Monday, January 26, 2015

Adorable Edibles, A Pearly Prize, and Poppy's I.D. in Disguise!


This, 
 is how I see the world sometimes: 
a charming, little village, that has slowly
  s                  p                  r                  e                 a                  d   
its way across this giant globe of ours, so that really, we are all neighbours, if you will, connected by one, long and winding road.  And, even though many of us  happen to live at opposite ends of that road, we feel that, if we did live next door to one another, we would surely be borrowing a cup of sugar at a moment's notice, (for that cake we're suddenly craving), picking up each other's kids from school, (when we're running late), going on power walks together, (huffing and puffing and finally stopping - at the nearest  donut shop), or promoting each other's junk at our annual garage sale, (then cry into our wine, panicked, that we just sold our treasures for a pittance!) - ah, yes, if we lived nearby.
 

So, surely, you can understand that, when a lovely parcel leaves a friend's home, and travels all the way across the planet, to finally arrive at my home, here, in the hilly, Cretan countryside, it is, at least for me, a most wonderful thing! 

 

Prince Richard, I take it, thinks otherwise.


It feels very special to know that, even though I have never actually met my friend in person, nor have I ever spoken to her, for that matter, the contents of that parcel, two of her very own culinary creations, came from her home, where they were so carefully wrapped, packed, and addressed, in preparation for their many airplane rides, to mine, in the faraway land, in the small world.  From her kitchen, to my table, that parcel of seasonal treats, represents a 'taste' of her presence, in my own residence, as if she brought them here, herself! 


This is my sweet and pretty friend, Doreen, hostess at House Honeys, with whom I was supposed to be exchanging Christmas cards. Little did I know, that she had contacted Kris, (as in 'Kringle'), and sweet talked him, (literally!), into the following scheme:


 


Yes, dear readers, Doreen got Santa to deliver her world renowned Chocolate Dipped Walnut Biscotti and gourmet worthy Jalapeño Pepper Jelly, a dynamic duo of delicious, sweet and savoury goodness, all the way to Greece! And that's where this story turns sour, before it once again, gets sweet. You see, the parcel took 12 days to reach our designated post office, located in the next village over, which is normal for Christmas correspondence. What isn't normal, but rather completely unacceptable, is that it sat there, for another 33 days due to a case of 'mistaken identity'!


According to them, they could not 'find' me, after 'searching' for weeks, because of a discrepancy regarding my last name. I use both my husband's last name, and my maiden name, since Greece allows the two, but because my Greek I.D. is in my maiden name, and I had given Doreen my husband's name, things didn't add up. I was told that they  were ready to throw out (!) the parcel, if it weren't for a fellow villager, who recognized my husband's name on it, while there one day. He contacted my husband immediately, who called me right away, and that's when I instantly knew it was Doreen's parcel, which was M.I.A.! The thing is, they didn't even bother to come to our village at all, and I can prove it, since, if they had, they would have left a notice in our mailbox, located in the square, (which, by the way, has both last names on it),  informing me to pick it up. In addition, it is customary for postmen to leave parcels at the main cafe, in which case, everyone would have confirmed my existence!!




This pretty, pearly necklace, a giveaway I won at Art Decoration and Crafting, authored by my talented Athenian friend, Christina Makri, had a similar fate. It was lingering in limbo land for exactly one week, when I went to pick up both parcels, a few days ago. I found them sitting together on an old chair, looking very lost, poor things. What an adventure they'd had on the island of labyrinths and lazy mailmen! 

What about you? Have any of your letters or parcels
left their departure point, only to disappear, then
reappear, before reaching their final destination?
Do tell!

Doreen's cute envelope

 Thank You,
Doreen and Christina!
I'm so sorry for all the drama,
but after all, this is Greece, 
the birthplace of the arts,
and the land of odysseys!

 Before I go,
A big welcome to
 my new followers!
Thank you all for visiting!
 Wishing you a happy week!

xo
Poppy

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Strawberry Snow Cake: Bake for Expat Ache!


Hello Everyone, 

Before we dig into the decadent delight above, I'd like to thank you all so much for your sweet comments on my previous post. Sharing, whether it's happy news, a delicious meal, or one's precious time, is so gratifying, isn't it? Today, I'd like to share my Strawberry Snow Cake with you, as promised. Won't you stay for tea?


 A collection of Christmas crockery was scattered on the table, starting with a festive British teapot, (an adorable gift from Liberty, a few Christmases ago). Then, the cheery, red capped snowmen cups came down from the credenza, while their silver plated cousins, who travelled all the way from Canada, kept the table that Liberty had set, looking neat.



This recent, Cretan, snowy scene above, along with my memories of Toronto snowfalls, long ago, below, were the two inspirations for this cake, since the first was completely unexpected, but a pleasant surprise, especially for me, who was feeling a little nostalgic for the whimsy of those crisp, Canadian winters of my girlhood, wind chill factor, and all!


Evening streetscapes, alight with the glow of snow, silent, but for the whisper of snowflakes in the sky, and serene, are like a dream, where powdery paths lead to intriguing venues, via crystal covered avenues.


Can you understand then, 
my craving for such a cake, 
whose middle layer,
like a mountain of
 sweet snowflakes, 
brought back memories
 of crazy carpet rides, 
on curvy, icy, schoolyard slides?

A beautiful Christmas card I received from my dearest Dewena
who always seems to know what I'm feeling, even from so far away.

 Oh, my snow. I miss it so.  


And that, mes amis,
 is the story of my snowy sweet, 
a red and white, Canuck tied treat,
 a cool concoction of whipping cream,
 and jam from jewel-like strawberries.

 Inspired by different snowfalls:
one, recent and surprising, 
and many, relived in my memory,
it was then aptly named by Liberty!
 Otherwise, it is more widely known 
as the very famous Victoria Sponge,
 a British classic, whose recipe
 you can find right here, quite readily.

Thanks for joining me for tea. 
You're always such great company!



Wishing you a
  fun-filled weekend!
Thanks for visiting!
xo
Tweak It Tuesday, Tuesdays at Our Home, Roses of Inspiration, 
Tea Time Tuesday, Amaze Me Monday, Inspire Me Monday, 
The Art of Home-Making Mondays, Saturday Sparks,

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Holiday Highlights and Shades of White

A restored mansion in Rethymno, Crete, illustrates the city's fusion of Turkish and Venetian styles of architecture.


Hello Everyone!
 Hope 2015 has greeted you with lots of new energy
 and exciting creativity. It's been a while since I last 
posted, having spent all of my time with Liberty, 

A pair of potted olive trees mark the entrance of this villa in Rethymno's old town.

as we wandered around the island, visiting our favourite
 towns for a fix of Crete's beautiful architecture,
 bustling cobblestone streets, and charming bistros.

 
Above, original tiles, vintage accessories, and playful
 chairs furnish this eatery in Rethymno's old town,
radiating a wonderfully warm welcome to passers-by.

     A stone staircase leads to the remains of an ancient Greek temple, 
and the church of Agios Ioasaf,  in Agios Thomas, Crete.



But we also craved peace and quiet and prayer, and so,
 we found ourselves in the village of Agios Thomas, 

Icons, candelabras, and crosses inside the church of Agios Ioasaf, Agios Thomas, Crete.

where we visited several of the forty churches that are said
 to exist in the village, some of which are carved from rock
  formations, like Agios Ioasaf, above, and the tiny one below.



On many occasions, we were accompanied by local inhabitants 
 of the furry kind. In this case, two cute canines happily
 posed for pics, before we went our separate ways.


Liberty and her Prince. See the snow?

On the other hand, P.R. and Liberty (the love of his life),
were inseparable, and the spoiled royal never missed a 
photo op to prove to the world that he is still her man!

 

And speaking of proof, it's in these pics! As unbelievable as it may seem, it snowed - heavily, and many of us, (including yours truly 
and family), were confined to our homes for days.


 That's when Liberty and I baked up our 'snow cake', to celebrate Crete's white Christmas, which was quite magical for this 
Canadian expat. I'll be serving it in my next post, 
and I hope you'll drop by to share it with me.



Until then, thanks so much for visiting!
Wishing you a warm and cozy week!

xo
Poppy

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Cookies, Cakes, and Caves: A New Year Adventure


Happy New Year, Everyone!
 May it be joyful and fun and filled
 with good health and prosperity!


Liberty arrived a few days before Christmas, and although I had
  already decorated the house, she trimmed the tree. Isn't it pretty?


We baked our traditional, painted cutouts, which we've been
doing for over 20 years. Libby is the artist around here!


The cookies are made with orange zest, and every time we
open the tin, a lovely, sweet fragrance floats into the air.

The village of Agios (St.) Thomas, where several Byzantine churches attract tourists  throughout the year.

Outside, the air is crisp and cool, and even though it's been 
raining for 3 days straight, we've managed to take a few drives
 to favourite, nearby haunts, seeking a little adventure. 


In the village of Agios (St.) Thomas, we hiked up a hilltop, 
where ancient Roman tombs silently claim the land. 


Wandering into the small, damp caves, we
 were sheltered from the sudden downpour, 


as we gazed in silence, at the most
 beautiful views, across the valley, below.


Back home, we got busy preparing for several gatherings,


adding some scrumptious savouries to the many array 
of sweets, and decided to bake a tasty tiropita (cheese pie),


which, in turn, was accompanied by lively conversation, 
and good cheer, at a Christmas Tea Liberty and I hosted
last week, for the ladies of the Philanthropic Society.



To ring in the new year, we baked our traditional Vasilopita, or New Year's Eve cake, named after St. Basil, who is associated with Santa Claus in the Greek culture. At the stroke of midnight, after many hugs and kisses and well wishes, the Vasilopita is served. This delicious lemon cake contains a hidden coin, and before each piece is cut, a name is called out. Whoever finds the coin in their piece is said to have good luck for the new year. The first piece is always reserved in remembrance of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Thanks for visiting!

xoxo
Poppy


Sharing at:

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