Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I'm No Spring Chicken


Hello all,
 Happy Spring!


On Sunday, we celebrated my birthday, dining
 al fresco in this gorgeous landscape, just a
 10 minute drive from our village. 


While daisies and buttercups garnished the fields below, 

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we had a scrumptious lunch on the patio 


of this beautifully rustic establishment,
 high, in the hilly Cretan countryside.

 

Before leaving, a prayer at the inn's tiny chapel, 
completed our visit to this pretty, pastoral place.



Once home, Liberty and I immediately changed into
 more sporty clothing, then departed on our daily walk, 
hoping to undo some of the damage done at the tavern.


Now, my daughter is twenty something and in great shape. 
And, although she can easily finish our route in half the time,
 she is happy to stroll at my pace, simply to keep me company.


 After all, I'm no spring chicken, 


just a loving, mother hen!

Thanks for visiting!
xoxo
Poppy

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Women's Day Tea in the Village


Hello everyone, as you all know, last Wednesday was International Women's Day, and as a member of the Ladies' Philanthropic Society of our village, I suggested that we host a tea party to celebrate women all over the world. Firstly, I wanted the ladies of the village to feel special, so I proposed that invitations be created and hand delivered. Two of our artistic members, Kristy, and her mother, Sonia, created the pretty design, above. Isn't it adorable? 

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Next, we needed a venue. The obvious choice was the village schoolhouse. It has not been in operation as an educational facility for a while, but instead, is used for the various cultural activities that take place throughout the year, as well as being available to the children to play table tennis, a variety of board games or visit its little library.

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Expecting about 60 guests, we closed off  part of the space to make for a cozier atmosphere. The floor is grey pebble mosaic, the walls are white stucco, the ceiling a brown wood panel and there is no heating. Obviously, it is not your typical, ornate tearoom,


but I  knew the heavy, folding doors, covered in a beautiful, olive green patina would make the room feel warm and inviting (along with space heaters). I asked our members to bring as many of their teacups and saucers from home to add personal charm to compensate for the paper tablecloths and plastic garden chairs. A gorgeous bouquet of anemones was purchased and then divided into  posies that were placed on the tables. 

 

Magnets in flower and heart motifs - a gift for each guest, decorated each place setting. Handmade, clay candles dotted by cute ladybugs gave the room a fresh, spring-like feel and a soft, shimmery glow. A very heartfelt thank you to our talented and generous member, Eleni, who provided the magnets and crafted the candles!



When I asked our members to each make something sweet or savoury for the occasion, I had no idea that our guests would do the same! But, Cretans are known for their hospitality and I should have realized that our guests would also have wanted to contribute to our assortment of scrumptious treats! Don't they look delicious?



From a wide variety of traditional, sweet and savoury Cretan pites (pies) and koulourakia (biscotti), to loukoumades (pastries made of deep fried dough soaked in a syrup of honey and cinnamon and sprinkled with sesame seeds), and rich, decadent cakes (my chocolate/orange gateau, for example), there was something for everyone, including much Lenten fare for those who were fasting.


While the ladies sipped their tea and nibbled their goodies, it was time for our president to give a short speech about the goals and efforts of the Ladies' Philanthropic Society, and its dedication to helping the sick, the poor, and those less fortunate. She pointed out that we meet at a different member's home once a month, which gives us a chance to socialize over coffee and discuss our agenda, ultimately deciding on where our donations will go to for that month. In closing, she thanked each lady for attending and reminded us that, as women, we share the spirit of sisterhood and hoped that we could work together to make the world a better place.


I, for one, have so enjoyed working closely and cooperatively with my fellow members, who have since become wonderful friends, upon my return to the island. After a little convincing, (re: shopping, baking, crafting, setting up and cleaning!), I am very grateful that my suggestion to have this Women's Day Tea in our beautiful village was accepted with such enthusiasm by everyone in our group, who all worked very hard to make it such a sweet gathering of female fun; I will savour the memory forever!


 How did you celebrate Women's Day? 

Thanks for visiting!
xoxo
Poppy

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Narcissus and Anemone Amore


An artsy version of my first bouquet of narcissus
 and anemones, this year, allows me to forever
 preserve their delicate beauty and cheery character.


 Finding the narcissus among the masses of buttercups that have promptly popped up all over the island was no easy feat!

 

But, thanks to a fruity/floral fusion, their fragrance draws you 
to them, so that no matter how boldly the buttercups beam, 
 it is only the tiny, white narcissus that are seen.




You'll find more narcissus and anemone amore here and here.
What early spring flowers have stolen your heart?

Thanks so much for visiting 
and have a lovely week!

xoxo
Poppy

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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Cotton Candy Coloured Bling



Hello everyone! Last week, Liberty and I took a different route on our daily afternoon walk after spotting this beautiful almond tree in the distance. After a giddy decent downhill, we soon were standing before it. Stopping to take a photo, I cannot express to you how peaceful I felt, the cool breeze brushing my hair back, to focus on the serene scene before me: a pure, pastoral paradise 


A wide variety of fruit bearing trees, among them, cherry, peach, plum, pear, walnut and chestnut, each taking turns to be in the limelight, thrive in the area. But presently, it is the soft and delicate beauty of the almond blossom that captures everyone's attention, just as this puff of pink petals did ours! It is the reason we detoured from our usual path and well worth the challenging climb uphill, back towards the village,    


where we were welcomed by fluffy, fragrant, vanilla flowers


belonging to one of many almond trees that 
decorate the village skies at this time of year.

 

This branch, part of a bouquet that sits on my
  kitchen window sill, is bursting with new buds,


   and from a bird's eye view, an abundance of blossoms.


But, aside from all the cotton candy coloured bling,
the frilly almond blossoms promise Spring,
my favourite season since my Autumn fling,
for the rays of light and hope that it will bring.


What's sprouting in your surroundings?


Thanks for visiting
and happy weekend!

xoxo

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Glazed Orange Scones


Ever since our return to Crete, Liberty and I have been cooking up some of our favourite recipes. I love getting up extra early to bake something hot and fresh from the oven, especially when it's windy and rainy and cold outside, which isn't often, here, so we jump at the opportunity when we can (not that we need one, of course!)
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While in Toronto, we lived across the street from a Panera Bread Bakery Cafe, and it wasn't that long before we were addicted to many of their wonderful sweets and one in particular: their orange scones.

A younger, prettier, slimmer version of me, with blue eyes, but never mind!

So, naturally, when Crete feels like Canada on those windy and rainy and cold days, we seriously CRAVE these citrus goodies! In fact, I've been dreaming about them from the time we got here. And let's be honest, when a girl's craving orange scones, oranges, (of which I have plenty) just don't do the trick, although they do do wonders for the scones named after them.

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With no Panera Bread on the island, (or in the whole of Europe, for that matter), I still needed access to their scones, so I googled 'copycat Panera Bread orange scones recipe'. I clicked onto the first result that came up, a blog called My Baking Addiction. After reading the recipe, the comments/reviews, and customizing it, I quickly got to work.

 

 

Ingredients:


For the Scones

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • zest of two medium oranges
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (I used 2% Greek yoghurt)*
  • 1 large egg

For the Glaze


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter; melted (I used 1 tbsp)*
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar; sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice 
  • (I also added 1/2 tsp orange zest)* 

     

    Directions:


  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine sugar and orange zest; mix with your fingertips until the sugar is moistened and fragrant. Add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix until combined.
  3. Grate butter into flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater; use your fingers to work in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the sour cream and egg until smooth.
  5. Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until large dough clumps form. Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. The dough will be sticky first, but as you press, the dough will come together.
  6. Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7-inch circle about 3/4-inch thick. Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles; place on prepared baking sheet, about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and prepare the glaze.
  7. In a medium bowl, prepare the glaze by mixing together the melted butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and orange juice. Whisk until smooth. Dip the top of the scones into the glaze and allow the glaze to harden. At this point, you can leave them as is or go for the double dip. 
  8. (I halved the ingredients for the glaze, as I found them sweet enough).*

Notes:

  • Scones store well in an airtight container for up to two days.
*My alterations


While they were baking, Liberty was pleasantly awakened by their appetizing buttery/orange-y aroma, and soon she was floating down the staircase, in a dreamlike state. She couldn't believe that I had successfully replicated our favourite scones  These, my friends, are even BETTER than the product they were inspired by. Please try them; you will not be disappointed. What are you baking these days?


Thanks for visiting
and happy weekend!

xoxo
Poppy 


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