Kolokythokeftedes with Spinach and Potato / Κολοκυθοκεφτέδες με Σπανάκι και Πατάτα


Μετάφραση της συνταγής πιο κάτω

Kolokythokeftedes are Greek Fried Zucchini Patties, which you can find all over Greece and are served as a mezes in Greek restaurants but at home we serve them for lunch with a salad but can also be served as a side dish.

This is one of the twists I have made adding spinach and mashed potato.  This is an older recipe so Myronia and Kafkalithres are out of season, but you can leave them out and substitute with another pesto of your preference.

Εκτός από την κλασσική συνταγή για Κολοκυθοκεφτέδες, έφτιαξα αυτή τη συνταγή με σπανάκι και πατάτα βραστή.  Η συνταγή είναι παλιά γιαυτό είναι εκτός εποχής οι καυκαλήθρες και τα μυρώνια, αλλά μπορείτε να βάλετε κάποιο άλλο πέστο της αρεσκείας σας.

Kolokythokeftedes with Spinach and Potato, recipe by Ivy

Preparation time:  30 minutes

Cooking time:  30 minutes

Makes: 12 or more depending on size

Ingredients:

  • 10 very small green zucchini, grated
  • 200 grams spinach
  • 1 large boiled potato, mashed
  • 1 cup myronia, finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • ½cup parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup dill, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cupof mixed cheese.  I used feta, halloumi and graviera
  • 2 tablespoon crumbled dried mint
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup kafkalithres pesto
  • Extra virgin olive oil for frying

Directions:

  1. Wash the vegetables and let them drain the water away.
  2. Grate the courgettes and place into a colander with salt for half an hour.  Squeeze to remove all water.  Do the same with spinach.
  3. Add the mashed potato and all aromatic herbs, the eggs and cheese, pesto, salt and pepper. Easy on the salt, as all cheese mentioned above are quite salty and don’t forget that we added salt to the grated courgettes and spinach.
  4. Finally add the flour and mix.
  5. After this, the mixture is helped by being allowed to stand in the fridge for, at least, an hour, before frying in olive oil.
  6. Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet or non stick frying pan.
  7. Scoop out patties with a spoon, and make flattened patties on a floured surface. Fry in hot olive oil. The level of olive oil in the frying pan should cover half the patty. (Turn the patties once, browning both sides.
  8. Finish by placing them on absorbent paper for a minute before serving.

Κολοκυθοκεφτέδες με Σπανάκι και Πατάτα, συνταγή της Ήβης

Χρόνος προετοιμασίας: 30 λεπτά

Χρόνος μαγειρέματος: 30 λεπτά

Μερίδες:  γίνονται περίπου 12  ανάλογα με το μέγεθος

Υλικά:

  • 10 πολύ μικρά πράσινα κολοκυθάκια, τριμμένα
  • 200 γραμμάρια σπανάκι
  • 1 μεγάλη πατάτα βραστή, λιωμένη
  • 1 κούπα μυρώνια, ψιλοκομμένα
  • 2 φρέσκα κρεμμυδάκια, ψιλοκομμένα
  • ½ κούπα μαϊντανό, ψιλοκομμένο
  • ½ κούπα άνηθο, ψιλοκομμένο
  • 2 αυγά
  • 1 κούπα τυριά τριμμένα (έβαλα φέτα, χαλούμι και γραβιέρα)
  • 2 κουταλιές της σούπας ξερό δυόσμο τριμμένο ή ½ κούπα φρέσκο, ψιλοκομμένο
  • Αλάτι και φρεσκοτριμμένο μαύρο πιπέρι
  • ½ κούπα αλεύρι για όλες τις σκοπό
  • ½ κούπα πέστο από καυκαλίθρες
  • Ελαιόλαδο για το τηγάνισμα

Εκτέλεση:

  1. Πλένουμε καλά τα λαχανικά και τα αφήνουμε να στραγγίξουν.
  2. Τρίβουμε τα κολοκυθάκια και τα βάζουμε σε ένα σουρωτήρι με αλάτι για μισή ώρα. Τα πιέζουμε για να αφαιρέσουμε όλα τα υγρά. Κάνουμε το ίδιο με το σπανάκι.
  3. Προσθέτουμε τον πουρέ πατάτας και όλα τα αρωματικά φυτά, τα αυγά και τα τυριά, το πέστο, αλάτι και πιπέρι. Προσέχουμε το αλάτι καθώς όλα τα τυριά που έχουμε βάλει είναι αρκετά αλμυρά και ήδη έχουμε αλατίσει τα κολοκύθια και το σπανάκι.
  4. Τέλος προσθέτουμε το αλεύρι και ανακατεύουμε.
  5. Αφήνουμε το μείγμα να μείνει στο ψυγείο για τουλάχιστον μία ώρα, πριν τα πλάσουμε κα τα τηγάνισουμε σε ελαιόλαδο.
  6.  Ζεσταίνουμε το ελαιόλαδο σε ένα βαρύ τηγάνι ή αντικολλητικό τηγάνι.
  7. Παίρνουμε μια γεμάτη κουταλιά από το μείγμα και τα πλάθουμε στρογγυλά και πάνω σε μια αλευρωμένη επιφάνεια τα πιέζουμε να γίνουν πλακέ.
  8. Τα τηγανίζουμε σε καυτό ελαιόλαδο. Το ελαιόλαδο θαπρέπει τουλάχιστον να τα καλύπτει μέχρι τη μέση.
  9. Γυρίζουμε τους κολοκυθοκεφτέδες να ροδίσουν και από τις δύο πλευρές.
  10. Τους αφήνουμε σε απορροφητικό χαρτί για ένα λεπτό πριν τους σερβίρουμε.

Kolokythokeftedes (classic recipe)

Κολοκυθοκεφτέδες (κλασσική συνταγή)

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi / Κοπιάστε και Καλή Όρεξη!

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House is almost ready and Koukoulopites (Galettes) or Kolokythopita (Zucchini Pie) – Κουκουλόπιτες ή Κολοκυθόπιτα


Μετάφραση της συνταγής πιο κάτω

I wish that the day comes when I will be able to tell you that I made this recipe or any others from vegetables from our garden, but at the time being I am still buying my vegetables from the farmers’ market.

The plot is small but hopefully there will be a small garden one day.

We made another short trip to Assini to finalize a few loose ends.  We left early on Wednesday morning and came back Thursday afternoon.

It’s been a long time I updated the blog but the economical crisis in Greece has changed our plans radically after seeing our pensions drop to almost half.  Under normal circumstances the house would have been ready by 100% last August and now we would be living in the countryside and relaxing.

Since last year we have been striving to finish at least the ground floor (which is about 40% of the whole structure) but there is still a lot to be done, which of course requires a lot of money.

Our family has been helping us out with loans, so on Wednesday we had an appointment for the fixing of the closet, which took about three hours.

In the afternoon we looked around for a shower cabin, washing basin and toilet, to finish the bathroom, kitchen tiles to put above the counter and doors for the bathroom and bedroom.  The kitchen tiles will be a mosaic of turquoise blue, which matches with the doors but as well as the brown counter and closets.  I am really anxious to see how it turns out,

We gave an advance payment for the electrical appliances for the kitchen, which is the oven, the stove top, which is both with gas and electricity, a ventilator and a washing machine for the clothes.  Unfortunately, we will not buy a new refrigerator as we do have a smaller one in Athens which will be used temporarily until we can afford one and will not buy a dish washing machine.

Hope now that we finally have a new Government, after the failure of the previous elections in May, that  the banks may now have cash to give us the remaining part of our loan in order to cover post-dated cheques issued and repay our debts.  The house still needs a last layer of plaster on the walls, painting  and the electrical wiring, plugs, sockets, etc., to connect electricity and water.  At a later stage we still need outdoor rails, to pave the driveway / garage, fence, central heating, a solar water heater, central heating etc., etc., not to mention furnishing the house.

On Thursday we had to be there to receive the equipment we ordered the previous day for the bathroom and then to look around for the bathroom and bedroom doors .

I chose the dark brown colour, second row, first one, which is similar to the kitchen closets and island.  These will be ready by next week.

The exterior painting will start this week and as you can see scaffolding has been set around the house.

The most difficult part was to decide what colour to paint the exterior.  The doors and windows are in a light greyish-blue colour so we wanted something to match.  We went to a store selling paints  to choose the colour.  The decision has been taken:  the majority will be a mustardy-yellow colour and frames around doors and windows navy blue. A stripe of ice-white colour will be separating the storeys.

I played around colouring the house on the computer but I don’t think the colours match to the ones we have chosen.  This is just to give you arough idea.

Update:  Here is the house after it was painted.

House painted

Finally we also went to an electrician’s store to buy sockets, plugs etc.  Next week, we will have to go again when the electrical appliances are fitted.

We had some time to go for swimming.

Although the heatwave has passed, it was still 38 degrees C in Argolida but as it was partly cloudy and windy, it was bearable.  The first day we went to Castraki, picture above, which is the closest to our house and the second day to Karathonas beach which is near Nafplion.

Koukoulopites are Greek pies, similar to galettes made with phyllo.  I filled them with grated zucchini, lots of herbs, especially peppermint and Greek cheeses. You can use any flour you like to make the phyllo but this time I opted for whole wheat flour.

The filling is inspired by two other Greek pitas called plasto and badjina, which however although both are without phyllo they have some minor differences.   Badjina is with pumpkin and cheese whereas plasto is with herbs.

I made half of the mixture into small galettes and the remaining in a baking tin which I froze and baked it another day.

You can see a video here:

Kolokythopita (Zucchini Pie), recipe by Ivy

Preparation time:  1 hour

Baking time:  45 – 50 minutes

Makes:  10 galettes (or 5 galetes and 1 baking tin)

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat flour Horiatiko phyllo
  • 600 grams zucchini, coarsely grated
  • Salt (no more)
  • 1 medium red onion, coarsely grate
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • A handful of fresh peppermint, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 120 grams ladotyri
  • 150 grams halloumi
  • 150 grams feta
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • Extra olive oil for brushing the phyllo and baking tray

Directions:

  1. Prepare the dough, cover with cling film and set aside for at least half an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C / 350 degrees F.
  3. Grate zucchini on the large side of a box grater.
  4. Put it in a colander and sprinkle some salt.  Let it sit for half an hour and then squeeze to remove as much fluid as possible.
  5. Grate the onion or chop it in a food processor.
  6. Wash and finely chop the herbs: a handful of peppermint, 1 green onion, including green parts and zucchini blossom flowers (optional).
  7. Put the herbs and grated onion together with grated zucchini in a large bowl.
  8. Add the eggs and grated cheese.  Season with pepper (do not add salt as zucchini have already been salted and the cheese are also salty).
  9. Finally add the flour and mix well.
  10. Divide the dough in ten equal parts.  Shape them into round balls.
  11. Roll out each ball into a round phyllo around 20 cm diametre.  Brush it with 1 tbsp olive oil.
  12. Add a generous amount of filling in the middle.
  13. Fold the outer parts of the galette into the centre, forming a round galette.  Brush with olive oil.
  14. Place them in a well oiled baking tray and bake for 50 minutes, or until lightly brown.
  15. You can serve it as a main dish with a salad or as I did, with marida or maridaki the Greek equivalent of the north Atlantic whitebait, Greek fried potatoes and salad.

Κουκουλόπιτες με Κολοκύθι ή Κολοκυθόπιτα, συνταγή της Ήβης

Χρόνος προετοιμασίας:  1 ώρα

Χρόνος Ψησίματος:  45 – 50 λεπτά

Γίνονται:  10 κουκουλόπιτες ή 5 και μία σε ταψί

Υλικά:

  • Χωριάτικο Φύλλο με αλεύρι ολικής άλεσης
  • 600 γραμμάρια κολοκυθάκια, χονδροτριμμένα
  • Αλάτι
  • 1 μέτριο κόκκινο κρεμμύδι, τριμμένο
  • 1 κρεμμυδάκι φρέσκο, ψιλοκομμένο
  • Μία χούφτα μέντα, ψιλοκομμένη
  • 2 αυγά
  • 120 γραμμάρια λαδοτύρι Μυτιλήνης ή γραβιέρα
  • 150 γραμμάρια χαλλούμι
  • 150 γραμμάρια φέτα
  • 1/4 κούπας ελαιόλαδο
  • Φρεσκοτριμμένο μαύρο πιπέρι
  • 1 κούπα αλεύρι για όλες τις χρήσεις
  • Επιπρόσθετο ελαιόλαδο για άλειμμα του ταψιού και του φύλλου

Εκτέλεση:

  1. Ετοιμάζουμε τη ζύμη, τη σκεπάζουμε με μεμβράνη κουζίνας και την αφήνουμε να ξεκουραστεί για μισή ώρα.
  2. Προθερμαίνουμε το φούρνο στους 180 βαθμούς Κελσίου / 350 βαθμούς F.
  3. Τρίβουμε τα κολοκυθάκια στον τρίφτη.
  4. Το βάζουμε σε σουρωτήρι με αλάτι.  Το αφήνουμε για μισή ώρα και το στύβουμε να φύγουν τα υγρά.
  5. Τρίβουμε το κρεμμύδι στον τρίφτη ή στο μούλτι.
  6. Πλένουμε,  στραγγίζουμε και ψιλοκόβουμε τα αρωματικά χόρτα:  μια χούφτα φρέσκια μέντα, 1 κρεμμυδάκι φρέσκο με τα φύλλα και μερικά λουλούδια από τα κολοκύθια (προαιρετικά, εάν υπάρχουν).
  7. Βάζουμε τα αρωματικά χόρτα, το τριμμένο κρεμμύδι και κολοκύθι σε ένα μεγάλο μπωλ.
  8. Τρίβουμε και προσθέτουμε τα τριμμένα τυριά, τα αυγά και πιπέρι.  Προσοχή δεν βάζουμε αλάτι (γιατί ήδη έχουμε αλατίσει τα κολοκυθάκια και τα τυριά είναι αλμυρά).
  9. Τέλος προσθέτουμε το αλεύρι και ανακατεύουμε καλά.
  10. Διαιρούμε τη ζύμη σε δέκα ίσα μέρη.  Τα κάνουμε μπαλάκια.
  11. Ανοίγουμε κάθε μπαλάκι ζύμης σε ένα στρογγυλό φύλλο διαμέτρου περίπου 20 εκατοστών και το βουρτσίζουμε με 1 κουταλιά ελαιόλαδο.
  12. Προσθέτουμε αρκετή γέμιση στο κέντρο.
  13. Διπλώνουμε τις άκριες και σχηματίζουμε ένα στρογγυλό πουγκί.  Το βουρτσίζουμε με ελαιόλαδο.
  14. Τοποθετούμε σε λαδωμένο ταψί και ψήνουμε για περίπου 50 λεπτά ή μέχρι να ροδίσουν ελαφρά.
  15. Μπορείτε να τις σερβίρετε σαν κυρίως φαγητό με σαλάτα ή σαν συνοδευτικό όπως έκανα εγώ με μαριδάκι, πατάτες τηγανιτές και σαλάτα.

A few days later, I had more zucchini which I made into a Zucchini, Feta and Halloumi Tart.

Μερικές μέρες αργότερα, επειδή είχαν περισσέψει κολοκυθάκια, έφτιαξα αυτή την Κολοκυθόταρτα με Φέτα και Χαλλούμι.

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

Drepano, Vivari, Candia, Iria


Spring is finally here and this alone makes me feel very happy.  I hate cold, gloomy weather and this year the winter in Greece was harsh and colder than ever.  Well, this is behind us now and the weather is much warmer (although lower than the normal temperatures during April), the skies are the same pure, cloudless blue and you can enjoy a cup of coffee outdoors, at least during the day and going for a walk at the beach, lying down reading a book relaxing, taking in fresh air under the limitless sky are some of the reasons why we are looking forward to living here in the future.

Unfortunately, the economic crisis is holding us back but although there are so many things which still need to be done in order to move and have ran out of cash, we hope to spend some time here during the summer, even if the house is not ready.

Last Friday we went to Assini again as we had to be there for the assembly and fitting of the closet in our bedroom.

After opening the house to the workers, they told us that they would finish in about three hours and after standing there watching them for a while, we decided that we could take advantage of this time and explore a few places we had not visited yet.

Road to Drepano

Just next to our house the road leads to Drepano, a lovely little village just 2 km from Assini.  On our right were lots of cypress trees (you can see them at the end of the road), which serve as wind barriers to their fields and further on the right an old, destroyed wind mill.  Lots of thoughts passed from my mind how people would come here, their donkeys loaded with grain, to be milled for the production of flour.

Old Wind Mill

Drepano

In the villages you can find lots rooms to let and cafes, restaurants, tavernas etc., but at this time of the year the villages are mostly desserted.

Beach in Drepano during summer.

Drepano

This is the view of Drepano from far away and in the horizon you can see the hill of Agia Paraskevi which is just outside Assini.

Beatween Vivari and Candia

Candia Beach

Anginares (Artichokes) from Argolida

I have read that 90% of production of artichokes in Greece are  produced in the region of Argolida in two villages called Iria and Candia, of  the Municipality of Assini, not far from Nafplion and I was really looking forward for the day we could see some in the fields.

Artichokes from the region of Argolida at farmers’ market in Athens

And finally, just before reaching Candia there were fields, after fields, after fields of artichokes.  They do cultivate other products as well but artichokes is the main product.

Artichokes (cynara scolymus) do not need much water, so they are cultivated in hot and dry climates and they also grow in the wild (cynara cardunculus) as they do not need any particular care.  They are rich in antioxidants, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, fibre and vitamin C.

Wild Artichokes

If you are in the region during May don’t miss the Artichoke festival with traditional dances and folk music, as well as lots of  food with artichokes as its main ingredient.

In the past this plant was considered to be an aphrodisiac but nowadays this myth has been busted but it does have a lot of other healthy properties.   It contains an acid called Cynarin, which protects the liver from anything that might affect it such as hepititis or cirrhosis.  It is diuretic, anticeptic and helps relief gastroenteric problems.  It reduces the levels of cholesterol in the blood, it also reduces the sugar levels in the blood, it strenthens the immune system and recently studies have shown that the acids caffeic and flavoinoids help fight cancer.

Artichokes are native to the Mediterranean and in Greece they appear during the last months of winter and spring.  Although during the past years we have all sorts of vegetables cultivated in green houses, we never see artichokes after the end of Spring.

According to Greek Mythology, Dias (Zeus) the King of the Gods, had easy access to the women of the world and took full advantage of it. Also, his power as a supreme god made him difficult to resist.  He fell in love with a beautiful girl called Cynara, who rejected him and refused to resist and Dias got so angry that he transformed her into a plant.   In ancient Greek the name for artichoke was Cynara (pr. Kynara) in modern Greek An(cynara) = ankinara.

If you avoid cooking artichokes because you don’t know how to clean them, it’s very easy if you follow these simple steps:

How to clean / trim artichokes

First of all when buying fresh artichokes chose those that feel heavy for their size and if you press them just above the stem, where the heart of the artichoke is, it should be firm, with tightly closed leaves and tender stalks.

As artichokes oxidize and turn brown quickly, fill a bowl with water and add the juice of 1 lemon.  Your hands might get stained so it is better to use disposable plastic gloves when cleaning them.

Cut off the stem of the artichoke, up to the base but do not discard.

Remove any leaves that are hard around the base of the artichoke.

Cut off the top 1/3 of the artichoke because the lower part is not edible.

Spoon out the hairy choke.  Place the artichoke immediately in the water.

When done with all the artichokes, now peel off the stem around the fibrous core.  This part is edible as well.

(Note:  as there are many varieties of artichokes, I am not sure if the inner part of the stalk is edible in all varieties.  Peel it and if it’s flesh is firm, then it is fine).

Other relevant recipes:

Anginares à la Polita

Artichoke and Celeriac Soup

Agginaropita (Artichoke Pie)

Artichoke Lasagna – Pastitsio

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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!!

Assini: the village and the Ancient Acropolis


Assini or Asine (Ασίνη) is a village in the prefecture of Argolida, belonging to the Municipality of Assini, (which includes the villages of Assini, Tolo, Iria, Drepano and Karnazeika). It is 8 km away from the town of Nafplion and 2 km before Ancient Assini. According to the census of 2001 the municipality has 6000 inhabitants, out of which (according to the census of 2001), 1.064 inhabitants live in Assini.

This is the main road of the village, which goes to Ancient Assini and Tolo. Road to the left goes to our house.

The population is mainly rural, cultivating citrus groves (oranges and tangerines), olives, vegetables, mostly artichokes and also people have fishing as their occupation. The past years the village being not far away from the sea and the most tourist developed resort of Tolo, has also developed tourist facilities as well.

Manoussakios Library
Aghia Paraskevi

Before reaching the village, 500 metres on the foothill of Profitis Elias, is the settlement of Aghia Paraskevi, with about 200 inhabitants enjoying a wonderful view of the plain around it.

View of Assini Village from Kastraki
Ancient Assini – known as Kastraki
Kastraki

The Acropolis of ancient Assini (or Asine), today known as Kastraki is a rocky promontory by a natural harbour in the Gulf of Argolis, near the town of Tolo. The promontory is 52 m above sea level; it is 330 m long and 150 m wide. Some have linked the silhouette of the rock to a ship with full sails.

According to Homer, Assini together with other Argive poleis (city states), such as Argos, Tyrinth and Epidavros, took part in the Trojan War with a fleet that consisted of 80 ships and was led by King Diomedes.

The Walls

The earliest traces of settlement on the Acropolis are from the Neolithic period (5th millennium b.C.). The site was subsequently settled during the Early Bronze Age (2600 – 1900 b.C.), during the Middle Bronze Age (1900 – 1550), during the Late Bronze Age (1550 – 1050 b.C.) and again during the historical period to 600 A.D.

Kastraki – The Walls from the Hellenistic period

The fortification walls around the Acropolis can be dated to 300 b.C. They were most likely built by Demetrios Poliorcetes, during his time as King of Macedonia. The main entrance lies in the north, with a side entrance in the east. The Great Bastion on the eastern side of the circuit wall, as well as two smaller towers on the acropolis, was built to resist catapults and other siege machines. The fortifications were added on to at least during the Byzantine (6th – 7th century A.D.) and the second Venetian (1686 – 1715) periods. During the Italian occupation in World War Two (1941 – 1943) trenches and other defense works were constructed on the Acropolis.

Archaeological excavations were conducted by Swedish Archaeologists between 1922 and 1930 in the main settlement on the Acropolis, in the Lower Town and on the Barbouna Hill. From the 1970s onwards, excavations were resumed by the Swedish Institute at Athens and by the 4th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities at Nafplion.

A ship wreck of the late Mycenaean period 1200 b.C., carrying cargo from both Crete and Cyprus was located near Cape Iria 14 km to the southeast of Assini at a depth of 28 m. The findings of the wreck such as pots, amphorae, ceramics, a stone anchor etc., are exhibited at the Museum of Spetses.

A terracotta head of the same period, known as the “Lord of Assini”, gave its name to a poem by the Nobel laureate G. Seferis. It was found in a cult room in one of the Late Bronze Age houses in the Lower Town and can be dated to 1200 – 1100 b.C.

Assini flourished again in early historical times, in the 8th century b.C (Late Geometric period). At this time the town had contacts with Athens, as well as the Cyclades and the southern Peloponnese. According to Pausanias, Assini was destroyed by neighbouring Argos, most likely around 700 b.C., as it had taken Sparta’s side in a war between those city states. The inhabitants were forcibly moved to the Assini of Messenia (today’s Koroni).

The settlement at Assini decline for a couple of centuries but the site was never abandoned completely. An Archaic shrine to Apollo (7th – 6th century b.C.) has been located on the top of the Barbouna Hill. However, there are no extant remains.

Houses from the Hellenistic period (3rd – 1st century b.C.) have been found as well as cisterns and olive presses both on the Acropolis and in the Lower Town. Hellenistic burials have also been found in the neighbourhood. The settlement at Assini continued into Roman times. Ruins of baths from this period (5th – 7th century A.D. can be seen in the Lower Town next to the picturesque chapel of Panaghia.

Archaeological Museum of Naflio

The findings from the excavations at Assini are mainly kept in the Nafplion Archaeological Museum. Some of the findings from the excavations of the 1920s are now in Sweden in accordance with an agreement between the Assini Committee of the 1920s and the then Greek Government.

(Source: Information board on site).

View from Castraki

At the Western side of the Promontory a small bay with organized facilities and a taverna.

The town of Tolo
View of Tolo from Kastraki

At the Eastern side of the Promontory

Assini Beach during winter

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.

Looking for Land


We often used to vaguely mention how great it would be if one day we could leave Athens and live in the countryside but this was far away in our future plans, as we were both young for retirement.

However, you never know what is in store for you and my husand “retired” or was rather forced to retire from the army when he was only 50 years old.   At that time I had already opened a bookstore, so he would help me there for some years.  Business was not going well but I had to keep it running for a few more years until I could apply for early retirement.

If I wanted full pension I would have to keep the business until I became at least 60 years old in order to retire.  Fortunately, for me there was a law at the time that if a woman at the age of 50 had at least been working for twenty years and had three children, the youngest being under 18 she could qualify for reduced pension.   Selling the bookstore was out of the question, although we tried but who would buy a business having no substantial profit and getting a job was also impossible at my age, as  the unemployment rate  in Greece is very high and even young people can’t get a job.  So I closed the shop just before Evangelia (Elia) turned 18 and I applied for early retirement.   Although it took almost 2 1/2 years to be approved but  I was lucky enough to benefit from this law as shortly after, this law was annulled.     That’s the time when I started blogging as a hobby.

Now that we were both “early pensioners” and free from obligations, I started telling my husband how great it would be if we could move to the countryside after Elia would turn 18. The idea matured in our heads and two years ago we started looking for a plot where we could build a small house where we could retire.

The seashore suburbs of Attica were out of the question for a few reasons. One was that the land was too expensive but also becauce the suburbs are now so crowded that it’s just like living in Athens and living in an apartment near the seaside was out of the question.  I wanted a house with a garden which would not be far away from the seaside but also not very far away from Athens.

We didn’t want to move too far away because our children would still be living in our house in Athens, so we decided to search within an area of two hours’ drive.

Our first choice would be the region around Nafplion.   When Elia was still in elementary school, her school organised an excursion there and it was love at first sight.  We started dreaming how great it would be if he manged to get transferred there but although we had applied many times, it was not in the cards, at least not in the near future.

During the past two years we have been traveling to Nafplion, every now and then meeting with real estate agents and we were so close to signing twice, when something went wrong just at the last minute.

The first house we really liked was one of a complex of three small houses.  Each one was 65 sq. metres and had two bedrooms, one bathroom and the rest of the house was an open spaced kitchen  with the living room.

However, it had a huge porch but most of all, each house had  1.500 sq metres land of its own, with an open view of  the Argolic citrus orchards in front of us.

This would be perfect to be used just as a summer house, as it was rather remote to live there year round.  We liked it for several reasons, the first being that it was within the limited budget we had set, it was only ten – fifteen minutes’ drive to Karathonas beach, it had a huge area to have a garden with lawn, it was partly furnished, all rooms had air-conditioning, it had a fireplace and it even had an inflatable, family sized swimming pool and part of the garden was cemented and arranged for the pool.

Before signing, we asked our lawyer to look into the legal formalities but to our disappointment, he advised us that although the property was big we were not allowed by law to build anything else or expand the present building, as it was outside the town limits.  Furthermore, the contractors were not in compliance with certain formalities of the law, so we had to reject it.

We continued searching and kept arranging appointments with real estate agents every now and then.    They showed us maisonettes which were small like pigeon holes, plots that were very far away from Nafplion, or in degraded areas where there were a lot of gypsies and thefts were a usual phaenomenon, others with existing small old houses which needed a lot of money to be renovated and other plots which we liked but were much above our budget.   The ones near the seaside or even with a distant view of the sea were very expensive.   Each time we left without finding anything, we were very disappointed.

In one of our visits, after over a year of searching, we finally found a second one we immediately liked.   It was a plot of land which was rather far away from Nafplion about 20 km but it had a fantastic view of the Argolic Gulf.    Nothing was built, except for a couple of houses in the far distance and the closest village was a couple of kilometres away.  The closest beach was Myloi, a seashore village about 15 km away but the beach was not so good as Karathonas but the view was fantastic and a little more effort getting to a decent beach was worth it.  The price, however, was high and after visiting a second time and bargaining we finally reached an agreement and we shook hands, which was almost like signing.  However, this was also too good to be true.  Just before signing we found out that the law changed and those plots were no longer in the town plans and were excluded from the building area.

Most of the weekends, we continued making trips around Athens, towards Evia,  Sounion, Corinth, Orea Eleni, Epidavros etc., but we did not like what we saw.

On one of our visits to Nafplion, after an exhausting day seeing many real estate agents, we were very disappointed for one more time and were thinking to give up.  Fortunately, the last one, who was the owner of the land and a contractor had an orange orchard in Assini which he decided to cut into building plots, I think they were about sixteen and he showed us the last two which were for sale.  Each plot wasn’t very big, it was only 350 square metres big, but at least we could build a 100 sq. metres house plus a semi-basement.

We liked it as it was only 2 km away from the beach and without any hesitation, we shook hands.

We returned back a couple of days later and signed the contracts early July 2010.

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!