Are you brunching or lunching?
Has brunch won you over or you are still going for the good old Sunday lunch?
Or have you got whiff of drunch? I am going for a Sunday classic, roast leg of lamb with herbs and roast potatoes, the Greek way.
Head straight to the recipe
Brunch in Greece has been a mystery to me of late. Honestly, I cannot quite place who brunch is targeting. Here is the thing: if you belong to these young and wonderful group of people called students and young professionals chances are you will be up all night, literally as bars/clubs in Athens don’t shut their doors until early morning, then you go to your best mate’s place and you end up waking up late afternoon. So it would be drunch, a sad term for early dinner and an excuse for more booze that never really got on, anywhere in the world, let alone in Athens. If now, you have a happy household and a couple of kiddos to care for, you are possibly a little too busy to enjoy a quick bite out, let alone mimosas and bloody Mary. Truth to be said we don’t have a great breakfast culture in Greece. It’s a quick cup of coffee accompanied by a biscuit and then we indulge ourselves at the bakery with an enormous selection of pastries to pick from, both sweet and savoury, modern tarts or traditional pies that make for eleventies. Good old fashioned ‘brunch’ for Greeks occurs naturally with a ride at the seaside accompanied by seafood mezze and ouzo or a run at the steakhouse/grill-house with the family tagging along. It is also called Sunday lunch, with family or without.
In case you do wonder why I open my post with such a rant, the prompt was two completely unconnected discussions I had with a couple of good friends. One of them was recently served eggs benedict with mayo (ouch) and at the same time, another friend and chef was wondering why people are so reluctant to try poached eggs? I admit that in the land of mezze, coffee and really good wine it is hard, possibly a little too hard, to convince the true Greek soul to try something that is not cooked through to very, very well done state. The choices are ample and the soft egg cannot seduce the masses. Side by side at the menus feature the usual breakfast eggs: eggs-benedicts, croque madames and croque messsieurs and of course the American style pancakes – just sweet – god forbid we tower a juicy egg or bacon and maple syrup and berries the Canadian way– and there sits the burger! I was doing a little online research checking out brunch menus in popular places. The trend was this: fried egg – burger – fries – sandwich – burger –bagel- burger- burger – burger with fried egg. Repeat.
I’m sceptical to say the list whether the brunch fad is going to catch on in Athens. Especially given that the most popular online articles on Athenian brunches were published 2014 onwards when at the same time New York Times was publishing David Shaftel’s article Brunch is for Jerks. Shaftel elaborates on the omnipresence of brunch in New York, how restaurants have turned and twisted their menus for this British invention that Americans have taken to new levels and closes on the very acute description of brunch made by the Guardian: “a symptom of the soulless suburban conformity that is relentlessly colonizing our urban environments.”
I am consoling myself that at least Athens is not exclusively filled with industrial décor establishments and people have probably not discovered that brunch was always meant to be hair of the dog remedy. I am tenderly thinking of the small and tacky workers cafe I used to go on Sundays when in Archway, two blocks round the corner from mine, for buttery toast, mushrooms, roast tomatoes and hash browns and then go get my groceries to make a proper meal because the fridge was always empty. We never called it brunch though, it was a fry-up!Sighs she and goes to prepare a wonderful roast because she is used to eating a good hearty meal on Sundays – brunch time or lunch time or dinner time, because I actually do eat all the time, no etiquette, sorry.
Here is a Greek classic for your Sunday roast, herby roast lamb with baked potatoes.
- leg of lamb, approx. 1 kg
- 4-5 large baking potatoes
- 3 tbsp moustard powder
- thyme 6-7 sprigs
- 2-3 sprigs of oregano
- 1 large sprig of rosemary
- 150 ml dry white wine
- 5-6 cloves of garlic, pressed
- 2 lemons
- 100 ml olive oil
- salt pepper
What to do:
- Put all the ingredients for the marinade in a large bowl and mix well.
- Leave the lamb in a covered container with the marinade overnight or at least 3-4 hours to soak the flavours
- Prepare the potatoes, peel and cut in large wedges.
- In a large baking tray, add the potatoes and use half of the marinade to season them.
- Place the leg of lamb on top, brush with the remaining marinade and season with a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Cover your tray with foil and bake in a preheated oven at 200 ºC for 1hr.
- After the first hour, uncover and bake for another 45 min to 1 hour at 180 ºC
Brunching or lunching, have a great Sunday everyone!
from Athens with love,
PS If you are after great breakfasts, visit Bread and tea a Greek blog extraordinaire dedicated to healthy breakfasts.by