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Paros Shepherd Newsletter Number Fourteen

 

Published 17 August 03                                                                       

Yassou! 

 
July has come and gone, leaving us with good memories of many interesting and friendly guests as well as great summer weather.  Of course, the weather in July is always good, so I guess that leaves us totally appreciative of good times with our guests.  I think the hardest part of this business is having to say "goodbye" after getting to know people, enjoying their varied conversations plus watching them have a good time.  Happily, we had "repeat" guests who fell in love with Paros while visiting last year and chose to return to us again!   That makes our jobs quite rewarding!
 
July started off slow, the word around town was that tourism was going to be down this year, maybe even dangerously so.  Many hotel owners were worried about making their bank payments.  Which is a worry they have every year.  However, the port seems as busy to me with the usual congestion.  The restaurants are full of happy people, the super markets are stuffed with eager shoppers, so...it seems like business is really good and holding steady.  We certainly have no complaints as our bookings are up from last year.  July is usually somewhat slower than August...but we are happy.
 
This is a time of outdoor concerts, art shows, outside cinema viewing; in fact, most all we do is out of doors.  A new museum has been built near us although we have yet to visit it.  We did read in the Paros Life (our local magazine for expats--link is below) that it houses some old antiques, and is a sort of folk museum costing only 3€.  I hope to go see it before the end of summer.
 
I am pleased to report that our guests are finding the beach near us quite enjoyable.  This beach is called Agia Irini and is in a large cove, so that it actually is two beaches separated by a small headland that you can easily walk across to get from one to the other.  What is so nice about these beaches is that one is always perfect.  You see, here we get a lot of wind, so if the wind is from the north, you swim at the north beach, and if it is from the south, then you swim at the south beach.  Each beach has a taverna, however the one on the south beach did  not open this year.  It is greatly missed, as the owner's wife was an excellent cook and known all over Paros for her tasty meals. 
 
There is a camping ground on the south side, that has it's own taverna.  I just discovered it this year.  You are welcome to come in even though you are not staying at the campground,  It is very pretty and cool as it is located in the middle of an olive grove.  If you do not want to eat there, you can still take away ice cream, beers and other snacks.
 
I am happy to say, the other taverna on the north side has been upgraded.  Nikos, the owner has added quite a lot of lounge chairs and umbrellas, a small sitting/eating area next to the sand, while the taverna itself is situated a little further back.  We usually sit at the beachside tables and have an ouzo and play cards when finished swimming.  A great place to watch the evening sunset and eat his local "catch of the day" and speciality: grilled octopus!  Don't be put off, it is delicious and smells heavenly.  It truly tastes delicious.
 
We continued to have a few dinners out on our aloni with guests, also a few "dessert" evenings in the breezeway under the arches.  I find that our huge amphora with pretty ivy geraniums growing from it is a place everyone wants their pictures taken!  In case you don't know what an amphora is:  it is a tall jar with a narrow neck and base and two handles, used by the ancient Greek and Romans--usually held wine or olive oil.  They also find them in the sea from shipwrecks.  The one we have is from the local nursery!!!!  (It is rare and illegal to have real ones; as they are considered property of museums.)  Also, the breezeway is popular at sunset time for photos as you get the setting sun going into the sea as a background! (plus a pretty Greek church which belongs to the house below us).
 
Here is a picture of our amphora early in the season (flowers quite small) AND early in the morning!  I got camera crazy and took lots of pictures before the sun was doing it's job properly.  Also, the paint job was NOT my idea.  I like them natural clay, but the owners had previously painted it, so..........but you get the idea.  They do make wonderful pots for flowers, but in many gardens they lay on their sides.  We cannot figure out why they do this, except maybe to "feel" you just "found" one!  If you did, they more than likely WOULD be laying on their sides, but also cracked and in pieces!

 
 
I will share another recipe, since I have discovered many of those who actually read this newsletter, are actually interested in pursuing Greek menus.  This recipe is one of my favourites, in fact, I am making it this Wednesday for my "video" club sisters!  It transports well - even on the back of my scooter!  I serve mine with rice, a green salad and garlic bread. 
 
Soutzoukakia (translated - Minced Meat Rissoles, Smyrna Style)
Feeds 4 - 5
 
2 slices bread, soaked in water
1/2 teacup olive oil (yes, it is a lot, and is about 1/4 cup)
2 cloves garlic
4 medium sized tomatoes (fully ripe and squishy is good!) (or 1 can of cut up tomatoes)
2 T. butter
1 egg, beaten
1/2 kilo minced meat (1 pound)
1/2 teacup wine (about 1/4 cup)
salt - pepper
cumin
a pinch of sugar
 
NOTE:  you can use less or more of oil, wine, tomatoes, and as much cumin as you like!  This recipe is an add and subtract kind of recipe...you just can't go wrong.
 
To make meatballs:
Squeeze excess moisture from the soaked bread.
Place it in a bowl and add the cumin, the egg, some olive oil, the minced meat, salt and pepper.
Mix well by hand and make about 20 cylindrically shaped meatballs.  (bullet shape) 
In a frying pan, heat the oil until very hot and fry the "soutzoukakia".
 
Prepare the tomato sauce as follows:
Empty the tomatoes into a pot and add the butter, the salt, the pepper, a bit of sugar and the wine.  Cook for about half an hour.
Put the "souzoukakia" into the pot with the sauce and cook over a low fire for a further 15 minutes.  Serve hot.
 
If you make them ahead, refrigerate them, and reheat before serving.
 
From The Best Traditional Recipes of Greek Cooking
 
Enjoy!
Karin
 
From Michael:
 
    The August edition of Paros Life has information about a dozen different Paros Museums.  Take a look at http://paroslife.com/
 
    We have made a few minor changes--improvements?--in our web site.  The biggest is to insert Google's AdSense.  This is a great new program to bring targeted advertising to low volume web sites such as ours.  That is the ads automatically relate to the subject matter of the page. 
 
    Thank you for your support.

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