Last Days of Summer

Since my last post back in early August I have been snowed under with various events and commitments including a trip to the Royal Academy of Arts for the Summer Exhibition, sailing the Thames for a good friend’s recent nuptials, and a wonderful three week break making my way around Greece. It’s been a great few weeks! It does make for a rather stunted set of blog posts however. Luckily Autumn is bringing with it many more nights in to undertake my favourite things; cooking, writing, reading and generally indulging in various crafts.

Greece is such a beautiful country and I’m so glad I visited. Over the course of three weeks the journey consisted of Athens and four islands in the Cyclades group: Milos, Folegandros, Ios and Santorini. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect from Greece given the current political and economic situation but I can honestly say I fell in love with the place. It’s up there in my favourite countries ever. I think it even beats my trip to Bali last year!

Naturally one of the most memorable things about my holiday was the food. Greek food… who knew? It’s not a hugely accessible cuisine, even in London. Apart from the various “mezedhes” type dishes associated with middle Eastern cuisine, I had relatively few expectations from Greek food. I think what makes it so exceptionally delicious is the simplicity of it.  Every day my partner and I tried to order something new and local, which was great on the islands because they have their individual specialities. I think we accomplished this every single day and discovered lots of new flavours and styles of cooking. Some of our favourite dishes included lamb on a spit, saganaki cheese, grilled calamari, souvlakis and gyros, fava beans, rabbit stifado, pies with all kinds of fillings and flavours, spetzofai, feta, feta and more feta. Olive oil on everything, with a side order of Greek white wine. Even the most simple things seemed to be so delicious! It was like I had never really tasted honey, bread, olives or nuts before. I can’t explain it. Needless to say I came back with my suitcase packed full of olive oil, herbs and spices, including local oregano, rosemary, thyme, pink peppercorns, camomile… I can’t actually bear the thought of using any of these wonderful ingredients because I don’t want to risk wasting them! I have a beautiful recipe book called The Islands of Greece: Recipes from Across the Greek Seas (by Rebecca Seal) which contains many of the dishes we tried, and many local dishes from the actual islands we visited. Now that I have a real appreciation for how these dishes should look, feel and taste, I’m going to put a lot of effort into making some authentic Greek recipes. I can’t wait.

Octop-hi! Freshly caught octopi sun-drying at Ammoudi Bay, Santorini. Octopus is on every menu on the Cyclades islands we visited, usually grilled with a simple vinegar dressing. Of course we tried some, and it was very nice... if a little rubbery.
Octop-hi! Freshly caught octopi sun-drying at Ammoudi Bay, Santorini. Octopus is on every menu on the Cyclades islands we visited, usually grilled with a simple vinegar dressing. Of course we tried some, and it was very nice… if a little rubbery

Anyway, I have many things with which to update this humble little website. I’ve got lots of stationery reviews to upload, recipes from my time off (including my first try at making macarons) and a short post about each place I stopped at in Greece. I’m looking forward to getting started! I hope you enjoyed the last days of summer!

No need for holiday blues when you've got Greenwich Park two minutes away.
No need for holiday blues when you’ve got Greenwich Park two minutes away.