Last Sunday was Tropfest in Sydney, and before it was rained out I had a lovely time sitting on a picnic blanket in the Domain eating and drinking with new and old friends. We had bought some flat bread to go with the excessive amount of hummus and leftover Lebanese food from the night before and so I decided to use the bread to make something that fits the picnic must-have rules. For those who don’t know, the rules for any picnic food is that they must be fine to eat at room temperature, can be easily eaten by hand without getting messy, and of course be tasty as hell.
Anyway, I appropriated a recipe that I found in the brilliant SBS Feast magazine to make a delicious Greek (ish) vegetarian friendly snack of flatbread with beetroot leaves, fetta and almonds. It’s a great way to use the Beetroot leaves as most people just throw them away – which is a shame because they’re quite tasty. It’s so easy to whip up so you have no excuses for not trying this out for your next picnic outing.
- 10 Beetroots (leaves and stems only)
- 6 pieces of Flatbread (Lebanese or Greek bread will do)
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- 150 grams of fetta, crumbled
- 50 grams of almonds, toasted
- 1 handful of dill, chopped
Wash the beetroot leaves and stems thoroughly, pat dry, roughly chop into 2-3 inch pieces and leave them aside. Melt the butter in the pan and add the onion for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and cook for another minute before throwing in the fennel seeds and cumin for another minute or so. Add the beetroot leaves and stems, cover and cook for 10 minutes while shaking the pan occasionally. You may need to add a bit of water to pan to help soften the stems during this period, but once your 10 minutes is up, take the lid off to allow the liquid to dry off. Add some cracked pepper and put this mix aside.
In another pan, add a little olive oil over low-medium heat and toast up your flatbread for 30 seconds or so. You’ll need to work quickly (so you don’t burn the bread) and spread a third of the beetroot leaf mix over the flatbread, as well as a third of the fetta and sprinkle with almonds and dill. Place another piece of flatbread over the top like a sandwich and press down with a spatula so the feta melts and sticks to the top. Once it’s fully warmed through, take it off the pan, flip it over and toast the other side with a splash of olive oil. Put aside to cool and repeat this process until you’ve used up the remaining flatbread and beetroot mixture. Cut into quarters.
Serves 6 as part of a picnic spread
JAM: Abel – Aegean Sea
The dish that I’ve chosen isn’t really Greek so I’m choosing a track that references and conjures up images of Greece, but also isn’t Greek. It’s in fact a track from a British band that’s been edited by a Dutchman. The track in question is an edit by DJ and record collector Abel appropriately called Aegean Sea, which came out on Noncollective last year. For those who don’t know, Noncollective hosts mixes of some of the best (and underrated) record collector/DJs – all of whom have impeccable taste in music and manage to unearth rare and hidden gems in music. Do yourself a favour and download away.
Back to the track, Aegean Sea is perfect summer song which will make you want to dance on the Greek shores and forget about your troubles. Equally as perfect for gearing you up for your picnic, the track has been edited to perfection by looping the memorable guitar riffs along with the 70s psyched out vocals. You’ll never want summer to end. Listen here:
They only pressed up 300 copies of these, which sold in a flash, so if you’re after a copy on vinyl you’ll have to hit up eBay or discogs. You should grab one if you can – not only is the music great, but the artwork is also excellent. If you want the next best thing, you can download the original track on iTunes, Smokie – We’re Flying High.
If you happen to be in Sydney and want to hear more music like this, head down to Med Club at Chingalings on Oxford St every Saturday afternoon from 3-8. I’ll be playing records like this on the balcony along with Steele Bonus, Hole in the Sky DJs and guests. Stay tuned to a live experience of Dinner Jams when we take over the BBQ!