Thursday, 25 March 2010

The Greek Revolution - 25 March 1821

Happy Greek Independence Day! Xronia polla se olous tous Ellines.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Spring Ramblings

Springtime is the season in which nature wakes up and starts to grow after the long sleep of winter. This season as it progresses becomes a noisy but colourful affair. The first signs are the early spring flowers emerging out of the ground. Snowdrops are a sure sign to everyone that spring has sprung but other early flowers such as Dogs Mercury can be seen as the first indication of spring. Later on in the season, other wildflowers like Lesser Celandine and Bluebell will sprout and fill our countryside with colour. In addition, there will be a surfacing of spring fungi. Trees too come to life in spring and their buds begin to swell. The almond tree is a tree which blooms early in Cyprus. It is found mostly in the mountains and its very first bloom occurs in February even in the snow. To me it's a kind of Edelweiss, the only difference being it's small and pink , not white. By early March, our almond trees are in full bloom! Over the coming months, all our tree species will come into leaf, giving our woodland life and colour in preparation to spread their pollen and produce seed in autumn. Wild birds will start to eagerly construct nests ready for their clutches of eggs. Swallows to begin with. They are the first Spring birds which build their nests under our roofs. Hence our saying: "One swallow does not bring Spring!" Yet we know that Spring is in the air! Then small birds such as Robins will find a hedgerow or a bird-box to nest in while Crows and Jackdaws will be seen collecting twigs for their treetop homes. The Blackbird, especially the males, will be seen and heard desperately defending his territory and trying to entice a female. In June - July, the nightingales won't let you sleep in Platres! Other animals including insects, amphibians and mammals will too commence their courting behaviour trying to impress mates. This will result in many different colourful and noisy displays. The 8 cats of my neighbourhood, for instance! You may hear the howling of foxes up in the mountains and the croaking of frogs around this time - especially in Ayia Napa! Remember, while out spotting all these wonderful plants and animals follow the countryside code and do not disturb any wildlife or pick wild flowers and fungi. It’s best to take nothing but memories and leave nothing but footprints.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Learning to Cook

Souvlakia me patates tiganites - Greek kebab with chips I used to hate cooking and considered it to be a great loss of time. The kitchen was my least favourite room in the house. And when Alkis, my husband, asked me to marry him, I made it clear. He shouldn't expect homemade food from me. He was only 26 then, a young student at the Hotel School in Switzerland, so he smiled at me and said: "I'll cook for you! I'm learning to cook at the hotel school in a very professional way." And he kept his promise. Whenever we entertained, he'd do the cooking and all our friends were impressed! And when he didn't have time to cook for us because of work, my mother did that and ...yes she sent the food from Nicosia to Larnaca where we lived. That's how Alkis fell in love with our traditional bamies me kotopoulo(okra with chicken) which I have only recently learnt to cook I've recently decided to learn to cook. I started reading cookbooks, writing out recipes from Breakfast TV or surf the Internet to discover more recipes. And , of course, I started out with Greek cooking as both Alkis and I adore Greek food. In less than 2 years, I think I've made quite a progress. Now I find cooking is an art but I've still got a lot to learn.