Thursday, April 29, 2010


As you may have noticed, I'm going through a period of limited blogging activity. This is because I've been too busy sorting through my photo files, following a burst of photo-taking activity in the first two weeks of April. More on that later.

One of the posts I've been meaning to write and not got round to, is the story of This was last week (either Tuesday or Thursday, can't remember exactly) but I still have the photo and the notes, so here goes.

The condiments cupboard provides a home for our wine and, by association, anything else that comes in a bottle. It is in the least accessible corner of the kitchen, next to the washing machine, and never gets tidied. I've long suspected that it is the toilet of my kitchen: things go in and never come out. Until now, that is.

I was dreading emptying it, but it wasn't so bad after all. Or rather, it could have been much worse. These were my findings:

2 small bottles olive oil
1 large bottle groundnut oil
2 small bottles groundnut oil (one almost empty, both expired)
2 bottles white wine vinegar (one of them looking manky)
1 bottle cider vinegar
1 large bottle vegetable oil
1 bottle rice vinegar (expired 2007)
1 bottle rice mirin
1 bottle balsamic vinegar (expired 2009)
2 bottles sesame oil (both expired, one since October 2005)
2 pots of olives
1 jar Madras curry paste (expired)
1 small bottle malt vinegar
2 small bottles red wine (for cooking)
1 bottle balsamic dipping oil (expired)
2 bottles chilli garlic dipping oil (one expired August 2004)
1 bottle hot peri peri sauce (expired February 2005)
1 bottle hot Tabasco sauce (expired August 2009)
1 bottle Jamaican jerk sauce (unopened and expired August 2006)
1 bottle soy sauce (expired December 2007)
1 bottle lime and coriander marinade (not expired)
2 bottles frying spray

My observations as follows:

The previous clear-out of the condiments cupboard must have been ca. 2003. Ouch.

I have a "thing" for vinegar. Any and all types.

I must stop buying fancy oils and sauces on a whim (the only possible explanation for the Jamaican jerk sauce).

It's amazing how much space you can create in a small cupboard by binning foodstuff that's no longer fit for consumption.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ash cloud, you say?

Several people have asked me what it's like to live under the Dark Cloud from Iceland, so I took some photos to show you.

Yes, the sky is clear! So clear, in fact, that you can make out a plane flying overhead - as well as the moon. Blue skies made an appearance a couple of weeks ago, before Eyjafjallajökull decided to sprout debris into the atmosphere, and have continued almost uninterrupted since. Apparently, the ash cloud is there, but it's too high up to be visible.

There is plenty of evidence that spring has sprung, and not just in the clear blue skies. The flowers are in full bloom, particularly the tulips and pansies, and trees are turning a tell-tale green colour.

I quite like this photo I took at a park nearby. It's a woman returning home from work, walking through the park while checking the messages on her mobile phone. I wonder if she's noticed the flowers?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Venetian shoes

My sister-in-law, who's just returned from a fab weekend in Venice, Italy, sent me the following email:

"I'm just looking at Athenian shoes on your blog - compared to Venice, an absolute bargain!"

Attached to the email was the following photo:

In case you can't read the price tags, the shoes are 785 € and the bag is 1,420 €. That's 1,067 USD for the shoes and 1,930 USD for the bag. Maybe the shiny things on the bag are precious stones. The shop was closed at the time, so she couldn't go in and ask.

I must say, I don't care much for bags, but I do love shoes and will pay good money for the right pair. Even so, I think I'd have nightmares if I walked around with 785 € worth of leather between my feet and the ground. Eeek.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Shoes, shoes, shoes

Tonight I went for a walk through Ermou street - home of the designer shoe shop. As I had my camera with me, I took some photos of the latest fashions for Sandi, who famously bought five pairs of shoes in just three hours when she visited Athens last June. I thought I'd post the photos on the blog in case anyone else would like a little sneak peak of the styles and colours of Summer 2010.

Last year's shoes are on sale at discounted prices. I was tempted by quite a few of these. Lucky the shops were closed!

Finally, a photo of a children's shoe shop window, in case anyone is interested in kids' fashions. Red is a popular colour for kids' shoes at Easter time.

So, Sandi, have I enticed you to return to Athens for a spot of retail therapy?

Wordless Wednesday 87

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Fasting food

During Holy Week, most Greeks (even those who haven't fasted during Lent - ahem) cut out meat from their diets and eat food that is plainer and less rich than usual. When at home this involves various types of soup (fish, lentil, chickpea, beans, you name it) and things like vegetable stews, boiled potatoes and pasta. Not terribly inspiring, but I guess that's the idea. This is what we eat when we go out for a meal at a taverna:

Every good meal starts with a generous bread basket. This one also includes some mini-sandwiches. Not sure what the filling was, but it was suitable for those fasting from dairy, so it definitely wasn't cheese, and it was also very spicy.

Then comes the salad. Vegetables in Greece are for the most part seasonal, and it's too early for tomatoes, so we had lettuce instead.

Meat is substituted by seafood. Grilled octopus is a delicacy worth fasting for!

Fried squid is another popular dish.

This is prawn pilaf, a dish made with rice, tomato sauce, herbs and prawns.

As you would expect, there are also several vegetable dishes. Fried courgettes are served with garlic dip.

So is boiled beetroot. Beetroot is usually served with a yoghurt sauce, but for fasting purposes this is replaced by a generous helping of garlic dip, made with mashed potatoes and crushed garlic. Smelly but nice.

These are patties made with fish roe, the same stuff that's used in taramosalata. Very salty and (according to hubby) very much an aquired taste.