Friday, November 28, 2014

Greek Island Cooking

A month ago, in a post called A Picture Worth a Thousand Words, I wrote about working through my collection of 35,000+ images and videos in an effort to cull them down to a more useable number. Thankfully, that process is now done (more or less), and having reduced the number of files down to a manageable(?) 21,000 or so, I am now looking at ways to use some of those photographs and video clips.

Photographic eBooks
In an attempt to make use of a thousand or so photographs, I have started working on a series of ten eBooks utilising images from ten cities or countries. These include New York City, Paris, London, Tucson, and Savannah. The Greek island, Ikaria, and the South-East Asian country, Cambodia. In addition, I am planning photographic eBooks for the Australian cities; Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne. 

Whew! I have got my work cut out for me, I know, but it is either that, or stop taking photographs completely. The eBooks will eventually become available via iTunes for a very nominal fee. 

Cooking Videos
I have been making short videos and posting them to my YouTube Channel for a number of years. In the past couple of days I have made two more videos for my Irene’s Kitchen series. Irene Gevezes, my sister, has been living on the Aegean Island of Ikaria since the mid-1970s, and over the years she has become a formidable cook (among her many other talents and skills). The island has gained a reputation over the past ten years or so as one of just five of the world’s Blue Zones, areas of the world where people live measurably longer lives than most of the world’s population. 

In the two videos, Irene prepares Mayirio and Soufiko, two traditional Greek island dishes that should especially please all vegetarians. Check them out and give them a try.

The first dish is for Mayirio

Mayirio is a mixed vegetable stew containing pretty much any vegetables you care to include. As Irene says in the video, traditionally the main ingredient is string beans, but she also added carrots, zucchini, egg plants/aubergine, spring onions and green peppers.

Irene prefers to use fresh tomatoes in her cooking rather than tomato purée, but had to use purée since she only had one tomato to add to this recipe. Irene also prefers to use coarse salt in her cooking, as she does here, but regular cooking salt can be substituted.

As always, Irene never measures the quantity of her ingredients precisely. Years of cooking for a large family has given her the experience to know the quantity to include in any particular meal she prepares. Having said that, as prepared by Irene in this video, there was more than enough Mayirio to feed four people. Coupled with other side dishes, the quantity prepared would have also been enough for up to six people.

Ingredients:
——————————
3 Carrots
1 Large Zucchini
3 Aubergine/Egg Plant
6 Green Peppers
1 kg String Beans
Spring Onions
2 tomatoes or tomato purée

Condiments
——————————
3-4 Cloves Garlic
1 cup of water
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
turmeric
tomato paste/purée

Method
——————————
Please watch the video to see Irene demonstrate and discuss the cooking process.

--o0o--

In this second video Irene prepares Soufiko.

Ingredients
—————————— 
3-4 Cloves Garlic (or to taste)
2-3 Onions
3-4 Green Peppers/Capsicums
2 Aubergine/Egg Plant
1 Zucchini
2-3 Potatoes
Tomatoes or Tomato Puree
Condiments to taste
Olive Oil (for frying)
1/2 cup water 

Method
—————————— 
Please watch the video to see Irene demonstrate and discuss the cooking process.


NOTE: Irene cooks on an electric stove. If you are cooking with gas, adjust your heat settings to suit. At the very least, heed Irene’s warning when she says that the dish is prone to sticking and burning if the heat is too high. Hence her warning to keep a close eye on the pot during the cooking process.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Air New Zealand ‘Middle Earth’ Video Goes Viral

Screen grab from the Air NZ safety video

If you have not seen it yet, here is the Air New Zealand in-flight safety video that is going viral right across the internet and social networks everywhere. Marketing itself as the 'official' airline of Middle-earth, Air New Zealand has gone all out to celebrate the third and final film in The Hobbit Trilogy - The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

The safety video includes Elijah Wood and Sir Peter Jackson as well as several Air NZ flight crew members and cameo appearances by by Sylvester McCoy, Dean O’Gorman and Weta Workshop co-founder Sir Richard Taylor.

Air New Zealand are promoting the film, directed by Taika Waititi as, "The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made." Hyperbole, certainly, but a lot of fun just the same. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

36 Hours in Athens

Changing the guard, Greek Parliament Building
The New York Times, has been running a regular series of travel columns under the heading ‘36 Hours In…location name’, the latest of which is ’36 Hours In Athens’.

Having spent some time in Athens recently, I read the column with great interest, and I am happy to confirm that not only is the city slowly emerging from years of economic decline, but so too is the rest of the country.

As for the New York Times’ suggestions, they cover a good range of experiences, given that they are trying to squeeze a reasonable number of locations and activities into 36 hours. If I was going to add anything, I would suggest that while you are visiting the area around Monastiraki, you walk up to Syntagma Square and watch the changing of the guard in front of the Greek Parliament building.

The wonderful Benaki Museum is also nearby, and well worth a visit, but then the more you move away from the suggested itinerary and locations contained in the New York Times article, the more you might as well put together your own ’36 Hours in Athens’schedule.

Here is a short video that accompanies the New York Times article:



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