Fridays are special all over the world. The last day of the week means the weekend is round the corner and we can somehow relax.
In Greece Fridays are fasting days, very often they are “popular” market days (open air vegetable and various other foodstuff markets operated by farmers and not only…)and almost invariably hairdressers ‘day.
I have come to like hairdressers. It is the one place in Athens where I hear nothing about the crisis, the economic problems, the loss of jobs, the accusations against all politicians. There seems to be a tacit agreement that on Fridays we only discuss food and especially fasting dishes. Today’s favourite is lentils.
I am very lucky because my neighbourhood ( maybe others too) has many repatriated Greeks from Turkey, from Egypt, from Germany, from Britain and the former USSR. Therefore my Friday recipes are most interesting since, unable to choose, I often just mix and match!.
Lentil soup is the most popular. You clean and rinse the lentils, cover them with water and let boil. In the water you add an onion cut in half, a peeled, whole garlic clove and a bay leaf. When the water starts boiling add salt and tomato sauce to taste. Many people also add a small chili pepper or thyme or rosemary but that depends on what herbs you like.
Recent articles on healthy eating suggest that we combine all pulses with some form of pasta or rice. I was not impressed since my Cypriot grandmother always cooked Koshari: well boiled, drained lentils, rice and caramelized onions on top: a full, healthy meal usually accompanied with olives.
Thank god it’s Friday!