Update on progress


We were supposed to be moving in the house around the end of August but unfortunately this has to be postponed for a few more months.

The roof has been fitted but there are still a lot of other things to be done.

The economic crisis in Greece has shattered our dreams as the Greek government has cut down on salaries and pensions and rising taxes and imposing new ones, day by day.  Unfortunately, like the 90% of the Greeks, we are also facing some economic problems.  I don’t know if and when we will now finish the house as we don’t want to get another loan from the bank as the amount which was supposed to pay our monthly installments has already been ripped off by the government.  Our anxiety now is whether we will be able to repay the loan we have already got from the bank, so getting another loan is out of the question.

Even If we wanted to move in during 2011 now we will have to wait for the new year, as as soon as  we have the electricity connected within this year, we will have to pay the new property tax imposed, which is around 800 Euros.  So it’s not worth hurrying up, is it?

As a first step, we’ve decided to finish the ground floor only and only add whatever is necessary to live in.  The semi-basement and the top floor, where the bedrooms are will have to wait indefinitely.

A few days ago when we visited Nafplion we finally placed the order for the kitchen furniture, as well as the doors and windows.  These will be fitted around end of November or early December.

We are now trying to reduce the cost and starting from the kitchen furniture we have gone to a cheaper solution, by adding only what is necessary.  The part which is under the window was mostly for storage, so that will have to wait.

The microwave has been removed as a fitted microwave costs a lot and as I don’t use it often (but merely to reheat food), I prefer to add an extra cabinet for storage in its place.

I’ve also decided to reverse the colours and have more beige, to make it brighter.

Original kitchen plan

New kitchen plan

 They are still working on the tiles of the shower and the floors are almost ready.

The floors may look like wooden but they are made of granite.

Living room

Bedroom

Bedroom balcony

Side verandah

Shower

Enough of whining:)   We are still having great weather here in Greece, so we are grateful for that and are enjoying the beach as much as we can.

For the time being at least this is still free!!

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A roof over our head and please help me make up my mind!!


Everybody’s dream is to have a roof over their head and we have reached the stage where the roof is now being placed on our house.  Hopefully it will be ready by next week.

At this stage there are so many things we have to decide about and I am so confused!!

What colour to paint the exterior?  What colour the interior?

I think the exterior may not be so difficult, so let’s focus on the interior.

The photo above is the kitchen I have chosen from the show room and below is my kitchen space, a couple of months back.

According to the plan of our house, this is the sketch which has been prepared for us.  The colour is the same as above, as the picture below has been scanned from a low resolution print.

The colour of the floor is something like the picture below but instead of wood, it is a granite floor tiles and the walls will be something between beige and light yellow (buff).  See colours below.

A dining room table will be placed infront of the window and opposite the kitchen will be the living room, which are all in the same space.

I am not buying new living room furniture as the ones I now have, were bought a couple of years ago.  Their colour is dark chocolate brown, so I have to match them with the remaining house.


I have beige covers on the leather couches, which I may not use in the other house.

I can’t make up my mind if making the kitchen brown and beige will be too dark.  Shall I keep it like this or is it better to make it the opposite i.e. everything beige with brown counter tops, bearing in mind that the walls will be probably beige as well.

I found this colour chart, so what do you think?  Shall I paint the walls in the living room chocolate, beige and blue green?

What do you think?  Any suggestions are welcome.

 

Another trip to Assini and to the beach


A couple of days ago we visited Assini again.

The plumbing, heating & air, and electrical system as well as the outer layer of cement, inside and outside, have now finished.

Next week a layer of plastering (interior and exterior) will be added and the house will look like our neighbour’s.  The roof will also be placed, soon.

We also visited Assini last month but there wasn’t much to post as we had visited some local stores to chose bathtubs and shower units, kitchen furniture, doors and windows, floor tiles etc.

A wall between the two houses is now being built.

Remember this picture in May’s update?

Well, here is how it looks now.  This will become a second small closet in the bedroom.

The beach is only 2 km from the house, so after finishing what we had to do we went to Castraki beach to swim and have lunch before returning back to Athens.

Although it was partly cloudy, it was very hot and the sea temperature was perfect.  In fact it may have been one of the hottest throughout summer.  Although we were planning to swim more, D treaded on a sea urchine but we were quite fortunate as the spines did not go too deep and were easily removed.

(The picture is from the port of Nafplion)

So we now know that next time going there, we will wear our swimming flippers 🙂

We had lunch at the restaurant which is just above the beach.  We have eaten there many times and the food has not disappointed us yet.

The food was delicious but unfortunately as I am still on a diet, I avoided the fried potatoes, olives and feta!  I ate mpifteki (Greek burger) and Greek salad and D ate a pork chop.

Our next visit there will be around the end of August, which we will combine with a few days of holidays.

Sandwiched Sardines / Σαρδέλλες Σάντουϊτς Ψητές

Aside


We were sitting in one of the cafeterias of Nafplion enjoying our morning coffee when a fishing boat anchored just opposite us.

In no time people started gathering around it to buy freshly caught fish.

Απολαμβάναμε τον πρωινό καφέ μας σε μια από τις καφετέριες της παραλίας του Ναυπλίου, όταν έφτασε η τράτα και άραξε ακριβώς απέναντί μας.

Σε χρόνο ντε-τέ άρχισε να μαζεύεται ο κόσμος για να αγοράσει φρέσκα ψάρια.

The catch of the day was xifias – sword fish (Xiphias gladius),  sardelles – big sardines or pilchards -(Sardina pilchardus) with only 5 Euros a kilo, barbounia – mullets, koutsomoures  (Mullus surmuletus – a kind of goat fish of the mullet family), lithrinia (pandora – Pagellus erythrinus) etc.

Η ψαριά της ημέρας ήταν ένα ξιφίας, σαρδέλλες μεγαλούτσικες με 5 Ευρώ το κιλό, κουτσομούρος, λιθρίνια κ.ά.

Unfortunately I could’t buy any and bring it back to Athens but last week I bought some sardines from the farmers’ market, which were much smaller though.

Δυστυχώς δεν μπορούσα να αγοράσω και να τα φέρω στην Αθήνα, αλλά προχθές στη λαϊκή βρήκα σαρδέλλα η οποία όμως ήταν αρκετά πιό μικρή.

Sardines are rich in Omega 3 fats which are considered to be very healthy for the heart.

Τα ωμέγα-3 λιπαρά οξέα που προέρχονται από τα λιπαρά ψάρια (σαρδέλλες, γαύρος, σκουμπρί, τσιπούρα, ρέγκα, σολομός) είναι λίπος ευεργετικό για την καρδιά

This time of the year Sardines are in abundance and are affordable and a popular choice everything being so expensive.

This dish would be perfect to grill over charcoal but for people like us living in apartments, you can also grill it.

Another way to make sardines is to marinate them the same way like gavros (anchovies).

Marinated Sardines / Μαριναρισμένες Σαρδέλλες

Αυτη την εποχή οι σαρδέλλες είναι σε αφθονία και με την οικονομική κρίση που διανύουμε ένα πολύ οικονομικό φαγητό, αλλά και ταυτόχρονα πολύ νόστιμο.

Αυτό το φαγητό θα ήταν ιδανικό να ψηθεί στα κάρβουνα, αλλά για εμάς που μένουμε σε διαμέρισμα μπορούμε να τις ψήσουμε στο γκριλ.

Ένας άλλος τρόπος να φτιάξετε τις σαρδέλλες είναι να τις μαρινάρετε ακριβώς όπως γίνεται και ο γαύρος.

Marinated Sandwiched Sardines, Recipe by Ivy

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Marinating time:   1 hour

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

Marinade Ingredients:

 

1/2 kilo fresh sardines

¼ cup olive oil

3 tbsp lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Oregano

For filling:

4 tablespoons coriander pesto or other pesto of your choice

1 spring onion, finely chopped

¼ cup parsley, finely chopped

2 tbsp dill, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Extra Lemon juIce to sprinkle on top as well as parsley.

Directions:

Scale the sardines and cut the head pulling out the guts.  Wash them and drain them.  With a filleting knife cut it in the belly and remove spine with any remaining guts.   Wash again and strain.  Place them in a bowl in one layer and add olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper.

Cover with cling film and let them marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Finely cut all the vegetables and mix with the pesto.

Preheat your oven at 180oC, setting it on the grill.  Line your baking tin with parchment paper.

Open the sardines flat and press them with your fingers to become as flat as possible.  Add a tablespoon of filling and sandwich with another sardine.

Place on the baking tin and when done add the leftover marinade on the sardines.

Grill for ten minutes on one side and ten minutes on the other.

Serve as a side dish to dried legumes or as a mezes with ouzo or tsipouro.

Σαρδέλλες Σάντουϊτς Ψητές,  Συνταγή της Ήβης

Χρόνος προετοιμασίας: 30 λεπτά

Χρόνος για το μαρινάρισμα: 1 ώρα

Χρόνος ψησίματος: 20 λεπτά

Υλικά:

Για το μαρινάρισμα:

 

1/2 κιλό σαρδέλλες

¼ κούπας ελαιόλαδο

3 κουταλιές χυμό λεμονιού

Αλάτι και φρεσκοτριμμένο μαύρο πιπέρι

Ρίγανη

Για τη Γέμιση:

4 κουταλιές πέστο κόλιαντρου ή άλλο πέστο της αρεσκείας σας

1 κρεμμυδάκι φρέσκο, ψιλοκομμένο

¼  κούπας μαϊντανό, ψιλοκομμένο

2 κουταλιές άνηθο, ψιλοκομμένο

1 σκελίδα σκόρδο, ψιλοκομμένη

Επιπλέον λεμόνι για από πάνω και μαϊντανό

Εκτέλεση:

Καθαρίζουμε τα λέπια από τις σαρδέλλες, κόβουμε το κεφάλι και μαζί φεύγουν και τα εντόσθια.    Τις πλένουμε και τις στραγγίζουμε.  Με ένα μαχαίρι φιλεταρίσματος κόβουμε την κοιλιά και αφαιρούμε τη ραχοκοκκαλιά και καθαρίζουμε από άλλα εντόσθια.  Τις ξαναπλένουμε και τις στραγγίζουμε.  Τις βάζουμε σε μία σειρά σε ένα μπωλ και ρίχνουμε το ελαιόλαδο, το λεμόνι, τη ρίγανη, το αλάτι και το πιπέρι.

Σκεπάζουμε με μεμβράνη κουζίνας και το αφήνουμε στο ψυγεία για τουλάχιστον μία ώρα να μαριναριστούν.

Ψιλοκόβουμε το μαϊντανό,το κρεμμυδάκι και το σκόρδο και τα ανακατεύουμε με το πέστο.

Προθερμαίνουμε το γκριλ του φούρνου στους  180o C.  Στρώνουμε λαδόκολλα σε ένα ταψάκι.

Παίρνουμε τις σαρδέλλες και τις πιέζουμε με τα δάκτυλα να ανοίξουν.  Προσθέτουμε μια κουταλιά γέμιση και προσθέτουμε άλλη μία από πάνω.

Τις βάζουμε πάνω στο ταψάκι και ρίχνουμε τη μαρινάδα από πάνω.

Ψήνουμε για δέκα λεπτά από τη μία μεριά και δέκα από την άλλη.

Σερβίρουμε σαν συνοδευτικό με όσπρια ή σαν μεζέ για ούζο ή για τσίπουρο.

Kοπιάστε και Καλή Όρεξη!

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!

Back from Assini and progress of the house


We just came back from another trip to Nafplion.

The house is progressing swiftly and now all the bricks have been laid.   Next follows the electrical wiring and plumbing pipes, tubing etc.

The two chimnies are, one for the central heating and the other for the fireplace.  These will be morphed when bound together and will have some arches as well.  I forgot to mention that the arches are gothic, elements of Cypriot architecture.

This will be the kitchen / dining room.  The sink will be under the window on the right.  You can see this side of the kitchen in the next photo.

Next to the right window will be the fireplace.

The staircase leading up to the bedrooms is now ready.  Next to the staircase is the W.C.

One of the bedrooms is next to the bathroom.

Upstairs:

This is one of the bedrooms upstairs.  The closet will be on the wall next to the door and as it is not ver big, we came up with the idea of demolishing part of the bricks which are above the staircase.  The ceiling above the staircase is very high so we can take advantage of this space by replacing it by a second small storage closet.

The second bedroom and behind the wall is the W.C./Bathroom.

It was the first time I saw the view from upstairs and was secretly hoping to have even a distant view to the sea but unfortunately this is all we can get, not that I am complaining but it would be great and relaxing having a sea view 🙂Just before leaving my husband gave me a piece of orange blossoms and the smell was amazing all way back!

See “Recent Posts” for full text with pictures.

Back from Assini


Yesterday morning we left early in the morning for Nafplion.  The weather forecast was not  very encouraging and we were thinking of postponing the trip but we finally decided to go. It was cloudy and cold but at least it did not rain.

Today it was partly sunny, quite cold again and windy and although the locals were dressed in winter clothes, wearing jackets, the first tourists which have arrived seemed to be enjoying the sun, dressed up in shorts and summer clothes.

This morning we went for a walk at Assini beach and we were freezing but nonetheless a woman was skinny dipping as the beach was desserted.  When she saw us, she seemed puzzled but as we did not want to embarass her, we returned back to the hotel from a side road.

Yesterday we visited the house as there were a few things we had to decide on the spot.

As you can see in the pictures, the houses in Greece are built with cement and bricks.  All buildings must now meet strict levels of energy efficiency, using ever-more advanced insulation materials.

The semi-basement

The ground floor bedroom

View from the ground floor bedroom

A new house is now built in the plot next to us and a couple of new ones are being built opposite us.

This is part of ground floor, the living room, staircase, bathroom and W.C, which is partly under the staircase and behind the bricks is one of the bedrooms.  The other bedrooms and bathroom are on the top floor.

This will be the kitchen and the dining room.  Although at the beginning the plan was to have two windows on this side of the wall, facing the orange grove but I changed my mind and prefer that the window is facing towards the side verandah.

Kitchen Window

The internal staircase has not yet been built so I was afraid to go up the ladder to take some pictures.  Hopefully next week when we visit again the staircase will be ready so that I can take some pictures.  I am anxious to see the view from up there.

The citrus treas are now in full bloom and the air was full with the sweet aroma of citrus.

I am not sure what these citrus trees are but I remember last year seeing oranges, tangerines and bitter oranges on the trees.

Hello Argolida!


Welcome to Gourmet Concoctions.  This is blog is mainly the chronicle of our relocation from Athens to Assini, in Argolida, Peloponnese, Greece!!

Why Gourmet Concoctions?   Well, I am a food blogger and after relocating, who knows, I may start a culinary business there or I may…….  Anyway, I have a few ideas going on in my mind but it’s too early to make plans and talk about them.

For the time being I am only dreaming…

The blog will be mainly written in English but when I will be adding some recipes, there will also be a translation in Greek.

Kopiaste!