Monday, 2 December 2013

Food glorious food with a touch of magic or secret ingredient.


If you are a foodie you won’t be disappointed in Kefalos. You will see the same traditional Greek recipes in all the Tavernas but don’t expect them to be the same. Each family adds a touch of magic, a secret ingredient, a local herb, a drop of wine , a spoonful of honey and above all else local olive oil. Visit at the right time of year and enjoy the seasonal products and specialities. I just love Frosini’s sweet almond stuffed tomatoes, although you might be a bit surprised by the preparation method (it’s amazing how many uses lime can be put to and that’s not the fruit .I just can’t get enough of Evangalia’s Ravani, Yorgo’s cheese with the red wine crust that he dries on the roof of the restaurant  and Krisoula’s Bekri meze is awesome. I could go on and on with all my favourites, but it’s for you to find your own.

With an abundance of fresh fruit , vegetables and cheese, who needs meat? The locally caught fish is delicious and eggs are not just eggs.

 I just love it all and have been inspired to create my own versions of Greek recipes. If you have a recipe of your own to share then please add it to the comments section.

Sally’s recipes in homage to Greek ingredients and Kefalos friends.

Aubergine BBQ  rolls

Slice finely, lengthwise large aubergines.

Brush with olive oil and roll round a fresh basil leaf, cube of feta and either a fresh or sundried, sunblushed tomatoe and put on a skewer. Brush again with olive oil and BBQ.

 

Omelette with fresh mint and feta

Finely chop a few fresh mint leaves to taste. Feta cheese to taste, 6 eggs

Melt a knob of butter into a frying pan and add eggs. Gradually stir eggs into the middle to make the omelette. While still soft add crumbled feta and fresh mint leaves and fold over. Serve with fresh tomatoes for breakfast, lunch or dinner

 

Tuna pasta, so easy to make and eat hot or cold.

Sauté onion sliced, garlic, green pepper and big old misshapen delicious tomato (tin of tomato if fresh not available)

Soften down in a little olive oil and simmer for about 20 mins. Add a pinch of sugar to taste

In a bowl crumble some feta, add a few olives if you like and torn fresh basil leaves. I also add some chopped sundried tomatoes at home and a few cherry tomatoes to give depth.

Cook some pasta. Drain off the water and combine all the ingredients together.
Enjoy!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Zia! Enjoy the ride.


‘I’m not going up there unless you blindfold me’, said Annette and so we did. Jen and I bounced out of the back of the Jeep on the way down to Kardamena but that was the old days and even then we weren’t put off driving up the mountain to Zia. Anyone visiting Kos for the first time will be offered a trip up the mountain. The road is a bit windy but without the steep drop to the side that many people fear and now the road across the top down into Kos Town or Kardamena is scenic without the scary bits. The route has improved over the years with a proper road surface, no longer just a rough track with pot holes .The views are spectacular at Sunset and if you drive back down the mountain towards Mastichari you will be rewarded with the majestic colour change as the sun lowers in the sky. Rich reds, gold hews and deep mauves. Go armed with a camera, for no matter what time of day you spend in Zia the opportunity for awesome photographs will take your breath away.
 

 
 

Is it touristy? Yes of course it is, it’s a great place to potter around to buy your gifts, herbs and spices, jewellery, pottery or leather and spend a while in any number of the Tavernas and enjoy the food and the view. It smells of pine trees, herbs and BBQ.

If you are fortunate to go up independently and have time to spare then you will be rewarded, for like any place on Kos be prepared to go off the beaten track and nestling behind the main street is old Zia. Follow up towards the water mill and the church and you will feel you’re in another place and time. The last time I walked up here the Priest was painting the church, Jeans, robes, trainers and paint pot in one hand and brush in the other. It’s peaceful, tranquil and can be the start of a long climb upwards for the adventurous or a steady walk back down for others.
 

Take time to drive back down the mountain and discover the small villages and churches as you climb back down.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Boys will be boys whatever their age.


My affectionate name for a Kafeneion is 'the Old Gits Club'. It’s lovely to see the older men spending time relaxing with their mates, playing Tavli and drinking coffee and rhythmically swinging their komboloi. It’s also noticeable just how many young men take part in this ritual as you walk up and down the little streets in Kefalos, although coffee might not be their preferred drink. The men pass the time of day in age old tradition and the only sign of the 21st Century is their clothing and the mobile phone.

As I sit and watch this ancient ritual play out before me, Papous in the Kafeneion on the left and young men in the bar on the right, I notice a constant stream of young boys greeting their Grandfathers with hugs and affectionate kisses. Up above me the fierce sound of competition and battle rages as these youngsters play World of War Craft or Black Ops 2 in the internet cafĂ©. Shouting out tactics or successes across the room to each other. For just a few euros they can be kept amused for hours, get a healthy snack downstairs from Manolis and Polexeni and when the money runs out over they trot to the bank of Papou ‘agape mou’. 21st Century meets Old Greece. Who knows what the future holds for the next generation of Greek men finding the time to relax and play?
Sadly the 21st Century has already caught up already and most boys now have these toys at home. It was a great idea while it lasted but peace has returned and I can still sit here and enjoy the view, the food and the friendly conversation with anyone who has the time.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Limnionas for simple pleasures

You can imagine Shirley Valentine sitting alone on the edge of this quiet Bay watching the little fishing boats bobbing about on the water whilst the fishermen mend their nets and sell their sponges. The little bay is quiet, safe and protected from the waves crashing against rocks that form the natural entrance to harbour.
 

 
 


The colours of the rocks vary from rich reds, soft yellow ochres and blue grey. The Seagulls rest a while, waiting for a chance to get a free meal from the fishermen and the tourists spend a while standing in the shallows, taking photos .It's a photographers paradise.


Take time to eat in the Taverna and enjoy the fish.I love the Octopus Keftedes and Ouzo.

If you sit for long enough you might just notice four people swimming away from the tourists. When they come out of the water, supporting each other as they climb back up, they retrieve their hidden walking sticks from the bushes and ride off on their scooters, with the ladies sitting side saddle. What a wonderful site to see four elderly local people enjoying Limnionas for themselves and who knows how many years they have been doing this and for how many more years they will get such pleasure from their homeland


Limnionas is a beautiful place to visit. You will need transport.




Ampavris! A country lovers escape in town.


The quietness of Kefalos and the laid back approach of the Restauranteurs is stark contrast to the busier approach in Kos Town. So when Apostolis from the Leather Shop suggested Ampavris  I was surprised to find myself in the middle of the Countryside and only fifteen minutes walk  from the Old Town and the main shops. Cicadas serenade you unless you go on a night when the musicians play for you. The smell of wild herbs and freshly cooked food entices you to try new delicacies.
 
You'll find yourself in an old farm courtyard, amongst diners from all over the world, who like me have found this little piece of magic. The specialities are Meze made from traditional ingredients and it will be your chance to try vegetarian dishes of wild greens and meat dishes not always seen on the usual menus. Manolis won't let you over eat, so take it slowly and 'siga siga' try a few dishes at a time. You can find more familiar dishes as well.
We found ourselves sitting by the Farmer from next door, who popped home to get us some fresh yoghurt that he'd made earlier , it was 'nostimos'. A place with a difference and a proprietor with a very dry sense of humour. So if you're staying in Kos Town and just fancy escaping for an evening to the countryside, it really isn't far to go.


 
 

Saturday, 2 November 2013

If you go down to the woods today be sure of a big surprise!

You might not find a Teddy Bears Picnic but you are sure to find something of interest when you venture out into the woods of Kos.

'Is Kos Green?' asked my mum. Yes is the answer, but it's not a place lush with deciduous forests, it's Green with the smell of pine and wild herbs, silver with Olive trees and rich green of the Vineyards. The roadsides are lined with beautiful flowering shrubs and the houses and gardens will be a riot of colour from plants such as bougainvillea and geraniums.Kos is every colour under the sun and it's Forests are cool, green and serene.

The last time I went up to the forest behind Ampavris I came across all the little children from the Primary schools making use of the Church BBQ pits for their annual picnic. They were having a wonderful time. It's a beautiful little church and such a surprise in the middle of the woods. The smell of pine trees and sandy soil is so therapeutic. Lovely walks up there all year round and a great place to cool off in the heat of the day.


Venture into the sunken forest at Plaka, invisible from the road you come across a colony of Peacocks by the water fountain scrabbling around for food from tourists. They are loud and noisy and if you didn't know it live in trees. I love to see the babies, they remind me of Woodstock from Charley Brown. It's a lovely place to visit with terrapins and tortoises near the stream and I'm sure at night they must be other creatures unseen like rabbits and hedgehogs. You will come across cats and dogs who have found there way here also, which I find incredibly sad ,although I know the locals keep their eye on the place and do what they can. It's a beautiful place to visit, just remember to take tit bits for the wildlife.

 

 
Make your way out the back of Kefalos and amongst these trees you will find an  ancient amphitheatre in ruins from long ago. You'll need to ask the locals how to find it, but it's a magical place. You can certainly imagine the rituals that took place here and feel the vibes of peace and tranquility.  (You'll need good shoes). It is very close to the centre of Kefalos, but remains un marked as do so many other places of Historic importance on the Island. Go anywhere for a walk on the Island and you will come across relics and ruins through the ages.
 

 

Kos has so many places to see and enjoy and explore. So if you go down to the woods today be sure of a big surprise.
 

Friday, 25 October 2013

Learn Greek and remember to say Hello at Passport Control

Once smitten by Kos and the charms of the Greek people I returned home to learn Greek. Evening class seemed the best place to start but I got lost with so many keen students working at so many different levels . So I listened to CD's not bad, but then I found University students in Brighton keen to learn English and reciprocate by offering me Greek lessons. Persephone made me do grammar, hard going at the best of times, but Orestis made me sing all the verbs and phrases to get the correct rise and fall for the stress. Stress was right but not how he meant and I do find a little drink helps the flow and gets rid of inhibitions.

Anyway determined to give it a go I thought I'd go along to the lovely Bookshop in Kefalos and acquire a few children's language books as I felt they might be more at my level. 'Do you speak a little English', I thought I'd asked. 'No, I speak a lot of Greek he answered', I was a bit puzzled then realised I mixed up my Ellinika with my Anglika.Oops! Oh well he knew what I was trying to say, bless him, and sorted me out.
 
It's still worth the effort to try and speak Greek. How many tourists arriving at Kos airport greet the passport control officer with a kalispera  or a kalimera? Not many judging by the fixed expression on his face. But notice the difference the moment someone attempts to speak Greek. See how the smile reaches his eyes and for a brief moment he comes alive. Notice the difference in the supermarket when you say please and thank you in Greek and have a nice day. Knowing how to say the basic minimum can make all the difference.

It shows respect for others, human kindness and a willingness to embrace someone else’s culture. Have we got out of the habit at home? Are we shy, embarrassed  or nervous that the conversation might continue and we don’t know what to say? Don’t worry most Greeks speak a little English, some a lot and some are fluent. Give it a go….

Good morning……………….Kalimera

Good afternoon/evening…………………Kalispera

Good night……………………Kalanikta

Please/pardon……………….parakalo

Thank you……………………efharisto

Excuse me…………………..signomi

Hello/goodbye………….yia sou (1 person you know)

Hello/goodbye………….yia sas(more people or someone you don’t know)

How are you…………….ti kaneis

Very well…………………poli kala
Just a few words to get you on your way

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Island Hopping


How do you choose one Boat from another when they are all offering a wonderful day out Island Hopping? Well by recommendation of course and this time it was Michael our lovely Accountant. 'Look for my mum' ,he said 'She's the blonde lady called Christina and dad's named the boat after her'.
Not difficult to find on a Sunday morning and as to be expected the whole family were involved.

We had a great day out, swimming in Pserimos in shallow waters. Even while eating in the Tavernas you can expect to sit with your toes in the water. A strange experience as there isn't a road. BBQ Lunch was followed by a trip into Vathi on Kalymnos for shopping and eating. A lovely place to explore or just sit and relax.




and then a great opportunity for Dolphin watching and dancing. It's just a shame afterwards that a certain member of my family decided to swim too far and too fast after lunch and required rescuing. Many thanks for your Life Saving skills. We shall come aboard again.


Saturday, 19 October 2013

Priest on the Beach. He doesn't need a Man Bag.

It's a great sight to see people on the beach. Tourists and locals alike. The ladies often pop down for a swim whilst others are having a siesta and Yia Yia's and Papou's supervise their grandchildren from the back of the beach perched on a chair in the shade. Everbody enjoys the cool of the water in the afternoon and no better sight is the local priest popping off his robes and trainers and putting his valuables in his hat while he takes a dip. Who needs a man bag?

I'd like to know what you men do with your valuables on the beach when wearing shorts and shirts. There is so much choice for us women where beach bags are concerned or little handbags, but what do the men do?

I've given up letting Ron take his Man bag on holiday as he forgets he's got it and leaves it everywhere. Many thanks to the Magic beach restaurant owners for being so alert otherwise all our worldly goods, passports included would have been lost and thanks to Manolis Kapsoulis who knows what he's like.

Dance and Drama it's all Greek to me.

Popi's performance in Pyli couldn't go unnoticed. It's not easy to get away from your restaurant in peak tourist season so Ron and I volunteered to go and took our family with us.

The first hurdle was finding the Community Centre and although we asked the Priest he was more interested in showing us around the church and either didn't understand our Anglo Greek or didn't want us to go. I don't know who was more surprised to see us in the audience him or us. We were the only foreigners there however and took care to sit on the back row, less conspicuous or so we thought.

I think the play was a Tragedy, although it could be mistaken for a comedy. It was all Greek to us and it was like watching a farce, courtesy of Stage management. We saw more off stage than on, because of the damn curtains, they were either too far in from the sides or too far out, either way the poor actors could be seen on and off stage all at once. We apologise for laughing but it wasn't at the quality of the performance.

The actors did a great job under more pressure than they could ever imagine.
Popi was magnificent and all the other Thespians.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Where would you rather shop?





Took mum yesterday for her weekly aerobics session. She’s a little lady about Five foot nothing, 6 stone wet through and 86 years old. Easily identifiable or so I thought, until I had the where’s Wally experience while I waited for a little old lady in a red top, white hair and check trousers to come out of the bank. Anyway picked up the right one and took her to classes.

 

It’s a big space, easy for parking, toilet and restaurant facilities provided. Taxi service available for after and plenty of opportunities for light snacks and soft drinks. It was a bit cold to start with in the freezer section but by the time we reached Detergents it felt a bit warmer. Mum picked her way through all the dates on the packs, looked for all the best chicken pieces, the longest date on the bread and each time she stood on tip toe and reached for the back of the shelf. Some of the exercises were beyond mum as the top shelf really was too high. By the time we reached the checkout her cardiovascular workout was over, her stretch exercises were complete and her lower leg and upper arm muscles had had a fantastic workout.

 

 










I can’t help think that the Shopping in Kefalos  is a far better experience. No air miles involved, no need for big car parks. The fish is brought up to the village, the supermarket owners add their own produce from their ‘Farms’ such as fresh figs and melons and you can still get a cup of coffee afterwards and have a chat with someone you know. Sit in the centre of the village and you see all the locals picking up their fruit and veg and if they are unable to get out I know for certain that shop keepers like Elias from the Butchers will do a delivery service. I know which experience I’d rather have. What about you?

 


Thursday, 10 October 2013

Car wash your Carpets, how ingenious









If you want your carpets cleaned in Kefalos then why not take them to the carwash at the bottom of the hill. That's what the locals do. Great way to use the petrol station in Kefalos and they dry so quickly

 


Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Agios Ioannis a spiritual place of peace and understanding



When my dad died I drove up the mountain road to Ioannis , knowing it would be peaceful, quiet and with breathtaking views I lit a candle for him in the little church. I sat quietly outside on the wall watching a Greek Family playing with their children. They were sharing a moment together and were eating carob. They could see I was upset and they came across to share some of the sweet with me. This was a wonderful gesture of kindness to a stranger but certainly not unusual in Kos.

The drive up to Ioannis is well worth the trip and this Youtube video captures it so well.

 



http://youtu.be/w1N7NEe5EhQ

Capture Kos in your heart.




The moment you step off the plane and out of the everyday ordinariness of life you have the chance to capture those true story making events of life. The smell of wild thyme, the sound of cicadas , the warmth of the sun or damp of the evening hit you the moment you walk down on to the tarmac, alerting the senses of things to come.

No wonder so many visitors capture Kos on film, one second with the camera and a lifetime in the heart. Kos is the place to live inside the moments and stay with them forever. Lose yourself in the sights and sounds of Kos and make them part of you.

 









Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Eating is a Greek pastime.




With so many good restaurants to choose from serving traditional Greek dishes it can be difficult to choose where to eat and you must give them all a try.Like any restaurant each chef has his own take on traditional dishes. I have a number of favourites for different reasons such as lunchtime snacks, sunset views, Beach locations and out of the way places.

The one thing that is sure to attract me is the people and the relationships I've established over the years.

But what do you do when your favourite family open two Tavernas at the same time? Well just to be absolutely fair in all things , then you have dinner in one and dessert in the other.

Galini restaurant is one of my favourite for all occasions

 



Chips and Rice not a Greek delicacy..Try stuffed peppers





A Greek delicacy? Not really, but they think it’s ours. So if you want salad or you want potatoes cooked in olive oil, lemon and garlic just say so. Ask what the dish of the day is and try something new. There are so many lovely  culinary things to experience. Fortunately the Greek Taverna’s are not plagued with the type of inflexible till that connects straight through to the kitchen that we have at home. They can make changes and if not today then there is always tomorrow (avrio) Why not try stuffed peppers.




 

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Interflora Kos style







Only in Kefalos.It's a tourist's 25th wedding anniversary today and staying at Kamari Bay Hotel. He's ordered some flowers 'Kos style interflora' and they are coming on the 2 o'clock bus. what can you say?




Tickling octopus









My first introduction to Octopus was sitting at Sunlight Bar one night with Nikos waiting the birth of Eleni his first child when Soula and friends disappeared. It was the sort of night when the sea was like a millpond and not a ripple could be seen. I wondered where they had gone to.  Nikos said they'd gone to get me Octopus it was the perfect time to sneak up on them and tickle them and that was the best way to catch them. I don't know whether that is true or not but when they came back towards me carrying something in a bag I ran off screaming. I also learnt that the best way to tenderise them was on the Spin Cycle in the washing machine. Hearsay or true I don't know, but whatever I just love to eat BBQ'd or grilled octopus and I really enjoy octopus keftedes particularly at Agios Theologos or Limnionas. Nostimos.

 

Friday, 27 September 2013

Lovingly restored


 
This lovely little church part way up the hill to Kefalos has been lovingly restored by Manolis and family.It is quite stunning and beautiful.
Every August the priests can be heard on the loud speaker system as the sound resounds all around the hillside as they read from the Bible and many local people can be seen going in to pray and leaving with the traditional bread.
It's really moving and so different.

Sunrise and Sunset


The colour of the sky here at sunrise and sunset reveals all the colours of the rainbow gently melding into Blue or Black. The night sky is so black, illuminated only by the stars and moon, but last night the moon forgot to show, an eerie experience looking out across the black sea of Kamari Bay. The full moon of last week was such a contrast with it’s friendly face clearly visible and so large.
 
There are so many places to see the sunrise and sunset to best effect, be it from up in Zia, at Agios Theologos also known as sunset wave or anywhere you're prepared to stop and stand and stare. Always take your camera. Awesome.