Thursday, May 18, 2017

Updating, Celebrating and Recuperating!

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The pic above
 is pure storybook, is it not:
cute, candy coloured cottages 
nestled between the deep, blue sea 
and hilly, gorgeous, greenery? 
Ah, and to add some mystery, 
what hides, we wonder, behind
all that rough and rocky scenery?


Of course, every story needs a leading lady,
and this one, set in the fjords of Norway,
 features my darling daughter, Liberty,
who, by the way, is celebrating
 her 28th birthday today! Yay!

Happy Birthday, my love!


 Helping Libby get ready for her
5 month work and leisure holiday
is what kept me super busy 
(gathering documents, issuing a passport, 
shopping, writing recipes, packing),
until April 30th, when she 
spread her wings and flew away.



Luckily, my nephew, Christian, and his girlfriend, Erica,
were flying in from Canada within a week, so I needed to
get the house ready for their visit. It was a blessing, since
all the preparation for them kept me busy, again.
Spending 5 days together, (their first visit to Greece!),
was fun; I always enjoy introducing Crete to our guests.



The kids and I hiked to the village of Agios Myronas 
(St. Myron), which is about a 45 minute trek uphill, 
but the gleaming glory of the young grapevines, 
along the way, kept us steady and on track.


The village is home to the church that bears its name. 
Initially, an Early Christian basilica, Agios Myronas was 
converted into a four-pillard, cross-in-square domed
church in the 11th-12th century. It was the seat of an
Orthodox Diocese from the Early Byzantine era 
to period of the Venetian rule.

The chapel of Agios Myronas.

The church is home to the tomb of St. Myron, where the saint
 lived as a monk, and which now serves as a chapel. There, an
 icon of the saint, which dates back to possibly the 16th century,
 and thus considered miraculous, can be viewed.



At Koules, or "Castello a Mare" (1540)
Heraklion's Venetian fortress, 
 Christian claims his Greek roots! 



Stunning Santorini! Paradise on the planet! The kids snapped 
a sample of the signature architecture of this idyllic island
just north of us, soon after they arrived there.


Talk about a room with a view! Unbelievably beautiful, isn't it?


A cheery and charming bunch of beauties welcome visitors at a house near the entrance of the village

And finally, on this 18th day of May, 2017, I am also celebrating Poppy View's 5th year anniversary! I would shout with joy, but I've been battling a bout of laryngitis.It's been a pleasure getting to know each and every one of you. Thanks so much for your visits and comments and friendship. This little blog has been my creative outlet and my connection to so many wonderful people across the globe. I am grateful for your readership and for your sweet emails; 
they mean the world to me.


Red and pink pretties playfully adorn the perimeters of another home's balcony

 What's been keeping you busy, lately?

  Thanks for visiting!
xo
Poppy

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Catching Up!


Hello everyone! It's been a while, huh? Hope you are all well! I've been busier than usual the last three weeks and haven't had the time or the energy to post at the end of each day, even though I kept promising myself that I would!



 April 23rd is the feast day of St. George
in the Greek Orthodox church, and so we headed 
south to a tiny chapel to attend church services.


The icons were beautifully adorned with flowers 
that members brought from their gardens.   

 

 After a wonderful BBQ lunch, hosted by the congregation,


we picked pretty wildflowers in the gorgeous
landscape that surrounds the church.


Then, on the 27th, Liberty and I hosted the Ladies'
Philanthropic Society monthly coffee meeting, so baking 
and cleaning were our top priorities for a few days.


From left: chocolate orange gateau, bacon onion tart
an assortment of orange, almond and cinnamon cookies
 and a Victoria sponge were the featured sweet and savoury fare.


Can you guess what followed?


Flowers, of course!

 

Pots and pots of newly planted petals now decorate the patio and boxes beautify the balconies. Watering all of them takes time. I'm finding that quenching their thirst in the early morning instead of the early evening, is better for my skin - no mosquitoes on the prowl!


Yesterday, my nephew and his girlfriend arrived from Canada. It's always refreshing (and a little nostalgic), introducing Crete to our guests. The island's rich culture, culinary delights, spectacular scenery, ancient history and treasured traditions impress our visitors and never cease to amaze me, too, every time I have the pleasure of presenting it to newbies.


And speaking of newbies, the camera icon against that bright rainbow is a logo that caught my attention recently. Its array of applications have taken up a bit of my down time, lately, just after dinner dishes are done and shortly before bedtime! I'm definitely in the honeymoon stage, but I must admit, it's been a quick and easy way to be creative, make new friends and stay connected.


Most of all, though, it's convenient, since it only takes a few clicks to post a few pics every night. Nevertheless, it will not replace blogging, for me, since I thrive on reading and writing. Stunning photos are sweet eye candy, but 'hearty' words are what I find most satisfying.






Now, just like this sole lily, left all alone, since I picked all its petaled pals for various bouquets, there's one more thing that I have not yet mentioned that had kept me busier than everything else put together, but that's another post. Hope you all are having a lovely spring, so far. Promise I won't stay away too long, next time; I miss you all too much!




  

Thanks for visiting!
xo
 Poppy


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Greek Lemon Cookies


Every so often, Liberty and I like to bake up a batch of various cookies. In the winter, we prefer oatmeal or chocolate chip, but come spring, it's always our Greek lemon cookies that we bake on Holy Thursday, as they are a traditional, Easter treat. 

 

Having said that, they are to Greeks what biscotti are to Italians, and as such, can be enjoyed whenever one craves a substantial citrus cookie, as they are denser in texture, but very moist, with a full bodied lemon-y aroma and taste.


And this year, they were extra special, since they were infused with the fresh, citrus-y scent that came from lemons growing on the one and only lemon tree in our veggie garden. Here's the recipe that I found in 'Dolce', a Greek gourmet magazine. It's super easy! 


Greek Lemon Cookies

Ingredients:
500 grams all purpose flour
200 grams sugar
100 grams butter
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
zest from two lemons
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg + 2 Tbsp. water for egg wash

Directions:

1.  Cream the butter and sugar 
so that it becomes light and fluffy.

2.  Add the eggs, one by one, beating after each, 
then, the milk, vanilla, and lemon zest.

3.  Lower the speed on the mixer and add the 
flour in portions, folding it in after each addition.

4.  On a cold counter, start to knead the dough until 
it doesn't stick to your fingers. You might need
 to add more flour (I find that I always do, 
but be careful, as the more flour you add,
 the more it takes away from the lemon
the vanilla and the sugar).

5.  Shape the dough into strips, 15 cm long and the width of your finger.

6.  Roll them into a pinwheel or whatever shape you like. 

7.  Transfer to cookie sheet and  brush with egg wash. 

8.  Bake in a preheated oven for 18 - 20 minutes 
at 180 C/(350 F). Makes about 1 kilo.


These Greek lemon cookies are  perfect with that first cup of morning coffee, or tea in the afternoon. If you like your cookies crunchy, then store them in a cookie tin.  Otherwise, keep them in an air tight container, if you prefer a softer cookie. I hope you give them a try; they're fun to make and are scrumptious!


 Have you done any baking, lately?

Thanks for visiting!

xx


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Holy Week

St. Irene, the little church that stands next to our home, high above the Cretan sea.

Hello dear readers, it's Holy Week here in Greece, a peaceful and quiet time, when the Greek Orthodox Church relives the last days of Jesus' life, beginning Palm Sunday and ending on Easter Sunday.

Allium Subhirsutum dot the perimeter of an old Olive tree, softening its rugged, claw-like trunk.

Days are spent cleaning and preparing 
our home for the celebratory feast.

A close up of Allium Subhirsutum, commonly known as Hairy Garlic.

Church services in the evenings, bring people
together in prayer and unity, at this most 
solemn time, days before Christ is crucified.

The hilly meadow behind our home. A petaled path strikes one's curiosity to follow it.

We follow Him to His death on the cross, and mourn at His 
funeral, in the Service of Lamentations, on Good Friday.

Fresh beginnings are evident all around the village. Here, new vine leaves bask in the midday sun.

Then, alas, at the stroke of midnight, on Holy Saturday, 
we rejoice, 'Christos Anesti!' (Christ is Risen!), as our
 hearts are filled with the joy and hope of His rebirth.


For a more detailed account of Greek Orthodox Easter,
please visit my first post, here. To my friends who 
celebrate, wishing you a most blessed Easter.

xo
Poppy 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Shelf Life


Hello, everyone, Happy April!


Can you guess what I've been doing?


Yup, taking more pics of wildflowers, but
this time, I thought I'd bring some home


 to create a cheery, spring vignette.

 

I needed to sweeten the kitchen,


with something other than the aroma of baked goodies
- my cozy, wintry pastime that packed on a few pounds!


 Voilà! A fresh buffet of eye candy, 
pretty and completely calorie free!


I simply cannot get enough of these daisies. They're my
 custom concoction of Vitamin C, (that's 'c' for Cuties),
but these lovelies are also a by-product of Vitamin D - 
sunny skies, that in turn, encourage aerobic exercise.


The effect on my physique is not yet evident; for that, I'll
 have to wait, unlike the instant results on my kitchen shelf,


 where rows and rows of springtime petals managed to
lighten my spirit and plant a warm smile on my face.


 Now that winter's technically over, 
what melts your heart about spring?

Thanks for visiting!
Have a wonderful week!


xoxo
Poppy 

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