Tuesday 20 February 2018

7 weeks of Fasting

Another one's down ..
another feasting day, over and done with for another year

Clean Monday, the beginning of Lent
A national holiday
After today there are
7 weeks of fasting before Easter Sunday lamb on the spit and offal soup
No meat, no fish, no eggs, cheese or milk except on certain religious holidays when fish can be eaten
Octopus, cuttlefish and kalamari are ok.  They have no red blood
Wednesdays and Fridays, no olive oil either

Who follows these rules of the Orthodox church?
Our  god-fearing neighbour
A surprising number of the younger generation and most of the elderly.  As you get older you get to fear the wrath of god
Every little bit helps

Us?  K stops eating meat for the duration.  Because we don't cook meat I don't eat much meat either but the wrath of god is not going to stop me enjoying a ham sandwich or a spicy meatball 

Lagana, unleavened bread, just out of the oven

Clean Monday, Kathara Deftera
The day was overcast and chilly but still we sat outside for a very rustic impromptu picnic
It is traditionally a day for picnics and flying kites

I set the big table inside, with the good tablecloth, but we didn't move indoors till 4pm when the rain started and the chill turned to a freeze

On the table all the traditional Lenten goodies, taramasalata (fish roe dip), salted vegetables, steamed mussels, lettuce and halvas

Only five of us today.  A good number to feed and amuse.  K lit the outdoor wood oven for the bread and lit the BBQ for the shellfish.  We sat around outside with a glass of wine keeping him company while he cooked and it turned into an outdoor picnic on the old cracked table surrounded by a stack of dry olive branches which were periodically pushed into the fire

A few shrimps, oysters and pieces of octopus on the BBQ

Lemon juice in everything

My english friend J always takes part in our celebrations
Nothing fazes her.  Peel the shrimp, throw the peelings in the old yellow bucket, take a sip of rough red, grab the bread and twist off a manageable corner, dip it in the taramasalata.  Greek heaven.

The octopus has been hanging up drying.  Soon on its way to the coals

  No time to lay a tablecloth out here

Cutting up the grilled octopus tentacles into thin slices

Dirty hands?  We hung an old pink (pyjamas?) rag on the table to 'delicately' wipe our greasy fingers 

Today the remaining mussels have been taken out of the shell and made into mussels and rice.

The weather has turned cold and rainy once again.  We lit the fire at midday.  We were lucky to have a dry day yesterday.  Winter continues.  


  1. I used to. But I don’t any more. I haven’t had communion for a long time
    No excuses. Only I never seem to have the time to go.
    And with hubby working all hours seven days a week for many years it just didn’t seem fair to wake him to go to church
    God must understand. We have had a blessed life really so no wrath here.
    Well not as yet. Maybe I shouldn’t remind him lol

    1. So many churches and the monastery here, and elderly church goers. It's hard not to take part.
      I just treat the whole thing as a tradition, like eating hot cross buns at Easter....I wish!

  2. maintaining the tradition is something that gives more peace of mind,sometimes I am sorry that things are different here.

    1. It is nice to follow tradition, to know you're part f this Greek tribe!

  3. Yael has a point there.
    We follow traditions (not all of them though) because it feels like a continuity of our grandparent and parents to our children.
    It's not always about food but it's about people and getting togethet; sometimes only eating, grilled sourdough bread with a little garlic rubbed on it and olive oil, and sitting around a table is wonderful; any excuse for company. I love how your good food brings young and old together. The fire place is another bonus!
    Greeting Maria x

    1. What I tell my husband, food does not have to involved when the family gets together. He can't see that but now and again we do manage a family gathering with just bread and cheese....and a little something more.
      Flying kites is what the kids love on this day!

  4. May be that is why my favorite countries are Greece and Italy.

  5. I would enjoy being part of your family I am sure. I love octopus. Me again with the Blue Zone. I wonder how much of these fasts that you do, are another reason that people in Greece live longer. And the fact that the young people are coming back to the old ways is, I think, fabulous. If I saw that my grandparents lived till they were 90+ and were still fit and lively, I would want a bit of that and if it meant not eating processed stuff and keeping to a calendar that told me what to eat (making it easier) I am sure I would do it.

    1. It certainly is healthy although in the last few years cheese made from tofu and seafood burgers have appeared during Lent.
      Family fresh food and exercise. Simple formula for long life ...and a bit of luck

  6. We bought hot cross buns in Lidl yesterday.

    1. Jealous, envy, green (with more envy)...why doesn't our damn Lidls have hot cross buns!!