Summer afternoon mezedes and a lesson from the psaras

Summer mezedes: skordalia, cuttlefish in wine and fried eggplant and zucchini

Much to Mr K's eternal concern, I have the terrible habit of calling anything that falls in the "tentacle" category an octopus. I should really know better. The Greek people have a huge respect for all of the beautiful produce that abounds in Greece, but by far produce from the sea would have to be one of the most revered.

Fishing boat in Zakynthos, Ionian Islands Greece
Mr K is an avid ψαράς  (psaras or fisherman)and I have been reliably informed on many occasions, the very clear difference between the slippery tentacled delights of the sea. Indeed, while Mr K has not had the opportunity to go fishing on any of our recent trips to Greece, lessons from my lovely psaras have always taken place with a practical demonstration at whatever fish market happens to be close by.   

Thrapsalo (squid), while it may look the same as Kalamari (calamari) is not the same. There is a subtle difference in the flavour of these two creatures. Soopia (cuttlefish)are different again, with shorter tentacles and the large backbone, which we feed to budgies. Unlike kalamari and thrapsalo, soopia is never grilled or fried whole, but usually slow cooked in a rich tomato and wine stew. In Australia, our southern kalamari is almost identical to the kalamari of Greece. Australian "arrow squid" is very similar to thrapsalo, and again Australian cuttlefish is almost identical to soopia. Oktapodi (octopus)is of course an entirely different beast, with its eight arms and rows of suckers. It is usually served grilled, in small slices as a meze or with macaroni or in stifado with baby onions.

When beautiful Saturday morning rolled around, Mr K and I decided that the days agenda had to include a swim at the beach, a trip to the market and mezedes in the garden, when the sting of the midday heat had turned to hazy dusk. It was a day spent just like the long lazy summer days on our last trip back to Greece.

The perfect spot for an afternoon swim, on the road to Agios Nikitas, Lefkada 

As you might imagine, when it came to the selection of appropriate tentacles for our mezedes, I felt much more comfortable staying on dry land and I headed to the Ramsgate Foodies Organic Market. My lovely psaras headed off to do battle at Faros Brothers fish market in Marrickville. A battle that was made much more difficult, as Mr K described, by his havianas having a "blow out" and the slippery, fishy floor of the market when it was in full bustling mode.

Beautiful summer produce from the Ramsgate foodies organic market. 
At the Ramsgate Market, the beautiful summer produce available was so inspiring. The first item to catch my attention was the bounty of purple streaked braids of Garlic adorning the Golburn Garlic stall. What luck to find this fantastic stall, just as the Australian garlic season was coming to a close! I stocked up my basket with a long braid of "purple monaro" garlic and a few extra bulbs of "Italian White", perfect for making one of Mr K's favourites, skordalia. Next in the bag was a large punnet of colourful heirloom tomatoes, just bursting with summer sun and flavour. These were so perfect, I decided they were going on a plate of their own - the simplest meze ever!

Next in the basket were a a couple of glossy dark purple eggplants and a few zucchini. After an hour or so of sweating in a colander over the kitchen sink, this summer crop made up a batch of perfectly crisp, lightly golden morsels - that were delicious with lashings of skordalia. 

Mr K's selection from Faros Brothers was added to the pot for a few hours of slow cooking to make a rich, tomato flavoured meze, cuttlefish in wine. If you cannot find cuttlefish you could also use squid or octopus. However, the squid may result in a stronger tasting dish and, if using octopus, it should first be quickly blanched in a mixture of 50/50 water and vinegar - with the skin peeled off when it has cooled. Octopus will also take longer to cook and you may need to top the sauce up with a little water as it cooks.


Afternoon swimming in Lefkada and havianas (pre blow out). 

Such a perfect Saturday, I hope the summer days that finally arrived stay with us just that little bit longer.  


  1. Oh Mrs M, I soooooo love each and every one of your blog posts! I wish we lived closer to one another, it would be lovely to break bread together!

  2. Lovely to discover your blog via Lizzy. I look forward to reading your posts. My daughter in law is Greek so I am always looking to understand more about Greek food.

  3. Thanks for your lovely words Lizzy!! I'm so glad Barbara found my little posts via your amazing blog!! Welcome Barbara. I learn something new everyday about Greek foods and traditions, it's such a wonderful culture to have become a part of, I hope you enjoy my discoveries!!


Thank you for your comments, I really appreciate every single one!

© Mulberry and Pomegranate
Maira Gall