Earlier this month I visited the home of Lia Moutselou, founder of Cardiff-based food blog and social enterprise Lia’s Kitchen. Lia has started running Friday night cookery classes from the comfort of her cosy home in Roath, Cardiff.
Lia is passionate about Greek food, sustainability and world flavours – and all of this is evident both within her eclectic home and in her relaxed and friendly classes.
Each one starts with an introduction from Lia into the dishes you’ll be cooking that night, both generally, and in relation to Lia’s childhood in Greece. We listened as Lia explained how flavours from the Ottoman empire, from Turkey, and the Levant have shaped Greek cuisine through the centuries. Meanwhile, we sipped on a cup of hot salepi; a warm, milky drink made with the root of an orchid plant. Sounds weird, tastes divine; like a hot and creamy Turkish delight!
Throug the course of the evening, we were introduced lots of ingredients I’d not heard of – like Manouri cheese, which is made with the whey milk left over from making feta which results in a fresher, less salty cheese. Turns out, it tastes absolutely divine when fried in olive oil and lemon juice, and sprinkled with lots of dried oregano!
Between our little group of 6, we divided out the tasks of slicing, peeling, and frying our different ingredients on our table-top hobs under Lia’s watchful eye.
Within a couple of hours, we’d prepared and cooked:
- A grilled Manouri starter, served with a beetroot salad & grape molasses
- Fava – a Greek yellow split pea dip, which we ate with lots of fresh bread and lashings of olive oil
- An aubergine (veggie) and a beef ‘red sauce stew’, made using Trahana, a lesser-known but traditional Greek pasta
- And to finish, a pile of extremely moreish ‘loukoumades’ – little Greek donuts which we ate dipped in honey or grape molasses.
At the end of a lovely Friday evening at Lia’s house, I left full of great food, and with a handful of new and easy to replicate recipes to take home with me. But more than that, I had learned loads about Greek history through getting to know its food; specifically how the cuisine has been influenced by the movement of populations and power over the centuries. It’s something Lia is passionate about when she speaks – and when she cooks – and it’s this extra ingredient which makes learning about Greek food with Lia an extra special experience.
To find out more about Lia’s classes and book yourself a place, visit liaskitchen.com.