With the 25th anniversary of Odyssey coming up in 2020, I would like to reflect a bit on these past years. My daughter Dora was just a baby when Odyssey first opened. My husband Rik was busy with his computer business. Back then I did everything from the cooking, cleaning and planting the vegetables you are all able to enjoy now. So much has changed since then. Leading up to the 25th anniversary, I share a recipe from the year the Odyssey opened: Mussels Saganaki.
In the early years the kitchen of the Odyssey was simple. I had my friend Jan helping me cook delightful crepes, salads and sandwiches, as well as my favourite desserts. We had ice cream and “a help yourself” refrigerator with cold beverages. At some point I wanted to experiment with modern Greek cuisine, mixing the old with the new and getting creative! I started giving cooking classes. They gave me such joy because I was able to share my love for the Greek kitchen and for cooking. In the autumn of 2014 we launched Katerina’s Kouzina, that also allowed me to share my ‘culinary love’ online. I am so grateful for all my guests, cooking students and blog followers throughout the years. A big THANK YOU to all of you!
Photo: Toni Brown
Odyssey’s aim was always to use fresh, local ingredients and serve healthy food, but this has become even more important to us the past years. In addition to the one on our olive farm, we have created a vegetable and herb garden on the roof of the Odyssey. At the glamping site on our olive farm you can enjoy living close to nature and pick your own oranges and lemons from the trees. ‘Green’ and sustainable living is very important to the Odyssey.
Photo: Toni Brown
Dreams for the future
Dora is now also running Odyssey and we have an amazing staff that I am so proud of. Because Dora is in charge of the Odyssey on Poros island, Rik and I are able to focus on our extension of Odyssey at our olive farm, and dream of new and exciting programmes for the future. The dream we had for Odyssey 25 years ago has come true because of our special guests who have come to stay with us. We love each and every minute spent with you and always are thrilled when you entrust us enough to return and bring us new friends and family for their holiday on Poros.
Photo: Annette Spaan
Now back to the recipe! If you are a follower of Katerina’s Kouzina, you have previously seen the blogs about the Cheese Saganaki and the Prawn Saganaki. You might have noticed Greeks just love their Saganaki! Like I have explained on these blogs, one of the Greek frying pans is called Saganaki, in which we make different dishes – usually a meze or snack – carrying the name Saganaki. To continue this series, I now want to encourage you to make the Mussels Saganaki which is one of my favourites! It’s really easy to make.
When I grew up, mussels where not so easy to find on Poros; there did not seem to be many. Only when I got to travel to Thessaloniki and it’s Thermaic Gulf, I found so many of them. The Thermaic Gulf is famous for its great seafood, like prawns. I hope you can find some beautiful fresh mussels where you live and give this recipe a try at home! We photographed the Mussel Saganaki at our beloved olive farm. What a perfect place to cook! We could take many of the ingredients directly from our vegetable garden.
Making Mussels Saganaki
When you have all the ingredients, first heat the olive oil in a pan. Fry the mussels for just 3 minutes and take them out of the pan.
Add the onion to the pan that contains the remaining olive oil and sauté for about 3 minutes until the onion is soft. When ready, add the salt, garlic, granulated sugar, oregano and finely chopped parsley. Add the finely chopped green pepper, lower heat and add the tomatoes. Bring the sauce to the boil and allow most of the liquid to evaporate.
Add the tomato paste, mix and add the mussels.
Crumble the feta over the mussels saganaki.
Add some olive oil, pepper and dill. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley and serve with bread!
For the recipe of the Mussels Saganaki I recommend this wonderful dry white wine from Domaine Skouras: Dum Vinum Sperum.
Food photography: Annette Spaan
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