Summer in Cyprus is hot. Very. Hot. But this year it feels hotter due to the energy crisis caused by the destruction of the island’s main power plant. Things, however, are what they are and, I believe, it is for each of us to approach them with a positive attitude and make the best out of them. In my case, this means trying to add a little beauty to everyday life, and taking advantage of what we have.
We live in a apartment, so there is no garden or swimming pool where to spend our afternoons. What we do have is a small balcony which we have surrounded by a straw fence to keep the strong sun at bay, and where we can sit and relax, enjoying the sweet summer breeze when the sun is not too high. And, when weather permits it, we have lunch or dinner there too.
Last Monday, we did just that. It was not too hot (by our standards, anyway ;), so I set up a happy summery table setting and served a quick early lunch in the balcony.
I put a white tablecloth on the table, and used lime green napkins under the plates to add a little bit of colour.
I put lemmons on a glass vase to serve as centerpiece, and used a set of salt and pepper shakers that we had bought when we lived in Ivory Coast and that matched the table’s colour palette.
I served lemonade in small green bottles (that originally contained German beer!) and added grey paper straws to them for the babies. And also for me, because I like them 😉
Using baker’s twine (in Peapod and Lemondrop, from the Twinery), I wrote “eat, drink, laugh” on a piece of paper and put it on a small frame, next to the lemons, to serve as motto for the meal.
Finally, I folded yellow paper napkins on a pouch, added some ribbon and a paper circle (with Bon Appétit written in it) to dress it up a little, and placed the cutlery inside . You can download these and other tags for free from the Twinery’s blog here. All you have to do then is to print them in cardboard paper and cut them using a 2″ circle punch or just a pair of scissors)
The menu consisted of different salads, dips and a delicious lemon coconut mousse. The following recipe corresponds to one of these salads, called Tzaziki, which is traditional here in Cyprus and which, with some variations, is also very common in Serbia (where I actually discovered it and where it is called Tarator ). It is very refreshing, simple to make, and it tastes great with meat or simply with some pitta bread. At home we call it “cucumber salad”. I’ll share all other recipes in my next post!
In order to make Tarator/Tzaziki you will need: 1 cucumber, 1 clove of garlic, greek yogurt and a little bit of parsley.
The procedure couldn’t be simpler: Cut the cucumber into thin slices, and then chop them finely. Place it in a bowl. Chop a clove of garlic (or half, if you are not a very garlicky person 😉 and add it to the cucumber. Add greek yogurt (500 ml) and mix well. Chop a few parsley leaves to garnish.
This is the way I learnt to do it from my husband’s family, in Serbia. I should note, however, that here in Cyprus I learnt a different way which is equally delicious but a little bit different. In the Cypriot version they double the amount of cucumbers, garlic is optional, they generally add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and they replace parsley for dried mint. My recommendation: try both!
What’s the weather like these days where you live? How do you cope with it?
Have a lovely Wednesday and see you next week!