Tuesday 6 September 2016

All things Greek

School's in -

Schools open 12th September and teachers are ready to strike on the 15th.  Welcome to the Greek education system.  The reason for striking this time is the  change in the after-school program which keeps children with working parents in school till 4pm.  Two of my grandchildren, 9 and 10 years old are about to become latch-key kids.  It is a small greek island, they are only 5 minutes from school and their house is part of an extended family compound.  These two children are the lucky ones.  School begins at 8.15am and ends for the day at 1.10pm. Their mother finishes her morning shift at 2pm.  Last year the kids remained at school till 2pm until their mother collected them.  This year they'll walk home by themselves at 1.10, let themselves in and probably watch TV till 2.  Children living at the other end of the island with parents working in banks or government jobs are the ones who will be affected most.  Most offices close at 3pm.  Yiayias and Papous-es are going to be called into action once again.  Thank goodness for the close knit Greek family.  

But, until the schools actually open no-one really knows what exactly is going to happen.  Makes you wonder what the education department does during the 3 months of holidays. Nothing.   Every year when schools open there are problems.  School books have not arrived or are slow in being delivered.  School teachers have not been appointed and classes have to be lumped together until they are.  Last year the schools opened with a shortage of 6,500 teachers. We wait to see what will happen this year.

One positive piece of news, refugee children will be able to attend school and will be taught in their own language, English and will learn basic Greek.

Oldest Greek tree -
A pine tree in the mountains in northern Greece has been discovered to be over a thousand years old.  Researchers have named the tree Adonis after the Greek god of beauty and desire.  Over a dozen trees high in the Pindos mountains are considered to be about the same age.  

A person who studies the ages of trees is a dendrochronologist.  I can say that, it is a greek word.  These dendrochronologists take a metre long core of the wood from the tree and then count the rings, so I guess we can believe them (the dendrochronologists).  Great word.

Things to do with feta -

All things Greek is the title so here comes a recipe'  Tirokafteri, hot-cheese dip.  This is a spicy cheese puree made with feta cheese and some sort of hot pepper.  

Mash up
200 gram of feta cheese
2 tablespoons of oil
tsp of vinegar
a sprinkle, or more, of hot paprika or red chilli flakes
2 or 3 big spoons of thick yoghurt
Mash it all together really well or put into a small mixer.  You could put some mashed garlic or some oregano in it as well for extra taste.

Serve with triangles of grilled or fried pita bread.  I love this with meat or salad instead of tzatziki.

Harry's feta spread -

250 grams feta
1 crushed garlic clove
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
2 tsps. oregano, basil or dill
250 grams carton of sour cream or thick yoghurt
8 chopped black olives
lots of pepper

Mix it all really well and refrigerate.

Serve with pita bread or slices of French bread that have been sautéed gently in olive oil.
Makes a tasty dip for rice crackers.

Thanks Dad.


  1. What a wonderful example those 'teachers' are to the children. When I was teaching I wouldn't have dreamt of going on strike; and I worked crazy hours (boarding schools).

    I love Feta, but usually have it just crumbled over salads.

  2. School strikes are common here. Wages are lousy. But the students strike as well because of the terrible conditions of the school usually. They occupy the schools for weeks on end and padlock out everyone else. Times have changed.