Saturday, 24 September 2016


A late night last night gave way to a quiet morning.  Tomorrow we are hosting Mum and Dad and Sheila and Klaus for lunch - it will be a belated celebration for Dad's 85th birthday and a chance to sit round the table together.

John will be off to football this afternoon with our neighbour Sean for the first game of the season for ENAD and I am going to have a tidy round and prepare the food for tomorrow.  I had decided upon stifado - it is what I guess you would call my signature dish as everyone seems to enjoy it and it is all the better for cooking long and slow for hours.

I had decided upon stifado because the weather forecast earlier in the week had not been so good - rain was forecast and I expected it to be a bit cooler here - too cool maybe to sit outside and eat but what do I know or rather what do the forecasters know?  Today here in Droushia it was scorchio - hot and still - maybe stifado wasn't such a good choice after all but it was too late to change my mind!

We had a visit from our neighbour Charalambous this morning.  His lovely wife Galatia has been in London recently and she had brought me back some of my favourite Montezuma Chocolate flavoured with Chili and Lime and we were also given a huge back of fresh dates.

Apparently we are to freeze them for seven days and then we can remove those we want to eat, leave for a day to defrost naturally and then they are ready.  We are a bit uncertain about dates as our only experience harks back to Christmas's as children when they used to be brought out with great pride like some sort of culinary wonder and they sat in their balsa wood basket with the knobbly fork for days and days and nobody ate them - I shall find a recipe and if all else fails we are going to be in for a whole load of sticky toffee pudding over the winter.

I had the afternoon to myself - I quite like those few hours of peace whilst John is at footie just mooching about doing things I want to do.

The sun although hot has a certain tiredness about it and the land beyond the wall looks tired - the season is coming to an end.

In another couple of weeks I will have to tackle the garden and cut things right back so they flourish for next year.  It is hard when things are still in bloom but once Aunty Joyce and Uncle David have been to stay in October there will be no-one to admire the flowers and then will be the right time time.

I cannot believe how well the clock-vine has done this year after a late start.  It has reached up to the top of the roof terrance and along the railings.  It is covered in mauve blooms and is magnificent.

Today will have been John's idea of heaven, live footie watching ENAD (even though apparently they were robbed by some very dodgy refereeing decisions) followed by a night in and a movie.  To really make his day he had asked for a chili for tea which I was more than happy to make - all I needed to do was to make sure he didn't light the wood burner!!!

The slow cooker came out and the chilli went in - the flavour hugely improved by adding some dark chilli chocolate which has been loafing in the fridge for quite some time and now I have replenished stocks of the chilli and lime one I really like I am happy to use up the other in this way!

Whilst things were cooking I got out my water colours which I haven't used probably since we moved over here - I am planning on doing a picture for Pam and George and I really wanted to practice for a bit as it is such a different medium from pencils I use with Sheila.  I much prefer the pencils but it has been fun trying the paints - I will finish this as this is really only the background and more detail needs to go in.

On John's return we cracked open the gin and used one of the little limes we have growing in the garden - I am guessing their inadequate size is due to inadequate watering but the flavour is all there and they said we couldn't grow limes in Droushia!!

We actually managed to watch a whole film this evening - The Secret Life of Pets before retiring to bed for an early night - we have been out so much recently that we were both knackered.  I hope I sleep - I keep waking up in the early hours with lots on my mind - the gin should help

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