What I really like about climate in the Mediterranean Basin is long summers. There are of course some signs of slow decent into fall in August but we usually ignore them and we take advantage of the mid-day heat and hot sun. It is still quiet around Athens with the exception of historical center in Plaka and all around Acropolis, where you find visitors from all over the world. Greeks are on vacation until schools start date which is the second week of September.
We are just back from 2 week holidays with a full tank, enjoying the sea, touring all around (which is our favorite), eating divine local food (taking notes for new recipes), sharing precious time with good friends and of course with family.
Our first destination was Santorini and the second one Mani, in the southernmost and middle peninsula of the Peloponnese. These destinations weren’t a “throw of a dart at the map and see where it lands”. We wanted to enjoy the spectacular views and the cosmopolitan life of Santorini (plus the local food) and then explore the castles, the tower houses, the stunning views and the stories of the isolated area of Mani.
The diversity of Greece allows to enjoy different places, sceneries, micro-climates, people, traditions and food. It is so vivid that you have the impression that you visit two different countries.
Let me give you an example:
From hereto thereand from thereto hereFor those who seek experiences (not just sea and sun) from their travels, the “memorable experience collectors” as I call them, Greece will satisfy all senses through superb colors, unique scents, textures, sounds and divine tastes.I said tastes? This is my thing, my kind of love. The great culinary exploring meaning finding taverns, restaurants, old ladies back yards, all sorts of cookhouses and home kitchens that offer new culinary experiences, combine known and unknown ingredients in a way that open new food paths. Then, I am thrilled, the king (ok queen) of the world or just like a kid who found a new excited toy (my husband said once) and I ask politely to meet the cooker or the chef just to give my gratitude for that experience (what about the recipe, chef? No? Ok, maybe one or two tips? Pleaseeee? I have to know!).In order to taste authentic Mediterranean Greek food, you don’t have to eat in expensive restaurants and taverns. This is of course the easiest way to have a decent dinner and everybody read the critics from the well-known sites and apps and decide accordingly.
However, allow me to give you another perspective on how to decide where to eat during your vacations in Greece. Ask locals! From the reception of the hotel or the owner of your room, to the fishermen on harbor, the people sitting next to you at sea etc. Go and drink Greek coffee in traditional cafés called “kafenio” where you find the most authentic people, ready to communicate with you even if they don’t speak your language. Don’t hesitate to approach them because they know the best places where local cookers make culinary miracles. In fact, don’t be that surprised if one of them invites you at home to enjoy a meal together. Don’t be afraid! This guy is not a serial killer but this is a custom almost as old as Greek civilization, called “philoxenia”, literally translated as “friend to the stranger”.
Just to help you understand this custom, I‘ll tell you a story from many, many years ago when I was young and restless and I used to travel all over Greece with a backpack on an old scooter. My friend and I have been almost lost (no GBS back then!!) on a mountain near Ancient Olympia in a hot summer day, starving and really exhausted from the day trip. We saw an isolated small tavern in a yard with 3-4 tables around so we decided to stop and eat there. A nice old lady welcomed us and told us she didn’t have much to offer but Greek salad (horiatiki), eggs and French fries which were perfect for us. I ate the best kayana eggs ever. Seriously, I am drooling all over the keyboard right now and I will never ever forget the taste of that plate. More than satisfied with our food, we asked for the bill and we nearly fell off our chairs when the old lady told us that that was her house and we seemed very tired and hungry and so she just …fed us! Now, you know!
In honor of that nice old lady (= giagiaka in Greek), I will try to replicate the recipe and give you the ultimate Mediterranean Greek scrambled eggs with tomato and feta and maybe – just maybe- make you feel the way I felt that day back in the 90s.
Cooking these Mediterranean scrambled eggs and the photo shooting for that post took place during summer holidays in Mani at the garden of Ktirakia Studios. A lovely place to spend your vacations, over a hill surrounded by olive groves with views of the Laconia Bay.A starving intruder (but cute one) was a constant threat to the photo shooting.Best things about that plate: It takes no more than 20 minutes to cook, you may eat it any time of the day, all year round, it is even better at room temperature, it is the perfect school and work lunchbox and it is the best base to add whatever you want. You ask for more? Healthy, filling, the perfect comfort food full of proteins.
The core recipe includes tomato with or without feta cheese and there are several variations as always.
TIP#1 For the perfect outcome use ripe, summer flavorful tomatoes. Out of season it is difficult to find fresh tomatoes worth buying, so I always use good quality canned tomatoes during winter when I run out of my homemade tomato sauce with fresh summer tomatoes (coming soon).
TIP#2 If you don’t like salt, you may not need any of it at all because the proposed amount of feta cheese could be more than enough.
Enjoy your Mediterranean scrambled eggs first thing in the morning or make them for a light meal.
- 4-5 eggs, beaten
- 2 ripe tomatoes, grated
- 1 ½ cup (200g) hard feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
- A pinch of sugar
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- Oregano or thyme (or both)
- Salt (or not) and pepper
- In a 10.25" frying pan heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the grated tomatoes along with the salt (optional), pepper and the pinch of sugar. Wait until all of the liquid has evaporated from the tomato mixture, about 10 to 12 minutes. It shouldn’t be neither watery nor too dry.
- In the meantime, crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk lightly with a fork just to break up the yolks. I repeat, lightly, meaning no more than 5-10 seconds. That will give the perfect consistency.
- Over low heat add the eggs to the tomato mixture. Mix lightly (again) with a wooden spoon until the eggs start to cook. Don’t overcook them. Give the consistency you like.
- Add feta cheese and give a final light stir. Cover the pan and let your kayana rest for 5 minutes.
- Toast some bread, add a generous amount of kayana on top, fresh pepper, thyme, oregano and…