Sunday, August 26

Go To Work On An Egg! *

* (Something in my memory tells me this slogan was invented by the novelist Fay Wheldon, when she worked in advertising. I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong.)

And, now, by special request, Breakfast Porn!

In a comment a few days ago Amalee mentioned that she loved "holiday breakfasts". I think I know exactly what she means.

Most working days for me start with a cuppa, and some cereal or an apple, eaten in a rush and leaving me feeling slightly icky afterwards. Holidays are one of the few times when we can just take our time, warm up slowly, and, if we feel like it, we can indulge.

Breakfast ingredients on Crete are of variable quality. The "bacon" is usually streaky, cut far too thin and industrially packed. despite this, it cooks quite well, producing a decent amount of fat, and you can get it crispy if you wish. (Most Greeks don't seem to.) "Sausages" on a Cretan menu are normally frankfurters, and undistinguished. However, the star of the morning repast in Crete, and indeed anywhere in Greece, is the egg.

Greek eggs are what they used to be like in the U.K. They are always golden, perky and rich. They always have a luxurious freshness about them, wherever you buy them.

To enjoy them at their best, try scrambling them. Most self-catering apartments just have a two ring electric stove top, so if you want bacon, fry that first. Then just scramble a box of eggs and anoint your plate with golden creaminess. If you like (We Liked) You can fry some bread in the bacon fat...

Breakfast #1. Scrambled egg, bacon, fried bread.

Adding some of the cooked new potatoes from your previous lunch and some peppers and fried onion gives you a beautiful base for a substantial "Spanish" omelette...

(We were too busy eating to photograph the finished Omelette).

And a special shout out to the "Irish Taverna" (Which also does Thai food in the evening, very Irish). This place produced a "Full Irish" breakfast which was notable for including fried potatoes, mushrooms that weren't from a tin, and sausages that were "Almost home-made". I questioned the Irishman about that. The sausages (95% pork) were homemade, but by a Greek lady in the village. She should open a place of her own. They were delicious...

"The Full Irish" In All It's Glory...

I am aware that, to some, breakfast is an opportunity to leave healthy offerings at the door of the Temple that is their bodies.

Even we feel like that sometimes. So, take rich, 10% greek yogurt, ripe nectarines and peaches, grown up the road, and add these babies...

...Which were growing over our patio...

And you have...

...The Healthy Option.

Enjoy, and Have A Nice Day Now!

Saturday, August 25

Bring Me Sunshine

Those of us old enough to remember Morecambe and Wise will know that the song was only performed at the end of the show. My wife and I were certainly singing it when we got back from holiday last Sunday.

We got in to Gatwick airport at around 7pm and everywhere was cold, overcast and dreary. A fine drizzle completed the re-acclimatization and reminded us that Greece wasn't just 3 1/2 hours away, it was gone for another year.

We instantly started suffering from SAD, and it has been too depressing to post for the last few days.

We have been surrounded by damp piles of washing, and the house and garden alike smell of Autumn, musty, damp and cool.

This morning though, I woke at 7 to see the sun sneaking through the window blinds. Tigger was calling for his breakfast, and everything looked brighter again.

It is good to be back, after all.

And remember, One Person's Sunset is Someone Else's Morning.

Wednesday, August 15

It Could Be Worse..

We were relaxing yesterday morning in the local pool. Our rooms are directly on the beach, but sometimes the sand becomes a bit much, and the 100 metre walk to the bar is too stressful, so we go to the local pool. (The bar is only 20 metres away.)

I noticed the Blonde Guy first. He was reclining on a sun lounger. Like a corpse reclines. He was wearing shorts. Nothing else.

Now Blonde Guys are not unusual round these parts. There is a Swedish Complex very close. (Hotel is too small a word. This place looks like one of those big sets from a James Bond movie. I swear I saw a man in a leather armchair cuddling a Persian cat.)

It is just up the hill. 700 Swedes, all looking for alcohol and entertainment. (Well, actually to the Swedes they seem to be the same thing.)

This chap was notable for two things. He looked like Martin Clunes, and he was sleeping the sleep of the heavily Hung-Over. I.E. Nearly Dead.

We had a certain amount of fun watching his pale Nordic skin slowly turn to crackling in front of us. I actually, (only briefly) considered either spraying him with water or squirting him with sun lotion. I did neither, naturally.

Then he woke up. He spoke perfect, polite English, with a hangover.

"Hello!. How long have you been here?"

Not as long as you.

"I work here, at the S*****G" (Swedish place.)"

"We had a staff party last night. This is as far as I got on the way back. We went to the Rock Bar..."

" I Think..."

"It has been 45 degrees Centigrade here for the last three weeks."

" I work in the entertainment section at the complex."

We felt he was being chatty, but also needed to unburden himself of some terrible secret...

"It is not a bad job. I work with the children. Four hours a day. Not bad."

"Sometimes I dress up as a giant Giraffe..."

"That is not too bad."


"On other days I dress up in the bear costume. I was in the bear costume all last week. 45 Degrees. "

"It was not good."

With that he stood up without looking. And walked into the pool....

Sun, Sand, Sea And...?

Well actually it's Surfing!!

Despite the fact that the Phantom can only execute a doggy paddle that would embarass a baby Pekinese, he has discovered something he can do better than his wife. (Yup, the qualified swimming instructor).

She is qualified to teach in the U.K. of course, and despite the large number of "fun" poools with all sorts of flumes and slides, surfing is not big in your average municipal pool.

I had seen her eyeing the body boards for the last few days. She bought one, and we strode, (or in my case manfully crept, sideways), into the sea. Breakers erupting to head height all around.*

She jumped on, head-butted the polystyrene board, and fell off.

This happened again. Twice.

Being male, I genetically knew what needed to be done.

"You need to leap on the crest of the wave, just as it breaks.... Keep the nose down, you need a shallow angle of attack."

After I had emptied my ears and eyes from the torrent of warm, salty water she had expertly sent in my direction, I realised what I had done. Like a London Gangster in the East End opening a Kray-free nightclub I had committed the ultimate sin. I was moving-in on my wife's Territory.

I would Have To Pay...

The next wave was looking vaguely like a tower block as it insinuated its way towards us. I prepared my self, said a prayer, waited until just the moment....

Leapt onto the board.

And coasted, literally riding along on the crest of the wave, right on to the beach.

Best of all:

  • My wife was watching

  • And I kept my hat and sunglasses on throughout.

Colonel Kilgore surfing off the beach under rocket fire in Apocalypse Now wasn't in it.

I swear I could hear Wagner...

* (I may be exaggerating. Maybe)

Tuesday, August 7

Take My Hand, I'm A Phantom In Paradise!

Apologies for any sprelling mistakes, I'm using a dual language keyboard, with the English as the small options.

Well folks, some people (like my wife) think I am deeply sad to be blogging on holiday. Myself, I just like to think I am keeping the faith, and thinking of my loyal readership.

(Excuse me while I take a gulp of my ice cold Mythos beer.......

Ah! That's better. Beer mug just out of the freezer, rime of frost around the jug. Lovely.)

My lovely other half is down on the beach, all of 30 seconds away from here. I'm in the bar of our apartments, and being civilised they have 2 internet computers set up, just a few paces from the drinks and food.

It's a long journey down from London to Crete, and another couple of hours by coach to get here, which is Macrigyalos, give or take a letter or two.

We are in rooms literally overlooking the sea, with palm trees filling in the gap between our patio and the sea.

We have managed to leave the worst of the stresses of London behind already. The quiet beauty of this area does that. This resort is still relatively undeveloped. We haven't been back here for at least 7 years, but yesterday when we walked down the main (only) street, two of the shopkeepers came and greeted us, welcoming us back.

Bougainvillea (I think, one for Amalee to rule on when I get photos up) blooms are intertwining, grapes hanging in bunches above our heads wherever we go.

The sun is fierce at this time of day, so in a while I will go back to our room and fix some lunch, local Louganiga (sausages) in fresh baps with feta and sun-ripe tomatoes.

The restaurants are decent, but none really shine. Fortunately we have a brand new butchers (kreatopoleion) and a fishmonger (psaro something or other) since our last visit, and I love cooking on holiday. (more Madness?)

I will take plenty of photos (I will make sure to get some brakfast porn for A.I.) but I didn't bring my card reader so will have to upload back in the U.K.

Thanks to all for the kind wishes.

More in a few sun-drenched days.

Tomorrow, Chrissy Island, Today, the beach!!

Love from the Phantom and his sun bronzed lady.

Saturday, August 4

I Must Go Down To The Sea Again...

My good lady and myself are off to Greece for a fortnight.

Lots of pictures and the odd recipe will surely follow.

I may even blog while on holiday, if I can find an Internet Taverna!

Wish Us Well,

Back Soon,

The Phantom.

Wednesday, August 1

Guilty Pleasures

There is something about having friends gathering for lunch during the week that always makes me feel guilty. Irrational, I know, but it does.

Today my wife and the Legal Eagle were joined by our old friend "Battey Moo". (Just don't ask).

Another reason for me feeling guilty was that I didn't do any cooking for our feast. I was working a half-day, so I thought I would relax and let someone else put in the effort. I popped into Olga Stores, a long-established Italian Deli in Penton Street, just around the corner from Chapel Market.

For a sunny day lunch an Italian Deli is very hard to beat. In quick order I had secured ham with rosemary, some pastrami, peppers (stuffed with tuna and capers), artichokes and anchovies, both marinated in oil and of course olives. I added some mushrooms a la Greque and a buffalo mozzarella, milky and soft. The cheese would be sliced and added to tomatoes and home-grown basil, the only work I had in the whole meal. Oh, and I washed some lettuce leaves. That was it.

Ripe peaches and cherries dipped in creamy yogurt provided dessert. It was a most satisfying afternoon.

I think I can live with the Guilt.