In The Country and Town May 2024

– the fact that I’m Greek Cypriot. Cyprus is a divided island, so the food that I’ve grown up with spans both Greek and Cyprus. I’m Greek, Cypriot – the food is kind of ‘ish’.

“I sliced it and gave her the first slice and she stared at it very intently… She looked at me and she was shaking her head, which means she had nothing to say to me. Not one bad thing to say to me – and that’s a very rare occurrence,” Hayden remembers. “The reason I remember it so clearly is because I’m not convinced it’s ever happened otherwise – trust me, my family will definitely tell me everything they think about everything. No one could tell me my baklava cheesecake isn’t good, because my yia yia has spoken.” And because she’s not drawing on traditional dishes, Hayden’s a bit more nervous about releasing this cookbook into the world. “Relying on tradition or existing recipes, a lot of the time that can make your life easier, to be honest, because you are referring to things that you’ve read elsewhere or you’ve learned elsewhere.So this one is me in all my glory out there, just waiting for the attack really – it’s like I’ve got nothing to hide behind, which is scary but also really exhilarating.” Greekish: Everyday Recipes With Greek Roots by Georgina Hayden is published by Bloomsbury,priced £26.Photography by Laura Edwards.Available April 25. Georgina Hayden’s spiced lamb chops with houmous recipe

“So there’s a looseness that comes with being from this island that’s quite far away from the mainland.”

Plus,the book is dedicated to her two daughters,Persephone, six, and Elektra, three.

“They are ‘Greekish’, they’re half me – Greek Cypriot – and they’re half their dad, who is English-Irish. It’s that second generation, mish-mash of cultures that I think we’re seeing now through a lot of food writers, but also certainly the way I cook and live my life. It’s all becoming a nice amalgamation of different cuisines and cultures.” Few dishes sum up Hayden’s ethos better than the baklava cheesecake. “People are familiar with baklava, they know cheesecake – but we put the two together,” she explains. “I know there are variations out there and I’m not the first to make it, but my version is a bit different – there’s a whole pack of feta in the filling, which gives this really delicious, salty-sweet [taste].” When Hayden served this cheesecake up to her 83-year- old yia yia (her grandmother), she got the best feedback possible.

“In terms of instant dinner gratification, you can’t get much better than this,” says food writer Georgina Hayden.

“It’s up there as one of the quickest meals in the book, worthy to make any weekly repertoire. It takes such little effort for such a lot of flavour – especially if you buy good ready-made houmous.”

Spiced lamb chops with houmous


(Serves 4)

8 lamb chops

2 garlic cloves

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1tsp ground cumin

1tsp ground coriander

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