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‘I feel absolutely safe in Greece,’ U.S. envoy says January 16, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News, Politics.
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U.S. Ambassador to Athens Charlies Ries, speaking in an exclusive interview with the state NET national television network on Tuesday, said he is absolutely satisfied with cooperation with the Greek authorities to resolve the terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy last Friday and stressed that he feels absolutely safe in Greece in representing his country and will continue to travel and do his work as best as he can.

He also referred to investigations to detect the perpetrators, that are taking place under the supervision of the Greek authorities.

“We must always be prepared and in a state of vigilance for the possibility of terrorism. Unfortunately, in our era it is a reality in the lives of all. The American embassies in particular are targets all over the world. We are in a state of continuous and increased alert,” he said.

Ries said that being a diplomat and not an investigator, he cannot assess whether the perpetrators are usual suspects from the past, stressing that he feels that nothing must be ruled out.


Cyprus > How can I forget? January 16, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied.
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The Cyprus Problem >

From ACIG.org > Europe & Cold War Database > Cyprus, 1955-1973 > In the 1950s Cyprus was a British crown colony, when the Greek majority of population not only began demanding independence, but also the “Enosis”, the reunion, with Greece. The British ignored these demands, in turn causing an Emergency that lasted for five years. This conflict was barely over when fierce antagonism between the Greeks and Turks was to result in aircraft being used in an indirect conflict which is, actually, very much going on until today. > Oct 26, 2003, 14:13 > http://www.acig.org/artman/publish/article_454.shtml

Europe & Cold War Database > Cyprus, 1974 > Detailed history of Greek and Turkish Clashes around and on Cyprus, in 1974 > Oct 28, 2003, 04:30


Europe & Cold War Database > Cyprus, 1974: Turkish Point of View > This story has been prepared on the basis of an account published in the Turkish Magazine “Savunma ve Havacilik”, by retired Korgeneral Hulusi Kaymakli, who served as Commander of the Turkish 2nd Tactical Air Force from 1973-74, and as the Commander of the Air Force HQ Staff 1974-75. The Turkish Air Force’s historical office has provided many of the pictures. It must be stressed that this account has not been written for the purpose of any political aims but solely as a historical military event of some significance. The author has visited most of the places which are accounted for in order to investigate matters himself and has cross-checked all events as closely as possible. > Oct 28, 2003, 04:33 > http://www.acig.org/artman/publish/article_297.shtml

Europe & Cold War Database > Cyprus 1974: Greek Point of View > No other event from the long history of Greek-Turkish incidents is as heatedly discussed like the case of the engagement between EPA F-5As and Turkish F-102s on 21st or 22nd July 1974. The following verbatim was prepared by Nicholas Tselepids on the basis of an article written by Demetrius Stergiou, who interviewed both Ioannis Dinopoulos and Thomas Skampardonis, and published in the Greek magazine “Cockpit”, in May 2001. It describes the “Greek Point of View” regarding this engagement and was provided to ACIG.org with permission from the author. > Oct 28, 2003, 04:36

History of Cyprus > January 16, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture History Mythology, Cyprus News, Cyprus Occupied.
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Use the following links >



Wine > Post Christmas drinking January 16, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Wine And Spirits.
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No matter how much you had to drink over the holidays, there is always room for more, so how about a decent local bottle?

Even if you are not a big wine fan, odds are you’re going to pick up at least one bottle in the next few days to serve with your lunch or dinner, or simply to chug down while you are making it. I am well aware that buying wine can often be as hard as feeling sorry for how life, so I have decided to give you some suggestions based on my latest tastings of Cyprus wines.

I had the opportunity to try some wines of the Tihikos line that is produced by Mesana Krelan Winery. The Non Vintage White Dry, Mesana Krelan Winery, Alcohol Volume 11% has a clear, straw-yellow colour typical of a Xinisteri-grape-based wine at least a year old. There is an intense aroma of vegetation and spice. After some more swirling we discovered notes of citrus blossoms emerging from the glass. The wine has a light to medium body with intense citrus character and is low in acidity with a short aftertaste. Served at 8 to 9 degrC, it is excellent with vegetable dishes such as spinach and feta pie or dolmades, fried Mediterranean fish and Greek salad, roast chicken or turkey with light gravy sauces. Best though to be drunk young.

Yiannis Christoudias’ faith in the traditional grape varieties is evident in the Non Vintage Tihikos Red Dry, Mesana Krelan Winery and Alcohol Volume 13%. This has a bright red colour, is inky and has been created from a blend of four grape varieties: Mavro, Opthalmo, Carignan and Alicante Bouchet. On the nose were intense aromas of juicy red fruit, black pepper and olive, grapey, meaty and gamey. Light-medium body, soft tannins and medium in acidity, the red fruits were evident. This is a well-balanced table wine, excellent with charcuterie and roast or grilled pork, serve at 16-17 degrC.

Things are getting serious with this silver medal winner in two competitions. The Tihikos Cabernet Sauvignon, Mesana Krelan Winery and Alcohol Volume 13% has a dark, slightly hazy garnet colour. This Cab stayed for eight months in oak barrel. Clear but intense aromas of mocha, blackcurrant and green pepper gradually led into soft juicy red fruit flavours that evolve in the glass. Medium to full-body, balanced acidity with soft tannins, it was a bit short at the beginning in the aftertaste but it grew. Stews, cassoulets, barbecues or pan fried steaks with delicate mushroom m?lange sauce served at 18 degrC would be ideal accompaniments. This is an excellent wine enjoyed now and can age for four more years.

From Dhali we move to Lemona village in the Paphos region. I have tried some very good reds from the Tsangarides family although we were to taste the Non Vintage Ayios Ephraim Dry Rose, Pafos Region, and Alcohol Volume 14%. The colour was slightly pale, pomegranate. Based on red grape varieties, there is a strong aroma of black pepper and plumy, wild strawberry fruit. Spice though, lots of spice, a wine good for quaffing with simple fare, even hearty vegetarian entrees. Medium in body, herbs and spearmint blend with exploding red berries in the mouth lingering to the finish. Served at 11 degrC, this is definitely a winter rose, excellent with Indian medium-spiced vegetable and white meat dishes, as well as baked fish in tomato sauce enhanced with herbs and spices.

Two more Cab reds starting with 2002 SODAP Evinos Cabernet Sauvignon, Lemesos Regional Wine and Alcohol Volume 13%. Ox blood red colour with leathery cassis and cherry aroma notes along with a lean, slightly herbaceous minty flavour. It is medium on the palate, chewy, low-key fruit, soft but perceptible tannins, low acidity and medium aftertaste. Roast leg of lamb, grilled lamb cutlets, lamb stew – this wine begs for lamb, serve at 18 degrC, drink now.

Finally, 2000 Kannavera Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon, Vouni Panayia Winery, Pafos Region, Alcohol Volume 12.5%. Very dark, reddish purple colour, the spicy oak is almost dominant over warm plumy fruit and black pepper at first, but it comes more into balance with breathing in the glass. Full, ripe red fruit flavours with a good acidic structure, opening up on the palate, to black coffee notes and soft but perceptible tannins. Drinks well now at 18 degrC with substantial potential for two more years. Serve with your T-bone or steak and green pepper sauce.

Destiny cannot be avoided January 16, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Books Life Greek.
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Grandmother of nine and septuagenarian Eleni Protopapa last month launched her first book Cyprus, a Taste of Yesterday

Not content to sit back and enjoy retirement, 2007 sees 70-year-old Eleni Protopapa and her husband Nicos take on an exciting challenge: the publication of a book, which rather than have content and approach dictated by a publisher, they took on themselves. The logistics of printing and distribution were daunting, but the beautifully-illustrated book is now on sale at major bookshops across the island.

“I never realised, until recently when I started to write about my village, how many people helped me become what I am… so many people come into my mind. They belong to a world lost to me; but they are my people,” Eleni writes in chapter one.

The village of Eleni’s childhood is near Morphou, on the old railway line from Famagusta to Xeros. (Ed’s Note > All 3 towns are currently under Turkish military control and occupation since July 1974). Her world has been lost following the occupation of Arghaki since 1974, but the book is not about this, it’s about the values of village life in her early childhood, the seasons, the festivals and, of course, the food and the recipes.

The house in which she grew up had been in her father’s family for generations. It is vividly described, from the vast front door, wide enough to allow two yoked oxen into the courtyard, to the iliakos (verandah) with its three arches that is pictured on the book’s front cover. Some inner rooms were richly furnished with carved walnut furniture, “there was a beautiful Victorian bed draped with silk, hand-woven by my mother,” Eleni writes. “And a fine sofa of the kind you see in antique shops… on the wall, there was a rectangular picture, beautifully embroidered by my mother, with flowers and the phrase in calligraphic letters in Greek – Destiny cannot be avoided. As a child, I spent many hours trying to read it and many more to understand it.”

Eleni writes about her early life in a Cyprus village in simple terms, her prose sings simply from the heart to the page. The book unfolds with a natural progression: “The story came out of my soul,” she says. “The structure came later: the book grew without any effort.” She started writing about six years ago, drawing on the experiences of her young life and the memory of the people who were important in it. “Unfortunately I cannot tell my maternal grandmother’s story as it should be told,” she writes. “I can only say that every time I think of her, her habits and her attitude to life, I feel blessed for having had the chance to start my life near her.”

The first girl from Arghaki to attend secondary school in Nicosia, Eleni recalls taking the train and horse-drawn carriage to the city centre; feeling like a country bumpkin and keenly aware of the shortcomings, lack of English tuition, of her village education. She quickly corrected this and entered tertiary education to become a teacher, finally winning a scholarship to Britain for further studies, an amazing, immense journey from the simplicity of pre-WWII Arghaki. “I always wanted to have my own life,” she declares.

The book deals extensively with the details and rituals of betrothals and weddings but Eleni and Nicos, who married in the 1950s, did not have the usual extended engagement period. Nicos took over the family farm when Eleni’s father died and was instrumental in bringing in modern ideas to make it even more successful. In time they had three children and now have nine grandchildren.

Although Eleni prefers not to dwell on the invasion, the book includes some eloquent lines about the loss of family items; the furniture, her mother’s wonderful weaving, the traditional farm tools stored for a future agricultural museum. She confided to me that they had been in the village the Sunday before the invasion, which took place on a Wednesday. “When we left, I noted the vine was laden with fruit and that we should have a wonderful harvest later that summer”; a harvest the families were never to gather.

Life for Eleni and Nicos has been long and full. After the occupation they travelled Europe and later went to America where their son and younger daughter have settled with their five children. It’s for these grandchildren she has written the book in English, for they are not bilingual like the delightful London quartet, visiting for the festive season.

Eventually I asked Eleni about the destiny that cannot be avoided. For me it seems quite clear that her destiny has been to preserve the values of her youth, become the matriarch and guardian of their history and continue to hold her wonderful family together. The final words should be hers:

“Whatever happened, we still have the memories of a rich life…We had a lot, we lost a lot, but we gained a lot by living the life the land offers. The land gives you strength. We are richer for that.”

Cyprus, a Taste of Yesterday is published by Nikiannna Press and is distributed by Hellenic (Tel: 22 878500). It is available at Moufflon and Kyriakou bookshops as well as Hearns in Coral Bay. Cy£6.99.

Sheftalia > Cyprus traditional barbecue January 16, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Cyprus, Food Recipes.
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Ingredients >
500g pork mince
500g lamb mince
1 large onion finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper
250g panna (pork lace fat, available from Greek butchers)

Method >
Combine all ingredients, except the panna, in a bowl.

Place panna in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes, remove and carefully open out one piece at a time, laying it flat on a work surface. Cut into pieces about 10cm square.

Take a good tablespoonful of the meat mixture and shape into a thick sausage about 5cm long. Place towards one edge of piece of panna, fold end and sides over the meat and roll up firmly. Repeat with remaining mixture. Thread sausages onto thick skewers leaving a little space between each one.

Cook slowly over glowing charcoal turning frequently until well browned. The panna melts during cooking, keeping the meat moist and adding flavour.

Serve as part of a barbecue or as an appetiser with drinks. Makes about 50.

Feast days in Australia January 16, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora.
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For many people the thought of cooking for 20 guests would be intimidating, if not terrifying. But for Philip and Chrystalla Socrates it is a treasured weekly ritual.

Philip and Chrystalla arrived in Australia from Cyprus in the early 1950s and have cooked a meal for 15 to 20 family members every Sunday night for 25 years.

Last week it was lamb and chicken souvlaki, roast potatoes, pork and taro casserole, barbecued king prawns, fried calamari rings, Greek salad, spinach risotto and potato salad, with baklava, apple cake, fruit salad and profiteroles for dessert, all made from scratch.

Even more amazingly, Mrs Socrates manages to adapt this feast for various dietary requirements including vegetarian, gluten-free and lactose intolerant. According to daughter Margaret Kolotas, Chrystalla is nothing short of a superwoman.

“Each week Mum bakes enough organic sourdough bread to supply the family and she has such wonderful cooking skills that she even makes fresh haloumi, yoghurt, preserves, olives and vine leaves and always has a selection of Greek sweets in the house for visitors.”

Philip also plays an important part in the weekly family feast, preparing and barbecuing many of the dishes. He also grows a lot of the herbs and vegetables used in the dishes. Now in their 70s, the couple shows no signs of slowing down and letting others do the cooking, which is just as well, according to their daughter.

“Our parents put my sisters and I to shame but they certainly give us something to aspire to in their skills and generosity.”