Tuesday 29 November 2022

Pictures of a Greek Life

These bright yellow wild flowers have appeared, here and there amongst the dried grasses and rocks, alongside the pink crocus. I don't know what they are but the splash of yellow is a burst of much appreciated brightness .

Cats lined up along a wall. There were other cats around and a line of feeding bowls.

On our last taverna visit
About a dozen cats wandering around the tables hoping for a handout.
They weren't annoying, just persistent. 
The taverna closed down for winter the next day. I think someone comes everyday and brings them food

A very clean and shiny old VW van parked outside one of the tavernas

A bottle of thick green fresh oil on the left and the lighter, year old oil on the right.
Both are local and full of taste

Cleaning last year's soot from the wall behind the wood stove

The wall will have to be painted next summer. Most of the black soot  was scrubbed off but the wall has changed colour.

We have started having fires most nights now. The fire and chimney have all been cleaned so hopefully it won't smoke as much. So far so good

Thursday 24 November 2022


These are simple, fresh, homemade pasta made by the maiden aunts
After googling I see , of course, that all  mediterranean countries make a version of  these.  In Italy they are very popular.  Called orecchiette,  Little ears

Not exactly 'little ears' but I'm getting there.

How the aunts make a nice pattern on the pasta

Rolling it out

Our pasta machine.  Once used, now forgoten

The gkogklyes are lowered into a pan of boiling water, handful by handful. When they float to the top they're ready and are scooped out and covered in grated cheese.

500 grams all purpose flour
About one water glass of water, 250 ml
A little salt

Hard cheese finely grated
200 grams butter

Put the flour in a bowl, mix in the salt, then add the water slowly, kneading the dough, adding more water till you have a soft elastic dough. 
Leave for twenty minutes to rest and put on that pot of water with a little salt and bring it to rolling boil.

Pull off a handful of dough and with your hands roll and stretch it out into a long sausage. With a sharp knife cut off small pieces about the size of a thumbnail . Press each piece in the middle . Toss all the little ears in a bowl of flour.

Lower into the boiling salted water little by little and remove with a slotted spoon after about 10 minutes when they start floating.

Place the boiled gkogklyes into a large dry pan. 
In a smaller pot heat till smoking, 200 grams of butter.
Pour the smoking butter over the pasta.

Serve while hot, covering them with finely grated tasty cheese.  
The cheese we use here is called myzithra. It's a hard cheese and doesn't melt.

Kali orexi 

In Italy they probably serve them with a tomato sauce. Try them the Greek way with that hot smoking butter, or olive oil, and grated cheese. Though maybe you need a Greek maiden aunt to make them for you. Those aunt's have a lifetime of good basic cooking under their apron belts. Believe me, they're delicious. All you need is a glass of wine and maybe a Greek salad.

Thursday 17 November 2022

Vintage 2022

 Last year this time we went to a village high up in the mountains to pick up family wine. The small village is nestled (hanging more likely) on the side of a cliff and the roads are unbelievably narrow and steep, corners so sharp they're  almost un-negotiable.  I vowed I'd never go back there. But guess what. K likes the wine and he likes having 300 litres of it in his shed.

I reluctantly agreed to keep him company on the trip this year. I hope it's the last time. 

Way out there on the horizon is the gulf of Korinth

A village street. The gradient must be 10%, no warning sign though like they have on more important roads. Try coming down here in an old-ish car carrying an extra 300 kilos!

Let the casks be filled. This year we are taking the wine in 20 litre bladders/bags/sacs. I don't know what they're called in English. K says  the wine will stay in a better condition. Last year we transported it in 50 litre plastic containers and then transferred it into barrels when we arrived 

It's transferred from the cousin's barrels to the sac scoup by scoup

Rosé or Pozé as our kiwi visitors called it after seeing it written in Greek 

100 litres of white and 200 of rosé.  The wine at the bottom of the barrel is a little cloudy and has to be left to settle before we drink it.

Filling up the boot, and the back seat

Thank goodness we had help when we got home.

Some of the little elves.

It was a long day. It took almost 3 hours to get there and more on the return. We stopped at Korinth for souvlaki. There's a little shop there which has the best souvlaki we've eaten. It does a roaring trade with locals, truck drivers, travellers like us. The shop is a hole in the wall with half a dozen tables and a queue for takeaways. And cheap too

An exceptional product with a good price tag doesn't need trumpets and pretentious decor.   Word spreads, trumpeted by satisfied customers.

That goes for K's wine too, he says

Tuesday 15 November 2022

Olive Oyl Time

 Olive harvest has begun

This year Vaso's son has an electric gadget which shakes the higher branches bringing down the olives.  It means less work for more olives and he's very pleased. The lower branches are still hand raked

They're all bagged up and once a week the harvest is taken to the press. The bags are taken inside at night in a secure shed. Unfortunately sacks of olives have been known to disappear under cover of darkness 

It's still quite warm and it's a sweaty job. By afternoon he's got 7 tshirts hanging out to dry off

The trees are not always on flat ground. It can be a difficult job, sometimes on very steep slopes or in fields of thorns or rocky outcrops

Further up the road other neighbours do it the hard way with long ladders 

Our nephew George brought us two 17 litre cans of his olive oil, straight from the olive press. He says it's some of the best oil they've produced with a very low acidity. 

At the beginning of the season the were getting 1 litre from 7 kilos of green olives but now the olives are riper and plumper it's only takes 5 kilos to produce 1 litre.

Sunday 13 November 2022

Now you see it, now you don't

 Cats love to eat octopus. Raw, boiled, fried or baked.  

If K is going to grill an octopus as a meze (snack) with ouzo then it has to hang out in the sun and dry out slightly.  He has learnt to hang it well out of the way of chairs, walls or fences.  The local feral cats are champion pole vaulters and high jumpers. 

They have been known to grab a fish from searing hot oil in a frying pan and have appeared out of nowhere to steal one of the fish he was gutting and scaling in the outside sink.  
Smash and grab feline style

He was boiling a couple of octopus/ii for foreign guests to sample and was called away for an hour or so in the middle of cooking.  When he cooks on the outside gas stove he'll close the pot in the shed if he has to leave.  

But not this time
He put a couple of heavy bricks and a piece of marble on top to keep them from removing the lid or knocking over the, hot, pot.

These cats are canny. By the time he got back

The pot was empty
Only the bay leaf was left.

They pushed the bricks off, removed the lid and dived in. All their Christmases  come at once

Was it one cat or both of the wild cats we feed every day? 
 They're not starving 

They were very tidy and fortunately didn't push the pot and its contents onto the tiles below. It would have been one helluva mess. They obviously just stuck their heads in and gobbled it all on top of the stove

K was fuming of course. Fortunately he had another octopus in the freezer and managed to defrost and cook it in time.  

We have a big black rubbish bin out the front and they can lift the lid, jump in, investigate the contents, jump out and put the lid back on again. And no-one the wiser till I open it and find the contents shredded

Now I put a heavy roof tile on the lid if there's anything in there that the cats might enjoy

Considerate animals. But bloody annoying.

Monday 7 November 2022


 A late summer Greek wedding, across the waters on Galatas.  My daughter and son-in-law were best man and woman at their friends' wedding and the baptism of the couple's son.   We were invited along with other members of the extended family as guests of the 'koumbarous', best man and woman.

Here is my dear daughter putting the weddings rings on their fingers

And here she is drinking from the glass of sacramental wine.  The bridal group all gets a sip and she was last in line and 'encouraged' to finish it off  while everyone watched

Son-in-law places the bridal wreathes on their heads.  This, and the ring ceremony has to be done properly.  The wreathes are crossed 3 times over their heads in a specific manner

And then came the baptism
The babe gets dunked completely under water and there's always a bit of gasping and screaming, to the delight of the guests.  That's how it's supposed to happen, here

The mother doesn't take part in the ceremony until later when the baby is handed back to her by the God mother, or father.  At least that's how it used to happen.  Nowadays Mama is usually close by to calm down the infant.
Our priest couldn't have performed many weddings or baptisms and he read the ceremonies out of a book, word for word.  Most priests skip over half of it and the wedding is done in half an hour and then the baptism doesn't take much longer.  This time we were there for 2 hours.  Thank goodness M-in-law had found chairs inside the church and I could sit for most of it.  The seating inside is only for a couple of dozen,  The rest stand outside with friends and relatives.

As we all filed out we were given a sweet almond cake and sugared almonds

Sugared almonds in a glass phial for the adults and a small glass frame with the name of the baby and a  twist of smarties for the children

The reception was down the road at an 'eco-glamping' park.
We weren't over enthusiastic at its eco design.
There was no parking in the grounds so all cars were left on the side of the road outside.  Then we had a 100 metre dirt track to traverse in  open summer sandals with no lighting.  Everyone, especially us, being older and wobblier, had turned on their phones' torches to pick their way down to the wedding tables.  I accompanied my daughter's m-in-law who has bad knees and groaned all the way down, especially when her sandals filled up with grit from the path.

When we arrived we found there was no seating plan and groups had clustered here and there not leaving us enough chairs to sit all together.  And most of the seating was on benches which is fine for younger ones but not so comfortable for anyone else.
I eventually found a spare chair with a back, grabbed that for the m-in-law and left their group to fit onto the end of a long table.  K had managed to nab two chairs near our own family group. 

Grandson George on bar duty.

Of course there was dancing. This is our family group having a twirl

I knew it was going to be cold.  Evenings were already damp and no longer warm.  Even though I had brought a jacket I was freezing and was very glad that K agreed to leave on the first water taxi, just after midnight, which took us back to Poros and our car.

But that was a whole other experience which I hope I never have to repeat.  At the wharf where the water taxi came in there was already a small fishing boat tied up.  We had to jump onto the fishing boat, gingerly walk across and climb onto the water taxi.  No way!!  I was sure I would end up in the drink or just fall and have to be hauled up.  My son-in-law, whose fishing boat it was, pooed-pooed all the excuses, okay for him,  and I was manhandled down onto the boat by two hefty guys, guided across by another two and then helped in by another.  

On the other side the wharf is not the same height as the boat and its an uphill jump to get out.  So I was hauled up and out by the taxi boatman.  Ye gods and little fishes was I happy to reach the car and then get safely home!!

Wednesday 2 November 2022

Poros Photos

 Summer photos. Some from the sea and some from land. 

The little church of the Holy Cross.  

The ruins of a Venetian fortress, with more ancient settlements underneath, guarding the entrance to the harbour

This year's lager.  Only served at the Navy canteen.

Strange name for a beach bar
'Seen Into the Sea'

Our thornless dwarf bougainvillia in full bloom