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Please support > Vote for The Acropolis, Greece June 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Vote For 7New Wonders.
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In the top 10 is Greece’s Acropolis, among the leading contenders to become the new seven wonders of the world as a massive poll enters its final weeks with votes already cast by more than 50 million people.

The voting deadline is July 6. The winners will be announced July 7 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Be one of the most enthusiastic voters, vote for the Acropolis. So far in the final round of 20 candidates for the world’s top architectural marvels, people from every country have voted by Internet or phone, says the nonprofit organization conducting the balloting. Cast your vote now! Vote for The Acropolis, Greece.

“It’s the first ever global vote,” said Tia B. Viering, spokeswoman for the “New 7 Wonders of the World” campaign. The organizers are hoping for a final surge of voting from the United States and Europe to make the selection truly global. Please support Greece, vote for The Acropolis!

Cast your vote, Vote for The Acropolis, Greece > To cast a ballot, go to www.new7wonders.com or call (011) 372-541-11738 or (011) 423-663-900299 (international phone rates apply).

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Greek wines from the islands of Lesvos and Limnos June 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Wine And Spirits.
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Great summer wines from some of the northern Aegean islands

As Aristotle lay dying, so the story goes, his disciples asked him to anoint a successor. In his gentle way, the philosopher asked for flagons of wine from the Greek islands of Rhodes and Lesbos. He tasted both and said, “Without any disparagement to that from Rhodes, I think the Lesbian wine is most delicate”. And so his pupil from Lesbos won the post.

With this in mind, I gladly accepted an invitation from the owners of the Lesvos shop to taste Lesvos and Limnos wines. Not forgetting the Lesbian ouzo too, which I believe is provably the best in the whole of Greece.

Limnos and Lesvos are two of the northernmost Aegean islands and have a winemaking tradition extending back to ancient times. The island of Limnos, known as the island of Ephaistos, the god of fire, was home to a cultivar called Limni, Aristotle’s favourite, known in modern times as Limni or Kalabaki. As recently as the arrival of phylloxera on the island in 1892, Limnio and other red varieties accounted for semisweet wines of good repute among European travelers.

Replanting on both islands focused on Moschato Alexandrias, a variety not highly regarded generally but which, on low-lying Limnos, produces sweet wines of notable quality and greater profitability for growers. There are currently two commercial producers on Limnos. The local cooperative, representing the bulk of the island’s growers, has been creating a variety of wines from Moschato Alexandrias since 1958. Cash-strapped but inventive, the cooperative also produced a dry red from Limnio and has recently introduced a clever blend of Moschato Alexandrias and Santoriniote Assyrtiko that displays both eminence and backbone.

The near universal low elevation of Limniote vineyards limits the achievement of favourable acid levels. As chemical fertilisers are not used, the producers can guarantee the natural and high quality of Limnian wine.

From the tasting I was impressed by Hadjigeorgiou Estate wines. The company is located in the Karpasia community of the Atsikis Municipality of Limnos. Supervising the culture in their own wine factory, they make wine, maturate and bottle only wines of the highest quality.

The 2005 Limnios Ambelourgos, Limnios Vineyard Cultivator, Hadjigeorgiou Estate, Alcohol Volume13% is a white with white yellow colour and greenish reflections from Moschato of Alexandria which vacillates in the limits of dry and half-dry. It is almost acid straw with a floral bouquet more violet on the nose, figs, peaches and many more summer fruits. A youthful wine whose rich taste yields a long aftertaste, and soft palate with floral notes throughout. Unusual but try this at 10-12 degrC with seafood, tit-bits, mussels and squid, fat fish, pasta and white meat with rich white sauces.

The Kaviro Rose, Limnios Vineyards Hadjigeorgiou Estate, Alcohol Volume 12.5% takes its name from the great goddess of Limnos, who, according to mythology, was the spouse of Ephaistos and the mother of Kavirians. This is the union of the two local varieties of the vigorous Limnios and the aristocratic Moschato of Alexandria. Rosy colour, fruit and aroma of citrus compose the background of the bloomed spring valley of Limnos. Structured and focused on the palate with a refreshing acidity, fruitful and mouthwatering with emphatic herbal finish. Savour this rose at 10-12 degrC with fried red mullet, poultry, pies and salads.

Moschato Limnou, Hadjigeorgiou Estate, Limnos, Alcohol Volume 14.5% is made of extra ripe grapes and following tradition they are spread under the Mediterranean sun and are sun-dried. It is a sweet white distinguished by its golden hues and intense floral aromas of citrus that coexist with the abundant taste of fruit, figs, ripe apricots, honey and raisins. Drink it on its own or with any good-quality blue cheese, fruits with cinnamon or nuts. Excellent.

Some other notable wines are the 2005 Aroma Limnou Union of Viticultural Associations, Alcohol Volume 12.5 %. This VQPRD dry white wine of Limnos is made from biologically grown grapes of Moschato. After maturing in oak barrels, the wine reveals a unique floral aromatic bouquet with a palate reminiscent of roses. Best served at 10 degrC with seafood, barbecued fish, sole and red mullet.

The limited quantity 2006 Proimos, Savoglou and Tsivolas, Limnos from biologically grown grapes, Alcohol Volume 11.2% is fresh, light Moschato, yellow with greenish tint, seductive candied lemon nose, delicate flower blossoms on the background, with a clear fresh palate and approachable with warm, balanced finish, which at 10 degrC is best with seafood or chicken in white or salty sauce.

And finally the 2006 Iphaistias, Savoglou and Tsivolas, Limnos from biologically grown grapes, Alcohol Volume 13.5%. This is an unusual scarlet colour, a combination of Limnio and Cabernet Sauvignon, with lively nose with delicate aromas, spices, pepper and cinnamon blended with forest fruit. Medium bodied, light fruit, herbed and with sweet spice at 18 degrC, this wine is best with roast red meat, pork in particular, medium to hard cheese and pastas with tomato and vegetable sauce.

Summer wines indeed. The Lesvos shop offers an array of products such as selected ouzo, olives, olive oil, which I strongly recommend, Aegean islands’ cheese, honey, jam and marmalades as well as cosmetics.

Stroumpi Tavern > Great food, reasonable prices June 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Paphos, Greek Taste Local.
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One couple who deserve a medal for their efforts to up the quality of food on offer in the Paphos area are Steve and Claire Ward, a British couple who, having moved here with a young family, decided to earn their livelihood by opening a restaurant in the rather sleepy village of Stroumpi.

They are now working hard at making a living, bringing to this culinary starved area a jolly good menu of decent, honest and exceedingly well cooked food. Getting to their place is easy, you turn left just before the square.

Don’t be put off by the restaurant’s uninspired image, just go in, sit down and allow yourself to be reminded of the old adage ‘never to judge a book by its cover, nor a restaurant by its tablecloths’.

All beef used in the restaurant originates from Butcher Boy, a master butcher local to Paphos whose professional appreciation of a good fillet and tasty rib eye, makes for a guaranteed quality product. Here at the Stroumpi Tavern the cow is certainly king with servings of Sirlion, T Bone, Rib Eye all served to perfection by chef Steve.

The starters we decided to bypass altogether, preferring to roar into the meat fest and with a couple of devotees of rib eye and fine fillet in our company they were deeply happy from the minute they ordered and they voted the steaks among the best they had tasted in a long time.

The haddock and chips also went down well, as did the steak and mushroom pie although make sure you ask for the gravy on the side or else you get a totally mugged soggy pie. Steve also plated up a small mezze of some of his specials including a rather delicious chicken with balsamic; a good, balanced sweet chili chicken plus the less spicy Stroumpi chicken. Everything that came out from the kitchen reflected Steve’s art of balance when it comes to seasoning, coupled with a meticulous mentality towards hygiene, methodology, quality and his need for customers to be genuinely satisfied. This is why this little place, about 50 covers, is now en route to becoming one of the most popular places to come to either from Paphos or Polis.

The selection of homemade puddings sealed the recommendation to return to Stroumpi as few can knock up such great bread-and-butter pudding as Steve, ably backed up by Claire’s ginger sponge and creamy rice puddings.

Many may be blissfully unaware of the current ‘roast’ wars that erupt every Sunday in expat land, with nearly every establishment plying ‘Ye Olde English’ inclusive Sunday roast beef and Yorkshire pudding number. Many are pretty ghastly pretenders to the title but, word has it Steve and Claire are well on the way to being hailed as unofficial winners in the battle of the Yorkshires.

Don’t expect flowers, fancy cutlery, murals, quality linen or chic crockery, just great food and reasonable prices.

Stroumpi Tavern, Gregori Afxentiou Street, Kato Stroumpi, Paphos, tel 26 633231.

Choc Soup with Cherries and Vanilla Cream June 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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Ingredients >
20 cherries, halved and stoned
1 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
6 tbsp full-fat milk
285ml whipping cream
200g plain chocolate, high cocoa solids
2 tsp caster sugar
45g whole blanched almonds, chopped

For the vanilla cappuccino >
150ml whipping cream
4 tbsp full-fat milk
30g caster sugar
10g unsalted butter
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways (from health stores or big supermarkets)

Method >
Put the cherries, icing sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and toss gently. Set aside.
To make the chocolate soup, put the milk and cream in a saucepan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Take off the heat, add the chocolate and sugar and mix until the chocolate has melted. Keep over a very, very low heat, stirring occasionally.
To make the vanilla cream, put the cream, milk, sugar and butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and add to the pan, along with the pod. Cook, stirring, until the butter has melted and the mixture is just below simmering point. Discard the pod, then whisk with electric hand whisk for a few minutes until light and frothy.
Divide the cherries between 4 tall glasses and sprinkle the almonds on top. Pour over the soup and top with the vanilla cream. Serves 4.

Coconut and Pineapple Ice Cream June 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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Ingredients >
400ml coconut milk
Pared strip of lime zest, plus juice of 1 lemon
3 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
300g pineapple pieces, plus extra wedges to serve
200ml fresh cream
Toasted coconut flakes, to serve (from health stores)

Method >
Place the coconut milk in a saucepan with the lime zest. Bring to just below boiling point, then remove from the heat and set aside to infuse for 20 minutes.
Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl with the sugar and cornflour until smooth. Gradually add the coconut milk, whisking constantly. Return to the saucepan and heat gently, stirring, until the custard thickens. Remove from the heat and strain into a clean bowl, discarding the lime zest. Cover with baking paper and set aside to cool. Serves 4.

Summer Soft Fruit Mess June 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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Ingredients >
150g raspberries
150g blueberries
250g strawberries
4 tbsp creme de cassis
500g Greek yogurt
100g cooked meringues
Fresh mint sprigs

Method >
Put the raspberries, blueberries and strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped, into a bowl. Add the creme de cassis, gently toss and set aside for 15 minutes, until juicy. Put the yogurt in a large bowl, then lightly fold in three-quarters of the berries, leaving the juice behind.
Roughly crumble in the cooked meringues and briefly mix. Spoon into 6 glasses, top with the remaining juicy berries and garnish each with a fresh mint sprig to serve.
Note > use fresh or frozen fruit and if you cannot find the stated fruit you can always substitute with your favourite fruit. Serves 6.

Summer Eats > Red Mullet on a bed of broad bean mash June 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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Ingredients >
6 x 200g red mullet fillet
4 small aubergines, halved
4 small courgettes, halved
2 small red onions, halved
4 garlic cloves
1 red pepper
20 pieces okra

For the broad bean mush >
2 cups dry broad beans, cooked
6 tbsp olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper

For the dressing >
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp vinegar

Method >
Place all vegetables in a baking dish, drizzle with some olive oil and season well. Cook in a preheated oven 180C, for 45 minutes.
Cook red mullet fillets under the grill. Meanwhile, place the cooked broad beans in a food processor with salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. Blend until smooth.
Prepare the dressing by beating together the olive oil and vinegar. Serve the grilled mullet fillets on top of the vegetables and mush. Drizzle over the vegetables and fish.