Usually on Easter Sunday the Greeks prepare lamb on the spit as the highlight of our Easter celebration. This year however it is not going to be like that. For the first time ever in my life and most likely the first time in history, as our historians say. We will be at home, eating lamb that does not come from the spit and we won’t be eating it with our extended family. I feel we have to eat some lamb to keep the Easter spirit alive. On this blog you will find two very tasty and simple ways to make fried lamb chops at home. One with yoghurt and feta sauce and one with lemon and paprika!
My husband Rik preparing the Easter lamb
Fasting before Easter
For almost the last 40 days the Greek Orthodox Christians have been eating vegan. During this fasting period they avoid any meat, also all animal products like cheese, eggs, milk, etcetera. Especially during the last week of this 40 days, (the Holy Week or Big Week as we call it in Greek; “Megali Evdomada”), all Greeks are fasting. Or at least that is what we tell our children. We Greeks consider this a very important part of our children’s education to become responsible Greek Orthodox people. My mother was always fasting and demanded it from us too.
During the Big Week my brother and I had to wait all 7 days for an egg or some cheese. For my brother that was not that difficult, being the easy son, always obeying his mothers “orders” as most Greek boys do. He certainly did not have the connection with food that I had from a very young age; I was born a foodie. My brother also did what I told him to do, looking up to his big sister.
Me with my mother and brother.
Forbidden Easter cookies
So the Big Week was never easy for me with all the extra restrictions; the “Don’t try that” and “That is not allowed” from my mother. I found her demands and rules really difficult. Every time I complained to my mother, she said that Christ had to climb the mount with a cross on his shoulders and did not complain, while I was complaining for not being able to eat an egg or one of those nice cookies that she was preparing for Easter.
Greek Easter cookies Koulourakia Pashalina
The Easter cookies we all made together were my biggest torture. I was not allowed to eat even one! Very difficult times, my friends. I recall one Easter when I was probably 8 years old. I remembered the torture from the previous Big Weeks. I felt that the eyes of the entire family (my grandmothers, aunties and uncles) and probably the neighbours and everyone else on Poros where watching me to protect me from my bad self, but nobody was looking at my brother!
Stealing Easter cookies
Yes my friends, I thought of the perfect solution and did it. I asked my sweet little brother, who was so innocent in the eyes of the family so nobody was watching him, to go and sneak some Easter cookies for us. I don’t think that anyone ever suspected him. My mother noticed that the pile of Easter cookies got smaller everyday, but she would never suspect my little brother and she kept watching me. So the mystery only grew with time and it never got solved, until now…Forgive me Lord as I have sinned! In case you wonder, I am still very close to my brother but he doesn’t always do what I tell him to, anymore.
Me with my father and brother.
Fried Lamb Chops
Next to piles of Easter cookies, I look forward to eating some lamb again during our Easter celebrations. I am going to prepare fried lamb chops in two different ways: one with yoghurt and feta sauce and one with lemon and paprika! When it comes to frying the lamb chops, you have to be careful not to fry them for too long (unless you like your meat dry and very well done). The fried lamb chops with paprika and lemon will take you more time to cook. Its even tastier the next day, so be sure to make enough for another day!
The yoghurt and feta sauce is a nice change to tzatziki, easy to make and very tasty!
If you like to drink a nice wine with your fried lamb chops, I recommend the dry red wine called Fleva from Skouras winery.
I wish everybody a very Happy Greek Easter!! Kalo Pascha!!
Making Easter cookies at Odyssey
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