Category Archives: Food & Drink

Summer Eats

So the summer is well and truly upon us, and as we bask underneath the blanket of sunshine sipping a frappé, I thought it was fitting to collate a pick of the best eats for the current warmer months:

Summer Salad: Throw in peach slices, strawberries, kiwi or pomegranate (or a selection of the above) to a green salad mix for a fun and refreshing summer twist. For the dressing, mix honey, mustard and vinegar together and drizzle over for a refreshing, bitter-sweet eat.

The above can easily suffice as a main dish, however if you’re feeling particularly hungry, a great complement to the salad is a simple fish dish.

Take a fresh, whole fish (fresh Sea Bream is very delicious), score the skin in 4 – 5 places on both sides of the fish. Season the insertions with salt and pepper. Season the middle of the fish. Season further with your choice of herbs including oregano, chilli, garlic and thyme. Drizzle olive oil over the fish, spritz generously with lemon and place under the grill for 25 – 30 minutes. Serve alone or with salad and a slice of bread to soak up the juices. Yummy!

If you have space for desert (I always do), my first port of call is always something decadent and chocolatey, but I know this isn’t to everyone’s liking, especially not in this heat, so I’m going with one of my mum’s favourites, lemon posset mousse.

Whist 250ml of double cream until thick and soft. Pour 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice and continue to whisk, Stir through 25g sugar. Whisk together. Take cocktail glasses and sprinkle some crushed biscuits (of your choice) into the bottom of the glass. Spoon a decent serving of the mixture on top of the biscuit. Sprinkle some more biscuit over the mousse followed by a topping of your choice (I added a cherry for a splash of colour) and voila, a simple, delicious dessert!

All that’s left is to invite your guests!

Here’s to a safe, happy and healthy summer ahead.

Sprinkle with biscuit for the finishing touches

Things I miss about England

Although I am enjoying my time here in Cyprus, it’s easy to have a moan every now and then about the things we hate about Cyprus, and more importantly, the things I love about England.

Freebies in magazines:

And why are magazines so expensive out here? I love a good magazine marathon but really have to limit myself each month due to their implausible expense. Even a typically cheap magazine like ‘Look’ is expensive, and we don’t even get any freebies due to shipping costs!

Paperchase:

Cyprus is yearning for a decent card shop with equally decent prices, combined with a variety of beautiful cards, stationary and accessories. Once again it has failed dramatically and the majority of cards on offer out here are of Barbie and Ken-esque models posing in old-fashioned clothes. I  refuse to purchase one of these cards and am grateful to Debenhams for being one of the only places in Cyprus where it appears you can buy any decent cards (funny how this is a UK retailer!)

The variety of shops:

The products, prices, accessories and styles in the UK are abundant and varied, whereas out here, we’re limited to designer brands or 1980s chic. How I miss H n’ M/New Look/Miss Selfridge/River Island (I could go on)…

Fish and Chips:

You can’t beat a bag of fish and chips and although we have a local chippy down the road (!) there is still nothing quite like enjoying this delicious delight on a cold winter’s night. Throughout the warmer months, my interest in fish and chips dramatically dwindles. Comfort food just isn’t what it used to be in the sweltering heat.

Boots:

No, not the footwear! Boots the chemist is possibly one of my all time favourite places to buy cosmetics and toiletries. They have every product under the sun from healthcare and pharmaceuticals to the latest mascara, and whatever it is you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it at a reasonable price (combined with some excellent deals and a decent points scheme). Although there are rumours that Carrefour will be supplying Boots products under their own branding, I’m still sceptical and don’t feel confident that there’ll be enough variety. Watch this space…

British music:

I’m yearning to find out the latest releases and struggling to keep up with what’s going on in the rest of the world, whether it’s for the latest releases, gigs or news.

Chocolate:

As a massive lover of chocolate but I really don’t enjoy my favourite treat when it’s travelled thousands of miles to get here and melted/re-congealed in the process. Not quite the craving I was hoping to satisfy.

And finally…

British people:

This is not a dig at Greek people. They are not ALL moody, miserable, judgmental and slightly backwards, but, from my experience, British people are always approachable and willing to help. Generally speaking, they are kind, humble, caring and helpful, and they are not prone to judge others on the incredulous level that Cypriots are oh-so-famous for. Plus, they are compassionate about animals, which is more than I can say for many of the people out here!

I could go on…

A traditional British delicacy

 

Cupcakes and inspirations

One of my many custom made cupcakes

Having fulfilled my duties as a Cypriot wife for the day (bathrooms cleaned; sheets changed; ironing complete, check), I treated myself to a day of chilling out at home, which was probably motivated by the wintery climate and the overcast weather that took us by surprise yesterday. I love being creative around the home but I also enjoy baking and cooking, particularly baking. Inspired by one of my favourite books, ‘Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery’, I decided to indulge in some therapeutic me-time, by spending a couple of hours baking in the kitchen.

Although I am a huge fan of chocolate (what girl isn’t?) I decided to bake some lemon flavoured cupcakes with lemon flavoured butter cream, and sprinkled with various colours. I took the recipe from the aforementioned book (picture below), which is amazingly colourful and filled with enchanting pictures. The recipes are fairly uncomplicated (although the list of ingredients can be a little off-putting), but the procedure is straightforward and isn’t time-consuming. If anything, I’m sure you will have fun baking these little cakes; the decorating at the end is by far my favourite part!

To make these little gems:

-Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Fill a 12-hole muffin tray with cupcake cases.

-Mix 110g butter with 225g caster sugar, using an electric mixer (for approx 5 minutes). Add 2 eggs, individually, mixing in between each addition.

-In a separate bowl, combine 150g self-raising flour with 125g plain flour. In a jug, add 90ml semi-skimmed milk, 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of sour cream. Gradually combine both the above (the bowl and the jug) with the original creamed mixtures, gradually adding a little of each (the flours then the lemon etc).

-Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases to about 2/3 full. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, until slightly raised and golden brown (insert a knife and if it comes out clean, they are ready).

-Once removed from the oven and completely cooled, you are ready to ice and decorate your cakes as creatively as you wish.

For a deliciously zingy complement to your lemon cupcakes, beat together 110g butter, 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, the grated zest from 1 or 2 lemons and 250g icing sugar. Add another 250g of icing sugar and beat again until smooth and creamy. Spoon the icing as delicately or heavily as you please. For toppings, use hundreds and thousands, heart shaped sugar or even crushed chocolate, such as toblerone or aero mint. You can even add a sugared lemon slice, which you can buy from the supermarket or bakery.

These cakes are ideal for birthdays and celebrations, or simply just for enjoyment at home. They look so inviting and will be devoured before you know it!

Enjoy!

Hospitality Mentality

Cyprus food is so delicious; especially when the vegetables and other ingredients are freshly picked and indigenous to Cyprus. For example, the lemons are so juicy and full of flavour – an entire lemon can make such a difference to the final flavour of a soup. I also love to squeeze a lemon over salad – it gives it such a mouth-watering flavour and certainly inspires a second round. The fruit available throughout Cyprus is also abundant. Pomegranates, strawberries, apples and passion fruit are just some of the many fruits available to pick, clean and freshly eat.

Coupled with the hospitality of the Cypriots, to sit down to a freshly made meal from a Cypriot kitchen really is something else. The fusion of smells and flavours really make your mouth water and the variety of dishes at a given meal are colourful, diverse and abundant. Other than that, the combination of good food and fine wine make for an entertaining afternoon filled with conversation, laughter and love.

Fortunately for me, I’m not a big fan of the modern-traditional delights that Cyprus has to offer (and that usually follow after a big meal), including the cream-filled cakes and pastries. Believe me out here this is a massive bonus, so I get off lightly during the various annual celebrations including birthdays, name days, national holidays or just a simple sit-down meal. Whether it’s a big, cream-filled cake topped with more cream, or little pastries crammed with various ingredients including cheese, spinach or jams, these are a regular haunt of Cypriot events and occasions and are difficult to avoid, so if you are keeping an eye on your waistline, I would certainly recommend to steer clear of the above.

Baking out here isn’t exactly commonplace (certainly compared with when I was living in England). The abundance of bakeries and patisseries is countless and the cakes and pastries that they have on offer are also limitless. Still there is nothing quite like whiling away your time in the kitchen, filling it with sweet aromas and mouth-watering treats. The pleasure is in the process as well as the result (provided, of course, that the result is a success!) I gain so much more from baking my own cakes than driving to the bakery for a treat, despite losing a couple of hours of browsing time on ASOS (or rather, despite gaining a couple of extra hours cleaning up the kitchen).

Finally, for those of you who are fasting for Easter, good luck with avoiding all of the above, especially out here, when the temptations seem so much more abundant.

The results of a devoured meal

A quick fix for the weekend ahead

Seeing as the weekend is (finally) well and truly upon us, I thought I would make a nice surprise weekend contribution to my blog, to demonstrate my excitement for the 3 days of freedom that lie ahead. The reason for this is extension is the celebration of Green Monday. Green Monday, also known as Clean Monday, is considered to be the first day of Lent, and it is customary on this day to eat shellfish and other fasting food. Those strong-willed enough will continue their fast for the next 50 days, however I’m not entirely sure how the Cypriot population can go for more than one week without consuming meat in some quantity or another. We shall see.

Anyway, here are some tunes that are getting me hyped up for for the long weekend ahead:

Eliza Doolittle – Pack Up

Adele: Rolling in the deep

Florence and the Machine: Kiss with a Fist

The Kinks: Sunny Afternoon

Travie McCoy/Bruno Mars: Billionaire

Oasis: Stand by Me

For those of you who are fasting,  good luck and I hope you stay strong-willed!

Have a fabulous weekend!

The type of meal you should be eating on Green Monday

Wish I could be here on Green Monday

Little Plates – A hidden treasure of Limassol

One of the adorned walls of Little Plates

Tucked away behind a bustling Limassol main road, ‘Ta Piatakia’, or ‘Little Plates’, is such a wonderful discovery that I can’t help but feel disappointed that we hadn’t stumbled upon it any sooner.

The instant you walk in your eyes are immediately lifted towards the magnificent lighting above, which is an enormous and intricate delight to the eyes. The main wall is adorned with gorgeous plates of various colours and sizes, whilst the opposite wall is filled with framed articles depicting the international success and popularity of ‘Little Plates’.

Warmly welcomed by all of the staff, it feels more like a laid-back dinner at your best friend’s house than a formal restaurant. Nonetheless the hospitality, the decor, and of course the food, are all second to none. You really do feel as if you’ve entered Aladdin’s culinary cave.

In addition, the creative brains behind Little Plates, Roddy Damalis, is constantly bustling about, greeting his beloved guests and really making them feel at home. All this whilst rushing about to ensure everything is running smoothly.  It’s refreshing to see a successful restauranteur pouring his blood and guts into his business, 7 days a week.

I love all the small details about Little Plates. The soft lighting creates a relaxed, homely atmosphere that invites you to stay for hours sampling the gorgeous dishes.

My favourite dish of the night was definitely the highly popular feta filled Parcel drizzled with honey. The combination of ingredients served at the perfect temperature made it absolutely delicious and I’m definitely craving some more already. The chocolate and caramel cheesecake was truly melt-in-the-mouth deliciousness, but I was so full up by this point from all of the wonderful dishes that we’d tried, I struggled to finish it all.

‘Ta Piatakia’ truly is plate after plate of delightful, delicate dishes, inspired by Greek tradition with a modern twist of ingredients. This restaurant is a definite must for anyone looking to spoil themselves with something different, in a setting that feels just like home.

Also, if you’re tempted to buy the book and sample some of the dishes for yourself, Roddy is more than happy to sign it for you – that’s mum’s birthday present sorted then!