I don’t think I mentioned it in previous posts, but for the last month our entire house was covered in scaffolding which, in turn, was covered in a shading netting. We had been cocooned. The exterior plasterwork was being repaired, stones regrouted, marble reconditioned, metalwork patched and wooden shutters and doors fixed and painted. It made for a lot of fine dust. A Lot. And it din’t all stay outside.
It also meant that air conditioning units were removed from the walls and windows were to be kept shut during the day when work is going on. All of this happened right in the middle of a heat wave here in Athens. Officially, a heat wave is defined as sustained daytime temperatures over 35 degrees C (95 degrees F). As a result, we’ve been existing in hot, dusty (and sometimes smelly) conditions with as many fans going as possible. Any opportunity to get out of town (in air conditioned splendor) was taken. In further attempts to stay cool, we’ve eaten up my reserves of sorbet I stockpiled last month. All gone…
Needless to say, these conditions hindered any prolonged cooking sessions in the kitchen. You might have noticed the dearth of food related posts this past month – concentrating instead on markets, bridges and doors.
On one of those trips away (in Heraklion, Crete) we had a fantastic and unusual salad with fresh summer greens, shredded red cabbage, apaki (a particular Cretan vinegar and smoke crured pork), pistachios and candied hibiscus blossoms in a balsamic vinaigrette. In anticipation of the time when construction ends, I’ll see if I can recreate it. I even have a hibiscus in the garden and have been reading up on flower crystallising processes. It’s a start.
But mostly this past month, I was busy acquiring a few new additions for the kitchen. The first were quirky ceramic mugs from a workshop in Napflio. The potter has won a number of national awards for her work. There are little bowls and plates to match the styles.
I also got a beautiful ceramic pomegranate for my fledgeling pomegranate collection (now that I have more than three).
And…next time we are in Nafplio, I’ve earmarked these fabulous ceramic candle holders. Should have bought them then and there…
Next, a departing friend (who was going back home to the US) has given me three sacks of real grain craft beer kits from HomeBrewtique. The instructions look a little daunting, but I might give it a go.
Lastly, we were gifted with an old-fashioned coffee pot – a Neapolitan coffee maker – to test. It is slow and a bit fiddly, particularly when flipping, but it makes incredibly smooth coffee without a hint of bitterness.
And, there are these fishy coasters, purchased just because…
All construction eventually does come to an end. (I was saying this to myself quite frequently in the last throes of restoration.) Thankfully, the shroud and three-storey scaffolding is scheduled to come down – soon. Air conditioning is reconnected. The rubble filled skips are gone. The hard-hatted workmen wielding sanders, welders, hammers, scrapers and paint brushes have long dispersed. Cleaning has commensed. Back to cooking soon.