March 25th, 1821

That is the day that Greeks began the uprising against the occupation by the Ottoman Turks. Today in Greece, it’s naturally a national holiday and in each town, village and city there will be parades, speeches and commemorative wreaths laid in honour of fallen soldiers.

For us Greeks here in the Diaspora, we are bound to Greece through our church, the associations (syllogi) that are the umbrella for families from the same town and more recently, through the internet and satellite television.

When I was younger, I had no appreciation of how lucky I was to be born of Greek extraction. My awakening as a Greek occurred through my early visits to Greece and it was cemented in my teenage years. I finally was able to appreciate the history, culture, beauty of the land, the food, the language and the people.

Greece has a population of about 11 million and about an equal amount of Greeks live abroad, throughout the rest of the world. Hellenism is an ideal. It’s a way of thinking. It’s a state of mind, it’s a feeling of being some how related to any Greek, no matter how far away from home you are and no matter where you bumped into your fellow Greek.

Greece exists beyond it’s Greek borders…South Africa, Europe, Australia, North & South America, in Asia. Everywhere there are Greeks, think of it as a beacon of light, a far far Greek islet still tied to this ancient land’s legacy.

The Greek National Anthem still gives me the shivers. Although I’m biased, I think it’s one of the most stirring anthems out there.

The lore behind the Greek flag is also very moving.

The stripes represent the number of the syllables in the phrase:

Eleftheria e Thanatos (Liberty or Death). Liberty or Death was the battle cry during the years of the Hellenic Revolution against the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century.

Others claim that the stripes reflect the number of letters in the Greek word for Freedom (Eleftheria).

The cross in the top left of the flag represents our faith, Greek-Orthodox Christianity.The blue stripe represents the Greek seas and white represents the restless Greek tide, white from the glare of the relentless Greek sun.

I leave you with a Greek food custom, which is to eat cod fish on March 25th. The usual fare is Bakaliaro with Skordalia and I’ll show you that soon as well.

As a departure from the Bakaliaro, I tried my hand at Cod fish cakes. The cod fish cake is Greek, the sauce could be Greek but it comes from a Canadian food show called “This Food, That Wine”.

I tried their Mustard Artichoke Aioli which they served with some crab cakes but I found the cod to be a suitable partner to this tangy dip.

Please note: use the juice of just half a lemon, as the the Aioli is tangy enough from the mustard.

If you would like to try something that’s not too garlicky, little tangy and balanced by sweet cod, try Cod Fish Cakes and Mustard Artichoke Aioli.

Cod Fish Cakes and Mustard Artichoke Aioli

500gr. dried salt cod fillets (boned)
4 medium potatoes
1 clove of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives (or scallions)
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely diced

1 small onion, grated

1 egg, beaten
2 Tbsp. milk

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1/2 tsp. black pepper

2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt (if necessary)

  1. Place the salt cod in a bowl, cover will with cold water; stand overnight. Drain water and cover with water one to two more times to draw out all the salt from the fish.
  2. Drain cod, place in a saucepan, cover with cold water and simmer uncovered fro 15 minutes. Drain, pat dry with paper towel. Flake the cod with a fork and remove any bones that might have been missed.
  3. Meanwhile, boil your potatoes in salted water until tender, then mash.
  4. Pre-heat your oven to 375F. Lightly grease a baking pan.
  5. Combine the cod with the remaining ingredients in a bowl and form the mixture into balls, then flatten them out in to patties.
  6. Place the patties on the baking tray, brush with oil or treat with cooking spray and bake for 10 minutes and then flip and bake for another 10 minutes.
  7. Serve warm or room temperature with Mustard Artichoke Aioli.

© 2008 – 2012,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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41 Comments for “March 25th, 1821”

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

Very informative bit of Greek history! I hope you enjoy the day. The cod and aioli sounds like a great way to celebrate it food-wise.

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

Very informative bit of Greek history! I hope you enjoy the day. The cod and aioli sounds like a great way to celebrate it food-wise.

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

Very informative bit of Greek history! I hope you enjoy the day. The cod and aioli sounds like a great way to celebrate it food-wise.

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

Very informative bit of Greek history! I hope you enjoy the day. The cod and aioli sounds like a great way to celebrate it food-wise.

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

Very informative bit of Greek history! I hope you enjoy the day. The cod and aioli sounds like a great way to celebrate it food-wise.

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

Very informative bit of Greek history! I hope you enjoy the day. The cod and aioli sounds like a great way to celebrate it food-wise.

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

Very informative bit of Greek history! I hope you enjoy the day. The cod and aioli sounds like a great way to celebrate it food-wise.

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

Very informative bit of Greek history! I hope you enjoy the day. The cod and aioli sounds like a great way to celebrate it food-wise.

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

Very informative bit of Greek history! I hope you enjoy the day. The cod and aioli sounds like a great way to celebrate it food-wise.

Sylvia

says:

I love, love cod fish.But unfortunately I don’t find a good one here (salted or fresh)Your dish looks fabulous

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

I was so excited to try the chicken and then you bowl me over with this dish. It looks delicious, but am I just stupid to ask where the artichoke and mustard comes into the picture.

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

I was so excited to try the chicken and then you bowl me over with this dish. It looks delicious, but am I just stupid to ask where the artichoke and mustard comes into the picture.

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

I was so excited to try the chicken and then you bowl me over with this dish. It looks delicious, but am I just stupid to ask where the artichoke and mustard comes into the picture.

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

I was so excited to try the chicken and then you bowl me over with this dish. It looks delicious, but am I just stupid to ask where the artichoke and mustard comes into the picture.

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

I was so excited to try the chicken and then you bowl me over with this dish. It looks delicious, but am I just stupid to ask where the artichoke and mustard comes into the picture.

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

I was so excited to try the chicken and then you bowl me over with this dish. It looks delicious, but am I just stupid to ask where the artichoke and mustard comes into the picture.

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

I was so excited to try the chicken and then you bowl me over with this dish. It looks delicious, but am I just stupid to ask where the artichoke and mustard comes into the picture.

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

I was so excited to try the chicken and then you bowl me over with this dish. It looks delicious, but am I just stupid to ask where the artichoke and mustard comes into the picture.

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

I was so excited to try the chicken and then you bowl me over with this dish. It looks delicious, but am I just stupid to ask where the artichoke and mustard comes into the picture.

Bellini Valli

says:

It is always interesting to hear more about the modern history of Greece. When I was in Ioannina we stayed in a small hotel in the Kastro and ventured to the small island of Nissi to the Ali Pasha Museum where he met his doom in 1822. On to the food…It’s fragrance is wafting to me from across the country with it’s garlic aioli…delish!!

Ivy

says:

Chronia Polla Peter. Well done, perfectly said but don’t forget today is also the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, a very significant religious feast. The name day for Vangelis and Evangelia.

Sam Sotiropoulos

says:

We must be on the same wavelength… I made cod fish cakes on Saturday, we ate the leftovers last night! They were fantastic!

Zhto h Ellada!

Judy @ No Fear Entertaining

says:

I grew up in Toronto firmly enmeshed in the Greek culture through many amazing friends. My husband’s family is Italian and the passion for the culture is very similar. Thanks once again for the history lesson!

This recipe looks incredible. What a great use for cod!

aforkfulofspaghetti

says:

Yep, I’ll have some of those, please. Great idea for aioli, using the artichokes that way.

Peter M

says:

Mike, like much seafood, it’s getting costly but what the heck!

Sylvia, any other white fish fillet should do fine.

Nina, click the highlighted link to the orig. recipe with the Aioli.

Val…garlic can travel across Canada!

Pixie, the tartness of the sauce plays well against the sweetness of the fish.

Hvi, I’m calling anyone Evangelos’ & Evangelia’s I know.

Sam, bakaliaro is truly delicious.

Judy, Toronto is fortunate to have a large Greek population.

Maria, ZHTO!

Forkful, you have to get past the whole octopus to get to it! lol

Ben

says:

I always learn something new in my wanderings on the blog-o-sphere and I am glad you gave us a little bit of Greek history today.

I hope you have a great day and enjoy your delicious food :D

Simona

says:

Interesting post, Peter, as always. I like the story behind the Greek flag. Nice cod cakes too.

Peter G

says:

Chronia polla Peter. A great mini history lesson for all. And I like what you’ve done with the bacalao. Very creative!

Laurie Constantino

says:

Χαίρε, ω χαίρε, Ελευθεριά!
Good writing, and the aioli variation sounds delicious to boot!

Catherine Wilkinson

says:

I’m standing now, in honor of Greece! And these cod cakes!
Very impressive. As always, Peter.

giz

says:

Although we each have our own heritage, it gives me the shivers and a strong sense of respect to see you stand as a strong and dedicated Greek. I also hate you for making me look at pictures of Santorini – one of the most beautiful places on earth while the snow is falling in Canada…sigh

Now the food – is it possible to make the cod cakes without using salt cod? I like the mix with the aioli.

Randi

says:

what beautiful tradition and those look super awesome yummy. ya know, i could use more fish in my diet. i’m on it!

Peter M

says:

Ben, this is just a drip in the iceberg. History class in Greece is the hardest because it goes back so far in time!

Simona, it moves me (the story) still.

Pete, the Portuguese are known for making great cod cakes, I just borrowed their idea.

Laurie, ZHTO!

Catherine, it’s a little, whacky country with many contradictions but I love it.

Giz, that’s also what’s great about Canada…we can be Canadian and embrace our ethnic duality.

Randi, git on it girl!

Marie, more baccala comin’ up.

Paula

says:

Before I moved to Wisconsin, I promised myself that I would start dancing once I settled, figuring I would end up taking some kind of lessons. A couple of months after the move, I had the opportunity to audition for a Greek Folk Dance troop. The fact that I hadn’t done anything besides club-style dancing since about the age of 6 for some reason didn’t deter me from accepting this invitation/challenge.

Ten years later, I’m still dancing and performing with this group. I recently got to thinking about why I was still with them (not that I don’t love it), and came to a conclusion that because my heritage is of mixed cultures, none of them (recently anyway) Greek, I never really understood what it was like to have a strong cultural tie. Learning the dances of the various areas of Greece, the history, and the cuisine has given me some of this experience – an adopted culture.

Núria

says:

Thanks for the wonderful introduction about some Greek aspects! You were very inspired, Peter!

Concerning the dish, I love to know that you too use salty cod in your kitchens… it’s one of my favs. This one, with this allioli, I must try!

Roy

says:

Wow, such a wonderful recipy. It’s a pity that we in Norway don’t have better traditions for using salt cod ( as we belive we made up the comcept of the salted cod ).

But since you posted this today, I have to ask if you got the recipe for the aioli. The link did not work for me, even if I tried several times.

Roy