Friday 31 January 2014

4 fabulous Feta favorites - recipe

Yup, I love my paneer, my gouda and even my brunost, but when it comes to cheese, my weakness has a name. Hello Feta! Feta, the taste of Greek summer, of fresh tiropita and of a big salad with feta on. That creamy texture and slightly salt&sour flavor. And it goes with anything. It can spice up a plain omelet, play main star in a salad or renew your pizza completely!

But be aware that only feta is feta, because since 2002, feta is a protected name. According to EU legislation, only those cheeses produced in a traditional way in some areas in Greece, are made from sheep's milk (or a mix of sheep and goat milk) may bear the name feta. To my joy I get feta here in India, too. Here are my favorite ways to use the cheese - maybe something for the upcoming weekend? I hope you like it!

1. Real Greek salad needs it's feta. Make a big bowl of salad, and top it off with big chunks. Sprinkle over some olive oil and oregano, and enjoy! Those bits of red tomatoes, olives, cucumber, onion and feta is just Greece on a plate:-)

2. Watermelon and feta is a perfect combo! In India I am so lucky to get my favorite fruit - watermelon- all year round. I put some bits of watermelon on a plate and add some crumbled feta. If you want to fancy it up, sprinkle over some balsamic vinegar, and pines or nuts.

3. Tirokafteri/tirosalata This is a dip often used, like the tzatziki, as a side-dish, with salad and bread. But where the tzatziki will cool you down, the tirokafteri will heat you up! We make it like this: 
You need: 

200 gr feta
1 dl yogurt
1 finely chopped red chili
2 tsp olive oil, a sprinkle of pepper

You do: 
Mash the feta. I like it to be a bit crumbly, so I do it with a fork, but you can also put it all in a food-processor, and get a more smooth dip. Stir in the other ingredients.    

4. Bread with feta and tomatoes Now, this is a perfect dish, if you have some old, dry bread lying around! You can by this recipe transform it into an impressive starter, a side dish or just a snack. Tempting? This is how we do it:
You need: 
4 slices of bread
2 dl chopped tomatoes
2 dl crumbled feta
olive oil, oregano, black pepper

You do:
Place the bread slices on a baking tray. Add the chopped tomatoes, and put the feta on top of that. Pour over olive oil and sprinkle over some oregano and some pepper. Bake in the oven until the bread is light brown. About 180'C for 10 minutes should be ok, but keep an eye on them!

Bread with tomatoes and feta, a dash of tirokafteri, and some green salad with olives. Yum! 

PS! Did you know there is a special song about feta? Oh, yeah! Kind of a parody where they are singing about all the delicious dishes they can make with feta. Have a look at the feta-hymn here:  

So, hope you got inspired, dear reader? Whether you will make a feta favorite or not, I hope you will have a smashing weekend! Have a great one, and take care! All the best from Mumbai! 

Tuesday 28 January 2014

- What about your 2014 resolutions?

- What is the status? My neighbor looks at me. - Huh? - Resolutions, she adds, - how is it going with your New Year's resolutions? - Eh, I didn't have any this year. - Why? You should have. It is good for you. You can exercise more, lose some weight. It is good! I do!

So, yes, I ran in to my neighbor, on my way home from meditation. Which is, by the way, a habit now. Meditation. I feel calm and relaxed when I wander off in my post-meditation bubble... remember? We do yoga, talk and meditate. Today we touched on happiness. What do we need to be happy? Many of us started out with a pretty long list... but it kind of diminished as we went along. Because in the end of the day - not much! I like the idea of happiness as something you have inside you, and nobody can take that away - unless you let them. So: own you own happiness, guard it, nurture it - I was telling myself, and whops - there she was, my neighbor, with her Resolutions.

So, perfect timing for a status quo, I figured! What have I done the last year? What have I done that I want to do more of, and that makes me happy? Better late than never... here are some reflections from my side for 2014:

1. Do good for others. 
I will continue to volunteer at the NGO. I am grateful for being there, and hope that some of the kids and families will make a better future. It can happen. I was sitting in on a presentation, listening to some proud women talking about their accomplishments. With a little support, they have changed their lives for the better.

2. A body in balance
In 2013 I discovered the joy of meditation. I will continue to do yoga and meditation, to exercise and to discover more of the Indian kitchen. I say continue because India has taught me well, but I am still a humble amateur learner:-)

3. Be curious, explore and learn new things
This year I would like to improve my photography skills and maybe give Hindi a second chance? (That is a Maybe) I am also planning some travels with my family and friends, to places I have never been before. I want to strive to always keep my mind curious, open and positive.

4. Nurture my cultural side
Reading, writing, taking pictures.... art, music, theater..... I have learnt a lot about India from cultural events, and no reason to stop now, right? And since I am on a quest to nurture my cultural side - perfect timing that these two events are coming up shortly:

5. Be in the moment
I have to conclude with my mantra! Live here and now, dear reader and enjoy the little things. Whether it is reading a letter from a dear childhood friend, making pancakes to my teens on a Tuesday, see the flowers on my balcony blossom, smile, feel the breeze in my hair...

So, did you make any New Year's resolutions this year, dear reader? How is it going?

I hope you have had a great start of the week! I am off to show my neighbor this impressive 5-points list. He he:-) Let's see what she will say:-)

Wish you a wonderful evening from Mumbai!

Friday 24 January 2014

On the road - and back again

On the road again. Going places that I've never been. Seeing things that I may never see again. And I can't wait to get on the road again.  

I am laughing from my car's backseat - where I have been stuck in the Mumbai traffic for some hours. And then Willie Nelson's On the road again fills the air. Perfect timing! Hilarious! Because yes, dear reader, I still spend a huge amount of my time in the car. Status quo since Driving Miss Daisy, in other words. I still sit there with my mouth half - open: taking in the scenery outside. I still try to be patient. I still try to think positive. Note my "try".. sometimes with success and sometimes without..

Being used to the Mumbai streets packed with people, rickshaws, cars, buses, people, cows, trucks, motorcycles and people again - imagine my shock when we discovered the new highway (going north -south - over Chembur) - and (hold on) : we are sometimes The.Only.Car.On.The.Road!! In Mumbai! I can still hardly believe it. But I am loving it. Here is the proof! See: Alone On The Road:  

Oh. One more car!  

The view from the new highway is also quite..something... Just have a look: 

So, in company with this fellow......

.... I made it to where I was suppose to go: markets, lunch with a friend, and strawberry-shopping...

  ... and back home again ... cruising the road with On The Road Again - which of course now is stuck on my mind the rest of the day!  Time for a quick bite on the balcony in sunny weather! And: Let The Weekend Begin!
Grilled brown bread with tomatoes, crumbled feta, oregano with  tirosalata and salad:-)  
And dessert...:-) 

Have a great weekend, dear reader! All the best! 

Tuesday 21 January 2014

COD Heaven II - my online favorites

If you are in India...and you have unexpected guests...and your fridge is rather empty - noooo worries! You see: - a full meal, wine and some dessert - it is all just a phone - call away. Within a small hour (+-) it will all be delivered right at your doorstep. Oh yes. You can pick up your phone and order food, drinks, dessert, medicine (!) - almost anything, and pay COD - Cash On Delivery when they show up with your goodies. I early on blogged about COD heaven, being a very impressed newly-arrived expat in India!

If you do not have to feed some hungry unexpected guests right away, and have a bit more time, the online-order shops are really great. You book online, and they deliver to your doorstep. I have gathered a short list of some of my own favorite online-shops. As mentioned in my Christmas shopping tale: what I write about are just my personal choices - not a complete guide. I like:

  • Danzbread - for fresh dark bread delivered every morning 
  • Foodesto - for gourmet food, cold cuts, cheese etc 
  • Localbanya - for all kinds of groceries 
  • Organic Garden - for organic fruit, vegetables, rice etc
In addition to these, there are a lot of online shops for ... - well, anything you can think of. In fact, you may not need to leave your house at all! But a bit boring, eh? A stroll in the markets or to the local shops has it's charm - and you don't wanna miss out on having a cup of chai with some new friends, do you? Well, you know that I don't! So, let me round this up by sharing some colorful moments from - just walking around:

So, as you may have guessed, dear reader: I say yes, please - to both. Yes to the amazing online-shops of India and yes to the fun of exploring the local markets. Do you have any favorites?

I hope you have had a good start of the week, and wish you a nice evening from Mumbai!

Thursday 16 January 2014

So, what's new in Mumbai?

It is always nice to come home, don't you think? Home to the known and familiar, home to your friends and family, to your clothes, your things and your own bed? But for us, the term "home" is a bit blurry. We went home for vacation: Christmas in Norway and New Year's in Greece, and it feels like home in both places - but Mumbai does too! I might have a leg in each country, or a piece of my heart? Home is where your heart is..

Yes, dear reader, we are back home in Mumbai. And as always: exciting to find out what's new? Has anything big happened while we were away? Yup. A few things. The first one was right there when we landed. Our airport - remember my Chit Chats at Chhatrapati - will no longer be the same. The new T2 - Mumbai Airport Terminal, inaugurated by the Prime Minister just a few days before we came back, will open - supposedly on 12 February. From the outside it certainly looks impressive: big and bright. It will be one of the largest in the world, and the use of Indian art will make it a very unique one. I do wish for a user-friendly airport, and it will be exciting to explore it. Have a look at YouTube here. A sneak peek:

My American friend's first response to my sowhatsnew was: - Taco Bell is here! Mumbai Boss was, as usual, on it, and conducted an anonymous test. Our Greece-loving neighbor was more excited about a new film coming up on the movies from tomorrow. As Hollywood is still inspired by Greek Mythology - we can enjoy the glory of The Legend of Hercules. The neighbor is ready and so are we, and The Greek will as usual - a bit skeptical - check out if Hollywood got it right..Ah, the joy of cinemaing in India! 

As for my own news, I was just at a launch. You see, last year I volunteered for the Communication team of Mumbai Connections (organisation for expats in Mumbai). We spent a lot of time making a new website for the organisation. Yesterday we launched the site, and it is now up and running! Check it out here.
Coming back home, my favorite part is catching up with friends. Getting their news, chatting away. And hey, what could be better than combining the catch-up with checking out another newcomerLe Pain Quotidien recently opened in Powai, and is a great spot for those long catch-up lunches:

So yes, we are well back home again, and I am still updating myself on news, as you can see. I hope you are well and happy, dear reader! Stay tuned for more Mumbai tales, and take care!

Thursday 9 January 2014

My Top 5 - January in Greece

Well, even though most people choose to visit Greece in the summer, the winter can be quite pleasant too. At least here where we live, and in my bubbling joy of being here, I decided to come up with a top 5 list (!) of my favorite things! Maybe for inspiration - if you should happen to visit Greece in the winter, dear reader:-) And as for the pale promise: I didn't have to wait too long until a soft breeze of summer headed my way....

1. Alkyonides days is the name of an almost non-interrupted period of summerly days with clear blue sky, sun and warm temperatures, which occurs in January almost every year. It is a meteorological phenomenon of the central Greek climate, but also has a lot of mythology and stories connected to it.

2. Ta fota. The lights. Just as Christmas and New Year's  is over, a new big celebration comes up on the 6th of January, when the Greeks celebrate Ta fota. It is to remember the Christening of Jesus, and in a way it functions like a Christening of the new year. The fun part is when the priest throws a cross into the sea, and men and women throw themselves in the cold water to compete for catching the cross. The lucky one receives blessings, glory and fame, and also some money....
Pic from
Pic from The lucky one in Nea Peramos.
3. Coffee outside. The sun is warming, but it is not too hot, only pleasant - to gather at an outdoor cafe and catch up with family and friends. And the cafes are crowded. I don't think anything or anyone can stop the Greeks from enjoying their cold frappe, warm nes or the small Greek coffee at the cafeterias. Ever.
Cafe me gusta - our favorite cafe i Kavala:-) 
4. Basari. If you have followed my blog for a while, you will know that I have been an enthusiastic visitor at the markets in Mumbai. And I am on- in Greece too! And as always: go with the flow- do as the locals! So, wherever you see hoards of Greek women fighting over some clothes: join the party- it is bound to be a good bargain!
Only 2 euros- and one happy sales-lady
Season for mandarins now! Yummy!

5. A walk along the sea. Always a favorite of mine, but the Alkyonides days,the lack of crowds of people, tourists in combination with the magnificent light - makes it a more than just a pleasant experience in January. Peace and quiet. The sound of the waves hitting the shore. Flisvos. Love it

 Bye bye from Greece! I hope you are well and happy, dear reader - wherever you are!

Saturday 4 January 2014

A pale promise of a Greek summer

Summers in Greece are well known and highly loved - but the winters are not bad either, I tell you. Ok, the heat is not that on, the beaches are rather empty, the nature has less color, and people are gathering more inside than outside, but it is still Greece... Good company, good food, good music. Greece. The atmosphere is still here, and a promise of a new summer to come is in the air. I can feel it. And as always, walking along the sea, my favorite place, makes the feeling even more real.

The sea - still so blue, still so beautiful and still so attractive... even dressed in winter clothes, and even being a bit paler than usual. Just have a look:

Waiting for the summer to come....

And what can be better after a walk in chilly weather along the sea - than to head for one of the many tavernas along the harbor. Perfect. It is warm, lively, the company is good, the Greek music is on - and so is our appetite:
Fresh fish - koutsomoura - with lemon:-) 
Seafood and grilled fish  (like sardeles) with salad, kolokithakia, tzatziki, cheese,
fresh bread and a tiny tiny bit of ouzo?:-) 
And what do you know?  - in the pale scenery: a color explosion: orange mandarins:
For dessert-- maybe a mandarin or two?  
 Oh, yes, dear reader, the promise may be pale, but it is definitely there. And a promise is a promise. Summer will come, it is in the air. I wish you a great weekend:-) Thank you for following:-)