Category Archives: Cyprus A-Z

Let’s beat the heat with watermelon treat.

What you can say about the weather in Cyprus during Summer ? It’s hot! Very hot!! Extremely hot!!! The real summer start on June, when people start to wear short, tank top and sandal or slipper. People also start to use air conditioner in the afternoon since the temperature is about 28  – 30 C (Celsius) in average. On July and August is even worst, the temperature could reach 35 – 42 C, even on the 4th week of last June, it’s 44 C in Nicosia, ooohhh… we’re melting here :(.

There are many ways to cool yourself down on hot summer day; drinking lots of water, swimming, going to the beach, etc, even some food are made to help you feel fresh and cool. Today I will share some recipes of watermelon, the king of summer fruit. We often made those during summer, because it’s very refreshing. Yes, what better than cold watermelon in the hot summer day? It’s juicy, sweet, fresh and also nutritious.

Watermelon at market

Many people think watermelon is simply water and sugar, but the fact is that watermelon contains more Lycopene than other fruit and vegetable. This powerful antioxidant helps fight heart disease and reduces cancer risk. Watermelon is also excellent source for vitamin A, C, B6 and Potasium. Continue reading

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Sweet cherry season is here !

Apples, oranges, bananas, and some other fruits never disappear in the market, you will easily find them all year round.  But that’s not applied for cherries, they only available in limited time and the peak season of cherries is in summer.

in chopping board

Even though in season, cherries are still relatively pricey. Here in Nicosia, the price is around € 4-8 per kg, depending on its quality.

cherries in boxes

How to pick the fresh cherry ? 

Glossy, no blemish, depth/dark color with bright green stem, but a lack of stem doesn’t necessary means that cherry in low quality.

How to store

Fridge your cherry as soon as possible. You can keep it fresh for 3-5 days. Avoid washing prior to storage because the water will be absorbed by the stems which lead to splits or spoilage. Place cherries in the plastic bag or covered container and if possible divide into smaller bag/container to prevent from bruising. Many people froze their cherries but I never had experience on that :).

There are many ways to enjoy cherry, but for me nothing better than eating fresh sweet cherry . My favorite is eating directly as a snack, but sometimes I put it on salad.  Below is my favorite cherry salad with spinach and feta cheese. It is simple, very easy but hhmmm … so refreshing. it’s sweet and sour from the cherries  and balsamic vinegar, mixed with crunchy spinach and a little bit saltiness from feta cheese, perfectly blended in your mouth.

Cherry with spinach and feta cheese salad. ( for 1-2 portion)

salad 2

1 cup of cherry, pitted and cut half

1- 2 cup of spinach (or you can use lettuce, romaine or any green leaves that you have)

1-2 tablespoon of feta cheese (or goat cheese) crumbled

For dressing

1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon of honey, I tablespoon of lemon and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

saladHow to : Place the green salad on a plate/bowl, pit and cut half the cherries, top with cheese and drizzle with dressing.

Yes, I know, I know, it’s a little bit tricky to pit the cherries without  tools. But I found the easy and fun way to do it here. If It  works for me so it might work for you.

Since pitting the cherries is easy, fast, and fun, how about make it some cherries Jam ?just boiled some cherries with sugar and little bit water. What better than fresh homemade cherry jam?  Yes, My family love it. Waffle with cherry jam and melting dark chocolate? Who can resist ??!!

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Mespila, the fruit that made me curious.

Since mid of April, I found lots of small round shaped fruits with pale orangish-yellow skin in the groceries stores. They looked like apricot or plum, but no, they‘re not apricot either plum.  I was curious and decided to buy some to taste.

medlar 7

It’s soft, succulent, sweet with little bit acidity, like mango but not as sweet as mango, like pear but softer than pear. I’ve tried some of them, the more orange it looks, the sweeter it taste.

Medlar 5

I knew the name of this fruit from the staff of groceries store I often visit. She said in Cyprus they call it Mespila. Mespila is ripe on spring (April – May) and is usually eaten fresh and for the best taste is when it is ripe on the tree and is eaten straight. This fruit is quite perishable so usually after 2-3 days in the shops Mespila are not so appealing and because skin is getting brown.

 

 

Medlar 3Not satisfied with the info from the lady in the groceries shop, I googling to find out more about Mespila. According to some article that I found about Mespila, including from Wikipedia, Mespila is also known as Loquat or Japanese Medlar. Actually this plant is a species of flowering plant but in addition to being cultivated as ornamental plant it is also cultivated for its fruit. No wonder I saw some of Mespila’s trees in the home yard.

The fruit is round oval shape (or pear shaped) with smooth orangish-yellow skin, can be peeled off manually when it’s ripe, has some small brow pint inside and it has a taste that hard to describe, succulent, tangy and sweet, mixed flavor among pear, peach, mango and citrus. Usually eaten fresh, mix in salad, used for compote and Jam, even the seeds can be processed to make liqueur.  But I am afraid I cannot share any recipes using Mespila as I just found it and haven’t try any of recipe using Mespila.

When I searched more about this fruit, I found that Japan is a leading producer of Mespila, followed by China and Mediteranian region such as Cyprus, Greece, etc.  I think that’s why Mespila is also called as Japanese Medlar.

So if in Cyprus we called it Mespila, in Greece they called it Mousmola and Despoles in Crete. What do you called this fruit in your place/area?

Medlar 1

 

Sources :

History of Greek food

Wikipedia

The Glory of Strawberry

Can you name all the fruits that carry their seeds on the outside of their skin?  Strawberries are the only one :).

Strawberry large

Strawberries are the first fruit to ripen in the spring. Though here, we can buy strawberry since end of December, but the price is very expensive, almost double than the price in season now. Continue reading

Qboo Bakehouse, The Only Authentic German Breads Shop in Cyprus

Sometimes, we are craving for something different rather than the Cyprus local bread. Though there are a lot of bakery shops in Nicosia, but they are mostly sell the same type of Cypriot bread and pies. Therefore, I often baked my own bread especially if we want the soft fluffy Asian style bread.

qboo depanCouple days ago, we stopped at Qboo Bakehouse, actually we often passed this shop but we never knew that they sell different bread.   The pretzel is fantastic, with dark glossy curst outside but soft chewy with fresh bread flavor inside. From it’s  Facebook’s fanpage that later we found out, they claim that they the only shop that make and sell the pretzel shaped in Cyprus. Hmmm… I think that’s true,  because I never found that kind of pretzel in Nicosia except in this bakery, Qboo Bakehouse. Continue reading

Green Monday – Barbeque and Kite Fliying

The carnival might have finished but here, the “celebration” still goes on .  Having picnic lunch, barbecue and spending the day with their families in open areas including flying kites are the Cypriot (and Greek) tradition on how they celebrate Green Monday.

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Green Monday or Clean Monday or also know as Pure Monday to mark the first day of Lent Term in Eastern Orthodox tradition. Continue reading

Carnival in Cyprus, a final blast of self indulgence before the Lent.

Carnival is one of the biggest celebrations in Cyprus that has been celebrated for centuries. It may have been influenced by Greek traditions, which originally celebrating Dyonisos, the god of wine and festivities. Many cities and villages organize carnival events, but the largest and the most colorful one is held in Limassol. This year, we went to Limassol, the town of  Carnival, just to enjoy this simply pleasure event and also to get some ideas how big is the event compared to the famous Carnival in Brazil we often see in the news.

dadu ijo

raja euro 2

Continue reading