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It tastes good, it smells good, it gives you a good feeling... food is always good!
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07 March 2008

Eat With Friends

Joy
 
Chicken curry with slices of bananas and oranges

Why do I lately derive so much joy from sitting together with friends at a table and eating? It's more than the sum of the food (yesterday it was very good) and talking about important and not so important things with nice people. Somehow the result ends up being more than the parts.

Yesterday CFG cooked us a curry recipe she has from her grandmother. Chicken curry, with rice, slices of banana and oranges. The chicken was delicious and the sauce and fruits rounded it out totally. It's also a food that you can look at and enjoy visually. Not everybody was used to eating fruit with the main dishes, but they got convinced pretty fast.

As for the visual side: Lately my camera is full of food pictures and pictures of people eating, drinking, and talking. This seems to be a major part of my current life. I like taking those food pictures, but on the technical side I should either get me a tripod or a strong lamp (with a big reflector for soft light). With the low light situation most shots are unsharp with camera movement. I usually take a variant with the camera's flash, but those pixx get discarded almost immediately. I prefer shaky shots with atmosphere over clean but flat flash pix.


Posted by betabug at 09:27 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
03 April 2008

La Grande Bouffe

As viewed by International Pizza

The French/Italian classic movie La Grande Bouffe has been on my viewing list for literally ages. I think I first heard about this movie when viewing the "Trailer" movie recommendation show on Austrian TV. All those years I was fascinated by the idea of this movie and wanted to see it. Finally I did, as graffic has pointed out in the company of International Pizza. I was a bit afraid that my memories of that long ago seen trailer wouldn't be up to the real thing, or that some of the gang would be offended by some of the gross contents of the movie, but that wasn't so...


The gang arrived at graffic's place after only a tiny amount of searching. He has really a nice apartment there. While we waited for everybody to arrive, we watched a few episodes of John Bull's Reggae Kitchen, to get us in the cooking mood. When everybody had arrived we ordered some "ψητά" (psita, barbecued stuff (mostly meat), from a Souvlaki place), eating is always an important part of international_pizza meetings.

Well, after going through the meat, we finally sat down for the movie. It didn't take long for the audience to grasp the sick humor of the story: Four friends who settle in an old villa (that belongs to one of them), to eat, drink, and (sorry) fuck till they drop dead. The actors are famous and obviously deserve their fame. Their characters just rock. There were so many scenes when I just blurted out laughing, when looked at one of them do something totally normal, while stuffing an incredible amount of food into his mouth. Throughout the first part of the movie the eating, generally the excess of hedonism is the main thing.

There are these incredible scenes, when a schoolteacher comes to visit an old tree in the villa's garden with her schoolchildren. The kids get shown around the place, the kitchen, the old Bugatti in the barn. They get fed and fed and fed and watch the guys eating. We looked at these pictures totally baffled. When they finally leave, the school teacher gets invited for dinner.

Along with the schoolteacher, who stays on through the weekend, a little of a more serious time arrives in the movie. We were laughing a bit less, instead we often sat there with open mouths, wondering at the excess of this world (the one in the movie? ours?). Still there were incredible funny moments, and more and more of them turning into a black, morbid humor.

It's a long movie, so it was pretty late when it ended. We thanked graffic for his φιλοξενία (filoxenia, hospitality) and headed for home. One crazy, wonderful experience richer. It's good to see that movie together with good friends, people who have a faible for good food and strange humor.

Posted by betabug at 13:03 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
04 May 2008

Griechische Ostern 2008

Eine Woche danach...
Dinos, der Vater von Panos, tanzend

Es ist Wochenende und dass erinnert mich daran, dass letztes Wochenende Ostern war. Griechische Ostern genauer gesagt. Mein Freund Panos hatte uns (International Pizza) ins Haus seiner Familie in "seinem" Dorf eingeladen.

Wir sind mit dem Zug hingefahren (weise Entscheidung, an Ostern ist der Verkehr mörderisch), Panos hat uns vom Bahnhof abgeholt und von da an ging das grosse Essen und Faulenzen los. Essen, obwohl es erst Oster-Samstag war: Aber auch wer fastet, kann essen, zum Beispiel Γεμιστά (Gemista, gefuellte Tomaten), halt ohne Fleisch in der Füllung. Wobei ja der Grad des Fastens nicht von allen Leuten gleich eingehalten wird, bei einigen Leuten gibts am Samstag nix mit Oel dran.


Samstag abend dann zur Kirche, Kerzen anzünden. Wir waren eine der wenigen Gruppen, die ihr Licht nach Hause brachten, in einer Sturmlaterne, denn der Wind war frühlingshaft böig. Danach gibts zuhause das erste nicht-fasten Essen: Μαγειρίτσα (Majeiritsa, eine Suppe mit Innereien) und hartgekochte, rotgefärbte Eier.

Panos und Thanassis nehmen das Lamm vom Grill

Am Sonntag gibts Lamm am Spiess. Das muss erstmal gegrillt werden, was drei bis vier Stunden dauern kann, früh aufstehen inbegriffen. Zum Glück gabs genug Experten, so dass ich weiter faulenzen konnte. Während man wartet kann man auch tanzen (siehe das Bild, wo Dinos, der Vater von Panos, grad am tanzen ist) oder sich schon mit Vorspeisen vollstopfen.

Das Lamm war wirklich gut geworden, zart, mit gutem grillgeschmack. Das Κοκορέτσι (Kokoretsi, gewickelte Innereien am Spiess) ist nicht so meine Sache, aber das war schon vorher klar. Gegessen hab ich dann doch bis zum Umfallen, bei solchen Gelegenheiten kann ich einfach noch ein Stückchen essen, dann noch ein Stückchen, und noch ein St...

Insgesamt hatten wir Glück mit dem Wetter: Anderswo in Griechenland hatte es die Grillzeremonie verregnet oder es war saukalt. Wir sind zwar auch teilweise mit der Jacke draussen gesessen, aber grösstenteils gings und zwischendurch wars richtig sonnig.

Die Brücke von Rio-Antirio.

Nach dem Essen gings runter an den Strand, keine 5 Minuten zu Fuss. (Klick auf's Bild für eine grössere Ansicht.) Die Aussicht auf die Brücke von Rio nach Antirio, vom Peloponnes aufs Festland ist wirklich nett. Das Ding im Wasser im Vordergrund ist der Überrest eines Schiffes, das im Zweiten Weltkrieg von einer Bombe versenkt wurde.

Montag gings zurück nach Athen. Wieder mit dem Zug, der diesmal überfüllt war, aber wir sind immer noch entspannter nach Hause gekommen als die Leute, die wir im Stau auf der Nationalstrasse gesehen haben. Normalerweise ist das Osterwochenende schön, aber im Ganzen gesehen ist man durch die Reise nachher müder als vorher. Diesmal war es im Vergleich dazu richtig entspannend.

Posted by betabug at 08:35 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
16 January 2009

Powerless Souvlaki

But the atmosphere was nice
 

Having a lazy evening at home, I went out to get some Souvlaki. As I approached my usual place, I noticed that they had no lights. Power failure, but apparently everybody around them had electricity. Inside they'd put up a petroleum light and they were still able to sell "pita gyros", as the gyros-thing is heated by gas. There are some things they could do on the charcoal grill, but without the ventilation to push out the smoke that is not a good idea.

A fat guy from the electricity company was there, investigating and in the end deciding to send over a repair team, promised to arrive the same evening. The shop people were obviously annoyed by all this. Well, I got my food and I've still got electricity at my place, so I can post and read comic books.


Posted by betabug at 21:32 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
22 January 2009

Τυρί και ψωμί και παρέα

Ένα από τα παραδοσιακά φαγητά μας
 

Όπως και παλαιά φάγαμε χτες φοντί με παρέα στο σπίτι μου. Κοινωνικό φαΐ το φοντί, έστω αν είναι και πολύ απλό. Το αστείο λέει ότι γυρίζεις από βραδιά φοντί που σε καλέσανε και όταν σε ρωτάνε οι δική σου τι είχε για φαγητό, απαντάς "τίποτα, ψωμί και τυρί". Η αλήθεια είναι ότι όλοι κάθονται γύρο από την κατσαρόλα με το λιωμένο τυρί και βουτάνε τα κομμάτια ψωμιού και βεβαίως αρχίζει συνήθως μια ωραία συζήτηση.

Κανονικά πρέπει να κάνει κρύο για να τρως φοντί, αλλά βεβαίως εδώ στην Αθήνα δεν κάνει ποτέ τέτοιο κρύο. Δεν πειράζει, φάγαμε καλά, σκάσαμε στο φαΐ και γελάσαμε και καλά.


Posted by betabug at 21:49 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
23 January 2009

Choco Bolts

Tasty mechanics
 
Chocolate "bolts" from the "Aristokratiko" sweets shop

When I went to make myself a tea this morning in the office, I found a box of what I can only describe as "chocolate bolts". Someone had bought them for a customer meeting, but in the end they stayed in our little kitchen.

They taste good, are made in different kinds of chocolate and come from the Ζαχαροπλαστείο Αριστοκράτικο ("Aristokratiko" sweets shop).

The interesting part is of course that our company logo has this powered up bolt in it, the one you can see behind on our notes paper. Goes well with a company that is named Graphics Garage. So anything bolt and mechanic and funny/interesting gets a good view in our office... or a good bite, in this case.


Posted by betabug at 12:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
24 February 2009

Orangen-Winter

Sonne und Regen
 
Greek oranges, 2008/2009 vintage

Dieses Jahr scheinen wir in Griechenland ein gutes Jahr für Orangen zu haben. Wenn man Orangen (und andere Früchte) immer im Supermarkt kauft, dann merkt man sowas ja nicht, aber die Saison für Orangen ist der Winter.

Die griechischen Orangen haben eine dicke Schale, die sich auch ohne Messer lösen lässt, einfach nur mit der Hand. Dazu sehen sie noch alle verschieden aus. Wenn es im Sommer nicht genug Sonne gab, dann sind die Orangen nicht süss. Wenn es hingegen nicht zum richtigen Zeitpunkt im Herbst / Anfang Winter regnet, dann haben die Früchte keinen Saft. Dieses Jahr scheint beides geklappt zu haben.

Wikipedia hat zum Thema Orange einen interessanten Artikel. Da hab ich so Sachen gelernt, wie dass das griechische Wort Πορτοκάλι (Portokali) vom Land "Portugal" abstammt, denn die süsse Variante der Orange erreichte Europa und den mittleren Osten von China aus über Portugal und portugiesische Händler.


Posted by betabug at 20:40 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
12 March 2009

Café Abyssinia

Listening to chloe here
Café Abyssinia in Monastiraki

Chloe from thefroth.com has some of the best food pictures (and generally some of the most beautiful blog pictures) around. She also has a recommendation for the Καφέ Αβυσηνία (Café Abyssinia) on her Things I Like page. Yesterday, wanting to go to a new place for once, I went there with good friends.

The place is truly beautiful. Loved the look of it from the start. It was almost empty when I arrived and it stayed more or less that way till we left. OK, we were a little bit early for Greek eating habits, but still it made me wonder.

The food was quite good, the right mix of the usual dishes, variations and old traditional stuff that you won't find so often. Subtly seasoned, good taste. What we didn't like so much was the prices. OK, it's a nice place, with a great atmosphere... but come on! More than 60% more expensive than some of the place we usually go to?

We didn't even take some of the more expensive food choices and still the bill was a bit striking. They also have the lousy habit of making the portions really small. 4 slices of grilled Χαλούμι (Haloumi - a very nice cheece from Cyprus) for something like 6-7 Euro? It's not that I can't afford it, but I start to feel like "they touch my ass" as they say in Greek ("σου πιάνουν τον κώλο" - approximately "they take your money and make fun of you on top of it").

I wonder if it's really worth for them to have the shop empty and make their money with some tourists and the weekend nights when they probably have more work. With a little bit more logical prices I'd go there more often. Anyway, if you're in for a night where the eye eats as well as the mouth and don't mind to spend a bit more, the Address is: Café Abyssinia, Kynetou 7 (Plateia Avyssinias), Monastiraki, Tel. 2103217047.

As for the picture: Chloe's blog really got me inspired to try a little bit harder on my own photography. This morning I discovered that two of the pictures I had taken could be linked to a panorama (with a piece of free / open source software called hugin), so that's what I did... you can click on the picture for a somewhat bigger view.


Posted by betabug at 12:04 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
28 March 2009

Greek Independence Day

Pictures finally
 
Μπακαλιάρος με σκορδαλιά

Sometimes I joke that all Greek holidays and special days are marked by the fact that everybody eats the same things. Last Wednesday it was Μπακαλιάρος σκορδαλιά (Bakaliaros skordalia, codfish with garlic paste). I spent the day with good friends and ate a lot. Click for more pix.


Μπάρμπα Γιάννη στα Εξάρχεια

This very nice place is where we (graffic and me) had our fish. It's called Μπάρμπα Γιάννη (Barba Yanni) and it's a place with a long tradition of very good food in Exarheia. They have traditional Greek cooked foods (as opposed to grilled stuff). I've been going there for more than 20 years now.

After filling up with butter soft μπακαλιάρος, we went to have a coffee, enjoying the sunny day. Shortly after another friend joined us and when after some time there appeared some clouds in the sky, we decided to go some place else. Our friend showed us this former parking lot, that people from the area are transforming into a park, complete with children's playground and places to sit. It's amazing how good it looks when you open a little bit of space in Athens.

Parking turned into a park in Exarheia

We visited the park (click the image for larger view), then walked around looking for another place to hang out. The topic of tsipouro, ouzo, and other good things to drink came up. We walked the streets of Exarheia for a short while, discussing (amongst other things) where to go... and we ended up in another of my favorite places. I've written before about the ouzerie Lesvos and the place is as nice as it was then. With the help of the waiter we chose a brand of ouzo out of their collection, one that we hadn't tried before.

Having a chocolat at the 'petite fleur'

With the ouzo we had of course a few small dishes with food, μεζέδες (mezedes). Can't drink without nibbling at least at something small. Like some grilled octopus, marinated γαύρος (gavros, "european anchovy" according to wikipedia) and σαγανάκι (saganaki, fried cheese).

If that sounds like excess, what can I say. We somewhat reduced our calories intake after that. We only went for hot chocolates at the "Petite Fleur", a place I had seen on chloe's Things I Like page. The chocolates are huge and very good. The place is really beautiful. It's also really small, so you need some patience to get a table. All in all I believe that we celebrated the Greek independence in one of the best ways: By enjoying one the luxuries this country offers us, very good food, drink and places where you can enjoy company.

Posted by betabug at 16:20 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
23 May 2009

Bios Green Cube

... already warm enough for an evening outside
Green cube lights on the terrace of the Bios in Athens

Still haven't got a photoblog, so this picture goes here. This "thing" is a green "cube" light on the terrace of the Bios bar/club/cultural center in Athens. They've got what looks like beer barrels for seats too. Been there yesterday evening with friends for some drinks. We were up on the terrace and it was easily warm enough to stay outside in a t-shirt. Some people even wore shorts, so summer is officially here.

The pic was taken when we arrived, a little later the place started to become crowded. At some point we left and went for pork chops to a nearby place that only has... pork chops. Very good ones though. No pictures of that, this time, but I've been there before. There are actually two places like that, right next to each other (called Minotaurus and Telis, IIRC), right at the start of Evripidou street, near Pireus street. Not a nice neighborhood, especially at night, and it got worse at that the last few years. Really a pity, because it was a weird, but safe place "in the good old times", back when I came the first time to Athens. The pork chops are still good though.


Posted by betabug at 16:56 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
09 June 2009

Kartoffelpuffer My Breakfast!

Dunno if it's healthy, but it's good!
 
Good old fashioned Kartoffelpuffer

If one morning you find yourself in the possession of some left over mashed potatoes from the evening before, then I have a breakfast idea for you. Take whatever your dinner guests didn't manage, put in some eggs and fry in a lot of butter or olive oil (or even an olive oil and butter mix if you want the butter flavor and the olive oil healthy good feeling)... you just made some nice "Kartoffelpuffer" (potato pancakes).

The quantity of eggs added makes the difference: if you have too little egg and the mashed potatoes are mashed really fine, the "Kartoffelpuffer" stay too fluid. I ended up with about 2 eggs for one deep plate of mashed potatoes. Frying needs a lot of heat if your pan is teflon (but it makes trying certainly easier). Fry one side till you see the corner get brown, then turn around and do the other side.

Wonderful to eat with: Honey, marmalade, cottage cheese, apple compott or apple sauce ("Apfelmuss"). Works as a side dish for dinner too. As a breakfast it gives you a lot of energy to last for a good day's work.


Posted by betabug at 19:27 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
28 July 2009

Pastitsio Nudelauflauf

Powerfood für Schwimmer
 

Den Gemüse- und Hackfleischauflauf Moussakas kennt man als typisch griechisches Gericht. Etwas weniger bekannt ist der Nudelauflauf Pastitsio. Auch hier ist Tomatensauce, Hackfleisch und Bechamel dabei.
Das hier im Bild ist aus der Taverne "Stelios" am Strand von Orko auf Naxos. Wunderbar gekocht von der Mutter des Hauses, das Ideale Powerfutter nach dem Schwimmen.


Posted by betabug at 19:14 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
05 August 2009

Essen in der Provinz

Mix aus tiefgekühlt und wirklich frisch
Lokale Produkte in einer traditionellen Kueche auf Naxos

Das Essen in der griechischen Provinz ist ein kurioser Mix: Herzhafte, lokale Produkte wechseln sich mit übelster Tiefkühlware ab. Die Gründe sind ersichtlich: Nicht alles wird lokal produziert oder ist lokal produziert immer verfügbar. Was importiert werden muss, hat häufig weite Wege hinter sich. So kommt es, dass man im Dorfladen neben den lokalen naxiotischen Kartoffeln auch Tiefkühl-Fischstäbchen findet.

Als Besucher kann man sich die Mühe machen und das lokale suchen - oder man ist mit "Ferien machen" beschäftigt und isst was man bekommt. Für die Einheimischen ist es häufiger so, dass man lokal isst, was man aus eigener Produktion oder aus der von Verwandten bekommt. Manchmal wird auch das lokale noch verschmäht, wenn es als rückständig oder nicht fein genug gilt. Lokales Fleisch hat mehr Sehnen, die lokale Wurst ist stärker gewürzt, während Import-Fleisch schön zart ist - aber uns nicht so gut schmeckt.

Hier auf Naxos ist jetzt im Sommer noch ein Faktor aktiv: Mit der Zunahme des Tourismus in den Sommermonaten ist die Nachfrage nach lokalen Produkten kurzfristig grösser als das Angebot. So kommt es, dass die Xynomisithra (ein lokaler Frischkäse) im Mai nicht nur jahreszeitbedingt besser geschmeckt hat, im Mai kam auch einfach die bessere Qualität auf den Tisch.

In der Schweiz kann ich mir solche lokalen Unterschiede nicht vorstellen. Selbst jedes kleinste Dörfchen in den Bergen hat dort die Filiale einer nationalen Supermarktkette als Dorfladen. Selbstverständlich mit den gleichen Produkten wie in Zürich. Was lokal dazukommt ist vielleicht mal eine "Spezialität". Hier ist es eher so, dass der Wein im Laden immer zuerst der lokale Wein ist.


Posted by betabug at 12:18 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
09 December 2009

Let them eat muffins instead...

Blueberry muffins
Blueberry muffin lifecycle, various stages

The city is burning, the garbage is piling up... let them eat muffins instead. Blueberry muffins. A few days ago I enjoyed eating an overpriced blueberry muffin together with my lunch sandwich.

Now instead of posting pixx of the garbage piling up in our streets due to a strike of Athens' municipal cleaning workers, I'll post a few little compositions I took. Instead of pictures of demonstrations getting out of hand and police violating several laws, I show you various stages in the life cycle of the common blueberry muffin.


Posted by betabug at 13:50 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
08 April 2010

Local Lunch

... an agri-cultural Naxos thing
 

So, what do we have here? It's my local lunch today: Local eggs, local cheese (γραβιέρα, graviera), local bread, local butter, local milk, local spinach pie. Not pictured: Local apple pie, which I had for dessert. All these local products taste great

Actually most of the products are not local-local, i.e. they are not from this village, but from Naxos in general. There is one bakery in Naxos town that has nicer bread than the local bakery. The milk and butter go through the naxian milk cooperative, but there might well be part of the local milk from this village in there. It just isn't viable to get unpasteurized milk from the next farmer any more.

The spinach and apple pie are from a friend's sister's workshop in Naxos town. She makes exclusively pies like that, very good ones at that. We hadn't found the shop on former visits, since sometimes finding things in Naxos town's little maze of streets is a bit of a venture. (plug: it's called "ανέκαμμα", πλατεία πρωτοκικείου, "anekamma", protodikeio square in Naxos, tel. 22850 26404.)

Also not in the picture: local steaks, which we bought on the way back from buying the milk and other stuff here in the village. I have high hopes for those too.


Posted by betabug at 14:26 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
27 September 2010

Λεμονάδα ΑΓΝΗ

Από τα καλύτερα αναψυκτικά της Ελλάδος
 
Lemonade "AGNI"

Το σ/κ πήγαμε βόλτα σε ένα χωριό που λέγετε Άσκρη, κοντά στην Θήβα. Ωραίο μέρος γενικά. Έχουν πολλά σταφύλια. Εκεί που πήγαμε ένα περίπατο μερικές ώρες, περνάμε από έναν φίλο του Αυγέρη (που μας φιλοξενούσε) και όπως του μιλάει μας λέει να βοηθήσουμε να μαζέψουμε τα τελευταία ξεχασμένα σταφίλια. Οπότε βάλαμε ένα τεταρτάκι δουλειά και φάγαμε και πολλά, πολύ νόστιμα σταφύλια.

Το μεσημέρι καθόμαστε στο χωριό για ένα μεζεδάκι και παραγγείλω μια λεμονάδα... να, μου ήρθε αυτή εδώ στην φωτό: Λεμονάδα ΑΓΝΗ. Φοβερή, πολύ καλή γεύση. Φαίνεται ότι κατασκευάζεται στον Ορχομενό Βοιωτίας. Το μπουκάλι λέει: "Με νερό πηγή των Χαρίτων". Ο ιδιοκτήτης του καφέ είπε "είναι από τα καλύτερα αναψυκτικά της Ελλάδος" και συμφονώ.


Posted by betabug at 20:13 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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