info on oregano! My Half-Greek husband and I pick our own year's supply in August when we're in the mountains of Pelion, but didn't know all that!

  2. Oh Anna, you have no idea how I'm chuckling reading your commentary about growing older. You are so not old! But I do remember exactly these feelings you describe. Life is a constant process of change, hard as it is sometimes to get used to it.

    I adore Greek salad. My favorite restaurant for Greek food calls it "American" Greek salad when there's lettuce and Greek Salad without lettuce. I do think that in Greece they use dried oregano in nearly everything, at least that's what my Greek friends tell me.

  3. Ana, you did the Greek salad justice and I see that summer is upon the Aussies.

  4. Your salad looks beautifully satisfying!
    And, I am like Kalyn - giggling. Working around kids, not only do I feel everyday and new "gagdet" adds ten years to my life, I speak and hear my mother's words on a daily basis!

  5. Oh your salad looks great! Interesting about the lettuce, tho. I agree that most Greek salads here contain lettuce. But I am converted now. My next one will be sans the green leaves.

    I love fresh herbs in salads. Somewhere I have a recipe for a wonderful Lebanese salad that is almost exclusively leaves of fresh herbs. I must find it again and post it.


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