local-kiwi-alien

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Flying Cat

 The catamaran, called the Flying Cat, leaves the harbour


It's the event of our morning if we have gone down to the harbour for shopping and coffee.  From our favourite cafe, the T-Cafe, we watch while the cat comes in and observe who embarks and disembarks.


All the little water taxis have to move out into the bay to make room for the catamaran to dock.

Once upon a time we would be expecting summer visitors and be on the quay ourselves waiting for the appearance of  family heads at the top of the gangplank.  Not last summer and not this summer either.


Sunday, 27 June 2021

Mousakas

 Another greek classic.  Most visitors know all about mousaka and my nieces  make it when they return home downunder.  It's a very heavy, rich dish.  Made with summer vegetables, aubergines and zucchini and I add potatoes as well.


Containers ready for home delivery.  Nicely packaged so they can pop the bowls in the freezer, if any is left over.


I couldn't resist.  I had to do a taste control before taking the photo.

This mousaka was one of the most calorific I have ever made.  Traditionally the vegetables are fried but for many years now I have baked them in the oven, oil free, before constructing the layers.
K insisted on helping and doing it the way his mother did.  Fry everything in plenty of her own healthy olive oil.

Mousaka consists of a layer of sliced aubergine,  thinly sliced  potato, zucchini then topped with minced beef stewed in fresh tomatoes with a big stick of cinnamon and covered finally in a thick layer of white sauce with a hint of nutmeg.

My new ideal is layers of baked aubergines and zucchini, boiled potatoes, a fresh tomato sauce without the cinnamon but with plenty of summer herbs and a topping of white sauce made with plant milk.  No oil and no meat.  It's a much lighter version, far better suited to this searing summer heat.  But not traditional alas.

Saturday, 26 June 2021

Greek Pie

Pastitsio.  Another greek classic.


 A sort of Greek lasagne, macaroni pie.  The family love this, well most of them.  

I made a great big dish of it at my youngest grandaughter's request. 


Home delivery

I left one piece for K. It's traditional with lots of nutmeg. Reminds him of his mother's cooking. The rest was delivered to children and grandchildren.

Luscious layers of big thick tube spaghetti, cheese sauce with loads of nutmeg and minced beef stewed in tomatoes with a hint of cinnamon.

For some reason it's considered a summer recipe. You'd think the opposite, heavy spaghetti and thick sauce.

It's also a good first course to fill up guests before the main roast at a baptismal or wedding feast.




Friday, 25 June 2021

Jam

 Last Friday I bought a few kilos of cheap apricots from the farmers market.  1euro a kilo for 'jam' apricots, 2 euros for the good eating ones.  

Apricots ripen quickly and we ate a lot of the jam apricots but I did manage to turn some into jam and fill up 2 and a half jars.  Apricots and strawberries make jam full of flavour.


I was going to buy a few more kilos again today and make jam and chutney.  I was very surprised to see the price of the apricots had gone up.  3 euros for the eating fruit and 1.50 euros for the jam variety, ie not such good quality.  Darn.  These are in season now and the price should be going down.  I didn't buy any more of them.  

Most of this jam will go into a big jam tart called pasta flora which I'll give to my girls.  Hopefully I'll be able to buy a few kilos cheaply next week and make more jam and that chutney.

Thursday, 24 June 2021

Island Colour

I'm buying a seagull at the end of the month as a wee gift for me and my garden menagerie.



Non annoying and non pooping seagull






This is a sunflower given to me by my daughters.  It's not of the 'grow to huge heights' type but stays low and has many flowers.  I think I was overwatering it in the beginning and it didn't look happy.
I stopped the over watering and broke and dug an egg into its roots.  Hopefully it will perk up and give me some 'sunshine'.     



Some of the different coloured bougainvillias at the flower shop.
I love the peach coloured one.  Near us there is a deep purple bougainvillia, most unusual but most common are the dark red variety.  They're all in full bloom now except for our white one which doesn't flower until September

The cicadas have started their daily summer vocals but their chorus is not the deafening noise they make at this time of the year.  I wonder if it's  because there are not so many around or maybe they'll get louder as the summer progresses.  It's certainly hot enough for them.  We are 'enjoying' temperatures in the upper 30s and the humidity is exhausting.  In the evenings we have had very slight breezes which bring a little relief . 

Sunday will see the end of this little heat wave we hope.

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Shot

  I've recently been given  my second Astra Zeneca shot. The vaccine is a bit controversial .  It's only being given to under 40s now.  It started off being administered only to the under 60's, then  it was safe for the over 60's too and now that's changed again..  Those waiting for a second jab can have the pfizer vaccine if they so desire though the consequences of mixing the two are not known yet.  But, hey ho, we're all guinea pigs anyway, whichever we get.


No side effects, no flu, no sore arm, no headache.  Will I be dead in 10 years.  Possibly but probably not from the covid vaccine.  Did it change my DNA ?  Who cares.  I could be dead in 10 years anyway.

Has the vaccine made me magnetic?  I 'm not yet attracting knives and forks or sticking to the car door.

Have I been injected with a microchip along with the vaccine.  It would have to have been tinier than microscopic!  If someone is tracking me they're going to have a lot of fun trotting after me from the kitchen to the garden and back again.

There's more but its tiring to even think about it.  Temperatures have risen.  We are in the middle of a heat wave.  Viruses don't like heat and neither do I.   I'm wilting and suffering in many other ways.


It was all a bit of a hassle.  Now if we leave the island we have to have proof that we are fully vaccinated to get back again or produce a very recent negative test.  K went and arranged with those in charge so I could get back home after my second shot without papers and tests.  Now I've downloaded an official looking paper saying I'm fully covered,with dates and social security numbers, and my age.  K and I had these papers turned into plastic covered ID cards.  So now we have more official documents to carry about.


In my bag I have my vaccine paper, my official ID with photo and fingerprints, a Navy ID and an E1 which is a paper from the tax office to say I'm a permanent resident of Poros.


They've got us all hog tied and we are expected to be happy about the whole situation.  We are free we say.  Yeh.


We're still wearing masks outside the home but the cases of covid in Greece are so low that it looks like we'll be free of them, at least outside in open spaces, by the end of the week.

Friday, 18 June 2021

More Greek Eating



Fish soup.  Boiled fish, carrots, celery and potatoes are the base


The last of the vine leaves.  They are getting to be a bit too big and tough now.  I blanched these and they are in the freezer.  One day soon I'll make dolmathes, stuffed vine leaves, for my daughter.


Fried 'herthes'.  Lambs balls.  Not the meat-ball kind.
A delicacy.  K cleaned and fried two for him and his friend to enjoy as a meze (special snack) with a glass or two of wine



This is the wine.  5 litres of the best rose





The base for limoncello has finally been put together.  Lemon peel and raki.  Raki (tsipouro) is always on hand whereas any vodka tends to disappear especially when I've just made some fresh lemonade.
So this is the greek version of limoncello.  Raki has quite a strong taste so I hope the lemon peel is enough to smother the taste of raki and give it the taste of the limon.  I'll leave the peel soaking about 3 weeks before I discard it and  make the syrup.


These are meiltzanes, eggplant, baked in the oven with lots of garlic, onion, tomatoes and parsley.  I added some crumbled feta on the top




Monday, 14 June 2021

Poros By Night

 A summer Saturday evening.  Time for a perantzada, a promenade along the waterfront ending up at a cafe or taverna beside the waves.  People watching.  Us watching the passing parade and them watching us.


Poros seems full again . Most I would say were greeks, from the cities and countryside nearby.  Not so many foreigners yet and those that are here seem to be from the yachts.  The flotillas are returning.  A group of small yachts that travel together for 5 days, a week, going from island to island under the eagle eye of an experienced captain.  They go in groups to the tavernas recommended by the company and then on to the cafes or bars or a party on one of the yachts.


The harbourside road is closed from one end of the waterfront to the other on  Saturday night, from 8pm to 1am.  Curfew has been extended to 1.30am so everyone is supposed to scuttle home or at least be off the streets by then.


The Flying Cat (hydrofoil catamaran) on its last trip of the day from Piraeus down to Poros and  other islands in the Saronic Gulf,  Hydra, Ermioni and Spetses

We parked at the far end of town and walked along to K's new favourite cafe in the museum square.  It's right beside the sea so we could watch the comings and goings of the occupants of 2 or 3 big catamarans.  




Museum Square.
This cafe is a favourite of K and his old men friends.  It's central and others can be called in for a drink and a chat as they pass by on their evening perantzada.  In recent years it has been neglected but suddenly this whole area has come to life.  There are now 3 cafeterias in the square itself, a bar next door and a row of tavernas nearby


The new Sushi Cocktail Bar.  Do sushi and cocktails go together?


Stools and tall tables for those drinking at the Malibu.
There was once a line of bars along this stretch of road, with blaring music and drinkers exploding all over the waterfront.  Now all that's left is the Malibu and the Joy a little further down.  This is the first night they're all allowed, again, to play music.  It's loud 


Taverna row starts here
Most have professional cooks now and offer gourmet food.  Marinated octopus with seafood foam and the likes




The road is closed to cars and motorbikes and extra tables have been placed in the road to keep a distance of 2 metres between diners.
Only taxis, the bus, electric scooters and bicycles can drive along here.   Otherwise there are family groups, couples and clusters of teenagers filling in time with their friends before a last souvlaki and home.

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

A Hint of Summer

 


Summer colours.  A Poros jacaranda, bougainvillia bursting with colour and a couple of rather large cactii


Taverna by the sea preparing for, hopefully, a few weekend diners


The yachts are back in town.  The jetty isn't overcrowded yet but there are plenty tied up and moored in the bay.  Some of them are the big luxury yachts too.  Lots of money there.   Someone will be rubbing their hands


One of the bigger hotels, the 'Poros Image' has opened.  There were half a dozen cars in the parking bay.  It's a start.  


Organised beaches have been up and running for a few weeks now.

There is a 3 day holiday coming up on 21 June, Whitsun Monday to you. Holy Spirit Monday here in Greece.  I hope the weather is better than it is today.  We are finally enjoying a few hours of steady rain.  Not a downpour but nice gentle rain which my pumpkins and tomatoes are loving.

There are a few tourists and strangers around.  Anyone wanting to visit the island, and any island just now, is supposed to have proof either that they're fully vaccinated or have had a recent negative test result.  If we want to leave or return to Poros we must have papers proving we are permanent residents.

While it feels a little strange to be restricted like this the virus is raging in the area opposite .  Schools closed early for the summer and shops were closed for a while to be disinfected.  Better safe than sorry.



Friday, 4 June 2021

Antiquities

Pics from the past. Just a few of the many ancient sites in our immediate area.



Stone bridge still standing from 4,000 years ago. This is my favourite ruin. There are several bridges in the area and remnants of an ancient road, once used by travellers and chariots 'they' say.  I enjoy taking any visitors to stand on this bridge. Traditional person is no longer amused. He's 'been there, done that' too often.


Ancient temple at Nemea.  In wine country an hour or so from us.  Also the site of a small friendly and very traditional taverna along an old river bed.
Traditional Greek persons tolerate the ruins because of their proximity to the traditional taverna.


Epidavros theatre
Now open again as are all ancient sites
No doubt getting ready for the summer festival of ancient Greek drama. 
My very own traditional person complained last time he visited the theatre and told the guards he had brought so many people to view the site that he should not have to pay. They let him in free.


My daughter, seated on an ancient stone from the Greek pyramid behind her. Also an ancient site on the 'ok' list because of the excellent grilled lamb chops at a taverna close by.

The pyramid is possibly  from 2,500 BC.


The temple to Aphaia on the next door island of Aegina
Impressive ruins. Aphaia was a goddess associated with fertility and agriculture. She was worshipped almost exclusively on this island.


Stones from one of  three vaulted tombs from around 1,600BC.  Located on the mainland just a few minutes away.
I visited these about 20 years ago with a friend and we had to jump a gate and walk up through someone's olive groves.  These stones were all that we could see back then but they were being excavated.  One of the tombs, it says, was the height of a three storey building.

As you can see they are in an impressive location on a rise overlooking the sea.  Hope I can visit them again.


Nearby are the remains of  the ancient city of Troizina.  I have visited these ruins many times in days of yore.  We have had picnics with the kids and wandered and wondered.  The ruins are hard to find, in far flung fields surrounded by herds of goats.  Once it was a city of over 20,000 and much of the remains are in the olive groves and amongst the orange and lemon trees belonging to farmers from the modern day village of Troizina.









Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Chimney Pots

 

Chimney pot tops and corners.  After google-searching I found that chimney toppers are called cowls.  You can have a directional wind cowl, an updraft cowl, a capping cowl or a clamping cowl.  There are probably even more.  I have been observing these cowls in the neighbourhood recently.  On our house we have two sorts.  One homemade and stationary and the other two are stainless steel and seem to be for anti-downdraft purposes.


We also have these clays heads on the corners of the roof  sometimes for decoration also to manage rainwater flow.  This one is a leftover, concreted onto our front gate post

Shell decorated terracotta head of a greek woman?
Or could it be Medusa? 


Our two fireplace chimneys are topped with metal twirly things, cowls apparently.
This one is atop our old fireplace which we no longer use.  The twirly thing goes round and round in the wind and makes annoying whistling noises.  Our nephew and friendly run-arounder, cousin George got up on the roof and tied it down with wire.  There is no longer an irritating high pitched cacophony to disturb traditional people's rest.


This is the very practicle top over the outside wood-fired oven.  Four bricks topped with a large floor tile


Our neighbour Vaso has an elegant bird with a flowing tail atop her chimney and it turns regally in the wind.  I cant take a decent photo of it so this is a similar one I found via google.  Vaso's has a longer flowing tail of shiny black metal






The stone house is almost finished now.  The roof is on and its chimney in place


This is their chimney top.  Certainly not a cowl.
I really like this style.  Fits in perfectly with the rest  of the building


This is the chimney topper I would like, if ever asked.  The idea of a wise old owl atop my roof  pleases me greatly.

Just one problem. An owl on the roof here is bad luck, a harbinger of death.