Just back from a very relaxing week in Paralio Astros in Greece - Ian's 4th visit, my 5th. I never thought I'd be one of those people to keep going back to the same place ( after all we do more exotic trips too like to Iran ) but it's a real stress-buster. Weather was a bit more variable than in past years but we walked up to the castle and had a few visits to the beach ( more about what we did for the 'World Beach Project' when our efforts are posted on the V&A website). The storm clouds made dramatic backdrop to drinks on our balcony and made challenging subjects for watercolours (I painted every day). The major expedition of our visit was to the ancient town of Argos, to revisit the small but interesting museum and stock up on supplies at the weekly market. To fit everything in we got the 6.45 bus (groan) and having some time to kill after our purchasing before the 13.00 bus back we went to the ampitheatre. As storm clouds gathered and thunder rumbled we headed back - just as I stepped on the stage there was a massive clap of thunder and lightning strike (Zeus trying to tell me something....?). Luckily we just made it to the cake shop that acts as the bus station when the heavens opened. The apartment we stay in at 'Irini Filoxenia' is self catering and although we usually eat out at tavernas in the evening, we fix our own breakfast and lunches and cook a ratatouille type dish on evening.
So we went to Argos and we bought to take home : Metaxa and local variant Atreus (Ian's secret gravy ingredient); 2 large tubs of honey still with bits in; interesting herb and vegetable stock cubes ; huge scoop oforgegano . To cook with we got 'horta'(greens')- nice steamed and served cold with lemon and olive oil dressing besides the ingredients for the briam (tomatoes, peppers, stripey aubergines and courgettes, tomato puree)
Unlike in the UK, the tastiest tomatoes are the largest and knobbliest!
Stripey aubergines are a local speciality (they even have an aubergine festival in Leonidas down the coast). I was experimenting sketching with my new 'Inktense' coloured pencils, the 'shiraz' hue is just right. It's a while since I've done any still life and I made the mistake of concentrating on the pattern of stripes on the surface rather than the form.
I did better with the courgette but will need to add some different yellow pencils to the selection.