Phaistos, or more correctly the Minoan Palace of Phaistos, is located in the Messara Plain in south-central Crete about km from Matala.Phaistos is “Φαιστός” in Greek and you may find it also written as Phaestos, Faistos or Festos.
Phaistos is one of the most important archaeological sites in Crete and a visit to this place is recommended as it is much more quite than Knossos and the location is unique.
Cretan spring is fantastic as the unique flora and the variety of flowers which color intensity is more than stunning.
Here some information about Phaistos and after this two Wikiloc trails, the first one inside of the archaeological place and the second on the hill over the Minoan palace.
Easter lamb is a traditional recipe, which we always love very much! This year I would like to present you a variation of stuffed lamb, this one is slow roasted and filled with the traditional feta with the addition of dried tomatoes and CARDMOM! Thanks the special addition of this secret ingredient and the recipe becomes a wonderful taste and thanks the excellent sauce it is elevated to a gift from the gods and a real perfect Easter recipe.
According the cooking direction of this recipe, you will get a melt in the mouth well done stuffed lamb. Well done lamb it’s way we always pieces of lamb on Crete and I really appreciate this cooking way. If you prefer medium-rare lamb, you may simply roast at higher temperature (220°C) for the first 30 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 180°C; it’s done when the instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat reads 60 C.
1500 g small potatoes, peeled (if they are big simply quartered)
2-4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed (to taste)
1 cup white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
15 dried tomatoes
1/2 cup boiling water
1 pinch cardamom
200 g feta, crumbled
1/2 lemon zest
Salt and pepper, if needed
Filling: In a small bowl, cover dried tomatoes with 1/4 cup boiling water; let soak for 5 minutes. Drain, but reserve the water. Add all the other ingredients and adjust with salt and pepper. I did not need salt as the feta and dried tomatoes where dry enough.
On your working surface, place the twines at a distance of about 3 cm between each (in the direction of the long side of the meat, see picture).
Aver the twine adjust the wine leaves in the same size as the meat.
Wash and pat dry the meat and trim any excess fat. If some parts are much thicker than others are, butterfly them to make it evenly thick. Lightly pound the lamb with a meat mallet, if necessary, to further even it out and make it roughly rectangular in shape
Lay the mean skin side down over the leaves and spread the filling over the lamb. Starting at one short end, roll the lamb up tightly together with the leaves. For this step, it is easier if you get the help of a second person! Tie the roll. Brush with olive oil.
Cover the lamb well with foil and refrigerate for at least 8 and up to 24 hours. Let the lamb sit at room temperature for about 1 hour before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 170°C. For this recipe is better not to use the air forced function!
Sauté the onions in a non-sticky skillet with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and when lightly browned and set aside. Add one more tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and toss the potatoes in it.
Place the lamb in the mold arrange onions around the lamb, add the cardamom pods (one on each side) and arrange the potatoes around the meat (if possible in one layer).
Add the reserved liquid of the dried tomatoes and half of the wine.
Add some salt, pepper to taste, and drizzle 2 tablespoon of oil over all of them.
Cover with the lid and bake for 2 hours at 180°C. If your baking dish does not have a lid cover with parchment paper then with aluminum foil; in this case take care that you add more liquid or you check from time to time that the meat will not dry out (this depends also form the kind of oven!)
After two hours remove the lid, add the remaining wine, check if you need to add more salt and increase the temperature to 210°C, bake for 30 minutes. From time to time, check that you still have enough liquid (I recommend to have a level of at least 1.5 cm liquid on the bottom of your mold).
Remove from the oven and allow to rest at least 20 minutes before removing the twine and slicing.
These tuna fish patties are very easy and quick to be prepared as we ca use potatoes flakes; if you have boiled potatoes, you may also mash them with a fork and add only little milk to make this more humid.
I have served them on a bed of rocket (aragula) salad and cherry tomatoes. As sauce, I recommend my mint and dill yogurt sauce as this fits perfectly with both patties and salad; however, I made a little change to the sauce, Instead of lemon juice, I used white balsamic vinegar, but both lemon and vinegar goes well.
The quantity depends on the size, in my case a made a dozen, the correct quantity for one skillet of 28 cm of diameter.
Note: these patties may be prepared in advance and used for a picnic (ready cooked) or for a party.
My favorite does’t exist! Depending on the season, the place where I’m at the moment, our activity (cooking, travel, resting…) and simply at the moment, I can be impressed by all the colors. In general I love bright colors, I love the light and I avoid the dark.
Especially on Crete, my favorite place in the world, I love to sit and look at the blue sky and the blue sea; I can understand why so many song tel about this nature.
For this reason I decided to choose “Blue” for this challenge! I hope you will like my quick selection of photos of my travels (not only Crete! 🙂