My uncle Aggelos was my mother’s elder brother, and a man who was always content! I have never seen him angry, sad or unhappy. Even though he had a lot of reasons to be unhappy he never was. My uncle Aggelos loved the Greek horta, edible wild leafy green vegetables. I therefore devote this blog about the Horta fritters with yoghurt dip to him, in loving memory of this amazing man. This delicious meze can also be made with almost any kind of leafy green vegetable.
Wine to fight death
Uncle Aggelos married early to an incredibly beautiful woman he fell in love with. She was a very poor girl he knew his father would not approve of. This did not matter to him at all; he married her and left Poros with her, to live in Athens. However, the unexpected happened; His wife met the big love of her life in Athens and left him with his son. Uncle Aggelos took his little son (my cousin) and came back to Poros. He lived near us for a few years until he met another woman who took care of them both.
Uncle Aggelos (in the black jacket) and my mother (on his left)
Early in his life he was diagnosed with a rare nerve disease and the doctors predicted that he would not have very long to live. The contrary happened and he actually lived to become 70 years old! Uncle Aggelos had an interesting philosophy he shared with everyone who wanted to listen; Drinking some wine everyday had helped him to fight his biggest enemy: death. Often you would see him in Poros-town visiting the local tavernas and drinking a few glasses of wine accompanied with some mezedes in each place. Meanwhile he would sit with his friends and share the latest gossip. They made jokes, had fun and mostly you would hear them singing old songs!! He was such a good and light soul.
Looking for Horta
A few times per year uncle Aggelos would drive his wife and my mother to the mountains nearby to pick up some horta. These wild edible greens are one of the nicest delicacies that nature gives us in abundance. All we have to do is to go out on a nice day and pick them. If you want to know more about horta, I have written a blog about it before. On the way back he would stop at his favourite meze place, bring them some of this fresh horta after which the owners would make horta fritters for him and his friends (among other recipes)!
Horta fritters with yoghurt dip
In Greece we call these vegetable-balls chorto-keftedes. It’s a wonderful and simple vegan meze that you don’t have to go to the Greek mountains for. You can use a lot of different leafy green vegetables like spinach, curly kale, chard or chicory, or any of the most common and most available greens you can find. Use what you have at home and create a nice change to your everyday menu! You can serve the fritters with my dip made of Greek yoghurt, fresh olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin and the zest of a lemon. Especially on a hot day it’s wonderful to drink for example a nice ouzo, tsipouro or beer with your horta fritters. Yammas!
Photography: Annette Spaan
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