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Film Released: 1989
Genre: Comedy Drama, Romantic Comedy
Directed by: Lewis Gilbert
Cast/Actors: Pauline Collins, Tom Conti, Bernard Hill, Joanna Lumley


Set in the 1980s, Shirley Valentine is named after the central character of the film. Shirley, played by Pauline Collins, is a middle aged housewife who lives in Liverpool Their two children have grown up and left home and Shirley is left alone with her dull husband Joe (played by Bernard Hill). She is bored, lonely and feeling unloved, unwanted and unneeded and has taken to talking to her kitchen wall.

A chance meeting with a woman she used to go to school with, Marjory (played by Joanna Lumley) dredges up old memories of when she was a rebellious teenager and stirs up more sad feelings of how her “little” life has turned out.

One day her girlfriend announces that she’s won two tickets to Greece and insists that Shirley goes with her. Shirley reluctantly agrees but is soon having second thoughts after Joe and her daughter’s reaction to the idea. However, after she’s pulled the leg of one of her snooty neighbours about going to Greece with her lover, and the neighbour totally believing her and confiding that she thinks she’s wonderful and brave, Shirley bites the bullet and goes leaving a note for Joe saying gone to Greece.

Once there, having been deserted by her girlfriend who went off with a man she met on the plane, Shirley meets Costa, a Greek café/bar owner and they have a brief affair which results in Shirley getting her self esteem back and deciding to stay in Greece.

Various foods are mentioned from the very beginning - from egg and chips to steak to calamari. Whilst working in Costa’s café, Shirley is serving two English people who ask what a certain item is on the menu.

“Kleftiko? Oooo it’s lovely. It’s lamb cooked very very slowly in oregano.”

And so it is.

Happy Cooking!


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Kleftiko   HT   MC   Greek   120mins

Serves 4 – 6     Hot   Lamb Meat Herbs   Main Course   Greece Mediterranean Europe  Gluten Wheat Dairy Free  Eggless

1 x 1.3kg boned Shoulder or leg of Lamb
150ml/5fl.oz. Olive Oil
3 Garlic Cloves, cut into slivers
4 tbsp Freshly chopped Oregano
The Juice of 1 Lemon
Salt and Black Pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 220C, 425F, Gas Mark 7. Heat half of the oil in a large frying pan, add the lamb and brown on all sides. Remove from the pan draining well.

2. Cut 2 very long (1m) pieces of baking parchment (paper is traditional) or aluminium foil, then place one lengthways and one widthways into a roasting tin so that they overhang the sides.

3. Using a small sharp knife, pierce holes at intervals about 2.5cm/1-inches deep in the lamb and push the garlic slivers into the cuts.

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4. Place the remaining oil, lemon juice, herbs, salt and pepper in a small bowl, mix well then massage the mixture all over the lamb.

5. Place the lamb onto the paper in the roasting tin, folding in in half or loosely rolling it, then bring the over-lapping pieces of parchment paper together, form into a parcel folding the edges over to form a seal then roast for 20 minutes.

6. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C, 350F, Gas Mark 4 and continue to roast for a further 1 ½ hours.



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