Lampadifories

For 25 years there has been a slowly growing tradition on the Saturday night the last weekend before the start of lent. It started spontaneously when a company, the Naxos Film Club, danced in the steps of the primordial Bacchus, spirit of Dionysos. Dionysos is the god of winemaking and wine, of fertility, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, and theatre in ancient Greek religion and myth. Now the tradition has taken on a life of it’s own. For a few hours the streets of Chora are filled with uniform chanting, the soothing beat of drums, fire lights the way and light, smoke and colour fill the atmosphere. Starting at the top of the castle hoards paint their faces white and black, don white sheets, tie belts of straw around their waists and light torches. They celebrate, laugh and party until the wee hours. This year thousands poured to the streets to be part of the celebrations.

The simple things in life are often the best!

One (of many) thing I have learned here which has changed my entire philosophy around cooking is that the saying the simple things in life are often the best should never be disregarded. When the ingredients are seasonal and fresh with a little love and care the results can be so much more than just a plate of food to fill hungry tummies after a day at school. Something as basic as lentil soup quickly becomes a family favourite that the kids never tire of asking for. The above with lentils, our extra virgin olive oil and a jar of my homemade tomato paste carefully stored away in the summer months and you have a warming bowl of love and nutrients.

Fakes

1 packet 500g organic lentils 1-2 onions 5 cloves garlic 2-3 carrots 400g tomato conserve 2-3 bayleaves salt pepper water 1/2-1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Dice all vegetables saute in a large saucepan until fragrant, add other ingredients. Simmer for 30-40mins stirring occasionally. Serve with vinegar

Marsaxlokk

My Dad’s Marsaxlokk derives its name from the Arabic word marsa, meaning harbour, and Maltese for the south-easterly Mediterranean wind, the Xlokk (Scirocco in Italian). village has certainly changed a lot since the last time I was there but there were still a few familiar things around, in addition to my relatives, to give it that fishing village vibe. I would suggest going on any day other than Sunday until they sort out the situation with the markets, it has grown out of control but there is a plan in place to change that. If you do go be sure to visit the recently renovated Duncan Bar and Guest House

Fotodotis Monastery

This Autumn I was determined to take the family out on walks. This was the first! To the monastery Fotodotis Danakos, Naxos.

Saffron

History:

The Monastery of Fotodoti Christ is the oldest monastery of Naxos.

There are several theories about the date that was built. Others consider it was built in 1182 AD. and others in 1497 AD, on the debris of an ancient castle.

The years of Frankish rule are the peak of the monastery. Several years later he was recognized as a patron of the Monastery of Agios Ioannis the Theologian of Patmos. The hagiographies and inscriptions of the temple date from the Byzantine era.

The Tower and Monastery of Fotodotis Christ