24 June 2008

Karma Chameleon

No, I am not going to sing the song. Lucky for you! Now that would be a YouTube performance to miss, definitely!

The Chameleon in question is a little friend that Graham made in Cyprus. He is so cute, that I have to show you some photos!





22 June 2008

Weather Watching




































It has been getting steadily hotter here. We have been up to 40 degrees the last few days and Graham and I are just not used to it at all. Thank goodness for the pool and air conditioning!

We got a break in the weather yesterday though. We were having a family barbeque with Graham's parents and aunt and uncle when we all heard a rumbling, which got louder and louder.


Thunder!




































And.... then the rain came down, pitter patter on the sun canopy above us and in the pool. It got heavier and heavier, but we weren't put off. We ran down the garden in the rain to the table at the bottom of the garden with the food and sat under huge sun umbrellas eating and drinking in the rain. It was great and it really cooled things off, oh, for about half an hour and then the steam started rising and the temperature rose too! Still it was nice while it lasted and everthing was so green and fresh afterwards.











Don't the hills look amazing during the storm?















A beautiful sunset to finish off the day!

20 June 2008

Dream Castle












The Dream Castle Restaurant.

We had dinner on the roof of this restaurant with Graham's parent's and his aunt & uncle. The views were stunning, we could see Hilarion Castle nestling in the hills behind us and a fabulous panoramic view across Girne, down to the sea. On a clear day you can see Turkey. Unfortunately, the photos I took of the view were a bit out of focus, but I did get a photo of rather handsome looking cockerel.















Graham & I shared a vegetarian meze for a starter. It was lovely. Hummus, beetroot, yoghurt, feta, a garlic dip, rocket, olives and pitta.













For our main course we both ordered vegetable kebabs, which had that lovely chargrilled flavour. Most enjoyable and I was only bitten on the ankle twice, not by the kebabs, I hasten to add!

For dessert, instead of bringing us a menu the waiter brought around some baklava and fruit; apple, honeydew melon and big slices of juicy watermelon, which are in season here and so refreshing. I thought that was a really lovely idea for dessert, a nice touch.

We finished our meal with a drink on the house. Graham had a diet pepsi, but I sipped and savoured a mint liqueur. Why do these always taste so good on holiday, but languish in a cupboard gathering dust, at home?

17 June 2008

Sun, Swimming Pools & Stupidity

I was on cooking duty yesterday and you saw the result of lunch, my balsamic beetroot & chickpea salad with mint. But, what I didn't tell you about my little mishap with dinner, did I? After having a day to think about it. I have decided to come clean!


Not so good photo of the offending article!

So here's the story:

Graham's dad and I visited a local fruit and vegetable market, just a small one, but it had an abundance of gorgeous produce. From here I purchased rather large amounts of tomatoes. Lovely large ripe tomatoes and some sweet juicy cherry tomatoes. Soup was the order of the day. I decided to make one of my favourites, Four Tomato & Red Pepper Soup.

So I am pottering about happily in the kithen making my salad and roasting the peppers and tomatoes in the oven. The smell was divine. It took me two rounds of roasting to do all the tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic, but I was happy with all the lovely charred edges. I took the cover of the food processor and popped in the veg and sundried tomatoes and started whizzing it up. Some of it wasn't whizzing properly, so I had another go. It looked like the blackened skin of the peppers. so I fished it out with a spoon and popped it in the bin. I poured the whizzed inredients into the pot and added the stock and tomato puree. Happy as Larry, I toddled around to the side of the villa to pick some fresh coriander. Mmmm, this was going to be good soup!

In the meantime, MIL came in and started clearing up while I finished the soup, which was much appreciated. The dishwasher filled up quickily, I can tell you, between all the bowls and pots used for cooking the beetroot and soup. Then she turned to me and said "where are the covers for the blender?", so I said "on the table", pointing to them. "No, she said, the covers for the blades. They are little black covers.", I just looked at her blankly and said "I didn't see any covers for the blades!" and then the full horror sank in!

So if you want to make Four Tomato and Red Pepper Soup extra special, add some black plastic!

So, so embarassing! Of course, it is now the tale to tell! I will never live it down! Ever!

We didn't tell Graham and he really enjoyed his soup :)

15 June 2008

Balsamic Beetroot & Chickpea Salad with Mint
















Balsamic Beetroot & Chickpea Salad with Mint

5 fresh Beetroot
3 cups chickpeas
handful of mint
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
freshly ground black pepper


Cook the beetroot with the skins on for 15 - 20 minutes in a pressure cooker depending on size, alternatively you could roast them. Leave to cool and then peel and slice.

Mix up the vinegar and olive oil and season. Chop the mint and add it to the dressing, leaving aside a little mint to garnish.

Toss the beetroot and chickpeas with the dressing.

Serves 2 or 4 as a side dish

The mint and the beetroot go together heavenly. I will definitely be making this again.

We had our salad with pitta bread and some hummus. Outdoors, in the sun...... :)

If you would like to enter this month's challenge then post your soup or salad with legumes to Lisa at nocroutonsrequired@googlemail.com before the 20th of June.

13 June 2008

Girne Kalesi - Girne Castle














I have just realised that I haven't taken any photos of food since I got here. What is happening to me?

The food has been lovely, just not cooked by me. I pledge to do better, but until then I will give you a little taste of the food without the photos.

The first night we arrived, Graham's mum made us a lovely pasta dish that was packed to the gunnels with vegetables. She fried off some red, yellow and green peppers, with carrots and onions in a little butter and separately cooked mushrooms and green beans. These were all tossed in with the pasta and served with Parmesan. On the whole sauce verses pasta debate, the topping definitely won in this case and it was delicious.

Last night we had little, mini quiches made with flaky pastry. The bottom of the quiches were filled with caramelised onion and topped with cheddar and egg. The feast is only beginning! We had these with crispy potato wedges (the locals are learning the secret of these from Graham's mum), salad, beetroot and homemade coleslaw (to die for). It was so good that we all had extra portions and then felt the need to lie down.

Today we have been visiting Girne Castle and I did think to take some photos there, so I will share a few with you.


























Update

Graham & I had left over mini quiche tonight, revamped with mushrooms on top and I remembered to take a photo. They look less quichey now the mushrooms are covering them, but they were very tasty.















I have to stress that my mother-in-law did not dress my plate and in fact it would have looked better with less and more carefully arranged! I could learn a thing or two I think!













And...... look at that pitta bread, so much nicer than the cardboard-like pitta we are sold in the UK!

12 June 2008

I am here













I thought I would let you see where I am just now.

Lazing beside the pool with my book :)

08 June 2008

Jamies Blackened Potatoes





















I scribbled this recipe down a few months ago whilst watching Jamie Oliver on tv. So I neither know the correct recipe or the title of this dish, but I can tell you that this potato and onion dish is so tasty.

The potatoes look burnt, but they are actually just coloured by balsamic vinegar.

Now, I am going to let you have a glimpse into my messy world of scribbling recipes down. Those with a squeamish nature, may want to turn away!

Jamie's Blackened Potatoes















And for those of you who cannot decipher that, here it is.

1/3 pack butter,
1/2 cup olive oil
4 bay leaves
a few stalks of rosemary
a few red onions, peeled and cut in half
6 potatoes, cut into wedges
1 clove of garlic, halved and bashed
1/2 bottle balsamic vinegar
1 glass of red wine
salt & pepper to season


On the cooker, heat a deep roasting tray, add the butter, oil, rosemary and bay leaves. The herbs will flavour the fat. When the fat is hot, add the potatoes, red onions and garlic. Season with salt & pepper and give a good mix through. Slosh in about half a bottle of cheap balsamic vinegar.























Cook for one hour in a hot oven. Toss ingredients occasionally. Lose the fat and add a glass of wine. Squash the cloves out of their skins and mix back in. Put back in oven and cook until potatoes are dark and caramelised.

These come out very dark, but don't worry, this is how they should be.

Serves 4 - 6

I served my blackened potatoes with little balsamic tomato & basil puff pastry tarts and carrots tossed in a little butter and coriander.



















It was a really lovely family meal. Thanks Jamie!

03 June 2008

Cheese Please!
















This cat has a cheese radar! I swear!

As soon as you take any cheese out of the fridge, his antennae go up and he has an internal cheese alert. He is at your feet in a flash and then the meowing begins. This shows he is not a smart cookie, because it alerts the other two cats to the fact that Elmo might be about to be given something and whizz, they are at your feet too!

If I was Elmo, I would keep quiet!

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