Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Chocolate Chili Cake...

First thing this morning we went out in search of some last minute figs for Marmalade Annie.  There are a few still around but this will be the last this year.  We started our walk by going to see what the people had done in the field next door on Monday when they were marking out the plots, Chivers decided he had to come too - in that respect he is a bit like a dog as he likes to follow us then run ahead and run back checking we are still around - the only trouble is that he runs for miles, is not terribly light on his feet and then gets overheated and pants dreadfully which is a bit worrying.  He continued to come down the main road to the fig trees and hang around whilst John picked them, fortunately there was very little traffic about and when there was he seems to be pretty street-wise and disappeared under the tree until the vehicle had gone.

Having had several days of dry weather we had earmarked today to paint the cement strip we have put around the base of the house and the plinth with some bitumen to try and make it more water-tight.  John had given me one of his green Norwegian t-shirts to paint in as it didn't matter about getting it dirty but it was so blinking hot out in the front garden I had to change before I melted!  It isn't the neatest job in the world but it is functional!

Whilst we were painting we had an unusual visitor into the garden - in fact it settled on the roof of Paul's house next door and was gone again before I had time to take a photograph of it so I have found this one on the Internet.  It was a sparrow hawk and it was obviously after the millions of sparrows which have set up home in Paul's roof.  As you know they are the bane of John's life so he was more than happy that a natural predator is around - it was just a shame that he didn't get to see it as he loves birds of prey and has often expressed a desire to get involved in some sort of falconry.

Before the digger comes in and clears the field of all the loose stones we decided to liberate one or two more so that we could put an edge around two little borders at the front of the house so that they are in keeping with the rest.  We call them Mark and Laura's borders as we have put the plants they gave us in there.  Laura is on the left side and Mark is on the right.

In Laura's border there is a pretty orange lantana which I have grown from a cutting - actually we used to have one in the garden around about that same position but it had been allowed to grow out of control so John dug it out.  I will need to make sure that this one is kept small otherwise it will take over.  There are also a million and one Californian Poppy seedlings springing up and what looks like a couple of alliums from bulbs which I got from the Euro Shop.  I am hopeful for a colourful display there next year.

Sadly our gazebo became a casualty of some high winds the other day and the fabric on the top ripped beyond repair - it had obviously become weakened by exposure to the sun and rain.  This is a real shame because replacement covers are more than a complete new gazebo.  
We have decided to move the frame to the front decking at some point and John is going to put some kind of more permanent top on it because the frame is still good.  He will then build a permanent gazebo over the decking at the back which he has wanted to do for some time.  I have visions of wood and stone pillars and a tiled-roof!!!  The permanent gazebo can at least be the same shape and size as the decking which is rectangular and will give us more space than the old square gazebo did and it is a project for John to get his teeth into and you know how much he loves a project!!!

For lunch today we decided to cook up some of Lucie's fresh eggs and I managed to make perfect omelets.  The secret?  Apparently you need fresh eggs - two per omelets.  You should cook whatever filling you want in advance and put to one side.  You shouldn't over whisk the eggs and you should add a tablespoon of water for each egg and season. Don't have too much mixture for your pan! Use butter for cooking the omelet and plenty of - heat on a moderate heat so it doesn't burn just bubbles - once the bubbles subside chuck in the egg mixture and almost immediately add the filling - drag the edges inwards so that uncooked egg fills the gaps.  After a minute or so fold one edge over and turn out onto a plate and you have a perfect fluffy omelet.

It is John's sister Janice's birthday tomorrow and we searched the tintyweb for a suitable card.  There are so many free ecards available but I would thoroughly recommend the free Hallmark cards that I found as we chose a nice animated Forever Friends one and scheduled it to arrive tomorrow.  Thank God for the internet - without it we would be stuck for cards and gifts for our friends and family still in the UK.

This afternoon we decided we would take a trip out to the Herb Garden in Akourdalia to see Caroline.  We had cut back the rose geranium along our pathway and Wheelie Helen suggested that Caroline could use it as she makes her happy tea out of a mixture of rose geranium and lemon verbena.

Caroline was delighted with our geranium and invited us to stay for a drink and a piece of fresh out of the oven Chocolate and Chili gluten free cake.  We offered to pay but she wouldn't hear of it so we stayed and had a lovely fresh filter coffee and a lovely piece of cake which left us with an inner glow of afterburn chili!!!

We felt a little guilty about not paying so John is going to go around the estate and cut back all the rose geranium and take it down for Caroline.  We normally put it in the bin so it is great to know that someone can make use of it!  Who was it that said one man's rubbish is another man's treasure???

On returning home we decided to watch a couple of episodes of GRIMM - very dark adult fairy tales and compulsive viewing I can tell you.  We are hooked and thank goodness there is a second series out because I will be getting withdrawal symptoms soon!!

Tonight I have tried cooking Pork Afelia which is a very traditional dish around here and one which John often orders at a taverna.  I haven't cooked it before and I struggled to find some coriander seeds until I remembered I had some in my shed!!!  The official verdict from my chief taster is fab so I will have to post the recipe in due course.

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