Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Olives, beer, stilton and dessert

We (traditional people) have already salted and enjoyed the first olives of 2017.  The olives are picked a handful at a time, selected one by one, black with just a touch of green, no blemish or 'dako' (olive disease).

These early olives are best for salting while they are still firm and barely ripe.  Each one is bashed with a hammer to break the skin.  They are then soaked in water for two days, with a change of water morning and evening.  This removes a little of the bitterness.  Then they go  in a jar, bowl, plastic or glass with a couple of handfuls of  coarse salt.  After two days the olives are ready for eating.  By traditional people.  They are far too bitter for me.

that's the way they like them
they like them

Eat them with the salt or give them a quick wash under the tap.   

 My sister-in-law has begun harvesting her olives and should take the first dozen or so sacks to the oil press this weekend.  She and her son are beginning the harvest by themselves and are only picking a couple of trees a day.  If the trees are laden and the harvest looks lucrative they will employ workers to help finish the job.  They have a couple of thousand trees but not all trees have enough fat olives worth picking.  Times and weather have changed the harvest.
 It is still very early in the season and most olive growers are waiting for a good rainfull before picking so the olives are plump and full of oil.  

Early harvest oil is rich and green,  Hopefully we'll get a bottle of this first press which will be guarded and used with love on fresh salads. 

At the moment there is no rain forecast so it could be mid November before the harvest gets moving.

Blue stilton, an English treat for Christmas.  This cheese is available from LIDLS supermarkets and only around the 'time to be jolly' season.  We get a pot every year.  I'll be on the lookout next time we venture across to the mainland, down the coast, up the mountain, round the corner past the Mycenean tombs, under the Venetian castle.

VAP Zythos brewed on the island of Rhodes in the Dodecanese.
Pale lager.
Economical and refreshing on a hot summer's day

Bougatsa  -  custardy cream wrapped in filo pastry and covered in icing sugar and cinnamon.  A specialty of the northern capital of Thessaloniki, in the largest and most populated region of Greek Macedonia.

These are usually bought piping hot in the morning from 'bougatsidika', bougatsa shops, and eaten out of the wrapping paper.  They are also made with cheese and minced meat fillings.

I've never made one from scratch.  This one was in the freezer and a perfect dessert for young hungry teenagers.  30 minutes from freezer to table, sugar and cinnamon included in the package.


  1. I hope you get rain soon
    Even though we had lots of rain here at home. Not so much in the catchment areas. So our dams are low
    Raining today. So I won’t have to water the vegetables seedlings
    I hope xx

    1. We really do need a little rain. Lots of night moisture though.
      When I see rain on the horizon I'll plant my lettuces. They should have gone in by now.

    2. Oh how lovely planting lettuce in what is our winter!.Ye I should have been born in a warm country!. Studio crash pad being searched when I go on 22nd to Athens. Nothing fancy just a crash pad.

    3. May need your advice then on Areas that are cheap but ok!.xx

  2. Stilton blue cheese is my husband's "drug of choice"! -Jenn

    1. We get blue cheese but not stilton usually. This is a once in the year treat for us. Your husband has good taste

  3. I have not been too successful with my olives. They are still quite unpleasantly bitter. Maybe next year!

    1. You seemed to do the preparation in the correct way. Must have needed more days soaking. I really don't like bitter olives but village Greeks seem to actually prefer them. Been. Eating them like that since childhood I guess