It seems a lifetime ago, but long before having a child and running Cazador, my wife Rebecca and I travelled the world.

We lived to experience new places, faces, and food. It's all we thought of and all we worked for.

We spent the long, hot, financially volatile summer of 2008 far away from the perilous headlines, running a beachside bistro on the Greek island of Naxos.

Rebecca Smidt and husband Dariush Lolaiy in Naxos, Creece. Photo / Supplied
Rebecca Smidt and husband Dariush Lolaiy in Naxos, Creece. Photo / Supplied

Spared of an international airport, Naxos was relatively isolated. Our punters were sleepy Greeks visiting their summer houses, and windswept kite surfers enjoying the island's warm winds.


Though the bistro was a seven-day operation, we always found time for a late dinner, which often became an early morning scooter ride back to our crappy little cabin.

We loved the Aegean island's limited but delicious bounty of ingredients - rich curd-like yogurt, thick glistening honey, pungent oregano, and of course, flame-licked octopus and goat.

One of our favourite dishes to order and prepare for our guests was kleftiko, a slow cooked stew of goat, lemon, oregano, tomato, feta and potato.

We ate, awash with sharp white wine, before the night became a blur of Ouzo, plate-smashing and beachside shenanigans.

Take me back to my 20s, take me back to Naxos.

• Dariush Lolaiy is co-owner and head chef at Cazador
Goat shank kleftiko

Serves 4

4-8 goat shanks (depending on size)
2 onions (peeled and sliced)
6 garlic cloves
200ml dry white wine
3 sprigs of fresh oregano (or thyme)
2 lemons
4 waxy potatoes, cut lengthways into wedges
50ml extra virgin olive oil
4 tomatoes (halved)
200g feta (broken into pieces)


1 Season the shanks liberally a few hours before cooking.
2 Sear the shanks over high heat in a heavy based pan with olive oil until browned all over.
3 Add shanks to tray and deglaze the pan with dry white wine, and add the liquid to the tray.
4 Add a few bashed garlic cloves, onion and fresh oregano.
5 Squeeze 2 lemons over the meat, and add the used lemon halves to the tray.
6 Pour the 50ml of olive oil over everything and seal the tray tightly with tin foil.
7 Put in a low oven for two hours.
8 Add peeled waxy potato wedges, halved tomatoes, and feta to the pan.
9 Toss everything so it's all coated in oil and juices and return to the oven for another 40 minutes or until the meat is falling off the bone.
10 Serve a little of everything in a shallow bowl with flat bread to mop up the juices.