Friday, 3 April 2020

Not Meat Pies

I had loads of homemade crazy pastry leftover from my last recipe of minced meat pies.  Cousin Jenny back home in NZ came to my aid again.  She suggested samosas.  Some sort of small pie with potatoes, chickpeas and curry.  Well, guess what we cooked yesterday?  Chickpeas.  Tons of them.  I soak them overnight and cook them in the pressure cooker the next day.  Some we eat that day, the rest go in the freezer.  Supermarkets here do not have tins of chickpeas on their shelves.  We buy them raw, by the kilo.

So, I had the pastry and I had the chickpeas.  After a google search I got the gist of samosas and made my own.

We can get curry powder but not most of the other spices that seem to go into them.

I fried some onions, boiled some potatoes, mixed it all together with curry and chickpeas, rolled the pastry out thin and baked them, not fried.

There's one of them in the photo above, what else.

I made them quite small, two-bite size.  I can tell you they are really scrummy as a meze with a glass of wine or even a vodka and lemon, our lemons.

As for the vodka.  That came from Bulgaria via a friend whose daughter is up north studying at a University near the border.  He hops/hopped over for the border to Bulgaria now and again for cheap supplies.  K thought he had been given another bottle of raki.  Fortunately I squinted at the label, in Bulgarian, and realised it was a much more precious liquid.  K's raki supply is essential for his mental health during these troubled times, well now I have something to boost my spirits too.  

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Island Scenes

A couple of octopuses hanging out to dry along with my woolly 

A back street scene on this greek island

The little car ferry sailing across the bay on a sunny winter's day

Red roof tiles and blue sea

Our last Sunday lunch has just gone into the oven.  Tuna cooked on a roof tile.  Just a little lemon juice, garlic and oregano added.  Exactly 40 minutes and lunch is ready

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Out But Not About

I had a short stroll down our deserted road this morning.  I usually turn left out the gate, up the hill, round the corner and up to the rubbish bins.  Turning right takes me to the end of the cul-de-sac and past the olive groves.  There are no permanent residents down this road but usually there are a couple of neighbours who come daily to their farms feeding chickens, tilling a piece of garden or inspecting their olives and grape vines.

Only the wind in the pines today

A lone poppy amongst the rocks
Spring is somewhere in the air but the
 weather is turning to cold and wet again, and windy

Nets to catch the olives just dumped and forgotten after November's harvest.  This piece of land is abandoned except for the olive harvest

My nasturtiums are climbing over the wall onto
 our neighbour's driveway, overgrown
Just before Easter they usually arrive and strim the drive.  Not this year

One of our own lemon trees
and the garden swing, waiting for fine weather to be scrubbed and moved onto the terrace

And another lone poppy, growing beside Vaso's fire pit where she dragged and burnt the olive trimmings after the harvest
April 1st today, no more fires till October

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Easy Pies

Mince pies, as in minced beef

I have been using this recipe with great success for years and years.  Can't remember where I first found it.  It's easy and always turns out scrumptiously.

Little minced beef tartlets.  I used to call them cornish pasties.  That's what I was trying to make.  They aren't cornish pasties of course but almost.


1/4 kilo minced meat (raw). You could use beef or pork or chicken 
I use beef because it is the only mince we can get here
1 big potato, grated
1 big onion chopped finely

Add salt and pepper.  Squish all that together really well.
Fill pastry squares.  Seal well and bake in a medium oven for about 30-40 minutes.  Till the pastry is nice and brown.  Eat.

No precooking the mince, no fuss and bother.

I usually make my own pastry.  Crazy pastry my friend Anna used to call it.  But these pies work really well with puff pastry, short pastry and I often use fyllo pastry because it is readily available here and cheap.  Try them all.

Crazy Pastry

- One packet, 250 grams, of margarine or butter, melted
or   I often use olive oil instead because it is what I always have on hand
- one tub, 200 grams, of yoghurt.  Sheep, cows, goats, thick or thin, low fat or full fat
- about 500 grams of self raising flour.  Keep adding flour till you have a nice elastic dough.
- salt
Mix that all together with a spoon, then get your hands in there and knead it a little till you get a smooth ball.
Leave 20 minutes and then roll out into small squares or circles.

Monday, 30 March 2020


My poor traditional person had run out of tsipouro (raki/grappa) and was getting fidgety.  Fortunately after some phone calls to a trusted friend he has found a supply that is guaranteed to be  drinkable.  But when isn't it?  I am not sure of the answer to that but we do have a bottle on our shelves which apparently is not drinkable.  I am allowed to use it to make a sweet liqueur.  

In the photo he is taking possession of the liquid gold, both of them keeping their distance even though raki drinkers are not supposed to be at risk.  That also holds for garlic eaters and people who gargle with vinegar says the fake news going around at the moment.  Garlic producers in the north are very happy.  They have sold out of this years crop.

K only buys from distillers who have proved they know their product.  There are always phone calls and discussions before he makes his final choice.  Usually there is a bit of tasting as well but that is not possible at the moment.  The raki often comes from somewhere in the colder northern area of the country or an island with a reputation for good grapes and wine.  There is always a second cousin twice removed or the koumbaros (bestman) of a neighbour who gets a secret supply from the uncle of their extensive family.  It really is who you know if you want any quality service around here.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

What to do

All my grandchildren are teenagers except the youngest and she's on the brink.  One family of four , 2 adults, 2 teenagers, live in our old house.  Two bedrooms, one kitchen , one balcony now roofed and turned into a sitting area.  One room leads into another, no hallways.  Try keeping four people cooped up in that with the 2 teens sharing a bedroom.  

My father-in-law built the house for K, his dowry, although it's the woman who is supposed to provide the house.  F-in-law and his 8 siblings were brought up in a 2 roomed house. One room a storehouse and kitchen with an open fire, the other a bedroom and room for the loom. The 8 children slept on blankets on the floor.  That's the way it was back then and he considered this house he built more than big enough for a family of 4.  Times have changed very fast and dramatically.  The good thing about this house is their roof terrace, up a narrow spiral open staircase, where they have a fantastic view of the island and the bay.  At least they will be able to go up there when the weather is better and let off some steam.

Meanwhile .....

Keeping the children amused in a small house
Cooking is one way to go, especially when both of them like meal making
Grandson is king of the tzatziki but here he is rolling out naan bread
He had already mixed the tzatziki and cooked the gyro for homemade souvlaki

Luli made the naan bread by hand
She is the one who kneaded all the dough for the large loaves of unleavened bread at the beginning of Lent.
Naan bread -
Equal parts of yoghurt and flour
I still haven't made mine but I'll be phoning her for the recipe and tips

Remember the game 'twister'.  
Bottoms up 
I won't tell you which is which

Other family lives next door to a deserted tennis court, away from the road and other human beings
Family exercise in the open 

And to end
here is a message from the NZ police

Friday, 27 March 2020

Night on the Water

The Arion with its newly de-barnacled bottom was taken out on a fishing trip a few nights ago.  It was rather windy and not good for fishing but my grandaughter took some brilliant photos of  the sea at dusk.

Poros bay as the sun goes down over choppy waters