A new academic year begins for us in early October which means seminars followed by receptions and dinners. So, we’re settling into a familiar pace of prep and cooking in my kitchen. I love this time of year – the beginning of a new school year for some, new starts, new things to learn. It is also the time when the gloaming – Greek soúroupo – is at its best, that time of day when dusk is not far off and the light is filtered with a soft pink until everything softly glows. Plus, leaves turn yellow, orange and red among the bright evergreen citrus and dark columns of cypresses. It is a very atmospheric and nostalgic season of year.
New starts in the kitchen mean shopping in the Athens Central Market to stock up on supplies. Between shops and market stalls, we grab a souvlaki wrapped in a pita to go. There is a hole-in-the-wall place in the square by the church of Agia Irini that does it the Northern Greek way with spicy tomato sauce in place of tzatziki. As we walk, juggling bags and trying not to drip sauce, we happen upon buskers that fill in the air with lively traditional music.
Mid-month we had a quick trip back to the UK – North first, then down to London. I couldn’t help contrasting those Athens buskers we saw the week before with a marching band festival up North
More music down south in the British Library in the form of an exhibition on music in Britain inspired by the Windrush generation of migrants from the Caribbean after WWII. And, while we were in London, I experienced a truly dreadful squash risotto. This was something, in my naïveté, I thought was impossible. The incident affected me so much, I immediately began creating text for a blog post in my head – coming soon with a proper risotto and descriptions on where the London restaurant went disastrously wrong. It was almost the first thing I cooked in my kitchen after returning from London – a form of exorcism.
Naturally, I used some of homemade chicken stock for the risotto. I had recently made 4 litres and had frozen them in containers just waiting to be used. Well, the stock of stock is now dwindling in the freezer. I guess it is time to make more and another trip down to the market.
More food of the season: braised red cabbage, beetroot borscht , pears in wine, cinnamon topped baked apples baked in wine… Those apples were so good, I may make them again and post.
It is a lovely time of year to be in the kitchen and the market. Maybe I’ll see those buskers again, and perhaps indulge in some street food: all part of the shopping experience.