Friday 30 July 2021


 We are suffering through a killer heatwave.  Not since 1987 have temperatures been so high and for such a long period.  Back in 1987 very few had aircondition and over 1,300 people died.  

Such high temepratures are, apparently, rare for Greece and happen about every 15 years.  The heat today is worse than I can remember.  It's a real inferno out there.  

We will be having temps in the 40s for at least another week and this on an island surrounded by water.  We are normally quite a few degrees cooler than say the nearby cities of Athens and Nafplio.

We went shopping very early in the morning, got essentials and then retreated back up the mountain.   There is a breeze out there but it's a searing hot wind.

11am we retreated into our inner sanctum and turned on the airconditioning. Cross your fingers there are no power cuts because of overuse on the power grid.
 We'll go swimming around 5 and stay there till it's dark.  

Last night was hot but not unbearably so.  Nightime temperatures are also getting higher so we are not expecting to be any cooler tonight.  K tried sleeping outside and he said it was quite comfortable and he needed a sheet.  I prefer to be inside away from stray cats, mosquitoes, flying insects and howling dogs, with a fan to keep me cool.

Fire risk is very high especially with the winds and I am very aware of any odd cloud on the horizon or anything that may smell vaguely like smoke.

Meanwhile Greece has just won it's first gold, mens rowing, single scull.  Some much needed excitement in these harrowed times.  I've just heard the Greek National Anthem for the umpteenth time.  
Zito Hellas.  Well done Greece

Monday 26 July 2021

More Things

Just a well worn pair of sandals.  Except that, my grandaughter pointed out that one is size 40 and one size 41.  I hadn't even noticed!

I bought two pairs of these, it seems in two different sizes. 

Heroic ants 'man'-handled these pieces of dry cat food up a wall and into their nest somewhere on the edge of the garden.  It's amazing what team work can do and at double pace too.


Dicing banana skins which I then turned to mush in a blender and fed to the tomato plants.  I saw no difference and have thrown most of the tomato plants in the compost.  What a waste of space and water.  Tomatoes are 1 euro a kilo at the farmer's market just now.

Saturday 24 July 2021

About the Place


Squash-slash-pumpkin plants marching across the otherwise dry brown turf.  I have 5 plants and they, unlike the tomatoes, are all thriving and producing flowers.  I don't see any squash-slash-pumpkins being produced but you never know.  They've done well every other year.

I finally got the bougainvillia-without-thorns into a pot.  It is not supposed to grow very high so this pot should be a cosy home for it

The oregano bunch has dried out and is ready to be scrunched up and stored in a jar

The limoncello finally got finished too after 6 weeks of limon peels marinating in raki.

I made the sugar syrup and added it to the alcohol.  It sort of took my breath away.  I think the syrup needs adjusting.  My recipe did say to start with a syrup of one cup of sugar to one cup of water and to adjust according to taste.  More water will make it smoother and more sugar will obviously make it sweeter.  It needs a bit of both.

Thursday 22 July 2021

Summer Photos


We've had a few heatwaves this summer.  Temps are back to normal now, around 32o on the island and breezes are from the north, summer winds called Meltemi or Maïstros.

This photo was taken during the last heatwave when my daughter and grandkids had to go to the city for a french exam and hospital tests for their further education .    The cities of Argos and Nafplio always bake in the summer even though they are beside the sea.

43oC is about the norm for them in a heatwave.  

The maiden aunts across the water are famous for their homemade, down-on-the-farm cooking but also for their roses.  This one was in full bloom a few weeks ago.  They are getting on in years and are teaching their grandnephew, one of many, to prune the roses.  He came and pruned mine this year.

One son-in-law is a taxi boat captain, the other a whizz with yachts.  
He's one of very few who will climb up the mast to do repairs.

It's a long way down.  He managed to hang on, do the repairs and take a few photos from up there.

Tuesday 20 July 2021



Our grandchildren are all teenagers, or older now.  Gone are the days when they enjoyed camping out with Nana and Papous, running wild in the fields and roads around us, chasing the local wild cats, honing their skills in the kitchen and sleeping out on the vernadah with those wild cats roaming around them.

But now and again nostalgia takes over and they appear for a night and a day.  Papous spends the time working out their menu, frying their favourite meatballs and arranging for evening pizza making sessions.  Nana rubs her hands and adds to the list of jobs for them to do.

An early morning face.  Poppi flips the pancakes

And it lands perfectly in the pan.  She is number three in the line of pancake makers.  Her two older siblings turned into experts and her cousins are fighting for number one spot

Ducks lined up in a row

It was really too hot for pizza making so we bought some ready frozen and added a little extra.  Darn nice they were too.
Young Jamie has to avoid salt at all costs so we made him mini pizzas with greek pitta bread as the base, ketch-up and grated gouda.  They were even darn nice the next day, cold, as an accompaniment to bifteki (handmade hamburger) and greek potatoes

Top of Nana's list was clean the last of the carpets.  Lots of fun.  Cold water on a hot summer's morning and a high pressure hose.

Saturday 17 July 2021

Growing Potatoes


Don't potatoes need a cold climate?

At the end of last winter I had a large potato which had sprouted so I cut it into pieces, an eye a piece, and planted them around the garden, mainly in pots.  Then I forgot about them.  They have all sprouted and are growing, above ground at least.

I'm just leaving them alone till September at least.  This one is growing in the hydrangea pot.    I have no idea when they can be harvested.  Somewhere I think I read it is when the plants flower.

It's an experiment and who knows we may have a fresh potato or two some time.

Monday 12 July 2021


 Tourlou or a summer vegetable medley.  

Ratatouille, the dish not the rat.  I am sure every country, at least here in the mediterranean has a version of this dish.  Summer vegetables, all lightly cooked in a pan on the stove top.  Quick, fresh, light (depending on the amount of olive oil you add) and delicious.

We are going to eat ours with feta cheese and just a little bit of bread, fresh for me and stale for the traditional man about the house.  Stale bread is better for mopping up the juices and doesn't go soggy.

This is what I'm cooking at the moment.

Chunks of




 green pepper/capsicum

onion and garlic and a leftover leek

go**amit I forgot the garlic

Sweat all the vegetables in olive oil, as much as you like.  I only used a big spoonful in the beginning along with a little water but I added an extra swig of oil at the end when I turned off the stove.

Then I peeled and diced

3 fresh tomatoes blanched briefly in boiling water for a quick peel

and chopped

parsley and mint from the garden.

Salt and pepper and a sprinkle of sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.

Don't stir it too much or you'll get mushy Vege.

It's best cooked in a wide shallow pot.  I was across the waters at the small village of Galatas a few weeks ago to get my second jab and visited the maiden aunts.  They had just cooked this, in their wide pot called a tablas, and absolutely insisted I sit down and eat with them.  You don't get away with not eating in that house but every thing is so well cooked, done from scratch that it's a treat to share their meal.

After about half an hour of a slow simmer our own lunch was ready so I could go and get a hair cut.

And it's vegan too, but not plant-based-whole-food-oil-free.  The latter is my latest fad.  No meat, eggs, dairy, no processed foods and no olive oil.  Laughing Out Loud.  No olive oil?  From every window of my house the view is an olive tree or a lemon tree.  But it's healthy.  Lots of vegetables, fruit, grains and legumes.  It's basically what we eat anyway in the summer, forgetting about the pork and fish.

Friday 9 July 2021

Fish Meals

 Doesn't matter how hot it is, we've got to eat.  Salad apparently does not come under the heading of 'meal' and neither do sandwiches.

We eat fish at least once, probably twice a week.  We still haven't worked out the portions for 2 people, greek people, even though the kids moved out over 15 years ago so one day we eat fresh fish, the next day leftovers and the cats get the tail-end.

Gavros, which I see translated as 'anochoy'  and sardines are right in season now and K loves both.  Sardines are grilled and served as-is.  Anchovies are usually fried and sprinkled with vinegar.  They are also very nice marinated in vinegar and olive oil with some garlic and parsley.

The fish at the top of the photo are for soup, kakavia.    Even in mid-summer fish soup is on the menu

I was surprised to see Black Angus on the board outside the butchers shop.  
Meanwhile the chook is hanging there in the window head and all.  Ughh 

Sometimes we are given fish.  These fish are called tsipoura, sea bream, and were caught around the fish farm.  They've either escaped or grown fat feeding on remnants of the fish food.  Either way they are considered wild and are some of the best fish to eat grilled or baked

Thursday 8 July 2021

Pastitsio Recipe

Reposted from July 2017


Pastitcio -     For It's a Crazy World.  Hope I'm not too late with the recipe.    I had to scroll through my blog to find the recipe.  I didn't realise how many recipes I have posted on this blog.  More than enough to fill up a cookery book, Dave.

Pastitcio - macaroni casserole with minced meat and bechamel sauce

It is made from large tubular spaghetti, called macaroni here.  We buy our spaghetti according to the number. 

 No 6 is what we would normally use for spaghetti bolognaise,  or spaghetti served with a tomato sauce or burnt oil.  

No. 10 is very fine

No 2 is the fat hollow kind we use for pastitcio, a sort of pasta drinking straw.  I see this has 'ziti' written on the packet.  Is that the type of spaghetti?


There are three parts to this recipe, plus the putting together and the baking.  It is easy but you end up with a lot of pot washing.

- First
Boil some thick macaroni.  A little goes a long way.  Don't use a half kilo packet unless you have an army of hungry teenagers to feed and a huge baking dish.  Grate a pile of cheese

- Second
Make a bolognaise sauce with -
minced beef (half a kilo)
one chopped onion
a tin of crushed tomatoes
olive oil
a stick of cinnamon
salt and pepper
half a teaspoon of grated nutmeg

- saute onions, garlic and meat.  Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for about 40 minutes. It needs to have a little sauce so don't let it dry out too much

- Third
make a bechamel sauce, lots of it but not too thick.
That is a white sauce with a little cheese.
Melt 1/2 a cup of butter (I use half butter and half olive oil)
Take off the heat and stir in 2/3 cup of flour.
With a whisk add about 4 cups of milk, stirring all the time so you don't get lumps.  Put it back on the heat and keep stirring.  When it starts to thicken it is ready.  Stir in salt and I add a good dollop of mustard

Put it all together
Lay the spaghetti/macaroni at the bottom of a deep baking dish.  Don't overdo the pasta.  Leave plenty of room for the meat sauce and the white sauce on top.  Mix in lots of grated cheese. Leave a little to put on top

Cover the fat spaghetti with the bolognaise sauce

Top with the white/cheese/bechamel sauce (whatever you call it)

Sprinkle fine bread crumbs over the top and more grated cheese

Bake about half an hour till the top is brown and bubbly.  Wait for it to cool before cutting it into pieces or it will slop all over the plate.  Quite frankly I think 'sloppy'  is the best way to eat it but if you want it to 'look nice' on the plate then Wait.

Even tastier the next day

Wednesday 7 July 2021

Every Day Things


My sunflower has died.  
Alas poor thing
I shall replace it with another
Not a sunflower

This is what's going into the sunflower pot
A bougainvillia
With no thorns
A pink bougainvillia
Which doesn't grow up to the heavens waving its thorny throngs
But stays low and doesn't slash and sting
It's an unexpected present from my son in law . He's a great cook, the captain of a water taxi and loves flowers and plants. 

Pasta flora
A greek jam tart
Made with my apricot jam

What jumping gnawing thing has dared to eat my large leaf basil?
All the leaves have great holes in them.  A grasshopper maybe, a praying mantis.  I hope the cat catches it

The second time a small pipe leading from the petrol tank has perished and all the petrol has leaked out leaving me stranded.  Fortunately both times it was on the hill outside our house so I could roll it down home for the man-about-the-house to fix.  Wasn't that convenient

It's July.  It's hot.  I am not inspired

Monday 5 July 2021


I found this post half written in the draft box.  I know why I didn't post it.  Chutney doesn't need a recipe.  You can make it with whatever fruit or vegetables are on hand, add a few onions, sugar to taste, vinegar to cover, a few spices and let it simmer away till soft and thick.

I am making apricot chutney now and am researching an a spicy asian apricot sauce.  Thanks for the idea Tigger  .  Below is the chutney recipe I had originally written.  I think it was superior as I note, though cannot remember.   The recipe uses wine, red or white, which I often use now.  I halve the vinegar and top up with wine.  It's makes a lighter sauce.

Chutney is something I make at anytime of the year but we are out of chutney and I thought I would follow an actual recipe and make something superior.  This a recipe from a greek magazine. An exotic  recipe for them.  It uses leeks and onions and also wine as well as vinegar. 

 Chutney is not a greek thing.  I describe mine as a sweet and sour sauce.  They rarely have a taste to see what its all about.  City dwellers are of course more adventurous.  Rustics prefer classic, traditional, downhome, what they know and love.  They prefer lashings of strong garlicky tzatziki  with their roast goat.


Onion Chutney

1 kilo onions – chopped small

½ kilo leeks – chopped small

Put these in a big saucepan


1 cup small black raisins

½ kilo brown sugar

½ litre white wine

½ litre vinegar

Freshly grated nutmeg

2 tsps fresh grated ginger

½ tsp chilli powder

Juice and zest of one orange

Simmer for one hour.  Stir till the sugar has dissolved.

When it has thickened a little put into sterilized jars.


Word of the Day -

Flaneur -    idler, dawdler

borrowed directly from the french.  Meaning to stroll, to saunter

lâneur “idler; dawdler; loafer” is borrowed directly from French flâneur, an agent noun of the verb flâner “to stroll, saunter aimlessly; lounge.” The ultimate origin of French flâner is obscure. In 19th-century France, the flâneur was a figure for a type of wealthy, foppish man-about-town who leisurely wandered the boulevards of Paris and lounged at its cafés. In the early 1900s, German literary critic Walter Benjamin, inspired in great part by the writing of Charles Baudelaire, helped develop the flâneur into a symbol of the modern artist and writer, at once immersed in and alienated by the hustle and bustle of urban life. English borrowed another noun from French to describe the disposition of the flâneur: flânerie “idleness, dawdling.” Flâneur entered English in the mid-1800s.

Thursday 1 July 2021


 The council got itself into tourist gear.  There are big signs in greek and english all the way along the waterfront pointing to shops, tavernas and places of interest in the area.

This sign tells visitors what's available in the main back street around the meat and fish market.  I didn't realise we  had so many clothes shops and when it's all written down in front of me it is obvious we have a great choice.  2 laundries, the sweet shop and taverna (I knew about those) and an optician I had forgotten about.

For a while we did most of our shopping online or off the island in the bigger towns nearby.  It's time to go back to supporting local businesses.

The little back alley which is our main shopping street.  It used to be souvenir shops cheek to cheek but not even one is left now.
On the right is the traditional taverna serving seasonal and classic greek dishes.  Very popular with the natives who mostly buy a container to take home.  Winter time they huddle inside and drink a glass or two of warming wine.

Along with the souvenir shops there were also at least half a dozen places selling gold and silver.  This is the last of them.  We buy from them now and again, a blue bead to ward off the evil eye or a silver bracelet with greek markings to give as a gift .

He's a friend of K so we always get good prices, or so we imagine.