On Friday 24th May my lovely cousin Michelle Catacos competed in an episode of Come Dine With Me, set in the town of Reigate, Surrey (where I grew up). I was so excited to see her on the TV, and see the final cut of the show that I'd heard so much about. I'm a huge, huge fan of CDWM, and I especially love the humour of the sharp-tongued narrator Dave Lamb - he is hilarious! Mind you, when someone you love dearly is about to be subjected to his quick wit you start to feel a little shaky!
Liam and I attended a mass viewing of the show on Friday night at a Surrey golf club, along with other family members and friends. It was so fun to watch the show altogether and she did incredibly well.
The other competitors included; American Interior designer Carol Chalmers, businessman Robin Lewis, and the hilariously eccentric semi-retired Dr Lady Anna Brocklebank. All four competitors made for a great hours viewing - some hilarious moments including my cousin realising she was sat in the 'death room' and her talk of Cannibal Lecter!
If you missed the show you can view it here on Channel 4OD (Series 29, Episode 11)
Most importantly I wanted to blog about Michelle's amazing food.
She is a fabulous self-taught cook who is incredibly passionate about fresh food, and strong flavour. We quite often compare and share recipes and tips, and I know she regularly reads my blog (thanks Mich!) so I thought it would be nice to pay homage to her culinary skills here on the blog.
I share Michelle's love of Greek food (she lived in Greece for 5 years, and is now married to a lovely Greek man!) and so I was especially excited when she said she would be cooking a Greek-inspired menu for CDWM. I was even more excited when she invited Liam and I over to her house for a trial run of her menu a few weeks before the show. Lucky us!
Baked Feta with Spinach Cigars and homemade Olive Bread
Beef Stifado, Pork Souvlaki and Lamb Keftedes
The meal was absolutely delicious - especially the spinach cigars which were my favourite! Everything was presented beautifully, with amazing flavours that took me straight back to holidays I've had in Greece. The portions were generous, and the table looked so beautiful with all Michelle's sparkle and glitz.
Here are some photos from our trial run night at Michelle's house....
baked feta, spinach cigars and homemade olive bread with Tsatziki dip
find the recipe here
Beef Stifado, Pork Souvlaki and Lamb Keftedes with crushed potatoes, and Greek flatbreads
Greek salad - my favourite!!
Ekmek Kataifi -
a Greek shredded pastry with syrup, topped off with luxurious lemon semolina custard, and fresh whipped cream topped with nut brittle.
What a stunning meal - we felt so lucky to have been able to taste everything, and it was a weird feeling to watch the show and for the first time ever really know what the food tasted like.
It was no surprise to us that Michelle's Come Dine With Me night went down so well, and we were all so proud of her.
Here are some quotes from her dinner guests on the night:
"Really well done, beautifully presented, and the food was pretty-good" Robin
"...her presentation, her style, her panache could not be faulted!" Anna
"The starter was wonderful, she did a great job, you can't fault her" Carol
"Amazing table presentation" Robin
"Usually I would have only eaten a third of what was given to me, but I ate the lot! Need I say any more?" Anna
Definitely tune in on 4OD if you haven't had the chance yet, and I'd definitely recommend you giving her recipes a whirl!
Well done again Michelle - A Greek Goddess in the Kitchen.
If you'd like to meet Michelle in person why not book into her nail salon The Nail Boutique, Lesbourne Road, Reigate, Surrey for a pampering session while you pick her brains on her culinary skills!