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Lenten meals in times of crisis

25 February 2012 / 18:02:12  GRReporter
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Since this year, our funds do not allow us to set up the traditional "rich" lenten meal festive table for first Sunday before Lent, we are offering you a few tips to make the most delicious and inexpensive vegetarian meals.

Far from seafood

Marinated octopus or seafood risotto may really be wonderful, but there are many other delicacies that you can put on your lenten meal table.

Let's keep in mind that there is no need to eat as if it is for the last time on Clean Monday, the day after the first Sunday before Lent, when Easter fasting begins. Let's think of it as a chance to cleanse our body from the large quantities of meat eaten in the previous days.

This year, along with seafood, do not also reach for the taramasalata (roe spread). And if you insist on it, at least prefer the red to the white roe, which is quite cheap, and tasty enough.

So let's think about which ingredients will add flavour and colour to our vegetarian dishes and will be nutritious enough.

Lend colour to the table with pickles

Pickles hold an honorable place on the meatless table, giving it colour and flavour, without being very expensive. You can find them in the supermarket packaged or in bulk, but it woud be even more interesting if you prepare them yourself.

The preparation of pickles from various vegetables was usually done in the past to preserve food for a longer period. They are prepared with salt or a combination of salt and vinegar. And do not think you can only make the classic pickled cucumbers, carrots and green peppers. Pickles can be made from almost any vegetable, from peppers and cauliflower to tomatoes and courgettes.

They are prepared very easily, quickly and simply. We fill up a glass jar with the washed and chopped vegetables of your choice. Add 2 teaspoons of salt (10 g) and another 2 teaspoons of vinegar (this dose is for a jar of capacity 500 ml). Fill up the jar with water and close it tightly. Leave it like this for at least 2-3 days, but if liked it can be left for several months without any risk of the vegetables getting spoiled.

Fresh vegetables at the centre of attention

Fresh vegetables will also add flavour and colour to our table. A large bowl filled with fresh red tomatoes, green chopped cucumbers, chopped peppers, carrots with lemon juice, nice big avocadoes, which can be spread on your bread are all great suggestions for your table. Do not forget the olives as well, which are also among the leading characters of a vegetarian meal.

Cooked vegetables on the stage

Besides the wonderful salads with fresh vegetables, you can prepare your salads also using stewed vegetables. A rich serving of cooked broccoli and cauliflower, sprinkled with oregano, or a nutritious potato salad with chopped onion, can be wonderful dishes suitable for a festive vegetarian meal. Even traditional Spanish "Gaspacho" soup (cold tomato soup) can impress and certainly satiate you.

Pulses - our best friends

Pulses are nourishing food for the body with many nutrients and exceptional flavour. This year try something more original than a plate of boiled or cooked beans. Why not try to cook patties made from chickpeas or other vegetables, peas with caramelized onions, lentils with rice, or rice with black beans, as people eat in Cuba. In no way am I talking about the usual meatless stuffed cabbage or beans with tomato sauce. Are you not fed up of them yet?

The traditional lenten "Lagana" bread

No matter how much you’re trying to save money, you'll still buy a hot "Lagana" from the neighbourhood bakery. And you will be doing the right thing because its flavour and taste are closely related with the Clean Monday holiday.

Cut the bread into thin slices and place it in the place of honour on your table. Some slices you may slightly toast, spread some olive oil on them and sprinkle them with salt and oregano (like bruschette).

Dessert that will make you long for more

Even if you're not a fan of halva, the day requires that you have on the table at least one piece of halva with or without chocolate.

However, if you are not a fan of the traditional store-bought halva, you can prepare homemade halva yourself with semolina and sugar or honey, and enjoy it while still hot. An even better choice is the good baklava with walnuts and honey.

Finally, do not overlook the simple but very tasty homemade jam, which has been made for years in almost all Greek households. If you are fasting, unfortunately you can not combine it with yogurt, but the jam by itself is not bad at all. And when I say jam, do not limit your imagination only to the traditional jams, but try some different ones - from kiwi and carrots to beetroot and tomatoes.

Finally, another little tip: You should prepare a large and rich buffet with all dishes, from appetizers and salads to the traditional lenten bread "Lagana" and the desserts. Leave it like this throughout the day and eat with your friends when you feel like eating!

Tags: first Sunday before Lent Clean Monday fasting table economic crisis
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