QUARANTINE DIARIES, COMFORT FOOD & ALL THE SMALL THINGS THAT KEEP US GOING
A few words about you and where did the quarantine find you?
I’m Vicky. A Greek by birth, a French resident and a Viking girl by…choice of heart! I am a translator of Nordic Literature, a language teacher, a serial eater and serial traveler. Since 2011, I live and work in the easternmost city of France, Strasbourg, next to the German borders.
The scenarios about the quarantine and all the subsequent frenzy, found me in Strasbourg, amongst classes, translations and a thesis project in the making. Talking to my family and following the news about Greece, I was reading and hearing about the measures adopted down there, cases were fewer and measures were drastic. So, before seeing everything locked down everywhere in the world, I booked the first flight, in order to escape, at least, loneliness.
What did it change for you ?
First of all, my location! I don’t remember myself spending such a long time in Athens, with my family and at my parents’ place since I left Athens in 2006. I am grateful and lucky to have been able to spend more quality time with them, discuss with them, cook for them and…just to be with them enjoying their company. Although things could turn strange when three persons have to work from home in the very same flat, I still think that my decision to spend the quarantine days with them was a good one! Secondly, what also changed is my life as a teacher. All my classes are held online since mid-March and it feels strange not to be in direct contact with my students. However, my life as a translator hasn’t changed much, since I used to spend hours of work from home even before the quarantine. However, my need for total silence and loneliness was challenged as well.
Now I feel like it’s time to go back home. I never have left my flat in Strasbourg empty for such a long time and I really wish to return. Nevertheless, this also becomes a very challenging project in post-quarantine times, since flights are limited, quite scarce and they keep on being cancelled one after another.
How many loo-rolls can you count in your cupboards?
Hang on, am I the only one who didn’t hamster tons of loo rolls in her cupboards? I think that this toilet paper crisis will be one of the biggest quarantine jokes left for the next generations to make quite some fun of us in the future.
So, let me check, what do we have here?….an open pack plus another giant pack of 16 rolls waiting as stock…not bad!
Comfort food: Quiche Lorraine with a slight twist
I chose to send you a recipe from our regions of Eastern France, Alsace and Lorraine, not only for reasons of nostalgia, but also since I consider it as the perfect comfort food from the Grand Est! It’s quick, a piece of cake to make and can be made out of anything you have in the fridge!
Quiche Lorraine or Quiche Poubelle if you wish to use up everything!
For the Crust:
- 300 gr. of plain, wheat flour
- 100 gr. butter or margarine
- 2 ½ tablespoons of water
- A pinch of salt
For the filling:
- 150gr. smoked turkey (or pork) bacon
- 150 gr. of cheese. I used Mozzarella and Gruyere but any hard, tasty cheese could do! If you can find some Comté, I would strongly recommend it! I love the creaminess and the full nutty taste of this cheese!
- 1 big green bell pepper or two smaller ones
- 4 eggs
- 200 ml milk
- 200 gr light cream
A pinch of pepper.
Prepare the crust:
- Mix the flour, the salt and the butter in a bowl to a thick crumbly texture. Add water and knead all ingredients together. Let the dough rest in the fridge for 30 minutes, wrapped in plastic foil.
- Preheat your oven (200 C)
- Place the dough in a quiche/tart platter and toss it towards the edges until it covers the bottom and the inner edges. Then pinch the dough with a fork. Cover the dough with aluminum foil and pre-bake it for 10 minutes in 200 degrees.
Prepare the filling:
- Dice the bacon and the peppers and heat them up for around 10 minutes in a pan, until the bacon becomes crispy and the peppers become soft. Grate the cheese and then pour it on the crust, together with the pepper-and-bacon-mixture.
- Whisk up the eggs, add the cream, then the milk. Add some pepper to the liquid mixture and pour it on the solid ingredients and the crust. Bake the quiche in the oven (200), for 30-40 minutes and serve warm!
How do you cope?
As I mentioned, the fact of spending those days with my family was really beneficial for my soul and mind. Apart from that, I also managed to video-call my amazing friends from Strasbourg, Paris, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Reykjavik and elsewhere once in a while and we met around our cups of coffee or glasses of wine. Finally, since I spent way more hours in front of my computer than I do in normal circumstances, I often managed to take long walks, in order to fight against isolation and loss of motivation, which I often saw coming as a threat during the quarantine.
Where will you go eat once this madness is over?
Good question! Well, first of all, before leaving Athens, I will definitely eat a pita with gyros, as only Greeks know how to make it! Then once back in Strasbourg, I’d love to go to one of my favourite Asian spots, East Canteen, for the best Pad Thai in town! We used to do that often with my phenomenal pastry chef friend Johanna, who, very unfortunately, moved back to Sweden now, and my fellow Nordicist friend Nadège, before going to concerts (that was a ritual!).
Share a wish, just so we can finish on a happy note.
First and foremost: Good Health for everyone! And then, I really wish that this madness doesn’t make us loose our social skills. For this is our only defense mechanism against all odds!
from Athens with love,
PS: If you wish to be part of my quarantine cuisine diaries and share your experience on Eat Yourself Greek (EYG), please drop me a line here. Thanks, Eugeniaby