Thursday, 6 January 2011


“Prayer carries us half way to God, fasting brings us to the door of His palace, and alms-giving procures us admission.” – Prophet Muhammad

We have had a hot day here in Melbourne with the temperature climbing above 35˚C. As the summer has been very mild so far, we did not what hit us today and we had to have the air-conditioning on. The Christmas decorations have come down, the New Year festivities are well and truly over and today was the Feast Day of St John the Baptist. This has always been special in my family as it was the name day of my grandfather. I dreamt of him a couple of nights ago and it was a wonderful dream: We were both laughing and he was going to give me a New Year’s present. I kept saying to him, “No, grandpa, I don’t want a present it’s enough you are here visiting with us.” It’s been nearly 20 years since he died and this morning we went to church for part of the liturgy. We lit a candle each and one in Grandpa’s memory…

As the day was very hot today and as we had had a rather rich diet with the holidays, we decided to eat simply and lightly today. It is interesting that as well as observing fasts in the Greek Orthodox faith, one has to observe days of compulsory meat-eating. Yesterday, on the Epiphany, it is mandatory to consume some meat in one form or another. My grandmother used to say that even if some people were too poor to cook meat on that day, they were obliged to prick their finger and suck on the gout of blood, symbolic of a carnivorous meal! If one observes the fast and feast days of the Greek Orthodox faith, one ends up having a very balanced diet, with periods of fasting and cleansing the body, as well as periods of surfeit that prepare the body for the fasts and also for the vagaries of the weather. Very wise!

In any case, after yesterday’s meaty meal we decided that today we would have a salad, which was just the right thing for the hot weather. It was all the better, of course, as some of the ingredients were home-grown in our own backyard! Our cucumber and capsicum plants are doing very well and the tomatoes have just started to produce fruit. The eggplants are always very productive. Spring onions and all sorts of herbs, as well as nasturtiums are always growing and lettuce is usually available during the late winter, spring and early summer months.


    • 1 witlof
    • 1 small lettuce
    • 1 grated celeriac
    • 1 grated carrot
    • 1 bell capsicum
    • 3 Lebanese cucumbers
    • 2 tomatoes
    • 3 chopped spring onions
    • Sprouting shoots of nasturtiums (use only the very tender hearts)
    • Radish sprouts (to taste)
    • Capers to taste
    • 2 hard-boiled eggs
    • Shaved parmesan
    • Citronette sauce:
        - Juice of a lemon
        - Juice of one lime
        - Juice of half a small orange (all juices together totalling about 1/2 cup)
        - Equal quantity to juices, plus one tablespoon more of olive oil (Greek
          “agourelaio” is lovely)
        - 1 tablespoonful of mayonnaise

Wash the vegetables thoroughly and drain very well.  Chop up the vegetables with a knife into bite size morsels. Cut the eggs into quarters lengthwise and add to the salad.  Shake the oil and citrus juices until emulsified and add the mayonnaise, shaking it in well.  Pour the citronette over the salad and season to taste with rock salt and freshly ground pepper. Top with some shaved parmesan. Serve with crusty bread


  1. Definitely a recipe to try in summer! Sounds yummy!

  2. youre lucky you can grow your own
    sounds like a wicked salad