two meetings in one day

More analysis on the first day of the Greek AIDS Conference in a bit. Meantime if you want to follow my commentary on the TEDx Athens meeting, please look at my Twitter page. Over and out.


busy weekend: TEDx Athens + 2010 Greek National AIDS Conference

I will be juggling a busy weekend between TEDx Athens and the 3-day Greek AIDS Conference which commences tomorrow morning. For more information on the programme for the AIDS Conference (which incidentally, will be held at the Grande Bretagne in Syndagma Square) - please visit the conference website at - http://www.aids2010.gr/.

I am attending the meeting on behalf of a Greek-based NGO - Positive Voice (Θετική Φωνή). Please visit their blog to learn more about their incredible work in advocating for HIV/AIDS prevention, access to treatment, and human rights in HIV-infected patients.

count our blessings on this Thanksgiving

My family, health, friends, community, my job, my teachers, sunshine in Athens, good food, good neighbours, a farmer's market in front of my house, proximity to the train station, access to the Parthenon for free, wireless internet, my Macbook Pro.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! And for all you pie lovers, please check out this video from today's New York Times.


Lela's amazing Thanksgiving roasted ham with Hawaiian sauce

This is a recipe courtesy of my father by email this morning, but it's my mother's traditional ham recipe with a delightful Hawaiian sauce, which she typically serves both at Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is one of her best, in my humble opinion! Note my father's precise measurements (the trained chemist in him). Love it.

And I quote:

You buy a chunk of ham with the bone. You place it cut side down in the bake pan. Pour 1 cup of hot water on the ham, and you sprinkle and rub with brown sugar enough to cover the whole chunk. Then, you stick gloves on the surface of the ham about one inch apart. You cover with aluminum foil. You place in the oven 325 Degrees Fahrenheit or 163 Celsius. You bake it for 1/4 of an hour for each pound of ham, so if the ham is 6 lbs - then you cook it for an hour and a half.

The Hawaiian sauce : One can of pineapple , dissolve in the juice, (1/2) one half tea spoon of cornstarch (νισαστές) and 1/2 cup of the juice from the ham also add 7 cherries and 2 ts ( tea spoons) of the juice from the cherries for color you simmer it at low heat until the sauce starts thickening you remove and you are done.

TEDx Athens: Meeting of the curious minds

Meeting of the minds this Friday in Athens. I CAN NOT wait. Be there. TEDx Athens. I found out about this from another mate, and I am a bit surprised I managed to sneak in an application this late. In any event, entrepreneurs, poets, sommeliers, you name it - it's going to be a fantastic gathering from what it looks like. This is a refreshing change from the gloom and doom of the IMF and all this negative energy. One particularly cool character is this guy, Kostas Grammatis, a visiting researcher at the MIT Media labs, and the founder of ahumanright.org. Check his work out. I will also be attending the Greek AIDS Conference, and blogging from there.


Greek Thanksgiving?

So, what would a Greek Thanksgiving entail?

All the American traditions with a Greek twist? My personal favourite is halloumi cheese stuffed in the turkey cavity.


my amazingly robust and fragrant baked sea-bass with fennel and ouzo

My friends Alexi and Daphne came over for dinner the other day, and I made a lovely old recipe of mine to test out my new AEG oven. For those who are intimidated by fish, this is a very robust, easy recipe. I bought in the afternoon some fresh sea-bass (λαβράκι) from the fishmonger's - and I had them scale it, and then gut it. When I came home, I carefully clipped the fins with a pair of scissors, and gave it a final wash again under cold water. Most importantly, I kept the head on (since there's always someone who wants to eat it). I tend to use a combination of wine and ouzo when cooking seafood, since I find the addition of ouzo heightens the flavours. Recipe follows, folks.

1 large sea-bass, whole, with head, scaled, and gutted
1 large lemon, thinly sliced
juice of 1 large lemon
1 large fennel, thinly sliced
2 knobs of butter
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
2 scallions, thinly chopped
1 medium size red onion, finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 cup of white wine (any wine will do)
2 shots of ouzo

Preheat oven to 220 degrees C. Take 2 large pieces of aluminium foil (more than double the length of the sea bass), and stack them one on top of the other. In a medium size pot with salted boiling water, poach fennel slices for 4 minutes, and then drain in cold water. In roasting pan, place stacked aluminium foils in the bottom (half of the foil will extend past the length of the pan), and lay the sea bass on top. Season the sea bass on the outside with salt and freshly ground pepper, and rub with olive oil. Stuff the sea bass with 3-4 lemon slices, the butter, and a bit of the fennel (oh, and some of the garlic!). Don't worry if some of it extends out of the cavity of the fish.

Add the onions, scallions, and the remaining fennel and garlic around the fish, and on top. Pour the white wine and ouzo on top of the fish. You can drizzle some extra olive oil at this stage over the vegetables if you wish. Take the aluminium foil that extends out of the pan, and wrap it over the sea bass, creating tight creases around the edges to trap the air inside. Place pan in the middle rack of your pre-heated oven, and bake for 30-35 minutes. Serve immediately with some fresh bread, and a lovely white wine. I had the pleasure of two bottles of a Greek dry white called Ψηλές Κορφές (2008) which Alexi and his wife brought over. It had a very prominent sweetness, fruits, with a lovely finish.


important paper on funding for chronic disease prevention

Friend and colleague Andrea Feigl just published a seminal piece called ‘Where Have All the Donors Gone?: Scarce Funding for Chronic Diseases’. Her co-author, Rachel Nugent, discusses in an interview the current funding mechanisms for non-communicable diseases (NCDs). This is particularly important given the UN Summit on NCDs that will take place next year in NYC, and will serve as a critical moment to get governments, health policy experts, and donors on the same page.


A little slice of posh food right in my own backyard. I can't freakin' believe it. I just found out about this restaurant, Aneton, near my home here in Maroussi. One of the owners is a the presenter, Vassilis Kalidis, on a new cooking show called Food and the City on MEGA. In fact, my good friend and future cousin Margarita was raving about this place last week. Now I know where I'm going this weekend.

I can't judge yet, but their website maintains a rather funky, very cool 70s look (of which I am a fan).