Tag Archives: Food

A visit to Pissouri

So far Pissouri has got to be one of my favourite places to visit in Cyprus. It’s colourful, picturesque and brimming with character. The bright flowers that surround the area give it a whimsical, romantic that make you feel like you’re on the set of a film! The little narrow streets of the nearby village were filled with laid-back locals watching the world go by. We stopped off at the Columbia Beach Resort for an afternoon of rest and relaxation, and discovered a tiny little chapel which was simply stunning inside. It looks so traditional from the outside, but when you enter, you witness an amazing little chapel with incredible, awe-inspiring artwork like I have never seen before. It’s bright, colourful and simply magical. A visit to Pissouri is a definite must!

Maria in Maldives

After our wedding last year we were incredibly fortunate to travel to the amazingly beautiful Maldives in the heart of the Indian Ocean, for a week of rest, relaxation and pampering in paradise. And paradise it was; soft white sands, bright blue skies and crystal blue waters, filled with colourful, tropical fish.

We were spellbound by the beauty that surrounded us. The huge, tropical trees were brimming with amazing fruits and the sound of wild birds singing constantly surrounded the island. It was calm, peaceful and picturesque. That being said, as beautiful as it was, the island was absolutely tiny and had little more to offer than alternating between lying on the beach or swimming in the sea. Sounds like heaven. And heaven it was, though it made us realise that this is exactly what we have on our doorsteps here in Cyprus, every single day of our lives. Okay, so there aren’t the waiters offering summery cocktails, or the opportunities to spot wild dophins on a speed boat tour… But there is the gorgeous weather, the amazing food and the beautiful beaches (minus the sharks), as well as the entertaining visions that are compelled upon us on a daily basis (think CYPRIOTS).

I don’t plan to visit the Maldives again, however I do feel incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to travel to that part of the world and get a feel for the people, culture and lifestyle of the Maldivian people. It is so important that we see as much of the world as we can, to embrace opportunities, open our minds and broaden our horizons.

 

A seasonal transition

As I have probably already mentioned, I am definitely a Winter girl. From the cosy feeling of wrapping up warm to the comfort of a cup of hot chocolate, you can’t beat it.

Which is why I would usually be dreading the long, hot, impending summer ahead. Not only does it relentlessly drag into October – even November, but during the thick of it you are forced to seek shelter in the shade or under the cool of the air-con, making it near enough impossible to get anything done. To make matters worse, the humidity quadruples the size of my hair and I feel as if I am carrying a Russian hat on the top of my head with me, wherever I may go.

Which makes me grateful that the summer is making a delayed entrance this year. The gradual transition has made me feel more prepared for the Summer ahead, and also more excited. Spring has spoilt us with showers, wonderful cool breezes and even some thunder and lightening. The mornings are perfect for sitting in the peace and quiet of our garden with a cup of coffee and a magazine*. And the idea of spending the upcoming summer relaxing by the beach basking under the sun, is enough to make anyone feel happy, content and stress-free.

* Definitely not applicable today.

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