Greek BBQ / Meze on a Summer’s Evening

This is more of a Meze with a little BBQ on the side (to keep Dad happy) on such a gorgeous evening like tonight, I thought I’d transport us back to Greece with our own Big Fat Greek Feast.  I had just veg kebabs, being a veggie and all, but stuck some chicken on the others for my parents.

Home made Tzatziki, Greek Salad, Fried courgettes, Veg and spicy chicken Kebabs and Pitta
For the Tzatziki:
5 Tbsp Greek Yoghurt
2 Cloves of grated  garlic
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp white wine vinegar
A small bunch of mint finely chopped
Half a cucumber, peeled and grated
The main reason most people get this dip wrong is because they put the cucumber straight in without salting them, doing this will make a watery, flavourless Tzatziki.  So once grated, put in a sieve and cover with salt, leave them for about 10 minutes, then push them down and see how much water comes out! Pat with some kitchen towel and literally mix everything above together and voila.
For the Greek Salad:
Half a cucumber
A handful of cherry tomatoes
Quarter of a red onion
A red pepper
Half a block of feta
2 tbsp Olive oil
1/2 tbsp White wine vinegar
1 tsp Oregano
As with the cucumber, once you have halved the tomatoes, put them in a sieve, cover in salt and leave them for 10 minutes, when you come back, give them a good shake and watch all that flavourless water leave, leaving you with gorgeous jam-packed-with-flavour cherry toms!
Chop everything else up fairly small (the onion finely diced) and chuck it all in a salad bowl.
In a jar, pour in your oil and vinegar, cover and shake vigorously to form an emulsion.  Pour over the salad.  Sprinkle with your oregano and there you have it.
For the fried courgettes:
One courgette
4 tbsp plain flour
1 Egg
75 ml sparkling water (maybe more if it needs loosening)
400ml vegetable oil
4 ice cubes
Flour for dusting
Using a peeler, peel the courgette lengthways to form lots of thin ribbons, keep doing until the courgette disappears!  In a bowl, coat them in flour (to ensure the batter sticks to them).
At this point, put a medium sized pan on a high heat and add your oil.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg and flour, then stir in the sparkling water until you get a pancake type batter.  Add some salt and pepper to taste.  Put your ice cubes in.  The sparking water and very cold batter (in contrast to very hot oil) will make you the lightest most perfect batter (I use this as a tempura batter too).
You can tell your oil is hot enough by dropping a small piece of courgette in the oil, if it floats and bubbles, it is hot enough.  (please see post below regarding hot-oil-etiquette). 
Coat your ribbons in batter, allowing most to drip off back into the bowl, then GENTLY drop into the pan.  I found I could have no more than 4 in the pan at the time.  Note they will cook almost instantly and float, so using a skimmer, turn them over to ensure both sides are brown and lift out (I had a warm oven at the ready to keep them warm as I did the others).
When serving, squeeze a little lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
For the kebabs:
1/2 a yellow pepper
1/2 a red pepper
2 Handfuls of button mushrooms
1/2 a red onion
2 chicken breasts (I used pre-marinated garlic chilli ones from Waitrose)
2 grated garlic cloves
a few lugs of olive oil
Roughly chop the veg so they are fairly good sized chunks (the button mushrooms can generally remain as whole) and cover in olive oil and grated garlic, get your hands in there and make sure it is all evenly coated.
Cut the chicken into chunks about 2 inch X 2 inch.
Get your skewers and get cracking (I’m going to resist temptation to state the obvious on what to do here!)
Whack them on a hot barbie.
Here’s to alfresco dining! Cheers!

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