Monday 19 February 2024

Spring Onions

 Spring Onions

We had Spring like temperatures over the weekend and in the early afternoon here in NW Corfu - we reached 20c, enjoying the warmth of the sun and had a glass (or 3) of chilled white wine whilst just relaxing, such a shame though once the sun dips below the horizon, it's indoors with the heating on and a chilly damp 6c.  

So is Spring in the air?

Aris decided today, Monday morning as it was a mix of cloud with sunny spells to dig into the garden and do some weeding. My instructions around the wild flowers - please!!!!!

He then brought to me indoors some Spring Onions, known as Fresh Onions here.

Okay, I think what to do with these as it would be a shame for them to be unused as there is only so many a girl can use in a day.

Over to our trusty friend Google.  'How to store Freshly Picked Spring Onions from the garden' ....

So that's just what I did and this midday, accordingly to various Google videos, washed, put in a jar with fresh cold water and added a plastic bag - this will help them survive for over a week.....


                                          
I used 2 Spring Onions today with our lettuces, again picked from the garden for a salad for a lunchtime snack.

It's always a lovely learning process when you live n a village. 

Life in a Corfu Village
Lesley @ Corfu Selections.


For Holiday related services including accommodation in NW Corfu - also do check out my website:

www.corfuselections.com











Saturday 3 February 2024

January's Journal

 January's Journal and a Happy New Year - 2024.


With the celebrations over for another year we move into January and for many including myself, it does always feel the longest month of the year.  Summer still seems a long way ahead, however we do now have longer days and shorter nights as we countdown to 'Spring Forward' to change our clocks forward, which I believe (according to Google) falls on March 10th this year.


I thought I would start off my Blog with 'The Weather' as so far this month it seems to have been the leading news on our Greek TV Channels and as if we didn't need to be informed but yes it's cold it normally is, well in my experience with over 40 Winters in Greece. However it is and continues to be a hot (pardon the pun) topic here. World issues seemed to have passed us by, so thank goodness for the internet and BBC World news as to far more important issues that are quite concerning!!

January 1st was a lovely sunny day, in fact a few Narcissus popped into my flower


pots, a lovely New Year's Day greeting - colourful and sweetly smelling. The rest of the forthcoming weeks were a real mix with days of heavy rain, drizzle, grey skies, reminding me of the UK and chilling winds. The nights have been cold, sometimes reaching -2c even with the heating on the combination of rain, wind and cold everything felt damp.  Yes the famous Corfu Dampness.  The Albanian mountain tops opposite had a fresh dusting of snow and with the addition of the wind blowing over here into our North West corner of the island it was certainly a time to stay home and wrap up warm. 
 Posting on my Facebook feed


many friends in the UK commented they had warmer temperatures than here on our little rock. After the rain the past week we have welcomed bright, clear, dry days still chilly in the morning and then breaking into sunny periods when the lunchtime 



temperature has allowed a few hours in the garden with a glass of wine (no I didn't do Dry January) often reaching between 14 - 17c.  The bones and body felt recharged just for those few hours at least.

 Well that's the weather report and something to ponder if you are considering retiring here or spending some time out of season, as I am often asked during the hot Summer months by visitors about Winters in Corfu. 

So with the cold weather we can truely enjoy the delights of Greek comfort food.  I can potter around for many hours, cooking and creating hearty Winter dishes. A diet mainly based on lentils & pulses and soups for us after the overload of meat during Christmas and New Year.  Not having a car these days and sticking to a more traditional diet menu means I can easily walk to our local minimarket to buy 
everything needed to suit us both. Good for my health by walking, good for the environment as no car and good for supporting local businesses and the local economy. Our village, Avliotesin a a hillside location just 6 kilometres from the popular resort of Agios Stefanos, has a population of approximately 1,100 and boasts year-round facilities including a few minimarkets, butcher, bakery, Chemist, Post Office, several coffee shops (Kafenieon) , Patisserie for freshly made cakes, biscuits and made to order special occasion cakes, a lovely taverna also open all year round, a little shop selling gifts and small kitchen and bathroom items and a shop selling socks, underwear, PJ's and offering clothing alterations. 

So shopping every few days, our Winter Dishes include Fasolia -Greek Bean Soup, Fakes - Lentil soup, Gigantes, the giant white beans baked in the oven with tomato based sauce, Revithia - chickpea soup and also made into Hummas. Somtimes just a simple omellette with chips of course fresh eggs given to us from a local lady whom I give all my old bread too which she can use for her chickens.  The Yolks are really golden and tasty, these are definately Free Range and Farm fresh and without the packaging too. 


From the garden : Cabbage which I can add to a soup or as a side.  Early lettuces, Spring Onions and new small potatoes, ideal for a potato salad, dressed with Olive Oil and Fresh Mint picked from our patio tubs.

The Kumquats famous in Corfu, the fruit introduced in 1846 it is believed during the time the British protected the island are now in abundance during this month.  A small orange coloured gem, originally from China, so Aris picked more than a few.  I have experimented with making them into Jam, syrup, spoon fruits and also added to a few dishes during cooking adding a rather sweetish taste and rather pleasant on the 


tastebuds and better than adding sugar, I feel. They are lovely too with Pancakes, a regular sweet treat for us during the Winter and not just reserved for Shrove Tuesday. 

The airport opened again towards the end of the month and can now accommodate the smaller ATR planes, being mostly domestic flights until the fully operational runway is resurfaced when larger planes begin their direct flights from the UK and European hubs ready for the holiday season to begin for 2024 at the end of March.

In fairness a rather quiet month all round and time to just enjoy not doing much at all, which is part of my Life in a Corfu village, without the stress of a major city, crowds of people and not having to plan ahead, just taking each day as it comes.

If you are still considering booking directly for your Summer holiday -then have a look at our owners offering a choice of family run hotels, studios, apartments, luxury suites and villas. Something to suit all budgets whether you are a Solo traveller, a couple, family or a group of friends. The beaches and resorts of Arillas and Agios Stefanos are based in the North West corner of this wonderful island offering sandy beaches, amazing Sunsets, family run tavernas, cafes and a Corfu Holiday experience with our  guests having returned to over many summers and our new visitors arrive and understand why too.  You can check out some remaining options.....

via: www.corfuselections.com 

As we enter February may I wish you all a Kalo Mina with Peace and Happiness for the month ahead.

Lesley @ Corfu Selections







Wednesday 20 December 2023

Merry Christmas from a Corfu Village

 Merry Christmas from a Corfu Village


As we countdown to the Christmas celebrations and almost everyone seems busy and focused on : 

Shopping,  The Christmas Decorations,  The Christmas meal, buying presents, and perhaps worrying about all of these too.  I thought I would share with you our simple Christmas here at our home in the village.

With just a few days to go I prepared our little lounge area.  No big tree for us with just a few Candles and baubles.  Apart from not being a huge lover of all the clutter it would just give more objects for our 4 cats to play with.




Our Christmas Lunch come dinner will be served at our larger table used for Special Days with a Christmas themed tablecloth and comprise Roast Chicken, Roasties and Boiled New potatoes from our garden and a few Brussels are ready too. 

I know there is often the debate should you have Yorkshire Puddings or not?   Well each to their own, however I will make a batter and enjoy my Yorkies.

Sage Balls with fresh herbs, again from the garden and a Lettuce Salad as a side as these are growing well.

When I first decided to stay in Greece in the Winter too, I was devastated when I was kindly invited to a lovely Greek family's home for their Christmas meal and there was no Turkey, it was Lamb.  I remember I cried this was my first Christmas away from the UK and I was so upset, What no Turkey, Brussel Sprouts, Mince Pies or Christmas Pud.  That was over 40 years ago.  These days you only need to visit M&S in Corfu town for the Mince pies and puddings.  Parsnips and Sprouts are available either fresh or frozen from many larger supermarkets, along with cranberry sauce, Christmas crackers etc.

Well one Christmas after I was married and happily settled in my own home, I announced we would have Turkey and a real (what I believed and grown up with) Christmas dinner.

After all the days and hours of hard work and stress, running around, bustling with the crowds and driving 40 kilometres each way to find firstly a parking spot, the Pies, Puds etc, buying the Turkey, hours later with the table dressed and ready we lit the Red Candles, clinked our glasses and tucked into our 'Proper Christmas Meal'.  I must admit the Turkey was ok, but only that OK.  I suppose it is similar to Drinking Ouzo or eating a Greek Salad when you are not in Greece.  So from that year on we have had a Greek/lish Christmas.  Roast Chicken or Lamb Tzatsiki and Salad and not forgetting Feta Cheese and crusty bread.  I still have a few Christmas crackers for the table left for this Christmas, however I understand these are no longer on trend or enviromentally friendly? 

So I am all ready for Christmas and only need to buy a freshly farmed chicken from our local village butchers and a crusty loaf from the local bakers, all within a 5 minute walk from home and thus supporting local busineseses.  The token decks are up and so far untouched by the cats!! 



Christmas morning, the routine will be as any other day really similar to a Sunday Roast Day.

Aris will pick a few lettuces and Spring onions and dig over a few new potatoes. I will make the Tzatsiki,  Yorkshire batter and make the stuffing and then Roast the chicken - oh not forgetting the gravy too. 

Our 4 cats will have their Special cat treats and no doubt hope there will be some leftover chicken too for them.  

If the sun shines we will have a few hours in the garden, as although it is not sunbathing weather here in December, it has been over the past few days around 14 - 16c in the afternoons, so a glass of wine and nibbles and relax. Others enjoy driving to the beach and a Christmas walk - as I no longer drive and there are no local buses on Christmas Day we will opt for our garden and hopefully some sunshine.

At 5pm here (3pm in the UK), we will tune into the King's Speech and no doubt watch whichever Christmas movie is on one of the Greek channels, normally there are a few of the favourites such as Mary Poppins, Oliver (in English with Greek subitles) and Ari will light the log fire and then have a little nap (siesta) giving me time to catch up on the Internet with family & friends around the World.

We will also enjoy during the evening Walnuts and Almonds from our trees this Autumn. The Walnuts with youghurt and honey and an Almond baked cake.

Over Christmas it is also a busy time answering email inquiries as for those thinking about 2024 holidays having had family & friends discussions over the Christmas meal on where to go for the Summer focus on the sunshine and recharging.

So from our little home in the village to all who read this, whether you are having a larger family affair or like us quiet  - Ari and I wish you all a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful Christmas.  


Life in A Corfu Village....... by LesleyAnn@CorfuSelections.

 For bookings for 2024 see: www.corfuselections.com 












Tuesday 5 December 2023

November Village Life.

 November in Our Village


November in our village for me tends to be a rather quiet one. The clocks have gone back, the mornings start earlier and the evenings draw in quickly with longer nights ahead, my whole sleeping pattern changes as we try to make use of these daylight hours. 


November started mild with midday temperatures reaching 23c, sun shining gracing us with her warmth and clear blue skies. Certainly we both made the most of this beautiful weather being perfect for Ari (hubby) as he painted the bathroom, lounge area and my ceramic pots, whilst I took the opportunity for a good house deep clean and decluttering.  Curtains washed, windows cleaned and rugs aired for the forthcoming Winter months very soon to arrive.  The Summer wardrobe clothes all washed and packed away until late April and the heavier clothes, jumpers, leggings, jeans etc now ready and waiting to be worn when the colder days would arrive.  Actually we didn't have to wait too long as the evenings became cooler and damper, typical Corfu weather then for November.  Still not cold enough though for the log fire just a few hours each evening of the air con on a warm mode was pleasant.  Doors and windows remained open most days to keep our little house well ventilated to help with the general dampness up here. And the duvet now on the bed too.




We then moved onto several rainy days, thunder and lots of lighning storms and yes, you guessed it Power Cuts!!!  As we do not have piped gas on the island if you do choose to cook with gas then this is bottled gas.  Personally I do not like it, we only have an electric hob and oven. Over the years I have learnt always to have plenty of bread, feta cheese and salad for such days when the power could be off for only a few hours or even a whole day until the electricity company detects the source and repairs.  Often these cuts are due to fallen trees or the actual poles supplying the electric plunging us into darkness.  Another tip always have plenty of candles around the house.


After the rain and some more warmer days, Ari went foraging for 'Horta' Wild Greens (you can read about this on an earlier post). A perfect and healthy dish and as I hate to waste my old bread I serve with Skordalia, a garlic dip made either with leftover bread or potatoes or a combination of both. I also give any leftover bread to a Greek lady up in the village which she uses for her chicken's feed and in return often provides us with lovely fresh free range eggs when they are laying as several times yearly they don't.


Our 1st round of new potataoes from the garden are starting to appear, again not to waster anything, we use the eyes of any old potatoes and plant back in the soil.

Lettuces are also coming through nicely, with seeds brought over from some lovely guests whom have become friends over the years of visiting our island, however due to the rain, damp and humidity you do need to do a snail run every few days as this weather brings them creeping slowly up from the earth and trying to munch on the new lettuce leaves.  Tryng to be as Eco Friendly as possible, where the garden is concerned, we don't use pellets or pesticedes instead this is one of Aris' jobs as he goes out when the sun drops and removes them and again early morning too. Do you know snails feature in several dishes around the World?  Not for me though and I have tried!!

The fallen Autumn leaves are collected dried in the sun and mulched back into the soil too.

The last of the peppers were dried but wow they have rather a kick, now in the feezer to use in soups and stews over the Winter.



Mid November some fragrant Narcissus flowers popped into a few of my flower pots outside, so pretty to see flowers in the garden.



The Rag & Bone man known here as a Paleogeis, arrived down our little lane whilst we were outside relaxing and enjoying another sunny midday glass of wine, he took away an old fridge and oven that had been an awful garden feature for quite a few months.  It is a shame more people don't use this free service rather than just dumping their stuff by the village green bins. The Paleogeis are up and around the villages and the island in their open back trucks often,  shouting over their loudspeakers: Paleogeis, Paleogeis. Income for them and free garbage removal for us!!

A few days later on another sunny lunchtime along came a few goats too.  Now whilst it is lovely to see this rural side of life here, goats will eat almost anything.  We have a gated patio/garden area so we escaped their rampage but the land across our lane saw them happily and greedily munching through the owners grass and anything else they liked in her garden. Our cats sat and watched as not sure they had seen a goat before.



As we reached the last week of the month, the 1st snow fell on our highest mountain Pantokrator which stands at 906 metres high. (Photo provided via a Corfu Forum). There was also snowfall opposite on the heights of the Albania mountains, it doees look so pretty however when the wind blows this way the temperatures drop, as they did for various evening when it was just 3c during the night. 



The last day of the month Easyjet announced that they had more aircrafts based at Birmingham providing more direct flights from May 2024 into Corfu.  The Corfu airport was closed for scheduled runway updates and will reopen on 5th December.  There are no direct flights from Europe and other hubs onto the island from mid November to late March and tourism is very low key during this time.  There are normally 5 domestic flights in from Athens which offers anyone wishing to visit for a holiday, visit friends, family etc and there are always plenty of flights from around the World into Athens so a short 40 minute flight then from Athens to Corfu provides the way to visit during the 'off season', along with ferries via the mainland too.


Now I am looking forward to December however I am not putting any Christmas decorations up until a few days before as here, despite seeing on Greek TV the 1st advert this year, as we tend to keep the deorations up until Epiphany being 6th Januaury when the priest will come to bless the house with Holy water.


Thank you for reading about my Life in a Hillside Corfu Village, if you are thinking of moving here or retire hopefully providing you via my blogs an insight to daily life to consider.

If you are planning to visit in 2024 then you can also find me on www.corfuselections.com  I will always be happy to assist you with holiday related questions and services here in the North West Corner of our island of Corfu.




You can follow me too via Facebook: Corfu Selections and Instagram. Click on icons via my website.



Lesley Life in a Corfu Village

Thursday 16 November 2023

Horta - Wild Greens

 Horta - Wild Greens


After some lovely November days so far blessing us with mild sunny days interspersed with rain and dampness at long last we can now enjoy our Wild Greens, known as Horta over here. This time of the year is a great time to harvest Wild Greens from the mountains, hillsides or your garden. Well if you know what to pick!!

During the Summer the land is partched and too dry for the Wild Greens to flourish so we await the Autumn, Winter & Spring months to enjoy this dish.


A healthy dish to add to your diet.  In fairness I haven't a clue which leaves to pick so this is a job for Ari (hubby).  He knows what he is doing, taught by his mother many years back when as a young boy in a busy household when many lived off their land.  Off he went with his knife and bag to gather the Wild Greens.  I am now washing and prepping these and they will be boiled in the morning until tender and served with a drizzle of Lemon Juice, Lemons are picked from the tree and Olive Oil, from the family's Olives and then adding a side of a Garlic Dip (Skordalia) to soak up swith our fresh crusty bread of course the famous Feta Cheese. As tomorrow being Friday some small fried fish too. Sardines are a good choice.





I make my Garlic Dip (Skordalia) from old bread which I soak and then blitz with garlic, Olive Oil, salt, pepper and some vinegar.  Other make with boiled potatoes or a mix of bread and boiled potatoes.


A healthy and budget friendly dish.


Kalo Orexi x 


Looking to visit Corfu for our Greek Easter this falls for 2024 on Sunday 5th May - you can book your accommodation via our owners directly on www.corfuselections.com just click on link for more information


Sunday 8 October 2023

Life in a Corfu Village by Lesley Ann Hoy @ Corfu Selections: Sunny Sunday in October

Life in a Corfu Village by Lesley Ann Hoy @ Corfu Selections: Sunny Sunday in October:   A Sunny Sunday in October..... I am often asked ''How's the weather in October?'' My answer is it is normally still su...

Sunny Sunday in October


 A Sunny Sunday in October.....


I am often asked ''How's the weather in October?''

My answer is it is normally still sunny and warm.  Warm enough to sit outside, keeping the doors and windows open until the sun drops.  Great for walking as not too hot and you do not need air conditioning to sleep at nights. Yes much quieter than the busy high season months, just perfect for me.

In fact I still haven't put a duvet on the bed, just a light throw over the top sheet.

For me, I wish it would be such as this all year round.

The leaves are slowly falling from our grape vine and fruit trees. However, I do miss the golden and red colours of Autumn leaves in London, England - although I certainly do not miss the English cold winds or many years back even snow when visiting during October !!

Today it is once again a mild 25c approaching midday with a clear blue sky and just a gentle warm breeze.  Actually a perfect day for a BBQ, however, as it's Local Election Day, Ari has walked up to the village school to cast his vote and as I have no idea on how to barbie, I will instead roast a chicken with lemon potatoes, leaving me time to relax and enjoy the sun and warmth outside in our garden and finish my book.  Almond (Book 3) and the Silver Saint by Jim Hawkins.  I so enjoy reading Jim's books, yes I can refer to him as Jim, having met Jim and his lovely wife over in the resort of Agios Stefanos N.W. Corfu more then 15 years ago and he has become a very good friend to Ari and I since then. If you haven't read his books, then check out on Amazon, especially if you enjoy Corfu and a Corfu based book. 


Happy Sunday everyone from a sunny Sunday in October here from our hillside village in Corfu.

Lesley Ann @ Corfu Selections.