Flooded with Intensely Aromatic Roses

This year we are flooded with intoxicatingly aromatic roses, as Costas managed to multiply the first Rosa Damascena we transplanted from a late neighbor’s garden.

Now we have three thriving plants, and lots of roses to make Rose Petal Jam and the light rose-scented Yogurt Mousse flavored with it. Later when our guests come, we will offer them my refreshing Pomegranate and Rose Petal Granita everyone loves. 

 

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I also dry the fragrant petals –spread on clean towels all over the house– to use later in my herbal teas and in home-made Eastern Mediterranean spice mixes.

 

2a-roses-bowl2-small5-rose-petals-jam-plate-small2-rose-petal-jar1-small (more…)

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Kea Spring in all its Glory

Spring arrived in a hurry this year. Just as Kea was unusually cold for weeks in March, it suddenly turned very warm for a few days; then cooled again, to a British-like pleasant spring weather. 

But not everybody enjoys these glorious days, especially the Greeks that celebrated May 1st on the island and expected to go to the beach (!) But the plants and flowers thrive now, before the sizzling sun dries everything…

 

Our pink Cistus parviflorus is in full bloom, and the Lomelosia cretica (above) is following along.

 

As our neighbor’s goats observe, Costas whacks the dried greens very carefully, among the fragrant thyme and savory bushes, and the vivid yellow blossoming phlomis.

Flowering plants are not many in our property, we only spotted four wild orchids under the olive trees this year. They seem as if they are speeding up their pace to catch up, blooming as fast as they can among the already yellowing greens.  

 

(more…)

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Pan Roasted Vegetables

No recipe needed for this glorious, yet very easy vegetable medley that can be the ideal accompaniment to charcoal-grilled meat or fish, but we mostly love to eat it by itself, with just feta cheese, along with a deeply-flavored, olive-oil-fried egg from our neighbor’s hens and slices of good, crusty whole-wheat bread.

 

 

Cut into chunks a couple of small, longish, tender eggplants, some peeled butternut squash, one or two bell peppers, add a sliced onion and a couple of garlic cloves and douse them all with olive oil; sprinkle with some cumin, ground coriander seeds, oregano or thyme, plenty of Aleppo (or Maras) pepper flakes and of course salt, and bake in the center of the oven for about 45 minutes, tossing once after 30 minutes or so.  

 

 

For my 15×12 inch (37×32 cm) deep pan I used about 1 1/2 pounds squash and more or less the same weight of tender (no seeds) eggplants. (more…)

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Fava, Parsley and Lemon Spaghetti

A fast, plant-based pasta dish that we cannot stop eating these days. I cooked the spaghetti first, al dente, the traditional way,  then added it to the briefly braised fava pods flavored with onion, garlic, lemon juice, and plenty of wonderful parsley that we happen to have in the garden.

Lemon zest and plenty of coarsely ground pepper give the dish a lovely kick, while crumbled feta adds a very welcomed tanginess.

 

This is the more conventional and elegant way to make the dish, besides the One-pot version with Fava, Asparagus, and Spinach that I posted last year.

 

Serves 3-4 (more…)

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Our Traditional Olive Oil, Vegan Cookies

Greeks don’t need to substitute and invent intricate vegan cookies, as the most common ones we make at home, or buy at the bakeries all over the country, are usually baked with olive oil instead of butter.

I got the recipes from my mother and grandmother and I only slightly tweaked  them.

Both most favorite cookies –the Koulourakia with Orange, and the dark deep-flavored Moustokouloura Cookies, were baked using olive oil and no eggs.

 

Americans and northern Europeans are not the only ones loving their crunchy, fragrant cookies. Greeks usually accompany with cookies their coffee in the morning or afternoon. (more…)

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