Monday, 7 August 2017

It's All Greek...

Practically everyone has heard of the idiom ‘It’s all Greek to me’ or ‘It’s all Greek’, meaning that something is not understandable. Another translation is "Graecum est; non legitur" ("it is Greek, [therefore] it cannot be read"). I believe William Shakespeare used this line or something close to it in his play Julius Caesar. Regardless of the origin, when people don’t understand people, words, cultures or even other species, there’s a breakdown in communication. And that’s not good. Wars can start, marriages break down, and relationships fail.

In the first book of Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls series, Lost and Found, the main character, Meagan Walsh has the psychic ability to talk to animals. Imagine possessing the ‘power’ to be a diplomat between animals? To bridge that gap, and find common ground. In the first book of The Last Timekeepers time travel adventure series,  The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, my main characters are given a ‘Babel’ necklace. The main purpose of this necklace is to break any language barriers while on a mission in the past so that my characters will be able to understand and talk to everyone they meet. Boy, I could have used one of those Babels in French class!

One thing we can all understand is food! It’s universal and we all need food to survive. So I thought I’d share this awesome recipe my hubby made for me recently. It’s called Greek Shepherd’s Pie, and trust me, your taste buds don’t need a translator for this dish! Opa!

BBC Good Food

Feta Potato Topping

5 cups (1.25 L) cubed peeled potatoes
¼ cup (60 ml) butter
¼ cup (60 ml) sour cream
¼ tsp. (1 ml) freshly ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. (1 ml) salt
¼ tsp. (1 ml) freshly ground pepper
1¼ cups (310 ml) shredded feta cheese

COOK potatoes in boiling salted water until tender; drain.

ADD butter, sour cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mash until mixture is smooth. Stir in feta cheese.

COVER and set aside while you prepare the filling.

Meat Filling

1½ cups (375 ml) chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp. (15 ml) olive oil
2 lb (1 kg) lean ground beef
1 can (14 oz/396 g) diced tomatoes
¼ cup (60 ml) dry red wine or canned beef broth
1 tbsp. (15 ml) mint, crumbled
1½ tsp. (7.5 ml) cinnamon
1 tsp. (5 ml) oregano, crumbled
¾ tsp. (4 ml) salt
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) allspice
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) freshly ground pepper
¼ tsp. (1 ml) freshly ground nutmeg
¼ cup (60 ml) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

PREHEAT oven to 400° F (205° C)

USE a large skillet or Dutch oven set over medium-heat. Saute onions and garlic in oil for 2 minutes. 

ADD beef and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

STIR in the next 9 ingredients (tomatoes through nutmeg).

BRING the pot to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese.

TRANSFER mixture to a greased shallow 3 quart (3 L) baking dish. Spoon feta potato topping over meat mixture and spread decoratively. Sprinkle with paprika. May be prepared to this point and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.

BAKE, uncovered, at for 40-45 minutes or until topping is lightly browned and filling is bubbly.

And there you have it! A feast fit for any family who loves to try culturally-flavored recipes, and dares to venture the road less traveled. Want more adventure and excitement in your reading life? How about a trip to Fairy Falls? Or jump into the Arch of Atlantis for a blast in the past? Just remember to pack lightly.


  1. What a nice spin on the old shepherds pie! I bet I could even make it vegetarian too. I like the idea of the feta cheese mixed in with the potatoes. Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Darlene! It's so good! Worth the time it takes to prepare. Cheers and Opa!