Tzatziki, gigantes plaki, cauliflower and pomegranate tabbouleh, vine leaf, herb and yogurt pie, flat breads

καλό ταξίδι (Bon voyage): surprise!

20th April was my last day cooking at the Bonnington cafe for 6 months before heading off to cook in Greece…. In honour of my adventure, I decided to go with a losely Greek themed menu, which involved me in typical style trialling out various dishes on a few discerning friends…

As usual, I had some difficulty deciding on the menu, but went with baked feta with sesame, spinach and orange salad Thanks Nigel Slater
feta photo

followed by a Greek mezze plate

Tzatziki, gigantes plaki, cauliflower and pomegranate tabbouleh, vine leaf, herb and yogurt pie, flat breads

Tzatziki, gigantes plaki, cauliflower and pomegranate tabbouleh, vine leaf, herb and yogurt pie, flat breads

and finishing off with homemade date and nut baklava and vegan icecream

baklava

About a week before the event my dear friend Cecilia said that her colleague Lucy was thinking of coming for her birthday and asked if I would take a group of 15-20 people.. I was slightly suspecting as to why this ‘Lucy’ didn’t contact me directly, however a few hours later, I got an email from said Lucy who did indeed wish to book. She was very accommodating, and said that Cecilia had told her all about the cafe and how it was like a little house, and so she didn’t mind that I couldn’t seat all 20 people on the same table…. I suggested she might want to come in a bit earlier that evening to check how the tables looked and everything, but she thought she wouldn’t have time…

In the meantime, Cecilia and I were also in contact and she said she would try and pop down at some point.. Because I had an early start the next day I arranged to finish early and thought I might be able to enjoy a meal and glass of wine with Cecilia…

Perhaps you’re thinking this is an unneccessary amount of detail… but this is building up to something….. At some point in the evening I decide I needed to check that the large group had managed to fit in ok (I was worried it was going to be a bit of a squash).. In the corner I noticed my friend Shem and thought, that was a coincidence that he knew this girl Lucy and yet didn’t mention to me that he was coming…. And then as I went over to say ‘hi’ I gradually noticed more and more friends I recognised.. The restaurant was half full with about 20 of my friends!!!

Surprise

Me on the left (moment of realisation), Katie, my wonderful waitress on the right

Hats off to Cecilia for her incredible organisational skills, even going so far as to creating a fictitious email address (she’d make a great fraudster eh?) and all my friends who didn’t pepe a word (shame some had already had to try out the food a couple of days previously). I’d never had a surprise party thrown for me before, and it somehow seemed even more apt that I ended up cooking for it (One of my favourite things is to bring different groups of people together to taste test my food).  I really felt so touched that everyone had made such an effort. It reinforced my feelings about how much I’m going to miss having such good friends around. I didn’t mean this to turn into such a gushing post, but I really feel incredibly lucky. And to finish off the surprise I was presented with an apron which everyone had scribbled on their various good luck wishes and jokes about me meeting a hairy Stavros (hmm can I really get away with wearing this in Greece?) and ‘good luck’ written in Greek (unfortunately I didn’t remember this from my Greek lessons!).

Posed photo courtesy of my friend Taryn (if you ever need a profile picture, Taryn’s your lady!)

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