This menu is inspired by a lunch we were invited to a couple of summers ago by my friend Nephele, the lucky custodian of one of those beautiful pastel-coloured neo-classical villas that slowly wind up the herb-covered hills that rise up from Symi harbour. Hers is buttercup yellow. Inside, the huge middle floor is open plan to accommodate a rustic yet sophisticated kitchen with a large oak table, eight chairs and a day bed carelessly strewn with vintage white linen. The four French windows were open to a sun barely tempered in its fierce heat by curtains of white muslin billowing in the breeze. Lunch was a simple affair which I have recreated here for you to enjoy al fresco with your friends and family as our own summer slowly walks towards autumn. As always, this menu features the very best in quality Mediterranean products personally selected by Zoi, the founder Raphael’s Mediterranean Deli Products as well as expertly paired wines from Ben, Director of Novel Wines, one the UK’s most exciting wine retailers specialising in the truly unique and wonderful.
Greek skordalia, a beautifully simple smooth purée of waxy potatoes, lots of juicy garlic, lashings of vibrant extra-virgin olive oil, a generous splash of white wine vinegar and flat leaf parsley whipped together to create a classic Greek dip served with wild oregano-roasted plum tomatoes
Symi roasted pepper, chickpea and couscous salad with pomegranate and Greek yoghurt with preserved lemon and mint
Nephele’s beetroot and garlic salad with creamy ricotta and fresh dill, pantzaria salata
Horta, lightly sautéed baby spinach leaves dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and fresh lemon
Greek manouri saganaki with organic thyme honey and nigella seeds
Freshly baked Greek flatbreads with organic thyme and extra-virgin olive oil
When lunch is a simple, albeit delicious, occasion you might expect me to pair it with a wine of everyday quality. However, I think some of the finest wines are at their most beautiful when paired with authentic simple dishes – especially when you’re using such quality ingredients.
With beetroot, waxy spuds, garlic galore and the tang of tomatoes and lemon, my mind jumps straight to Pinot Noir. You’d be hard pressed to find a better example for the price than the Bussay Charmes Pinot Noir (£15.49) from Zala, south west Hungary, with its low tannins and bright red fruits.
However, if you’re going to buy something from the fabulous Dr Dori Bussay, then it would be a shame not to upgrade a bit and plum for her rare Bussay Csokoszolo (£17.99), which is a grape variety Dori helped bring back from the brink of extinction with her late father. This wine is a shimmering ruby hue and has a light smoky wisp and a little more texture.
If you want to keep things in the Med, then a good value alternative to Pinot Noir style wines are reds from the Agiorgitiko grape, especially if they’re unoaked. Semeli Feast Red (£10.99) is a perfumed, medium bodied red with a mix of fresh plums and cherries on the palate. It has good, juicy acidity that makes it a trusty food partner.
As we’re dining al fresco, my final nod would be to our new wine in a can, the Canned Wine Co No.4 St Laurent (£5.50 for 25cl) from Walter Glatzer and his family in Carnuntum, south of Vienna, in Austria. This plush red can even work lightly chilled bringing a celebration of red cherries, mulberries and spice that would pair especially well with the beetroot.
To enjoy an exclusive 10% discount on your first order, please apply the discount code CARDAMOMDILL10 at checkout or shop via this link where the discount will be automatically applied. The code applies to all products including wine, beers and Raphael products and there is no minimum order.
Raphael’s Mediterranean Deli Products
Through the course of my culinary journey, I have spent a huge amount of time travelling and carefully researching authentic recipes from across the Mediterranean and demand very high standards when it comes to choosing ingredients. This is what regular guests of my Supper Club expect of me and I wouldn’t dream of offering them anything less.
For this reason, I have chosen to partner with Raphael’s Mediterranean Deli Products who provide a range of products from their award-winning olive oil through succulent olives, the most beautiful organic herbs and sweet Greek honey.
Details of the products that feature in this menu’s recipes are included with links designed to enable you to go on your own journey with them. I hope that you love them as much as we do.
To enjoy an exclusive 10% discount on your first online order of a minimum purchase of five products, shop via this link where the discount will be automatically applied. Valid until 1st January 2022.