Friday, October 17, 2014

Towards the Sky


There is a place, so unbelievably beautiful, so perfectly peaceful, 
and just as remote, that takes my breath away, every time I visit it.



To get there, you need to make your way towards the sky, 
into 'cloud country'. Following the curvy, cliffy roads, 

Endemic to Crete, camouflaged Kri-kri lounge between boulders. How many can you see?

 you'll soon come upon Crete's cutest mountain climbers, 
 the famous Kri-kri goats- that is, if you can spot them! 

Nuns greet visitors at the entrance of the Monastery of Savvathiana, Crete.

 At 440 metres above the Aegean, nestled among hilly meadows,
 you will find yourselves at the Monastery of Savvathiana,
 whose history dates back to the tenth century,


with a striking, cave-like temple dedicated to
 Saint Anthony, by its founder, monk Savvatios. 


The monastery, which operates as a nunnery today, is
situated in a richly wooded valley, near a ravine.
 

Here, an abundance of flowers, fruit trees, and vegetables seem 
to thrive effortlessly, but upon closer observation, it is evident  
 that this little oasis is the result of the nuns' hard work.


As I wrap myself around the luxury of the landscape, I feel
blessed by its holy spirit, which warmly covers me in light.


Thanks for visiting, and
 have a lovely weekend!


Monday, October 13, 2014

Al Fresco with Friends


On Saturday, our friends and neighbours, Jocelyn and Andy, 
hosted a wonderful lunch at their beautiful vacation 
property, just down the road from Poppy View.


Ray-Ban ready, Poppy gets pampered by her pals.

A trusty ally, the weather allowed for a fun, al fresco event, 
as delicious food was enjoyed by all, under the Cretan sun.

 

The complex of three traditional style villas, are
 available for vacation rental throughout the year,

 

and provide magnificent views of 
both the mountains and the sea.


High above valleys of vineyards and olive groves, and
nestled between still summer blooms and thick greenery,
 guests indulged in Cretan specialties and lively conversation.


 Thanks to Jocelyn and Andy for a lovely afternoon.
How was your weekend? Still dining al fresco?
Thanks for visiting and have a wonderful week!


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Friday, October 10, 2014

Patina: Prêt-à-Porter, Fall 2014


 Having resumed my daily afternoon walks, I am becoming reacquainted with the beautiful patinas that cover some
 of the unique architecture throughout the village.

Pomegranates, posing for their annual portrait in our garden.

Of course, these finishes aren't only restricted to buildings, 
since they also polish the leathery skin of robust berries -
  did you know that technically, pomegranates are berries?! 

Heavy ornaments, pomegranates bend branches, bringing to mind the decorated boughs of Christmas trees.

A symbol of fertility and abundance in many cultures, the sweet
 seeds of this fleshy fruit are rich in vitamin C, dietary fibers, and
 a host of other beneficial traits when consumed regularly.


Trying to stay on trend, this tropical palm shows off its fall 
foliage, in honey hued stripes, and burnt, beige-y neutrals. 

In the spotlight, maple leaves coated in copper, sparkle in a glittery glow.

Our sensitive maple, having struggled with summer heat, 
is deservedly, the star of the season. Taking centre stage,
 it steals the scene from co-stars green, be it even,
 for its fleeting, fifteen minutes of fame.



Thanks for visiting and
have a lovely weekend!
 A Happy Thanksgiving to
all my friends back home!

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Norrtälje, Sweden: Coastal Charm


Norrtälje, Sweden, was recently introduced to me
 by my sweet friend, Kiki, who hails from the
beautiful Scandinavian country, herself.


 This cobblestoned square, complete with
cute, barn red shops and quaint cafes, could
easily be straight out of a storybook.

source

Cottages covered in mustard yellow and ketchup red, are 
the perfect condiments to this scene of pickle green.


Streams flow through neighbourhood nooks; the sound of 
running water, both soothing and rejuvenating to the senses.


Clearly,
pretty and picturesque places abound
   in this charming, coastal, Swedish town.
Hoping to see it in person, one day!

source

 Thanks for visiting!
A big welcome to my new followers,
and special thanks to Kiki for her pics!
Have a wonderful week!


Friday, October 3, 2014

As Promised


Although autumn officially arrived on September 23rd,
here on the island, it has only been spotted a few times.


If you look closely, you could probably catch a glimpse 
of it here and there, among the still summer scenery.


On occasion, you may even taste it. Sweet or savoury, 
fall flavours seem to be infused with seasonings of 
sentiment and nostalgia, that keep smiles simmering,
long after the dinner dishes are washed and put away.


It's a transitional time, when summer brights mingle with
muddy ochres, creating a canvas of colourful chit-chat.


For my garden, here in pastoral Crete, autumn brought a
second bloom of scented, white stars, promising more
from the fruity bulbs of summer, and before winter's debut. 

And speaking of promises...


Ingredients:

For the cake:
5 eggs, separated
1 1/4 cup sugar
4 tbsp brandy or cognac,
dissolved in I tbsp baking powder
Zest of one lemon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup fine semolina 
1 cup chopped walnuts

For the syrup:
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup water
1 piece of lemon peel
1 small stick cinnamon


Directions: 
 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour a 9 x 12 rectangular
 baking pan or a similarly sized round pan.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, 
beat egg whites until stiff. Fold in sugar. 
Add yolks, (softly beaten), and the remaining cake
 ingredients and mix until just incorporated.
Pour batter into pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until 
toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 

 When cake is almost cool, remove from pan and
prepare the syrup. Place ingredients in a medium saucepan 
and bring to a boil. Continue boiling for 2 minutes. 
Remove from heat. Remove cinnamon stick and 
lemon peel and carefully pour syrup over cake.

Enjoy!!

Thanks for visiting,
and Happy October!
xo

Monday, September 29, 2014

Elementary, My Dear Watson

Undercover Cat, Prince Richard, (P.R., for short), prepares for duty.

Good Day, Poppy View Readers, 

P.R., here, Private InvestiCATor, at your service. Poppy asked me to take you on a little tour of the garden, to reveal the identities of those puzzling personalities she introduced you to a few days ago.  Just before you got here, a little bird, (my trusty, canary confidant), told me that Poppy's previous post had left you rather perplexed! Rest assured, you're in good hands. After all, I live with the woman, (and between you and me, she's a bit of an enigma, herself!)...Ahem...Right this way, ladies, watch your step...
 

Let's take another look at that red striped sack, shall we? 
Upon closer inspection, it becomes evident that the bag
 is densely packed with some sort of egg shaped pieces. 

Walnuts, drying in the Cretan sun.

Kudos to those who guessed 'walnuts', since the
  answer was practically dropped into your lap, with
 the phrase, 'a hard nut to crack', in the description.

Walnut harvest: a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it!

Have you ever seen walnuts in their fruity form? 
These were manually shaken from a few trees that Poppy's 
mother-in-law planted many years ago. They were collected, hulled, rinsed several times in cold water, and finally left in the sun to dry completely. Poppy has promised to make a traditional walnut cake; (after all, it's the least she could do for teasing you so, wouldn't you agree?).

Late September, 2014

These raddish lookalikes, which some of you referred 
to as 'thingamabobs', and 'thingamajics', are actually...

 

 budding  flowers! I, myself would
 have guessed some kind of tropical fruit.

Far left: star jasmine, mid July 2014

Yet, here they are; sweetly scented stars  among a 
herbaceous cast of sage, rosemary, thyme, mint, laurel,
 and lavender. Yes, Trachelospermum jasminoides, 
more commonly known as star jasmine, is what those 
carbon copy, kumquat-y sprouts eventually bloom into.
 And soon, they'll honour us with an encore of their
  delicate beauty and signature fragrance.

A coil of courgettes curls itself around quinces and plums.

 If you perceived these bumpy, lime green spheres to
 be quinces, then you are correct! Here on the island, they
 are made into marmalade, compotes, and other sweet treats.



And speaking of treats, here's a peek at Poppy's peace offering. 
She's confident all will be forgiven after the first bite!
 
P.R. plays Sherlock

 Well, it's been swell hanging out with you gals!
That Poppy's sure got some real sweet pals! 

xo
P.R.

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