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Saturday, 10 September 2016

Tzatziki and vine leaves . Hands on.

Here are the photos I took of actually folding up and cooking dolmathes.  The recipe is on the post 'Vine leaves and Vasso'.  Look on the left of this post under 'labels', 'stuffed vine leaves'.  

The vine leaf has been blanched, the stuffing put together.  Place one small teaspoon of stuffing in the middle of the leaf.

Fold the sides over and then roll it up into a tight little parcel

Arrange the dolmathes overlapping around the bottom of a small pot.

When the bottom layer is nice and cosy add enough water to cover all the dolmathes.  Put a small plate or saucer over the top.  This will help keep them in position and stop them from rattling around.   Add some lemon juice and olive oil and simmer gently for about 30 minutes, till the rice is soft.  Add more water if they are looking dry.

Mine were slightly overstuffed this time and they 'overflowed' but were still delicious. Go easy on the rice. You don't want a rice stuffing but a savoury stuffing with rice. Arrange on a plate and drizzle with a little olive oil and lemon juice or make a egg and lemon sauce.

The egg and lemon sauce makes them far more appetising.  Beat an egg and when frothy add the juice of a lemon (or two). Beat again with a fork. 
Drain the liquid from the pot into a bowl when still hot.  Slowly mix the liquid (hot but not boiling) into the egg and lemon, stirring all the time. Pour this over the dolmathes.  Do not reboil or the sauce will separate. 

The famous Greek tzatziki.  Thick greek yoghurt, grated cucumber, garlic with a little oil and vinegar.  My 10 year old grandson Jamie (Dimitri) makes a strong, garlicky, zingy tzatziki, lip smacking good.  If he can make it then so can you.  When in NZ the last time I could only find very runny yoghurt so I used sour cream instead. Nice and thick and tangy . The result was just as good.

First grate your cucumber either peeled or unpeeled.  How much cucumber you use depends on how you like the tzatziki.  Our family likes a lot so you can feel munchy bits as you eat.

Then pick up the grated flesh in your two hands and squeeze.  Get rid of as much juice as you can.  Squeeze the hell out of it. Drink the juice or use it to water a pot plant.   See how much liquid I got from one big cucumber.

Put two (or more if you dare) cloves of garlic through the juicer.  Put the cucumber and garlic into a bowl of thick strained greek yoghurt.  The thicker the better for me but my daughter makes it with slightly thinner sheep's yoghurt and it is just as nice.

Mix it altogether really well with a little salt, a teaspoon of vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil.  Cover it well so the smell of garlic doesn't travel through the rest of the food and put in the fridge for an hour for the flavours to blend.

Kali orexi


  1. I make Dolmates (Dolmathes) in a very similar way, but always cook them in white wine. They do need some meat (not too much) in my opinion. Mine often explode as well.

    1. I prefer them with a little meat too. A handful of mince will do the trick. White wine sounds like a gourmet version....which I must try. I still have some of last springs vine leaves in the freezer.

  2. They look very yummy. It's been a long time since I've had home made dolmathes. I don't have grapes growing so it's really hard to get th leaves. The ones you buy in the time just aren't the same.

    1. Got any vineyards near you. Spring is the time to collect the leaves, but before they start spraying. Otherwise, come to Greece next spring. April or May the best weather!

  3. The dolmathes look delicious, that's my kind of food. I'll swap you a plateful of Lincolnshire sausages and mash with onion gravy.. well it was worth a try.x

    1. no no no, there is nothing like a decent English sausage. Or rather, yes yes yes, we'll do a swap...courier?

  4. They look delish! you can only get them in a tin here :( - not the same...

    1. I made these when T and L were here. They loved them. I did them with lemon and olive oil dressing. Much better with egg and lemon sauce