Saturday, 27 February 2021

GREECE TO MANIFATURE SURVEILLANCE DRONES


 


Greece will manufacture a new, innovative surveillance drone.  Named IDEX 2021 LOTUS, which represents the next generations of unmanned surveillance aircraft,  the aerial vehicle will be manufactured by a Greek firm.

 

The Greek firm, Intracom Defence, signed an agreement with the European Commission for the tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or UAV, which has been a speciality designed for border surveillance and reconnaissance and what the Greek company calls “high value targets”. 

 

A grant agreement for 9.7 million euros, which was approved, last July, will secure the funding for the production of the drone.

 

The grant was part of the European Defence Industrial Development Program.

 

   

Friday, 26 February 2021

NEW INTERESTING RECIPES


                                           ROAST CHICKEN WITH POTATOE


6 chicken drumsticks, placed n a bowl, covered with milk and refrigerated overnight

2 cups dried breadcrumbs mixed with

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

1 kg (2 lb) potatoes, peeled and cubed

3 carrots, scraped  and cubed

Salt and freshly  ground black pepper to taste

Olive oil

Butter

 

Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) and place the potatoes and carrots in a Pyrex, season to taste and drizzle with olive oil.

 

Remove the drumsticks from the milk and roll in seasoned breadcrumbs.  Place over the potatoes dot with butter and bake for 30 minutes until crisp and golden.

 

                                            

                                               MINCED MEAT ROLL


Ingredients:

1 kg (2 lb) minced meat

4 thick slices of bread soaked in milk and squeezed dry

3 eggs

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 cup grated cheese

½ cup chopped ham

 

2 tbsp olive oil

750 ml (1 ½ cups) white wine

750 ml (3 cups) thick tomato juice

1 tbs or more sugar according to the acidity of the tomato juice

 1 tbsp mustard with honey

 

Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F).

 

Place all the ingredients for the roll in a bowl and mix well together.  Place on a cling film and shape into a roll and refrigerate for one hour.  Then sauté it on all sides in olive oil, pour the wine over and when it evaporates stir in the tomato juice. Cover with baking parchment and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. 

 

 

                                             SPINACH AND LEEK STEW





1 kg (2 lb) spinach, leaves only, trimmed and chopped

4 leeks, halved lengthwise, thoroughly washed and chopped

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

3 tbsp olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

250 ml (1 cup) dry white wine

500 ml (2 cups) thick tomato juice

2 cups Kalamata olives

 

2 cups rice

1 litre (4 cups) tasty chicken or vegetable stock

A few saffron filaments

1 tbsp butter

2 tbsp grated Parmesan or more

Freshly ground black pepper

 

First, prepare the vegetable stew.  Sauté the onion and leeks in olive oil until the onion becomes translucid.  Pour in the white wine and the tomato juice and garlic, season to taste and simmer gently until the vegetables are tender.  10 minutes before the cooking time is over stir in the spinach. 

 

Meanwhile, prepare the rice.  Bring the stock to the boil add the saffron and rice and simmer gently, until the rice has absorbed all the stock then stir in the butter.

 

Serve the rice and the vegetable stew sprinkled with Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper.  

 

 

                                                COURGETTES BAKE



A delightful first dish.


5 eggs

150 g (1 cup) self-raising flour

375 g (         courgette, grated

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped

200 g (         lean bacon rashers, finely chopped

1 cup grated cheese

Freshly ground black pepper 

A little salt if necessary


Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F) and butter a Pyrex dish.  Beat the eggs in a large bowl and add the flour, courgettes, onion, bacon and cheese and season with black pepper but be sparing with the salt.  Pour into the prepared dish and bake for 30 minutes until completely cooked.  



                                          PASTA WITH MEAT SAUCE


1 1/2 kg (3 lb) veal

1 packet of thick macaroni


Sauce:

Olive oil

4 large onions, peeled and grated 

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

3 carrots, peeled and grated

3 large tomatoes, halved, deseeded, grated, skins discarded

1 tsp sugar or more according to the acidity of the tomatoes

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp thinly grated ginger

1 celery stalk, threaded and finely chopped

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

250 ml (1 cup) dry white wine 

Grated cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and cook it in olive oil on all sides.  Then add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion becomes translucent.  Pour in the wine, and when the alcohol evaporates stir in grated ginger and carrot and simmer for a few minutes.  Then add the cinnamon stick and bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 2 minutes more.


Meanwhile, boil the macaroni in salted water until cooked, sprinkle with 1 tbsp olive oil and swirl the saucepan. 


Serve the macaroni in a large dish, covered with the meat sauce and sprinkled with the grated cheese of your choice. 


 

                                                     SIRLOIN HOT POT



2 tbsp olive oil

120 g (4 oz) sliced mushrooms

5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tbsp grated ginger

1 lt (4 cups) of beef broth

3 tbsp soy sauce

Freshly ground pepper to taste and a very little salt if necessary 

360 g (12 oz) steak very thinly sliced

1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

3 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced

1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper


Saute the mushrooms and garlic in olive oil, add the ginger and cook for 2 minutes more and set aside.  


Meanwhile, cook the steak in olive oil until slightly coloured.  Then combine the mushroom and steak mixtures and pour the broth, soy sauce, and ground black pepper over, cover the saucepan and simmer gently until the meat and mushrooms are cooked.  Ten minutes before the cooking is done add the cucumbers and the spring onions.  Taste and add the Cayenne pepper and a little salt if necessary. 


Serve with basmati rice and lime wedges.


 

 

   

 


 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, 25 February 2021

THE ANCIENT AGORA OF ATHENS

 

                         


The Agora was the centre of ancient Athens.  It was the centre of political, administrative, commercial and social activities.  It was also the religious, cultural and judicial centre. 


                                                                Solon

The Agora was incessantly inhabited in all periods of the city’s history.  It was a residential and burial area as early as the Late Neolithic Period (3000 BC).  In the early 6th century BC, during the time of Solon, the Agora became a public area.






After a series of repairs and remodellings it reached its final rectangular shape in the 2nd century BC.  Extensive building activity occurred after the serious damage made by the Persians in 480-479 BC, by the Romans in 89 BC, while after the Slavic invasion in 580 AD it was abandoned. 

 



From the Byzantine period until after 1834, when Athens became the capital  of the independent Greek state the Agora became again a residential area.

 

The first excavation campaigns were carried out by the Greek Archaeological Society in 1859-1912 and by the German Archaeological Society 1896-1897. In 1890-91, a deep trench cut out for the Athens-Piraeus Railway brought to light extensive remains of ancient buildings.   In 193, the American School of Classical Studies started systematic excavations with the support of J. Rockefeller and continued until 1941.  Work was resumed in 1945, after the end of World War II and is still continuing   In order tom to excavate the whole area it was necessary to demolish around 400 modern buildings covering the whole area  of 12 hectares. 


                                                         Aghioi Apostoli

During the 19th Century the four colossal figures of Giants and Tritons at the facade of the Gymnasium were restored by the Greek Archaeological Society.  In the years 1953-1956 the Stoa of Attalos was reconstructed and became a museum and in  the same period the Byzantine church of Aghioi Apostoloi, which was built around 1000 AD was restored by the American School of Athens.


 


Between 1972-1973 restoration and preservation work was carried out at the Hephaesteion, the area was cleaned up of the vegetation and he roof was repaired, in 1978 by the Greek Archaeological Service  

 

      


    


Wednesday, 24 February 2021

RECIPES


                       WATER BISCUITS WITH CRÈME FRAICHE AND CAVIAR


It is very easy to prepare this elegant hors-d’oeuvre.  One could use mini-tartlets, blini or any other kind of biscuits as a base.

 

12 mini water biscuits

6 tbsp crème fraiche

2 tbsp Beluga caviar

2 tbsp thinly snipped  chives

Snipped dill

 

Arrange the biscuits on a pretty dish.  Pipe ½ a teaspoon of crème fraiche on the middle of each biscuit.  Spoon ½ tsp of caviar on top, garnish with chives and dill and serve immediately.

 

 

                                 FIGS WITH BACON AND RED PEPPER FLAKES

This is a fabulous appetiser.

 

6 tbsp cream cheese, whipped

8 ripe figs, halved lengthwise

150 g (5 oz) lean bacon rashers cut into pieces

3 tbsp Greek honey

2 tbsp tarragon vinegar

½ tsp red pepper flakes


Cook the bacon, over medium heat, stirring often, until brown and crispy.  Pat dry with kitchen paper and transfer to a small dish.


Discard all but one tbsp of the bacon fat from the frying pan, add the honey, swirl to mingle and simmer for 1 minute over medium heat.  Then add the figs, cut side down, swirling the pan occasionally, until the figs are cooked and caramelised.  Pour in the vinegar and the cooking juices, stir and barely simmer until the sauce reduces and becomes syrupy.   


  Arrange the figs, cut side up, on a serving dish.  Spoon a little cream cheese over each fig, place pieces of crispy bacon over, and drizzle with syrup.  Serve sprinkled with pepper flakes.  

 


 

                                 FILLET OF SOLE AND SHRIMPS AU GRATIN  


 A delicious first dish

1 ¼ k (2 ½ lb) sole fillets, washed, patted dry and sprinkled with salt

250 g (½ lb) shrimps, deveined, thoroughly washed and patted dry

250 g (½ lb) mushrooms, trimmed, sliced and sauteed in olive oil and sprinkled with salt

8-10 slices of Gruyere or any other yellow cheese

Bechamel sauce (see recipe below)

 

BECHAMEL SAUCE:

2 tbsp butter

1 bay leaf

2 tbsp plain flour

250 ml (1 cup) hot milk and the liquid from the sole and shrimps

125 ml (½ cup) cream

4 eggs separated, white whipped to soft peaks with a pinch of salt

Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

 

Boil the sole fillets in a little water until they flake when tested with a fork and remove from the pan.  Reserve the cooking liquid.

 

Cook the shrimps in a little water, a knob of butter, a small sprig of rosemary until tender and sprinkle with salt.  Also, reserve the cooking liquid from the shrimps.

 

For the bechamel sauce, melt the butter, add the bay leaf, sift in the flour and cook stirring for 4-5 minutes to prevent the taste of raw flour.  Then pour in the hot milk and the cooking liquids from the sole and shrimps  and simmer, stirring constantly until the sauce boils and thickens. 

 

Then mix the egg yolks with the cream and stir into the sauce.  Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.  Discard the bay leaf and add ¼ of the whipped egg whites into the sauce to lighten it a little then very gently fold in the remaining egg whites.

 

Spoon half the bechamel in a buttered baking dish. Place the fish, shrimps and mushrooms evenly over and cover with the cheese slices.  Top with the remaining bechamel, brush with egg wash, dot with butter and bake in an oven preheated to 180 C (350 F) for 30 minutes until the au gratin puffs and is golden in colour.   

 

 

                                          MOUSSAKA WITH CHESTNUTS


 

An interesting, tasty fist dish.

 

1250 g (2 ½ lb) chestnuts, roasted, peeled and sprinkled with salt

750 g (1 ½ lb) minced meat

3 tbsp butter or more, divided

1 onion, peeled and grated

1 carrot, peeled and grated

125 ml (½ cup) dry white wine

500 g (2 cups) tomato juice

1 tsp of sugar or more according to the acidity of the tomato juice 

60 g (2 oz) pine nuts, toasted

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Chicken or vegetable stock lightly salted

 

First sauté the minced meat in butter with the grated onion and carrot, stirring until the meat changes colour and is no longer lumpy.  Pour in the wine and cook for a few minutes until the alcohol evaporates.  Then add the tomato juice and enough chicken or vegetable stock to cover the meat and season with salt, pepper and sugar to taste.  Place the lid on the saucepan, lower the heat, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked and dry.  Finally, stir in the toasted pine nuts.  Preheat oven tom180 C (350 F).

 

To assemble the dish, first, place half the chestnuts in a buttered Pyrex dish.  Spoon the minced meat over, cover with the remaining chestnuts, brush with soft butter and pour enough stock to cover.  Wrap the dish with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes or until the chestnuts are tender and the moussaka is dry enough to be cut into pieces.

 

Serve with mashed potatoes  or rice and a green salad. 

 

 

 

  


Tuesday, 23 February 2021

RUBOLOULEV TO TURN SKORPIOS INTO A DAVOS-LIKE GROUND




 Dimitry Roubelouev's plan to transform the island of Skorpios island, in the Ionian Sea, into a super luxurious tourism complex has entered the final stage. 



The Russian tycoon's ambition for the island formerly owned by the Onassis family, however, go much further than that. 


Besides the tourism infrastructure of luxury accommodation and sports facilities being planned, the Russian billionaire tries to create Davos-like standers allowing to host high-level conference events. The cost of staying at the new Skorpios will reach 1 million euros a week.  


  

                                                    Aris and Jasckie Onassis

Aristotle  Onassis bought Skopios in 1963 for 3.5 million drachmas or what should be today 12.500 dollars today He imported sand and trees to the island and hosted glamorous parties there.


                                            The Onassis House at Skorpios 



Monday, 22 February 2021

GREECE AND SPAIN DISCUSS COOPERATION IN CULTURE


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The Greek and Spanish and the European Union Flags

Greece and Spain made plans for future cooperation in culture, including joint digital exhibitions, the Minister of Culture of Greece, Lina Mendoni, announced after her meeting with the Ambassador of Spain to Greece, Enrique Viguera.


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                                  Ambassador Viguera and Minister Mendoni 


Mendoni and Viguera discussed a series of common initiatives focused on anniversary projects for the 500-anniversary of the Magellan-Elcano voyage, the 450-year anniversary of the battle of Lepanto (Naupactos) and the 1821- 2021 bicentennial events in Greece. 




In this direction, Viguera told the Minister of a Spanish film production, in progress, featuring the lives  of two important personalities of Greek descent: Seafarers Juan de Fuco (Ioannis Focas) and Fransisco Albo from Chios, a member of the Magellan-Elcano mission.  The first explored the coast of Canada and the latter participated in Magellan's crew on the first discovery voyage o the planet. A program is planned to promote the unknown Spanish supporters of the Greek War of Independence.  

(Unfortunately I could not find a picture of Fransisco Alba from  Chios)


                                         The  Former Royal Estate in Tatoi




On her part, Mrs Mendoni informed the ambassador of actions to promote the royal estate at Tatoi into a touristic and cultural centre.  The project is of particular interest to Spain, as Sophia, the former queen of Spain and wife of King Juan-Carlos was born there. 


Unfortunately, a joint project between the archaeological museums of Athens and Madrid had to be cancelled due to COVID-19. 

  

Sunday, 21 February 2021

RECIPES FOR NEW GOURMET SALADS

                                                      PASTA SALAD



500 g (1 lb) bow pasta, boiled "al dente" in salted water, strained and drizzled with olive oil


2 tbsp olive oil

2 spring onions, trimmed and chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

10 baby tomatoes

1 courgette, trimmed and cubed

1 aubergine, peeled and cubed

250 g (1/2 lb) pleurotus mushrooms, trimmed and very finely chopped

4 rashers of lean bacon, fat discarded, very finely chopped


125 ml (1/2 cup) white wine

1 orange zest and juice

Salt and pepper to taste

A tiny pinch of Cayenne pepper 

1/2 cup of chopped parsley


Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil until almost soft. Then add the baby tomatoes, courgette, aubergine, mushrooms and bacon and stir and cook for 6 minutes.  Pour in the wine and cook until the alcohol evaporates.  Add the orange juice and zest and season with salt pepper and Cayenne pepper to taste.  Simmer gently until the ingredients are thoroughly cooked,


Serve the pasta with the vegetable sauce and sprinkle with chopped parsley.  



                                  BEETROOT WALNUT AND FETA SALAD



1/2 cup walnuts

2 large beetroots, trimmed and  boiled in salted water and peeled, greens reserved

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp tarragon vinegar

120 g (4 oz) feta, crumbled

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 cups of reserved beet greens, finely chopped

2 tbsp of snipped chives


Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F), place the walnuts on a tin and bake for 10 minutes and set aside to cool. 


Slice the beetroots and place them in a bowl with the chopped greens, feta season with black pepper and a little salt,  if necessary.  Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar and toss thoroughly.     Serve sprinkled with walnuts and snipped chives.



                                                     GREEK SALAD



240 g (6 oz) salami cut into bite-sized pieces

240 g (6 oz) smoked meat cut into bite-sized pieces 

240 g (6 oz) feta,crumbled

240 g (6 oz) Graviera from Crete finely chopped

2 large tomatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

4 red peppers, baked, deseeded and sliced

1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

3 tbsp olive oil whipped with

1 tbsp tarragon vinegar

1/4 cup shredded basil leaves


Combine the salami, smoked meat, feta and graviera in a salad bowl, add the tomatoes, red peppers, and Kalamata olives. 


Drizzle with whipped olive oil and vinegar, toss and serve sprinkled with chopped basil. 

 


                                    ROCKET PEACHES AND FETA SALAD




1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, chopped

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp tarragon vinegar

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp honey

Salt and freshly n ground black pepper to taste

2 bunches of rocket, shredded (6 cups)

1 peach, peeled and sliced

60 g (2 oz) sharp feta cheese cut into chunks


In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey and salt and pepper to taste,  Add the rocket, peach, feta and pinenuts, toss to coat and serve.  



                       AVOCADO AND TUNNY FISH AND RED PEPPER SALAD




360 g (12 oz) tunny fish cooked and drained

1 tbsp mayonnaise

3 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped and more for garnish

1/2 red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped

2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and finely chopped

1/4 cup of olive oil whipped with

A dash of balsamic vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Stir together the tunny fish, mayonnaise, spring onions, chopped avocado, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, season accordingly and toss.  Serve sprinkled with extra black pepper and the reserved spring onions. 



                                                      SALAD NICOISE



A delicious salad from the south of France

1 lettuce, washed trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces

1 endive, washed trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces

1 kg (2 lb) baby potatoes, boiled in salted water, drained and thickly diced

500 g (1 lb) French beans, boiled in salted water, placed in icy water drained, patted dry and cut into pieces

1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced


2 hard-boiled eggs. shelled and quartered


Dressing:

2 anchovies

1 cup olive oil

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 liqueur glass balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp honey

Freshly ground black pepper to taste 

(Be sparing with the  salt due to the anchovies) 


Blend all the dressing ingredients until well combined and thick.  Place all the salad ingredients, except the eggs,  in a large bowl, drizzle with dressing, toss thoroughly and garnish with the boiled eggs and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.



   

 



                                                      A Delft Salad Bowl