Friday, November 28, 2008


Vasili made dinner for us last Thursday, slow-cooked lamb and vegetables, salad, feta and fresh tomatoes, a couple of kinds of bread. Red wine from a friend in a village, with overtones of cherries, very light, and better than any you could buy.No headache afterward. He makes a syrup by reducing wine to 1/3 volume and has it on bread with olive oil and it's good for sore throats; this is petimezi. Some people mix it with cold water to make a drink, or dip bread with feta, or sweeten rolls. Dessert was like Boston cream pie, with bananas. Cold, creamy, chocolate, and banana... He has his own olive trees, too, and keeps the oil in a big barrel in his kitchen, with a spigot on the side.
He has dried herbs in big bunches in his cupboards, some of which he picks in the mountains and others from friends. He rubbed bits of each one between his hands for us to smell and perhaps identify. Sage is faskolio; marjoram, oregano, chamomile and basil have familiar names, and he had bay laurel, and dittany and malotira.
He makes a "spoon sweet" from Pergamondo, a warty green citrus fruit. A little in yogurt is wonderful. Well - the fruit has a familiar scent - it's bergamot! Other fruits are used this way; it's like a preserve where the fruit keeps its integrity. I have to try it...

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