from one generation to the next
My home turf, until the 1960s, was a working class suburb, narrow streets lined with single fronted timber workers cottages tightly crammed into the space not occupied by warehouses and factories. Then the large Greek community who has called Richmond home since migrating in the 50s & 60s began the gentrification process, adding cream brick and wrought iron adornment to the tiny house facades and planting fig and lemon trees in the postage stamp sized gardens. They worked in the factories or opened cafes, takeaways, fish shops and green groceries. The majority have moved on now, their kids realising prices one hundredfold the original buy price, though there is still there is a small but strong Greek community in my locality.
We miss Zorba’s souvlaki bar which closed its doors many years ago, but we owe them one for introducing to us the concept of putting mushrooms into a souvlaki. This is fast food from the home kitchen, quick to prepare, tasty and nutritious.
5 lamb fillets*
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground sumac
Good grinding black pepper
3 extra large mushrooms
2 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 telegraph cucumber, roughly chopped
1/2 red onion (optional)
1 small cos lettuce, sliced
5 souvlaki pittas
1 x 200g tub tzatziki
Mix together the garlic, oil, sumac, salt and pepper. Thinly slice the lamb fillet, then in a small
bowl mix the seasoning into the lamb. Set aside to marinate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 160C.
Thinly slice the mushrooms.
Toss together the lettuce, tomato and cucumber.
Lay the pitta on an oven tray and warm in the oven for 10 miniutes.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan, sauté the mushrooms over a high heat, then season well with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Reheat the pan, then over a high heat, sear the lamb until well caramelized. Add the mushrooms and reheat.
To serve, divide the meat and mushrooms between the pitta, top with a generous serving of
the salad and a good dollop of tzatziki.
Fold the pitta over the filling and serve. Have plenty of napkins handy.
* thinly sliced leftover roast lamb works well instead of the lamb fillets. Omit the marinade step and add the garlic, oregano and sumac to the pan.