Monday, September 27, 2010

Chilli Sauce

I finally managed to accumulate just shy of a kilo of assorted chillies and most of them being pretty damned hot I decided to bulk them out with a couple of red peppers. Into the pan I put a cup of vinegar and one of sugar (though part of that sugar was actually honey). I blitzed the chillies, the peppers and a whole bulb of about twenty or so cloves of garlic and bunged them in the pan too. I started heating this, to melt the sugar and render things down a bit, but noted that the whole mix was a bit dense, so added another cup each of sugar and vinegar. I brought it to the boil, let it cool a bit then whisked in a dessert spoonful of plain flower to thicken it. Still not the right consistency so I added another spoonful, then brought the lot up to a rolling boil ready to jar. I heated some jars (burning my finger in the process), scooped the mixture in and popped the lids on. There was just a little left over which went into a small bowl. In the evening we had samozas, bhaijas and spring rolls, dipped in this sauce and lathered with a peanut sauce Caroline had made. Absolutely delicious! 


The Cabbiano

The name of the restaurant was Gabbiano on the hanging sign and on the front of the building, but Cabbiano on the knapkins and a few other items inside. The hanging sign is now ‘Cabbiano’ and doubtless the front will be changed too. Maybe this is due to both C and G not existing in the Greek alphabet? 

We bought our house off of Stelios, our parents have stayed in the apartments above the Cabbiano and we’ve eaten in the restaurant for three years. There was one slight hiccup last year when the entire restaurant went non-smoking and I refused to go back. However, I found out that this was because they were worried about being hit by a heavy fine for infringing rules that were unclear to every bar and restaurant owner across Greece.

The Cabbiano is jointly owned (as far as I am aware) by the three brothers: Stelios, Yorgos and Marco. But there are others who have been there for quite a while like Nico (17 years I believe), who every now and again, along with Stelios, entertains the customers with some Greek dancing; the girls labouring in the kitchen; and now we have the new addition of Maria (Marco’s eldest daughter, I think). Here some pictures of them all, starting first with that Makrigialos entrepreur, Stelios:

Here’s Marco who’s raki flavoured with honey and cinnamon is delicious, and who is also an enthusiastic gardener who seems to have started a banana plantation in Makrigialos.

Here’s Yorgos, who works away in the kitchen with the girls (one of whom is his wife) to produce meal upon excellent meal even when twenty Norwegians just popped in for dinner. He also makes a pomegranite and galliano raki that’s good:

Here’s Maria:

Here are the girls who were kind enough to pose even though they were in the midst of cooking on a busy evening:

Here finally is Nico, who it took three attempts (on the final attempt having to force him down into a chair) before I could take a decent picture. First he decided to do some drinks tray spinning, then he decided to walk on his hands between the tables...

Beside the enjoyable food and wine, it’s a pleasure to sit in this restaurant and watch them operate, at great speed, meanwhile exchanging a joke or two with the customers, in their own language, be they Norwegian, Swedish, French, German or English.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Not a Lot.

I've got plenty to blog about, but just haven't had the time, what with going through the editing of The Departure (now on the final read-through). So, thanks to Jebel Krong here, I'll post these banner he sent me:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Brief Blog.

Today (morning)

We remember the date of the first heavy rain here last year because, well, it’s a date that sticks in many people’s minds: the 11th of September. We were wondering if it would come at the same time this year but no, it came a day late on the 12th. I think ‘rain’ is perhaps too weak a term to describe it, ‘monsoon’ a better one. A bit of a cloud started building up over Papagianades and it started spitting in the morning. This increased to a heavy shower by midday and then by about 2.00 o’clock the garden was under about an inch of water, the water butt was full and streams were running down the paths here. This continued to about 5.00 and then began to peter out. It was a heavy downpour but not in the league of some we had when in our first year we stayed for the winter.

On New Years Eve 2007 we had a monsoon that lasted for 10 hours. To celebrate this date we drove down to Makrigialos at about 6.00, when it was starting, got thoroughly soaked running from the car to the Status Bar, and remained in that bar until about 4.30 in the morning. During the journey home I didn’t go any faster than about 5 miles an hour, carefully negotiating streams that had carried rocks all across the road along with about three car-killer boulders, all in a visibility that ended about five feet in front of the car. The cherry on the top was when we got into the house and Caroline complained about having wet feet. Water was coming in at the base of the bedroom wall and had flooded that room, the hall, and had created a little water feature over the step into the kitchen.

No leaks this year (so far), which I’m quite glad about since it also looks like it’s getting ready to piss down today.

Off to Ziros today to pay the water bill, and I have to muster up my best Greek to try and tell them that we’ve been overcharged for three years. Here, just like in Britain, they have a waste water charge. It comes to 15 Euros every two months for our waste water to go into the big village pipe and away. However, our waste water pipe just opens onto the messy ground opposite our house and isn’t actually attached to the village pipe. Should be fun. I’ll probably get nowhere.

I’ve passed page 300 of The Departure’s 446 pages. Peter Lavery has been quite vicious with his pencil again. I reckon that if there was ever such a thing as the perfect paragraph, he’s of the opinion that it’s something I’ve yet to write. However, I don’t resent this. I’ve learned huge amounts from this old-school editor with his University of Dublin classical education. And I do wonder how things will be for new writers now as editors like him are becoming more of a rarity.

Righto, no success with the water bill. Apparently you have to pay for the waste water pipe even if you’re not connected to it. It seems totally areshole to me, but nowhere near as bad as the £1000+ we have to pay in council tax in Britian each year for, effectively, getting our rubbish taken away.

Monday, September 06, 2010

More on the Ruin.

Work basically came to a halt during a very hot August and while we were waiting for the doors and windows arrived. Now the have:

Fairies in the Garden.

While here we met a couple, Chris Anna, who were here on holiday and invited them up to the house for a beer and a look around. At one point Chris wandered off to take some pictures. He sent this one by email. It seems we have fairies in the garden. Look towards the centre and top of the picture.


Wednesday 1st

A month ago Macmillan sent me the edited typescript of The Departure to go through. Precisely at that time the Greek tanker drivers went on strike to protest about their closed shop itself being closed down. The result of this was a petrol shortage and that typescript ending up in some DHL store room at this end. DHL, in its wisdom, then send it back to Britain, claiming that my address here didn’t exist, which is odd considering how they’ve brought stuff here before and how everything that comes via the post also arrives here. Macmillan then used airmail and at last this well-travelled typescript has arrived. So, no more work on Zero Point, no more word counts until I get this turned around.

Thursday 2nd

Okay, the laptop nearly took a short flight off the front terrace. After receiving the typescript the day before yesterday, we went down for our ‘Internet day’. During our short time on the Internet my laptop acquired an update or two. Fair enough. Yesterday I sat down to get on with some editing, but my laptop wanted to apply these updates. I kept putting it off and at one point applied the maximum delay of four hours. At 2 o’clock after I had worked through the editing for six hours, it suddenly decided to apply the updates without asking my permission. Word blinked off, everything blinked off, the updates were applied and the laptop then turned itself off then back on again. Now despite the autosave loading bar operating every ten minutes while I was working, everything I’d done in the previous six hours was gone. I lost the fucking lot. Nothing in autorecovery, nothing to be found anywhere. Somehow, the delayed updates prevented autosave/autorecovery from working. If a Microsoft salesman had been to hand he would have received a laptop suppository. I was fucking livid!

Eleven hours of editing today to try and catch up a bit. This got me to page 93 of 446, and now my neck is as stiff as granite.