Last year I was at the Wimbledon Village Fair when my nose sniffed out a stall serving Greek dips and savoury pastries. Naturally I had to investigate and found that the stall was run by two lovely ladies who had set up their own business Vasso’s Kouzina (previously Yiayia’s Kouzina) selling Greek produce. Unfortunately I couldn’t chat for long but emailed them later to find out more, and lo and behold they actually knew my in-laws. Of course. All Greeks know each other.
Co founded by sister-in-laws (sisters-in-law? – yeesh and I’m meant to be a writer!) Sarah Pylas and Eva Ryan, Vasso’s Kouzina was born out of the idea to share recipes from Yiayia Vasso (Eva’s mum / Sarah’s mother-in-law) and celebrate the food at the heart of her Greek family.
Vasso Pylas was born in Crete and moved to the UK in 1969 where she married her Greek Cypriot husband Lefteris. Vasso worked in many restaurants over the years, and also as a private caterer, devising menus and honing her cooking skills based on her traditional family favourites.
With three children and now three young grandsons, Vasso continues to cook up a storm and Sarah and Eva have managed to turn this lifelong passion into a successful business.
In February 2016, the journey began with the publication of Secrets from Yiayia’s Kouzina – a wonderful collection of 30 traditional and modern Greek meze, soups and dip recipes created by Vasso Pylas. In this book, written by her youngest daughter, Eva, and her daughter-in-law, Sarah, Vasso shares her time-honoured recipes for classic Greek dips, hearty soups and popular family favourites such as delicious spanakopita, blissfully simple salads and delightfully tasty calamari krassato. The stories alongside each recipe take you on a fun journey into her kitchen and family life where you will discover the alluring flavours of authentic Greek cuisine for yourself.
After the success of the book, Sarah and Eva launched the food side of their business in May 2016 at the Dulwich Festival Fair and have since had stalls at New Malden Farmers’ Market, Wimbledon Village Fair, and Thames Ditton Farmers’ Market selling their own range of homemade Greek dips as well as Yiayia Vasso’s popular spanakopita and baklava. Which I can say are absolutely DELICIOUS.
Their houmous, tzatziki and taramosalata were so well received that they have since started supplying to different stores and are even in talks with a supermarket chain!
Vasso’s houmous is available at General Store, Bellenden Road, London SE15 and you can find out when and where Sarah and Eva will be this year so you can pop along and try some of their delicious produce for yourself!
All photographs sourced directly from http://vassoskouzina.com/