Cyprus is looking stunning. Having been back from the UK for a few weeks, we have, in travelling about the place, noticed the Spring flowers, there is a riot of yellows amid the green foliage that is carpeting the island.
This colourful countryside will be a really pretty lead up to Easter at the end of April.
Mixed in with the usual suspects there are red poppies ranging in size from very small to large. The white and yellow daisies are abundant as well as the pink flowered mallow. The giant fennel is, sadly, over represented. This invasive weed is becoming as big a problem here as the Japanese Knotweed in the UK.
You can still, if you want to, go snow-boarding up in the Troodos where the snow is persisting on the high ground. Down here in Maroni on the coast, people visiting are out and about wearing short sleeve shirts and open sandals. Such is the temperature difference!
Since we are in Lent, there are a lot of salad based dishes on offer in the restaurants and tavernas. Aimed at the orthodox Greek Cypriot, these dishes showcase a different Cypriot cuisine to the more typical meat-based dishes.
We ate out recently and embraced the opportunity to savour some new flavours. We were pleasantly surprised by the way that beetroot was used to give a novel twist to a couple of salad dishes. One based on the common red beet, reduced to a deep red gravy and the second dish included a yellow beet, sliced thin and crisp. The yellow beetroot is something of a rarity and provided a delicious counterpoint, adding a splash of yellow and red to the mixed salad.
Back to the flowers, the poppy, when it produces seed, will be harvested and the seeds will be added to seven other seeds to be used in the making of ‘octaspero’.
Octaspero is an eight grain bread, you can order it from our local baker at Zygi Kalavassos, truly a wonderful accompaniment to salads and also to bean puree dishes.
There really is a lot to see and do in and around Maroni at this time of year.