Those field poppies are not the ones that opium comes from. Not even those from where the little seeds come from that we use in baking.
Those ones are a highly decorative species and i remember in the university they had given us a few seeds to plant. A few years back I found some of those seeds and tried to germinate them but unfortunately nothing sprouted.
Anyway... from the petals of the plain field poppies they make a lovely syrup in France and I thought it would make a nice addition to the rest of the red recipes I have come up for the season. Around where i live there were many plants so I set out to collect some.
Which was a lot easier said than done though as do you have any idea how light those petals are? It took me a good hour to collect the 100g I needed for the recipe.
But after you harvest them then it is all easy from then on... In half an hour all is done! I have to warn you though to be thorough as there could be many little critters looking for shelter in between the petals of the poppies.
Did not really feel like making Easter cookies this year. With all that is going on around the world it really starts to affect me. And not so much the fact that we have to stay in all the time but I miss a caress and a hug. As a person I am quite tactile so...
But i got a message from my friend Afroditi and she asked me for an Easter Cookie recipe that I could have for the girl svouts of Greece. And to that I agreed at once. Of course I have a recipe for that. My mother's recipe that I had not uploaded here yet so...
I wanted to change it a bit though... Make it a bit more modern... And I did, added a lot of colour.. I thought to make them red to suite the Easter eggs and craziness, the revolution, Crist's blood. And I had some music on.. I had downloaded some Laurie Anderson tunes and it started with a favorite of mine:
"Hey little darlin, I'm comin' your way little darlin And I'll be there Just as soon as I'm all straightened out Yeah just as soon as I'm perfect"
And then came:
"When my father died we put him in the ground When my father died it was like a whole library burned down World without end remember me"
And I continued making cookies and added even more red dye..
And i remembered when i was a kid, must have been around 10. At times I would get to bed and as I was just laying there I had something like an impending doom crashing me.. I felt it coming.. "It" begins, I thought to myself and I was overwhelmed. A sadness, a feeling of helplessness. After a few minutes it would pass. Who knows what was going through my mind..
And then another favourite came up:
That reminded me of what we are doing now that we are in the house.. And as we cannot be with others we call friends on the phone and we say: Hey, hi, how are you? Stick it out, bye now.. and we promise that when all of this is over we will get together and have a drink and chat.
And of course we will not meet up, just like we did not meet up all the previous months.
At the time I put the first sheet of cookies in the oven and unfortunately the temp was too high and my cookies turned brown instead of red... brown like dust..
And fortunately the song was over to be followed by Strange Angels:
"Well it was one of those days larger than life
When your friends came to dinner And they stayed the night And then they cleaned out the refrigerator - They ate everything in sight And then they stayed up in the living room And they cried all night"
And we will have that as well! Right Andonis, Thimios, Hellen?
And then there is this other magical verse:
"Strange angels - singing just for me Old Stories - they're haunting me Big changes are coming Here they come Here they come."
And the next tray came out perfect. Pink almost and kids like. The intense of the red gave way to the beautiful pink... Changes are on to us.. But they will not be pink...
It was a few years ago when we last spent Easter in Athens, it was nice and lovely but after that the countryside won our hearts, as spring in Greece is probably the best time of the year to visit and explore.
Even the Cyclades (the islands) that we usually think of as scorched and dry and brown, during the Spring months are full of colour, beautiful rolling green hills and the scents of the herbs permeating the air as you walk among them.
It isn't strange that this time of he year, that signifies the revival of nature, is so closely related to Easter and the Resurrection.
Since Ancient Greek times and even travelling further back in history, people “killed” and resurrect their Gods…
The Greek God Dionysus died and was revived every year, another Greek demi-god Adonis, travelled to ancient Egypt where the God Osiris was killed and was resurrected and his son Oros was crucified between two thieves, the Indian God Krishna and the Persian-Indian God Mithra was born on the 25th of December by a virgin mother and so many more connections to Christ… as they both got crucified and both ascended into the heavens. And coming to the west the God Odin was crucified on the tree of life…
Some information about it all you can see here, here και here!
It is almost comical that the burial customs of Christ were not accepted by the official Christian church and were only fairly recently embedded in the rituals.
But it is not easy for church to stand up to customs going back thousands of years. It simply integrates them to it’s own rituals and moves on.
Athens is an ancient city. It’s temples and churches are numerous and in many layers and material from temples were used to build churches and so on.
It is said that at the time that the Cathedral of Athens was built, right after the second world war, the city was very poor and so there was not much funding around for the project. So they decided to demolish about 70 old churches from the Byzantine era in order to find the materials needed to finish the new Cathedral.
So the city has hundreds of churches and each church has it’s own procession of the bier (the framework holding the coffin) of Christ on Good Friday and so on the streets that night the crowds are crazy and all the processions meet up. Many Churches are in the Plaka area of Athens so that is a great place to go on that night to experience it all.
This year, with so many people leaving Athens to celebrate Easter away from the city, and add to that the beautiful weather, Athens was simply at it’s best!
We came to the centre of town on Good Friday and followed the procession at a small church built in the 11th century A.D. and after that we went around the Plaka area to visit the other churches and see the Epitaphs there adorned with flowers. We had a great time!
Next day I had organised a food tour for a group of Spanish people down town and we had a blast! Wonderful guests and was such a pleasure showing them around the city and my favourite places to grab a bite. We had a really lovely time and feels like I made some new friends!
Every day of the week before Easter, some people from the island of Naxos come to Athens to sell their wonderful products. Mostly cheeses and meat!
They set up their stalls on Miaouli str. offMonastiraki sqr. I go every year to buy my favourite cheeses from there especially the beautiful hard cheese called Arseniko. I have never bought meat from them but my friend Savvas said that I must try it next year.!
Easter Sunday we spent at home and how nice it was!
The garden was just incredible all in bloom and the mosquitos are not to be seen yet. So we set up a table there next to the pond and we had a great soup with fresh carrots, beetroot salad, a pie with wild greens and a stuffed leg of lamb with herb pesto from the garden and some peppers.
Our friend T. Had arranged for the desserts and wine and they were all fab!
Food and wine and all until late and we just had the best time!!!
The next day we went down town again and it was just super! Weather was stunning yet again and it felt great being a tourist in your own city!
So I definitely suggest that next year you stay in Athens for Easter or just visit the city!!! You will have a great time for sure!