Pomegranate Liquer

 

By popular request. 

Roll on those cold Winter evenings! 

Ingredients

1200 g pomegranate seeds, 

6 cups of raki (or other suitable spirit)

4 cups of sugar

Optional: 3 cinnamon sticks, 5 or 6 cloves

Procedure

Place the pomegranate seeds, the raki and the sugar into a saucepan.  Heat until the contents just begin to boil.  Add the cinnamon sticks and cloves.  Remove from the heat, cover and leave 24 hours.

The next day, strain and filter through fine mesh and bottle up.  It`s ready to enjoy.

Most Cretan recipes require larger quantities of sugar, which results in a thicker, more syrupy liquer  As a matter of preference, in this recipe, I reduced the sugar quantity by one cup.

 

The Thinker`s Tea

 

 

Once considered a sacred herb by the Greeks, offerings of sage were made to the ancient god Dias.  A multi purpose tonic, recognised since ancient times, it was referred to and used by Hippocrates as a tonic of mind and body.  Husbands coming home from war were offered a sage infusion by their wives to stimulate fertility.

Found in abundance in the Cretan countryside on seemingly barren soil, self-seeding, drought resistent and hardy, loved by bees, but now, largely overlooked by Cretans.

Taking a look at some of the benefits of this humble herb may surprise you. 

As an astringent, stimulant and tonic, it induces heat in the stomach, facilitates digestion, speeds up circulation, exerts a significant effect on the brain and improves memory (is used in treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer). It stimulates and revitalizes muscle aches, aids rheumatism, diabetes, gout and diarrhea.  It halts milk production, has an estrogenic effect, enhances mental clarity and helps ease depression. Also reduces persperation and is a diuretic.

King of the “anti`s” it is natural antiseptic, antioxidant, antibiotic, antifungal, anti-imflammatory and anticonvulsant.

It gives relief to mosquito and wasp stings, by rubbing the effected area with fresh leaves.

A beneficial hair tonic if used in rinsing.

Beneficial to asthma and atherosclerosis sufferers and may help with cardiovascular disease.

Contains vitamins K, C and A, calcium, iron and magnesium.

 

 

Uses for Sage 

Roast fish or chicken with fresh sage leaves

As in infusion for a pleasant tea 

Add fresh leaves to a salad with peppers, cucumber, onion and yogurt

Flavouring in tomato sauces

Flavouring in omelettes

Sage infusion using fresh or dried sage.  Simply pour boiling water over a heaped soup spoon of dried sage, or a dozen fresh sage leaves and leave for 5 minutes, strain and enjoy.  You can sweeten with a little honey or add a tiny squeeze of  lemon juice for flavour.

Here are a couple of links to recipes using sage.

Roast Pumpkin with Sage

Pumpkin and Sage Pasta

Sage Pesto

 

Like all herbs, excessive use of sage may cause toxic effects.

Information source: http://enallaktikidrasi.com/2016/04/faskomilo-idiotites-xrisi/

Roast Pumpkin with Sage

 

Ingredients

Prepared pumpkin, cut into long strips

Garlic (as many as preferred)

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Salt

Sage leaves, fresh or dried

Olive Oil

Procedure

Place the pumpkin, garlic, sage leaves, S & P into a roasting tin, sprinkle with olive oil, making sure the oil has covered the surface of the pumpkin.  Roast on a medium heat till the pumpkin is soft and lightly browned.  Serve hot or cold. 

Sage Pesto

 

Ingredients

A small handful of fresh sage leaves

A small handful of chopped parsley

3 garlic cloves

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

A small handful of pine nuts

Approx 1/2 cup olive oil

A splash of balsamic vinegar

Salt and ground pepper to taste 

Procedure

Place all of the ingredients, except the oil, into the blender.  Zap till smoothly cut.  Slowly add the oil with the motor running, till you have a smooth mixture, not too runny. 

Stir into cooked pasta and serve.

The pesto will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week. 

Rain…..What Rain?

 

The smell of the first rains last night at Kanakary had me rushing to the door to savor the forcast shower.  “Ahh”, I sighed in relief, “at long last”.  

True to form here at Kanakary, the shower lasted approximately ten minutes.  Scarcely enough to dampen the dogs` fur let alone water the parched gardens.

We retired to bed, disappointed.

This morning though, it seems the clouds brought some delightful visitors.  A beautiful pair of robins have been twittering their pretty song in my garden all day.

I forgive the unfair weather, for the time being, but rain, don`t dally too long!

The First Project on the Loom

 

I had perceived a problem on my lovely loom, so I had parked it up and left the beginnings of my very first project hanging sadly, on the warp.

Prompted once more and determined to get going again, I re-inspected the threads and realized the solution was simple.

Once rectified, the project whizzed along quickly.  My next dilemma was how to cut off the woven rug and tie off with tassels.  Obviously there is a technique to this, which I need advice on, but all the same, I managed to finish it.

Here is the result – my first ever rug, warts `n all – using multi coloured wool, all 55 x 34 cm of it!

Onion Pie (Κρεμμυδόπιτα)

 

I`ll try to make up for my inexcusable absence by providing this wonderful recipe, grovel, grovel…….

This one`s simple and as usual, very tasty.

Ingredients

Pastry

200 g plain yogurt (1 tub)

1/2 cup olive oil

300 g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

Salt

Filling

700 g onions sliced into rings

1 tsp ground fennel seeds

Small bunch parsley

100 g feta cheese

S & P ground

Procedure

Mix the yogurt, oil, salt and baking powder into the flour until you have a nice dough, it should be slightly oily to the touch, but not sticky.  Leave to one side for half an hour to rest.

Fry the sliced onions in a little olive oil till translucent, add the ground fennel seeds and remove from the heat.  Add the chopped parsly and feta and set aside to cool a little.

Lightly flour a surface and roll out half the pastry for the base and lay in a 24 cm pie tin.  Spoon in the filling and roll out the remaining pastry for the lid.  Prick an air hole, brush with beaten egg and bake for approx 35 minutes at 190 c.

The dough is great to work with and can easily be moulded to fit your tin or patch up cracks and holes. 

You can use ground cumin seeds in place of the ground fennel seeds if preferred.

Aubergine Pie (Μελιτζανόπιτα)

 

Pleasantly, surprizingly nice!

Ingredients

4 or 5 aubergines

130 g cheese such as kefalotiri grated

100 g feta crumbled

1 medium onion grated

2 garlic cloves crushed

Small bunch parsley chopped

A few mint leaves chopped

S & P 

Filo pastry (the very thin type)

Olive oil

Procedure

Prepare the aubergines.  Roasting them on the edge of your hot plate gives the lovely smokey flavour we`re looking for with this vegetable, turning them to cook on all sides.  If you` re lucky enough to have a gas hob, this is ideal.  If you re looking for a simpler solution, prick them and bake whole in the oven till the flesh gives.  Leave to cool. Peel, seperate out and discard as many of the seeds as you`re able.  

In a bowl, mash the flesh with a fork.  Add the cheese, feta, onion, garlic, parsley, mint, S & P.  Mix well.

Brush baking tray, approx. 30 x 22 cm with olive oil and begin laying your filo pastry, sprinkling olive oil in between each sheet.  I used 5 in the base, placed in the filling, then 5 on top.  Brush olive oil over the surface, sprinkle with a few drops of water.  Using a sharp knife, cut into portions and bake at 180 degrees for 40 minutes or till golden brown. 

Best Laid Plans…

 

 

I sat sullenly on my garden bench in my ridiculously skimpy shorts and t-shirt, wondering if it was Friday 13th.  Nope, pretty sure it`s Monday.  Bob` s “I don`t like Mondays” suddenly tried to push it`s way into my foggy brain……

With just a handful of days left before July arrives, Crete`s Weather God, suddenly remembering he should have turned up the thermometre to heatwave level, decided that today was the day. Droning cicades and sweaty bedsheets forced me to rise way before my normal “crawl out of bed” time.  Understanding we were in for a scorcher, I immediately closed all the windows and went outside to push the shutters closed, thus mimilizing the heat exposure to the interior of the house.  The sick realization stopped me dead in my tracks.  As I had exited, I had very carefully pulled the door closed to keep that nasty heat out, with no key in the door to get back in.   What!!!??  where???? why???? Where the hell are my keys???

Going immediately to our hidey spot for the spare house key, I was mortified to see the hook hanging empty!  Eeeeeeeek!    Now what? Rushing to our two previous hidey spots, no joy – I began to get worried.  I wondered how I would manage all day outside till Vags returned from work.  My silly shorts and t-shirt made it very obvious that I couldn`t go and ask for help from anybody, for fear of frightening any small children.  A ridiculous notion anyway, as we have no neighbours. 

Stalking around the house and checking all possible weak entry points, momentarily, I considered my second ridiculous notion of the day – could my ample backend get through that tiny, teeny bathroom window?  No!  Way too many horribly humiliating consequences flashed before my eyes.

I returned to the offending hook to check it once more, questioning my very faculties.  Sweeping the accumulation of leaves on the floor to one side, my world took on meaning once more, there was the spare.    

Whilst Vags is remarkably good at forgetting to take his teeth with him any time we go out – picking up other people`s keys – he`s got off to a tee.

 

Braised Pork with Peppers (Τηγανιά)

 

For my friend Suzie

Ingredients

500 g pork with fat

2 large green peppers, chopped into large chunks

2 large red peppers chopped into large chunks

1 glass of fresh orange juice

1 glass of wine

2 garlic cloves halved

Salt and ground black pepper

Olive oil and a soup spoon of cooking butter

Procedure

Heat the oil and cooking butter in a deep frying pan, add the garlic pieces and fry for just a minute, remove the garlic pieces so they don`t burn and save to one side, add the pork and fry till browned on all sides.  Add the S & P, then the wine and the orange juice, allow to boil for 6 or 7 minutes, add the peppers and the garlic.  Stir gently.   The sauce will thicken as it reduces, when the peppers are lightly cooked, pour off the sauce and save, allow to braise further for a couple of minutes, shaking the pan not stirring.

Add the sauce to serve.