Stuffed vine leaves
Like Greek food? We love it. It is many years since we visited the Greek Islands but these days you can enjoy quintessential Greek Food if you live elsewhere. A Greek Salad is easy to make as long as you can buy Feta cheese. You can skip the cheese if preferred. Hubby and I always managed to share a Greek Salad which is served to tourists on the Greek Islands as a starter. He does not like cheese and I did not like olives, but I do now.
One dish often served as a starter is stuffed vine leaves. At a hotel where we stayed on the island of Lefkas we would watch the owner reach up through the trellis to select leaves for the night's dinner menu.
Dolmades means stuffed, by the way, and may refer to stuffed peppers or mushrooms. If you want quick and easy ready-made stuffed vine leaves they are available from many supermarkets.
Asda in the U.K. sells a ring pull tin of stuffed vine leaves for around £1.45. The ones we buy are called Tamtad and are a product of Turkey. They are packed into the tin with oil. When drained the contents weigh 340g. Usually there are around 9 in each tin. When you compare this to the cost of dolmades as a starter in Greece they represent good value. Of course they are probably cheaper to make. The ingredients are :Grape Leaves , Onions , Water , Rice , Refined Sunflower Oil , Salt , Citric Acid , Mint , Dill , Spices.
If you fancy going Greek have the stuffed vine leaves for a starter, a Greek salad for your main course and Total Greek yogurt with honey for dessert. Wash it down with a glass or two of retsina or ouzo. Follow with a small cup of strong black coffee; a traditional Greek meal at a reasonable cost.
To capture the spirit of the Mediterranean make sure your salad vegetables are fresh as can be and be liberal with the virgin olive oil.