My connection to the Olympics

I was never into sport, even at school.  I always hated it. But I did love swimming. And that’s about as far as my sporting activities go.  I have to say though that living in London during the Olympics is rather fantastic. The buzz and the fun that is all over the city is incredible. And as for the opening ceremony last week. Wow!  There were two links that are dear to me from that opening night. Both are related to my work.
Firstly, the story of the Industrial revolution.  AGA and Rayburn cookers are made in the foundry in Coalbrookdale which was where the Industrial Revolution was started by Abraham Derby. Next to it is the town of Much Wenlock where the modern day Olympics started.
Secondly, the original Olympics started in Greece.  As I watched the Greek team coming into the stadium, I not only remembered the family holiday we had in Greece when I was a child, but also Vefa and her daughter Alexia.  Vefa is known as the ‘Mother of Greek Cooking’, I’ve known Vefa and Alexia for years through the Gourmand World Cookbook Awardsand her daughter Alexia brings a more modern approach to Greek food.

My connection with Vefa and Alexia goes further, in 2007 Alexia won the Gourmand World Cookbook award for Best Series of Food books in the World. I won the same award in 2008 and Vefa did the same in 2009.
Alexia brings “real food” to the Greek nation on TV and through her Realfood magazine.  It is Greece’s biggest food and cooking magazine and Alexia and I have had many great days of cooking and fun together.  Alexia, I would just like to say that with your sales of more than 4million copies and 90 publications, it is a real honour to have you on my blog.So that we can all enjoy The 2012 Olympic Games in London in style, Alexia has sent me a recipe for Greek take-away food.  Alexia says it’s quicker to make at home than to order and have delivered.  Alexia, that is just the sort of food we like!  Enjoy!

Greek Gyros – Soyvlaki wrapped in Greek Pitta with Tzatziki, fresh tomato and onions:

4 portions


Preparation time 15 min

Baking time 15 min

4 greek pitta for souvlaki

2 onions sliced

8 tomato wedges

1 portion tzatziki (recipe follows)

for the meat

2 pounds pancetta sliced quite thinly



2 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic minced

½ tsp oregano

for the tzatziki (garlicky yogurt)

10 oz (300 g) greek yogurt

1 large cucumber peeled and cubed

2 cloves garlic minced

a little salt and few tablespoons olive oil

3-4 tbs dill chopped

  1. Cut the meat and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Saute in a deep and heavy sauce pan together with the garlic until well done, about 10 min. Spinkle with oregano and remove from the heat.
  2. Prepare the garlicky yogurt dip. Drain the cubed cucumber on absorbent kitchen paper until totally dry. Fold gently into the yogurt and add the rest of the ingredients. Donot overmix or it’ll become runny. Place in the refrigerator until time to serve.
  3. Heat the pittas on an oiled pan. Fill each pitta with tzatziki, fresh tomato, onion slices and meat. Wrap with baking paper and enjoy with cold beer!

5 thoughts on “My connection to the Olympics

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