Lifestyle blogger Rachel from The Ordinary Lovely shares her tips for getting over summer with some foodie escapism.
The suitcases have been unpacked and the summer clothes put away for another year. Your tan has started to fade and so have the memories of warm evenings spent watching the sunset, pina colada in hand. Possibly, you’ve uploaded your holiday photos from your memory card to your computer and shared a favourite or ten on social media, but you’ve forgotten the bar man’s name even though you promised to keep in touch as you’d DEFINITELY be returning the following year.
Ah, the post-summer blues, when magic turns to melancholy.
But how to prolong that summer feeling? How to keep hold of that sparkle even when the nights draw further in?
One of my favourite things to do is to try and cook some of the delicious dishes that I’ve tried in warmer climes. Throw in local wine and music and spend an evening reminiscing. You could even go as far as inviting friends and family round. What could be more fun than a Greek night … kebabs, gorgeous wine, lively dancing, plate-smashing. Who wouldn’t want to be invited to a night like that?
I’ve long been a fan of Condé Nast Traveller. It’s the magazine of choice for airport business lounges, where I’ve spent far too many hours over the years delayed while flying around the world for work. I used to flick through it, jealous of all the people heading off on holiday when my destiny seemed to be airport, hotel, office, hotel, airport. But now I get to enjoy it and actually see some of the countries mentioned. In the September issue there’s an amazing article on the best places to eat in New York (best city on earth!), and I’ve added to my ‘must visit’ list after reading the piece on great British weekends.
But it was the feature on the Greek islands that had me wishing that I were still back in Kos, the place we spent a week back in June. So I decided to try their recommended dish, harissa roast tomatoes, to see if I could revive some of that holiday spirit.
“To make harissa roast tomatoes, first preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Take a dozen meaty tomatoes and halve them across their bellies. In a large bowl, beat together two to three tablespoons of harissa with six tablespoons of olive oil, sea salt and a pinch of sugar. Carefully turn the tomatoes in the sauce then tuck them snugly in one layer, cut side up, into an oven-proof dish and spoon any remaining sauce over the top.
Roast for 35-45 minutes until tender and blackened in places. Allow to cool a little or a lot. Meanwhile, blitz a few slices of stale bread (sourdough, perfect) to a rubble of breadcrumbs. Heat a slug of olive oil with a pinch of saffron and some salt. Fry the breadcrumbs, turning them, until golden and crisp. Tip over the tomatoes and finish with torn fresh coriander.”
I served the tomatoes with couscous and a large glass of the crisp Greek wine, Moi Je M’En Fous (both the red and the white are delicious, if you’d like to try them) with Greek music playing away in the background (YouTube has a plethora of songs to choose from). While the weather didn’t quite match up to the blue skies of the Greek isles, it was a fun evening that actually led to us booking next year’s holiday. To Italy. Hopefully, it wasn’t my attempts at Greek cooking that put everyone off returning and instead the lure of the best pizza on earth!
Satisfy your wanderlust whatever the weather with a subscription to Conde Nast Traveller.