Last weekend I had the very good fortune to finally discover the very amazing, Sam’s MFC Supermarket, on Gardner’s Road in the Sydney suburb of Mascot/Rosebery. What an emporium!! The shelves were absolutely heaving with a mix of Middle Eastern and Greek delights.
The first thing that hit me, and my lovely girlfriends, was the huge selection of olives. The “olive buffet”, so named by Miss E. You simply grab a plastic container and help yourself. We were all seduced by the delicious little cracked green olives that had been marinating in some thick green olive oil along with lots of preserved lemon. I also had to grab a dish of dried, salty slightly bitter Thassos olives.
At Sam’s you can also purchase some lovely homemade dips including hummus and baba ganoush, a variety of pastries including Lebanese pizza and spanakopita, as well as an array of cheeses, nuts, sweets, and dried fruits. Sam and his wife, Fatima, also sell a range of the classic old school circular aluminium cooking dishes, icons and briki – not to mention a huge variety of spits and rotisseries hanging from the celling.
In addition to my olive purchases, I also took home some lovely Greek anchovies, a bag of frozen artichoke hearts (always a great freezer emergency standby), some lovely Cretan barley rusks and a lovely big bag of vine leaves – which I helped myself too from the large barrel on offer.
That afternoon, I set myself the task of making a batch of dolmades. Many recipes call for the use of pine nuts and currants. I added a little twist to the classic recipe by omitting the pine nuts and using some lovely nutty brown rice, a healthier option than the white rice – although it does take a little longer to cook. Instead of using small currants, I went with some beautiful little yellow sapphires – some golden raisins, the sweetness of which was a delicious balance to the sour, zesty lemon juice.
Once cooked and cooled, my dolmades were served along side a bunch of chilled grapes and the olives and anchovies I had purchased from Sam’s. The Cretan rusks also made up some lovely “dacos”, which are like the Greek version of bruschetta. Simply chop some ripe tomatoes and mix with a little red wine vinegar, salt, olive oil and rigani. Top the tomato on the rusks, which have been drizzled first with olive oil, and then sprinkle with crumbled feta.
455 Gardners Road
Mon – Sat 7.30am – 7.30pm