it was my name day and I was planning a relaxed, unambitious post about the wonderful things an English couple who live in Ikaria do with pebbles from the beach, when all of a sudden the famous Jamie Oliver, after his visit to the Chiapas last month, landed on the island to look into our cooking and shoot scenes for his next show!!! I am still and always a bad cook (my only improvement has been towards safety but unfortunately not towards taste) so don’t be afraid, I am not going to go crazy about recipes. I do think, however, that the island has a wealth of natural, healthy foods and natural and healthy ways of cooking. But I am not going to go crazy about that either. This was planned to be a relaxed, unambitious post, and a relaxed, unambitious post it is going to be. I’ll just push Nik and Stef’s stones a bit to the side and make room for a few pictures of Ikarian food from Jamie Oliver’s instagram, plus a few shots with heavier stuff taken in Ikarian restaurants by adamansel52, a ‘food tourist’ who toured the island last month. Move your mouse over the photos to read the descriptions. Scroll down to find a surprise. Nothing to do with food! It’s just another Ikarian summer drawing near!!!
in case you don’t know me, I am Nana (to agrimi),co-author in Eleni’s blog
who though I have a blog of my own, chose to write and post this entry here. The reason is that lately the views of our blogs took off very suddenly! This blog in particular has received several hundred views over the last days!
What was the matter?
The last time we were that popular was in Minoan times when we recorded the fall of Icarus at the shores of the island.
Centuries after that we made a good score when we covered the declaration of independence of Ikaria as a communist state, making us another pocket of resistance to capitalism between Cuba and North Korea.
Asking around we found out that the reason of our sudden recent popularity was the issuing of this seven page article by Dan Buettner in the prestigious NY Times:
Therefore it seems that the dream of flight and freedom and the dream of a communist egalitarian society both fade against the biggest dream of all:
THE DREAM OF LONGEVITY
which perhaps (if aging wasn’t involved) the next best thing to
But why does our island generate so many dreams?
I will tell you my opinion. I am an accountant and therefore, unfortunately sometimes I am on the practical side of things. The reason is nostalgia. The rough mysterious landscape (to the extent that outsiders are familiar with it) and our way of life (to the extent that outsiders are familiar with it) generates a nostalgia, a homesickness for old values, old raw ways, direct approaches to life, supposedly carefree and happy, forever lost in urbanization and globalization.
That was all I had to say.
We actually spend our evenings cracking almond shells. We have picked them from Eleni’s famous tree in the intro picture above. We sprayed the nuts with salt water, we roasted them and after they cooled off we stored them in glass jars. On these jars we have written:
Almonds of Longevity
«no» votes: 1
«don’know»: votes: 6
«a fool is a fool»: votes: 2
Great entry, stupid poll. But then again who knows? Maybe the answer is not so obvious for everybody. If you had put up an entry and a poll as commonplace as «In ecotourism lies the income», you would have many comments and votes.
But people who are on the net know very little about olive trees, the rain and fools!
Sunday September 28, 2008 – 04:03pm (EEST)
I like to collect olives. My boyfriend and I collected a lot in Ikaria last December. Great days and great nights too by the fireplace!
Sunday September 28, 2008 – 02:24pm (EDT)
I hope you come back this year too collect olives with us again.
Sunday September 28, 2008 – 09:59pm (EEST)
In principle I am very interested the olive, although, apart from consumption, all my knowledge is very distant.
But I am interested…
Are they really collected in December?? That seems very late. They don’t seem like Christmas things, like Satsumas do for instance.
I planted an olive close to the wall (1m) at my shared holiday house in France.
Am I a fool? Will the house fall down?? Can you move an olive tree?
How did Thales know what he knew dendrosophically speaking? He knew that water was important? Is it all-important?
Wednesday October 1, 2008 – 11:18pm (CEST)
ok, we have a full house now!
– The olive crop in the valleys and from terraces on hills is collected December the latest. The olive crop in the plains is collected sooner.
– Water is all important. The correct balance of water, that is.
– Olive trees are easy to transplant. You dig a big hole around the roots and then bring a crane to uproot the tree. It’s a nice tree, tamed and given to the humans by Athena the goddess herself. If the owners are hard working, the tree does whatever they want it to do. Even if you are not a hard worker, it is sufficiant that you talk to the tree every now and then.
(Did you follow the tradition and planted the tree when your son was born?)
– Who voted «no»???? A hawk of the stock market?
Friday October 3, 2008 – 03:56am (PDT)
There is also the sun.
«μέσα στον ήλιο αναγαλλιάζουν οι ελιές» = in the sun the olives rejoice
(The beautiful assonance of 4 «L»s in this verse by Kavadias is lost in the translation.)
Friday October 3, 2008 – 11:06pm (EEST)
I see in wikipedia
that there are some very long lived olives; they must be good at withstanding the hot and dry, as well as the frosty years. Also that they do best on poor rocky soils.
We planted ours as soon as we got the house. It’s not the mediterranean, but the soil is chalky. I may need to get a crane. And a beatiful tall straw hat.
Monday October 6, 2008 – 04:37pm (CEST)
After a few centuries people might call it: Simon’s Olive tree. The tree which the teller of tales planted and looked after. The tree under which he sat and told his tales. The tree that provided the oil for his salad and for the wheel of his eloquent tongue.
Monday October 6, 2008 – 12:37pm (PDT)
I voted ‘no’ not because I am a «hawk of the stock market» (:lol:), just a small business ordinary accountant. I voted no but because olive trees need A LOT OF WORK!
Tuesday October 7, 2008 – 09:19pm (EEST)
«…it is sufficiant that you talk to the tree every now and then. …»
I like that!
Wednesday May 13, 2009 – 01:26am (EEST)
That’s easy. The hard thing is to talk to the olive press factory man and stop him from polluting the rivers!!!!
Wednesday May 13, 2009 – 12:19pm (PDT)
There are vipers in Ikaria this summer.
Vipers are usually found in drier, stonier and sunnier islands. Some say it’s because we have had a mild winter and a fine hot summer. Others say that there as few vipers as always, but because of the heat during the day they go near the houses to enjoy the water, the shade etc. Maybe this is why we see them around at night. This is rare too. I didn’t know viper snakes could see at night. Nana associates the fact with the lack of wasps this summer. Besides garbage, yellow jacket wasps eat a lot of insects and spiders, she says. Without wasps around, the vipers have taken this task.
Nana is a chick 100 years back, 100 years ahead; I have to look after her -:lol
There are also the grapes.
Photo by SpirosK © All rights reserved.
Everybody is busy with the grapes actually. Others still collecting, others making their wine, others worrying about the wine –if the must is going to take a good turn. It was a very hot June and July and many grapes became like dry currants: sour and without juice, useless. But the ones in more elevated and shaded places survived. The wine of the year 2008 will be very strong like dynamite.
This is another thing people worry about. It’s hard to “make” a strong wine. It can “loose its way”. This what I hear (eavesdropping).
There is a mystic thing about the wine making process and women are sort of excluded from it. I am allowed to eavesdrop, though. Maybe it’s because I’m breastfeeding and I don’t have my period yet. Whatever…
We are leaving for Athens tomorrow. Nana wanted to vote (!..) I wanted to see Stavros (that was a figure of speech -in fact I wanted to be his slave for a while).
~also do some shopping for autumn…
So, we miss you again Eleni. We arrive on Ikaria as you leave (almost)….I so much wanted Rowan and Sideraki to meet – maybe one day they will! I hear we will be arriving to chaos, but never mind as all will be normal again before we go. We leave on the 22nd – I don’t suppose you will be back? xx
Monday September 10, 2007 – 11:16pm (BST)
«Nana is a chick 100 years back, 100 years ahead»
I like that! So she is the perfect contemporary *chick* χαχαχα!..
Tuesday September 11, 2007 – 02:37pm (EEST)
Ah Jude! What could I do? Stavros and Nana wanted it. Nana felt a strong urge to campaign for the ecogreens and Stavros got a short leave and begged me to be in Athens. We are slaves of each other.
Thursday September 13, 2007 – 04:18am (PDT)
I understand. Ikaria has made me a slave to herself and others and I am also pulled from time to time. When you go back there, Rowan has left a small token for Sideraki, it will find its way to him.
Sunday September 23, 2007 – 09:59pm (BST)
WHAT? Rowan left a token for Sideraki in Ikaria? I have to get back from Athens (and my escape from there to the Middle Ages 🙂 very soon!
Monday September 24, 2007 – 12:48pm (PDT)
SKILLET MEDLEY OF EGGPLANTS AND ZUCCHINI, IKARIAN STYLE-a soul warming country dish-—————————-
3 to 4 long thin eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/8 inch slices
1/2 cup olive oil
4 to 5 medium onions, peeled, halved and sliced
2 to 3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
3-4 plum tomatoes, peeled, cored, and sliced (with juice)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1. Douse the eggplant slices generously with salt and let them sit in a colander to drain for 30 minutes. Rinse them thoroughly afterward, drain and pat dry:
2. In a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil and add the onion slices. Stir to coat and soften, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the eggplant and zucchini to the skillet and stir gently to coat with oil. Add the tomatoes and stir. Season with garlic, salt and pepper. Cover the skillet, lowere heat to low, and let the vegetables cook slowly until they are soft and have almost fallen apart, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the cover, season with oregano, and cook the mixture down until pan juices have almost evaporated, another 10 to 12 minutes. Serve hot or cold.
1. No mumbo-jumbo! This genuine Ikarian dish was recorded by Diane Kochilas and published in her book «The Food and Wine of Greece -More than 250 Classic and Modern Dishes from the Mainland and Islands of Greece»,1990, St. Martin Press, New York. The author cites her source, a certain Argyro from Rahes Ikaria, who I assume, is the photographer Christos Malachias‘ wife.
2. Unfortunately we couldn’t have all the ingredients fresh out of an Ikarian garden as Diane suggests. Eggplants and zucchini we bought from the market at a rather high price because their season is past. We were able to find good natural tomatoes though, and Nana is always well provided with excellent olive oil from Crete.
3. The recipe worked! No big deal. It was easy -much easier now for me because I don’t smoke and don’t go absent-minded and talk about this and that and miss the right timing.
4. For a wine to go with Soufiko, Diane suggests an Ikarian muscat or ordinary Retsina. But we said that any good wine is good. I had half a glass of beer and it was fine.
5. We didn’t serve it with rice (pilaf) as the author says. It would be too vegetarian and we have hard-working men in the house. So Nana put half of the Soufiko in a pan and scrambled eggs in it. It was «Soufiko-Scrambled Eggs» and the boys loved it!
6. Bread is essential.bon appétit.
So the boys loved it? Soufiko with eggs was the only Soufiko I knew. We put slices of sausage or lard in it too.
Diane is a friend and Argyro is a relative. Your assumption about her was correct.
Oh yes… Bread is ESSENTIAL.
What’s for next week? What about a pie? What about pork with fennel? This is my favourite Ikarian dish. There is no fennel here now but you may find some in Athens.
Μμμμ… yum… Χοιρινό με Μάραθα : our own fricassée
Saturday November 11, 2006 – 10:20pm (EET)
Does Diane still run her Villa Thanassi? I met her a few years ago and had a lovely meal there – I have her books and the best Greek (some say only!) recipe I do is based on her spanakopitta!
Saturday November 11, 2006 – 11:43pm (GMT)
PS The Soufiko sounds wonderful. I am inspired to try this also. Will let you know how I get on, minus the sausage and lard – sorry Angele, I’m a veggie!
Saturday November 11, 2006 – 11:45pm (GMT)
Hi Jude! I’m happy that you were interested. But it has to be extra-extra good olive oil. All these Greek «ladero» (cooked w «ladi» =olivoil) dishes are based on this.
saucage slices and lard? bliah…
Pork with fennel is a good thing though. Yes it can be like a «fricassée» -the scientist here says…
Sunday November 12, 2006 – 03:50am (PST)
Basically this is a TEST to see how «create a poll» works
In order to do me the honour and vote, I don’t think you need to be «connected» to my blog.
If you have a Yahoo ID, it’s probable that you will be able to vote using only your Yahoo! nickname and password.
Also, you don’t have to be too serious in casting your votes. I’ll tell the Greek PM (who reads my blog) not to take any important desicions about Ikaria judging from the results of this poll. It’s all «off the record» and completely unofficial -just one more of Eleni’s endless tricks & teases…
So let’s see how it goes.
What should we grow on the terasses of Ikaria?
What should we grow on the terasses of Ikaria?
- thorny bushes/cactuses
- nothing -leave them alone and wild
- whatever -just take care that those ancient stonewalls stand in place
- How about STRAWBERRIES?
- Simon G
Sorry PM, I voted ‘flowers‘ – but now that I think about it, perhaps this may not be good for the ikarian economy. Just a whim, really.
Sunday May 28, 2006 – 07:53am (CEST)
no votes for marihuana? Come on now…
Sunday May 28, 2006 – 03:11pm (EEST)
I was tempted.. but the stone walls are tooooo important! They are a trademark of the island.
@AKK: We hiked a trail today from Pigi to Kampos, which Mihalis said you’re «clearing».. However, I must say that in places it was looking a wee bit .. shall we say.. over-natural 🙂
Sunday May 28, 2006 – 02:07pm (EDT)
so you hiked on a part of *the trail of the elves*
I left and the negociations with them were not concluded, hence, the *over-natural*. And to think that in other countries governments pay for this works. Oh, there are times I wish the Greek Pm didn’t read my blog like a comic book …
@Ψ have 2ice a good time in Ikaria ! ((-:I hate you:-))
Sunday May 28, 2006 – 12:43pm (PDT)
I voted for thorns ! Now the PM will be very confused. It was not a whim. I just love wildberries or blackberries or whatever they are called. I also like the «figues de barbarie» (frango-syka) the fruit of the cactus and I have a special (German made !) tool to collect, peel and eat them !
Monday May 29, 2006 – 11:45am (EEST)
They grow with big success in the mountain villages. They adapt so well that once planted, they go on growing wild. I should have told you on time so that you added it in the poll.
EVERYBODY LOVES STRAWBERRIES !
Saturday June 3, 2006 – 10:12pm (EEST)
Of course, I would have voted for them! R has been re-named Fraoula. It all started when she ate your stawberries AKK – she has them every day now!
Saturday June 3, 2006 – 11:11pm (BST)
- Simon G
That might have invalidated the whole survey now, adding strawberries in after we have all responded. You can’t just add strawberries! We might have voted for it! Now it makes it look like they are unpopular…
Then again if there are lots of snails, strawberries could be a ‘high-maintenance’ crop!
Monday June 5, 2006 – 01:11pm (CEST)
No no no … This was a test poll and thank you very much for taking part! Besides my friends, many others see it and I hope they can vote using just their Yahoo IDs.
Ah, by the way, I haven’t told you (you asked me and I didn’t answer in Flickr). I was planting potatoes this year !
I enjoyed it because they look so good (& orderly -this is my small vice) as young plants. Then I left and didn’t eat any. When I return, my good old neighbours will have kept a bagfull for me so that I can add up some weight again.
Monday June 5, 2006 – 05:03am (PDT)
-there’s been too many
-so shut up and dig now, dig, dig, dig
-there can’t be a better setting than this.
I may write about the vine sometime, though,
and break another rule because it’s thought
to be a man’s job.
I’ll think about it…
In case I don’t write, it’ll be up to you then. So think about this:
What’s wine ? Wine is (according to me)
«a liquid landscape in the sun»
(lights, cameras, set, shoot)
This is what Eleni says in full awareness of the consequences of the law.
Εγώ, ξέρεις, δεν είναι στα προτερήματά μου να είμαι καλοπροαίρετη, γλυκιά, συμπονετική και τα ρέστα. Θα το πω λοιπόν χύμα: μήπως κάποιοι είναι εντελώς τυφλοί (για να μη πω τίποτα χειρότερο) στην Ικαρία; Οι Δήμαρχοι π.χ., οι επιχειρηματίες π.χ. Δεν είμαι του άκρατου φιλελεύθερου καπιταλισμού κι όλα αυτά, αλλά μήπως τέλος πάντων κάποιος πρέπει να παρει κάποια πράγματα στα σοβαρά στο νησί σας; Τέτοιο βάθος, τόση ομορφιά… φτου γμτ
Αλλά τι μιλάω εγώ; Είμαι 2 βήματα από την Ακρόπολη και υπάρχει τόση ασχήμια. Τουλάχιστον όμως (όχι όλοι -κάποιοι) βγάζουμε φράγκα. Εκεί πέρα, κάνουν ότι μπορούν να χαλάσουν το νησί και πάλι φράγκα δεν βγάζουν.
Τα γράφω αυτά, γιατί νομίζω ότι ο τύπος που έφτιαξε αυτό το αμπέλι είναι ένας αληθινός ήρωας.
Που δεν γέμισε το χωράφι του με παλιοκατσίκια ή δεν το γέμισε με σκουπίδια, χαλασμένα αυτοκίνητα και μπάζα. Που τσακίζεται στη δουλειά και σίγουρα θα κάνει ωραίο κρασί.
Ουφ, τα είπα και ξαλάφρωσα. ‘Delete comment’, αν σου κάνει πρόβλημα ότι έγραψα.
Sunday April 2, 2006 – 02:17pm (EEST)
«a liquid landscape in the sun» in a glass?
Wow, you are a master advertiser !
Though if we believe Nana’s words, soon there will be very little to advertise. So ‘First we take the Acropolis, then we take Ikaria» ? or the other way round? Or we don’t «take» -just «give» …
What about a good example for starters?..
(I wish you worked with me in the paths. But I know, you are a ‘seer’; I’m the ‘digger». I could ask Nana, but she is very lightfooted and I will not be able to catch up with her and I’m afraid she will be bored. )
Monday April 3, 2006 – 01:05pm (EEST)
For me its a liquid landscape on the tongue…
Monday April 3, 2006 – 09:54am (PDT)
I like G. Karimalis description (he got it from somewhere else) «the grape is a child of the sun, but the wine is a child of the darkness«
Monday April 3, 2006 – 06:48pm (BST)
I salute your comments. Do you know the story of the donkey (a ‘sun’ animal or a dark animal? you say Doctor) who first pruned a wild vine? It ate the useless branches and by doing so it made it produce good grapes later?
Since then, the donkey is a sacred animal because in its ‘stupidity’ it always does the right thing (for us -I don’t know if it’s the right thing for the donkeys) -:lol
P.S. I love donkey heads
Monday April 3, 2006 – 12:28pm (PDT)