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11 ways with Feta Cream

11 ways with Feta Cream

Yes! Feta Cream! And not made with cream cheese either, but a healthier, “Greeker”, version made with Greek yogurt. Super tasty and ridiculously quick to make, this is so versatile and has so many uses, so, here are 11 ways for you to start enjoying […]

How to make and use Pesto Sauce

How to make and use Pesto Sauce

Hey there! I’m going to teach you how to make easy pesto sauce. It’s easy, it’s affordable, it’s good for you! And it is ridiculously tasty! First I have a confession to make. I sometimes make pesto sauce using illicit means. Now, before you go […]

Enrollment is opening at Foodblogger Pro!

Enrollment is opening at Foodblogger Pro!

I am so excited to tell you about this! Enrollment is opening today at Foodblogger Pro! Why am I so excited? Foodblogger Pro is an online community and huge treasure trove of blogging resources started by Bjork and Lindsay Ostrom of Pinchofyum, hands down one […]

Spring Greens Pie with Feta

Spring Greens Pie with Feta

One of the cool things about the farmer’s market in spring here in Cyprus (well, in any country really) is the abundance of fresh and wild greens. Sure, many of them, like spinach, mangold and rocket, you can find all year round, but others, like […]

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Sicilian Fig Bread

Sicilian Fig Bread

I have only recently discovered the joys of bread-baking, a pleasure that had eluded me most of my life. Okay I grudgingly made Swedish rye-bread and saffron buns every Christmas and once in a while turned my hands to Cypriot Koulouri bread (flavoured with mastic […]

Beetroot Cilantro Muffins

Beetroot Cilantro Muffins

Beetroot makes a nice addition to muffins and cakes, the same way carrots and zucchini do, plus you get a cool pink colour in whatever you make! 🙂 I made these muffins for something healthy to have with my morning coffee at work and, as […]

Anise and Almond Biscotti

Anise and Almond Biscotti

Biscotti, as many of you probably know, means “twice cooked” (bis cotti) and that is exactly what you do with them. Bake them twice. Once to actually bake your dough, the second time to dry them out, like rusks, so they will keep longer and […]

Beetroot Hoummous

Beetroot Hoummous

We eat a lot of hoummous in the Levant. With our proximity to the Middle East, a lot of our cuisine is inspired by countries like Lebanon, Syria, Iran and Jordan. Many people who live in Cyprus originate from those countries and one thing they […]

Basic Bread Dough

Basic Bread Dough

For most of my life I avoided baking bread as I just kept failing. But one day I decided that I was going to conquer this fear of failure and master the art of bread, so I developed this basic bread dough that works for […]

Beetroot, Orange and Feta Salad

Beetroot, Orange and Feta Salad

Beetroot is definitely a spring-time vegetable in Cyprus. Sure, you can buy it year round, but various salads using beetroot are so traditional in spring, particularly when people are fasting during Lent, that beetroots and spring have become synonymous to me. This Beetroot, Orange and […]


Eating Light!

Beetroot Hoummous

Beetroot Hoummous

We eat a lot of hoummous in the Levant. With our proximity to the Middle East, a lot of our cuisine is inspired by countries like Lebanon, Syria, Iran and Jordan. Many people who live in Cyprus originate from those countries and one thing they […]

Beetroot, Orange and Feta Salad

Beetroot, Orange and Feta Salad

Beetroot is definitely a spring-time vegetable in Cyprus. Sure, you can buy it year round, but various salads using beetroot are so traditional in spring, particularly when people are fasting during Lent, that beetroots and spring have become synonymous to me. This Beetroot, Orange and […]

Easy Bean and Tuna Salad

Easy Bean and Tuna Salad

New year, new you, right? Inevitably this means eating healthier, whether it is because you are trying to loose weight or because you want to amp up the nutritional score of your eating by making sure you eat balanced and get all the vitamins and […]

White Bean Dip

White Bean Dip

So while you are soaking and boiling beans for your Italian Bean Salad, add some extra beans for this super easy white bean dip! I like dips. In the height of summer it gets pretty darn hot here and sometimes too hot to cook. That’s […]

Tomato Halloumi Salad with Rocket

Tomato Halloumi Salad with Rocket

I go a little nuts during tomato season… I want to buy every kind of tomato I see and my mind is constantly buzzing with recipe ideas for the little beauties. Tomato Halloumi salad is perhaps not a new idea or invention, but it is […]


Mediterranean Adventures

Traditional Market in Kofinou

Traditional Market in Kofinou

On a ridiculously sunny autumn day, October 1, my bestie Jules and I set out for the traditional village market in Kofinou, a mid sized village in the downhills between Limassol and Larnaca. Village fairs are great places for foodies, both for the products you can pick up and the knowledge!

Cyprus is quite a small island – in fact, you can drive from east to west in about 3 1/2 hours – but each region still has its own specialties and ways of doing things.

Different villages are known for being the best at different things.

You want the best Halloumi? Go to Pachna! The best Loukomi (Turkish delights)? Go to Geroskipou! The best Arkatena (bread made from chickpea flour)? Go to Omodhos!

Tooth-breaking bread and sweet almond paste!

I have no idea what Kofinou is known for, but there were a lot of interesting foodie things happening.

In the picture to the left are pots of home made almond paste (that’s so easy to make I would never buy it, but they were cute) and to the left of them is a special kind of hard bread or rusk containing seeds from the terebinth tree, native to this region called Tremithopittes. It’s tasty, but you have to watch your teeth when you eat it as the terebinth seeds are really hard!

This takes some serious skills!

 

There were all sorts of cooking demonstrations and even lessons for those who wanted!

To the right we see some volunteers having a go at making “Strifti”, which is a savoury pastry made with fyllo dough that can contain spinach, or cheese or apples or mince meat or, or, or! The possibilities are endless here. To my mind, spinach is the most common.

There are a lot of foods made with phyllo here in Cyprus, it being sort of the national pastry (along with kateifi, which we will get to in another post), both sweet and savoury. I regularly make spinach and cheese pie using phyllo, and, when I’m feeling ambitious, baklava or galatoboureko – two traditional Greek/Levantine sweets.

Phyllo also tops one of my favourite desserts, both to eat and make, Anarokrema, which is a creamy fresh cheese beaten with cream, sugar, cinnamon and orange blossom water and topped with broken up phyllo, walnuts, cinnamon and honey. I’m getting hungry. I feel a recipe for that coming on soon!

Time for a chit chat.

Next we came upon these ladies making pasta. I can’t remember what these are called in Greek (help?) but they are bits of pasta dough rolled out on a small stick, which actually looked like a strand of spaghetti to me.

The amazing dexterity they showed when rolling these noodles was unbelievable, but they had probably been doing it all their lives. This is definitely on my bucket list now, learning how to make these.

Cutest grandmother ever!

This lady was just the cutest! I asked her nicely, in Greek, if I could take her picture and she stopped her pasta twiddling long enough to flash me the most charming smile! A millisecond later she was once again churning out these noodles at a rate that belied her years.

Actually, I find it really sad that most young people in Cyprus these days are not interested in carrying on the traditions of their mothers and grandmothers. I’m afraid these arts will die out if nobody grabs a hold of them and rescues them.

She rolled the pasta so fast I could barely capture it.

You can see in this close up just how minute the straw is that they use and just how difficult an art it must be. I could have stood there for hours watching them, but there was a lot to see at this market.

Cypriots, like most Mediterranean people, take a lot of pride in making things themselves and being, in as much as possible, self sufficient.

Things made by hand and from scratch just taste so much better than any convenience food I can think of and the sense of accomplishment when you make something from scratch for other people to enjoy is a real buzz to me.

Of course these ladies would have done it from necessity, but also from love, pure and simple. As most Greeks and Cypriots, and many other nationalities around the Med know, the first question you get asked when you walk through the door of your mums/grandmas/mother in laws house is “Did you eat?” If you answer no, there will be something tasty in front of you in minutes. If you say yes, the answer will be “Okay, I will just make you a little something”. There is no way out of that one (thankfully) so you may as well sit back and enjoy it.

It wasn’t just food on display at this fair, but a lot of other crafts and traditions and stories as well. I didn’t actually know that we have a silk industry in Cyprus but apparently we do/did as evidenced by the little pods in this photo.

There are a lot of handicrafts that are unique to Cyprus, like Lefkara lace for example, which is an intricate form of filigree lace making originating from the village of Lefkara, which lies higher up in the hills from Kofinou. Lefkara lace is ridiculously expensive, particularly now that enterprising Cypriots have realized they can sell their wares to tourists who are used to much higher prices and salaries than the average Cypriot.

Traditional Cypriot costumes were on display as well. These have always fascinated me. Did people dress for practicality or comfort back in the day? Of course, many of the costumes on display were intended for high days and holidays, like theWaterbags ones in this picture. I am not 100% sure what the items on the right are, but I believe they are bags for carrying water on your donkey? If I am completely wrong, help please dear neighbours!

I am pretty sure they were made to carry something or other, or are they some strange kind of bagpipe? 🙂

Traditional CraftsI found this table full of traditional crafts and implements and, although you can’t see it in this picture, bought the most amazing wooden mortar and pestle, carved from one piece of wood. Some of the things you see in this picture (although I admit it is not a great photo) were/are used for baking, like the troughs with round holes for letting the bread rise (WANT!) and the rolling pins of various sizes and shapes. The scythes I’m pretty sure were not used in the kitchen…

In an ideal existence, I would live in an old stone house in some village in the mountains and furnish it with a lot of old, traditional items. Of course we romanticize the old days. Life was hard and you had to work from dawn til dusk to make everything work, but the idyllic setting is definitely my dream.

Along with the displays of costumes there were displays of the everyday furniture and implements of every day life Traditional kitchen implementsin the village. In the photo on the right we see a wine jug to the left, used also for water of course. On the chair and on the right are traditional, hand woven reed baskets, used for many purposes, to carry everything from fruit and vegetables to chickens!

Village KitchenIn the picture to the left we see the dining furniture in a traditional kitchen, though to be truthful most people had much larger, wooden tables, enough to accommodate the whole family. On top of the table is a bread making trough. Quite small by Cypriot standards. I have seen them four times the size of that one, but I would happily make my bread in one of those! You can really get down and dirty with the kneading with a trough that size.

Cretan Bread and Tsipouro/Tsikouda/Raki.

Lately, Cyprus has seen a lot if immigration from Greece, primarily due to the severe economic crisis they have found themselves in and, of course, Cyprus is happy to welcome their “brothers”. As a result, we are lucky enough to be able to sample a lot of traditional Greek products that are different from ours. On the right we see a table manned (or womanned) by some ladies from Crete, selling homemade raki and the most amazing decorated breads. I have never seen anything so intricate on a bread in my life!

Crete is one of the places that I want to visit, but have not yet gotten around to. In many ways the Cretan culture and landscape are similar to Cyprus and many Cretans consider themselves a separate nation from Greece. Fiercely independent and proud, may Cretans have actually called for separation from Mother Hellas and self governance.

loukoumades
Honey-soaked loukoumades, yummy!

One of the absolute musts of every village fair is loukoumades, deep fried dough balls dipped in honey. You can not go to a village fair or panayiri and not have some of these.

Sweet and fragrant, with a crunchy outside and a soft, fluffy center, they are like little pillows of happiness! 🙂

Most people would not consider making these themselves, although you can even buy a ready mix in the supermarket, so going to a fair is pretty much the only occasion when you would eat them.

Making the most of it, I recommend at least a dozen! Then sit down somewhere and relax with a coffee, because you will not be walking far after eating them.

Naturally there was dancing and music to watch and listen to. The children in the photo are wearing traditional costumes and dancing a traditional dance. They were so talented! The little boys jumped like bouncing Tiggers high into the air and the girls twirled and swirled like real little ladies. I would imagine the dance they performed was something of a courting ritual in the past, as village fetes were about the only opportunity for boys and girls to do a bit of flirting with the opposite sex.

The Village Guard!

The amazing paradoxes between old and new, traditional and modern, that you experience pretty much everywhere here in Cyprus give you such a sense of timelessness.

Naturally there were plenty of little black-clad ladies. Traditionally, when a close family member dies, the remaining family “take the black”, at least for a while. Older generations will take the black for the rest of their lives when a spouse or child dies.

A very smug Jules!

Jules was also wearing black, though of a different kind. I scolded her a bit for wearing a Ramones t-shirt to a traditional village fair, until she gleefully pointed out the lady in the background who was manning (or womaning) one of the traditional stalls, which put an end to my moaning very effectively!

If you ever have the opportunity to go to a village fair in a Mediterranean country, do not miss it!

Here in Cyprus there is something going on pretty much every weekend somewhere on the island and I wish I had more time to run around and visit all those markets and fairs. Thanks to this blog, I am planning to make a concerted effort in the coming year to visit as many places on the island as possible, so that I can share with you this magical island I call home!