Thursday 28 September 2023
Friday 22 September 2023
Do you Love or Hate them?
As we come into the last week of September, the weather here in our Village has certainly been very kind.
Daytimes, warm, sunny and sometimes humid, around 28c - 30c - perfect sunbathing and swimming weather for our visitors. I too enjoy September, comfortably warm and cooler nights meaning no air conditioning either resulting in a long peaceful sleep too.
As the sun drops you notice the cooler temperatures, around 19c - 21c however still warm enough to sit outside, pour a glass of chilled white wine whilst watching the stars slowly appear in a clear night sky and they twinkle overhead.
The other evening enjoying this quietness I was aware of the patter of rain on the garden trees breaking the silence and yes we had a few drops of rain thus dampening the soil in the garden and our numerous plants pots but then THEY emerged. Yep Snails!!!
I appreciate these are considered a delicacy in many countries, Escargots in France with Garlic and Butter Caragols in Spain, Portugal and the Catalonia Areas - served as a casserole. And yes, here too in Greece.
Although not something you will see often on many menus here, several areas enjoy a Snail Cassarole - Stiffado style. Tomatoes, Onions, Garlic and Snails. In Crete often served with Spinach and Rice.
So this takes me back to a time when I lived on the beautiful Greek island of Spetses, a small island which is part of the Argo-Saronic chain. I was living with a Greek family who ran small Pension Style apartments whilst I was a rep for a well known British Tour company.
It was late September after a typical long, hot and dry Summer the heavens opened and the island welcomed and danced as the dry soil was plunged with the first heavy rain, however within an hour the sun broke through. It was late afternoon and the son of the owner said ''Ella'' - come - jump on my moped but first bring a bag as we need to go and collect? Collect what I said - He replied Saliggaria. Back then almost, 25 years ago my understanding of Greek was limited to work related issues. I could ask for a Plumber, Electrician or a cleaner to provide more towels but what was Saliggaria?? I was soon to find out and further improve my vocabulary!!
We drove 10 kilometres along the coast on his moped - there are no cars on this island other than a few taxis and 2 minibuses used for holidaymakers arriving in the harbour of Dapia to reach their accommodation. Spetses, is reached via Athens and then from the port of Piraeus by catching a Hydrofoil (known as Flying Dolphins) or a much longer and cheaper option of a ferry boat. The island has around 4,000 population and is 24 kilometres of coast line. Small, traditional and very popular too with Athenian weekend visitors, many having their own Villas on the island.
We arrived and he parked his moped under a tree, looked like a Walnut tree to me. Ah I thought we are collecting Walnuts! Now I really like Walnuts with my Greek thick yoghurt and local honey so I was imaging healthy breakfasts before walking to my office in the harbour every morning. But NO!! He cried out Yes, punching the air - over here lots here as he shoved 2 or 3 snails in the bag. This continued for an hour maybe more and then before the sun finally dipped we arrived back at his parents house. His mother was delighted as she washed the sand from the snails, lined a plastic fish style tank with kitchen paper poured in the numerous snails and closed with a lid. I could see the snails had started to crawl up the plexiglass, sorry but I really couldn't stomach this any longer so went outside for a cigarette.
I was invited the following day for lunch after my morning shift, I politely declined saying I had an emergency with some guests I needed to sort out and would grab a Tiropitta instead as I just knew what would be served for lunch.
So this week, after our light rainfall here, memories invaded my silence, as I watched the snails in our garden emerge from the soil climbing up towards our newly seeded Winter lettuces. I do apologise for lovers of Snails and this delicacy but I crushed them. I didn't want to cook or eat them and I also didn't want them to devour my Winter Salad Lettuce either - hence the photo of snails within my blog are Stock Photos.
Kalo Orexi, Bon Appetit for those that do appreciate this delicacy though..........
Monday 11 September 2023
Village Life - Eating Healthy on a Budget.
As many, the Cost Of Living is something many of us think about, and us too included.
Thankfully one of our pleasures, delights and cost saving ventures is, with living here in Corfu in a village, having a large garden, enabling us to eat healthily and with a minimal outlay, thanks to our hard work in our garden. Time invested well as we are not retired as yet but need to think about all cost saving ways as possible these days!!
Here are a few things from last week on our menu.
BriamWe picked : Peppers, Tomatoes, Courgettes and Aubergines, Potatoes already had been stored. So apart from the cost of the water to grow and the electricity to bake/roast plus the bought items below.
Result was a Tasty Briam. known as Roasted Greek Vegetables became the dish.
Olive Oil from our stock of.
Bought items included: Bread, Salt, Pepper, Onions and Feta Cheese.
All Baked in one casserole dish in the oven. Also saving on washing up too.
Stuffed Peppers and Tomatoes
We Picked, Larger Tomatoes and some Bell Peppers and Fresh Mint.
Bought items included Long Grain Rice, We had Feta, Onions and Bread from the day before. Along with the Oil, Onions and Potatoes from our stock
Stock Items, Origano, Salt & Pepper.
Again all baked together in the oven in one casserole dish.
Of course you can add mince meat and fry if you prefer to have a more meat based diet.
Fried Aubergines with Skordalia.
Aubergines from the garden.
Stock items : Flour, Salt & Pepper & Olive Oil.
Fresh Egg - locally from a neighbour (we give her our left over bread to feed her chickens, free range of course and she gives us a few eggs every week) Fry the Aubergines in Olive Oil, dipped in the batter.
Skodalia (Garlic Dip)- Old bread socked in water and then drained, Garlic (bought) and Red Wine Vinegar (bought).
Blend together to make a lovely Garlic dipping sauce.
Aubergines - dip in the flour and egg mixture, fry in hot olive oil.
Served with your already purchased Feta and some Fresh Bread
Pancakes/CrepesServed with Cactus Fruits and Lemons picked from the garden.
Stock Items Sugar, Flour Milk and 1 Egg.
Grapes - Picked from the Vine
Cheese, wine, grapes and feta.
Bread & Butter Pudding. Grapes dried for raisins.
Our Sunday Special
You can see we live healthily on a mostly non meat diet and treat ourselves to a Fresh (not frozen) Chicken at the weekend bought from the local village butchers and not from the supermarket.
This Chicken I roast with veggies
Avgo Lemono Soup
Leftover Chicken I make the following day as the famous Greek Avgo Lemono Soup - Chicken Egg & Lemon Soup.
So you need:Chicken Leftovers) Eggs, Rice and Lemon all as above already in stock or purchased.
Boil Leftover Chicken for a tasty broth - forget stock cubes and if you need to thicken the stock use your flour. Fresh Dill from the garden to serve
Other items purchased for a weeks shopping included:
Feta Cheese - choose from your local minimarket the type in the large tin already preserved in Brine whenever possible rather than the mass produced Feta in a plastic tub.
Lentils - To make Fakes - Lentil SoupChickpeas - Revithia Soup made with chickpeas, onions, garlic, lemon and flour to thicken. Leftover soup can be strained and made into Humous - add some more Garlic and Olive oil and blend by mixer to make a tasty dip. Some add Tahini however I prefer Greek Yogurt.
Spaghetti No 6 - for a simple 3-4 ingredient spaghetti, sauce made with tomatoes (small Cherry ones picked from the garden which are sweet & tasty) , Onions, & Garlic. I also pick celery from the garden to add some more flavour to the tomato sauce.
Of course, with all of the above you can make a healthy lunchtime snack of Greek Salad and I make potato salad but instead of mayo I use Olive Oil, Mustard (stock item) and mint.
You can use the Homous as above. I also strain the Lentil Soup to make Lentil fritters.
Boil some Eggs and make a Egg (Mayo) Salad served with tomato salad........
I haven't included recipes but a synopsis of our typical Summer menu.
If you would like any of my own simple recipes you can post comments or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
and when I am not cooking and gardening??? .......
You can check out my websites should you choose to look at booking your next vacation directly - thus supporting our local owners and the Ethos of my website.
See : www.corfuselections.com
Saturday 2 September 2023
Friday 1 September 2023
September, Sunny Days, Fruits and Flowers.....
This Summer we harvested a variety of goodies too including, early lettuces, always tasty until Mid May then it gets too hot and they bolt. However I made some lovely lettuce soup instead of wasting them.
September - brings us later in the month Walnuts - a favourite for breakfast with Thick Greek Yoghurt and local honey and another alternative taste for our Pancakes.
Wishing everyone visiting Corfu this month an enjoyable stay and holiday too.
If you are still thinking of some late sunshine or a last minute holiday, you can also visit my websites www.corfuselections.com & www.sanstefanosapartments.com and book directly with our owners thus supporting local businesses too.......
Kalo Mina - A happy month of September with Health and Happiness.