Archive for the ‘Crete’ Category

Having recently returned from a trip to the UK, where I experienced the trend that is Granola, I decided to make it myself.

I found that not only was it better, as all things homemade are, I could adjust to taste, a phrase I’m very fond of.

Toasted delight.

Toasted delight.


It’s basically toasted rolled oats with the addition of whatever you like.

I took 3 cups of rolled oats and added the following ……

1/4 cup Honey

1/4 cup Olive oil

1/4 cup Whole almonds

1/4 cup Dried Raisins

1/4 cup Pumpkin seeds

1 tbsp Flax seed

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 tsp Vanilla extract

A pinch of salt


Put them all together in a bowl, mix well and then spread out evenly on a baking tray, bake for 15 mins on 160-180c, or until desired golden brown.

If you like your Granola well toasted but your dried fruits still soft, you may want to add your dried fruit mid way through baking as they will get chewy the longer they are in the oven.

You can use any mixture of dried fruits you like, you can use any mixture of seeds or nuts that you like, you can leave them whole or ground them up, whatever you want you can have. You can use brown sugar as well as or instead of honey.

No more grumbling about how you wished your shop bought Granola had bigger pieces of nuts or less raisins blah blah blah

That evening, being unable to wait for breakfast to eat the cause of the delicious smell in my kitchen, I put together a little something for Mr J and I.

I named it YOGRANBERRY…….



Layer in a glass or bowl or teacup, whatever you have, the following……..

1 tbsp Homemade Granola

1 tbsp Greek Yogurt

1 tbsp Mixed Berries and Banana ( I put defrosted mixed berries into a blender with a banana)

1 tbsp Greek Yogurt

1 tbsp Mixed Berries and Banana

Topped off with more homemade Granola.

If you’d like it sweeter just add honey somewhere along the way.

And remember my favorite phrase and do adjust to taste.









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The most important visitor to Crete will arrive in May, she’s already on her way.

Her name is “Caretta Caretta“, she has become entwined in our lives in such a way as we could never have imagined.

May is always an exciting time for Mr J and I. As part of a volunteer group we begin the daily 4 kms beach patrols in search of the endangered Loggerhead Turtles nest. Our duties are shared and continue until the end of October, by when the last little hatchling has got to the sea.

Remembering our first nest patrol back in 2010, up at 5am, on the beach at 6am, camera at the ready for what we hoped would be our first discovery of a turtles nest. And there she was in all her glory, the morning sun, rising up above the Mediterranean, forgotten in all the excitement.

The sight of the sunrise was just one of the many joys we were about to experience during our first season as volunteers for the Greek Sea Turtle Protection Society “Archelon”

Archelon has been protecting turtles in Crete since 1989, having first been established in 1977 after discovering that many Loggerhead Turtles nested along the beaches of Zakynthos, by 1989 research had shown that Crete was also  a popular nesting area, particularly along the North Coast, and so the task began to provide as secure an environment as possible for the turtles of Crete.

And as long as there are volunteers, so it shall continue.


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Courgette and poppyseed muffins.

Grown in abundance and easier than you imagined, courgettes can sometime become the victim of their own success. All too often forgotten amongst their magnificent leaves doomed to become the monster in the veg patch, the yummy little darlings soon outstay their welcome. It’s not surprising that, after your 20th kilo, treacherous thoughts  of  “how else can I eat them” begin to manifest.

Throughout the Summer I’ve been asked by many visitors, family and guests alike for the recipe to my courgette and poppyseed cake/muffins, so here it is at last.

You will need:

  1. 230 gr plain flour
  2. 1/4 tsp baking powder
  3. 2 tsp bicarb of soda
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 4 tsp lemon juice
  6. 2 tbls poppy seeds
  7. 250 ml (1 cup) olive oil
  8. 280 gr sugar
  9. 3 eggs
  10. 2/3 cups grated courgette

Mix ingredients 1,2,3 and 4 in bowl no 1.

Mix ingredients 5,6,7 and 8 in a separate bowl no 2.

Mix ingredient 9 and 10 in another bowl no 3

ADD bowl 3 to bowl 2 and then slowly mix into bowl 1.

The mixture should become more loose and wet as you mix it, this is the courgette releasing it’s liquid as you mix.

When you have a nice shinny, loose mixture, pour into a cake tin or muffin molds.

Bake at 160c for 30-50 mins, the muffins will take less time than the cake so check after 30 minutes. The best way to check if your cake/muffins are ready is to insert a knife into the centre and if it comes out clean then it’s ready, be sure not to over cook it though.

The cake/muffins will need to rest after baking, store in an airtight container and they become even more moist every day. You can alter this recipe to suit yourself, less oil for a drier cake or you can add walnuts if you like.

I always bake with olive oil as we produce our own organic extra virgin,  of course it’s far healthier than butter or margarine and makes very moist cakes and muffins, but that’s easy for me to say with over a 100 ltrs in the basement.


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I must take this opportunity to recommend this book to the novice Mediterranean vegetable gardeners, like myself who are finding it difficult to source a well presented and complete guide to growing a kitchen garden  in this wonderful climate.

This is the first book of it’s kind I have found in English and though I only received it yesterday, after a long 6 month wait for publishing and delivery, I have devoured it’s contents like a pig who has found it’s first truffle.

It is without doubt the most comprehensive guide I have ever come across and the translation from it’s Spanish origins is clear and uncomplicated.

You will find it listed in my books on the Amazon link opposite. Enjoy.

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The view from Arete

Do you really need an EOT Licence?      

According to the Greek National Tourist Organisation, know in Greece as EOT (Elliniko Organismo Tourismo) if you rent your Greek property for holiday use, i.e. not long-term rental of over 3 months, then you must by law have an EOT licence. So if you take money from anyone, that includes family, friends or third parties, the answer is simply YES, you do need an EOT licence.      

Back in 2002, when we bought our land here in Crete, we were told, unofficially, that “No” we didn’t need one. “You only have two apartments”, “No one will know”, “Just tell them it’s your family visiting” And yes we could have been forgiven for taking this advice, it’s a big deal building a home abroad, and didn’t we already have enough paperwork to do without the bother of yet more red tape to unravel?    But let’s be honest, when they do eventually catch up with you, I don’t think that Well…… Kostas in the Kafeneon told us we didn’t need one will wash, do you?      

The process of obtaining a licence is long, complicated and expensive. It requires the services of an architect or civil engineer and above all else, a good understanding of the Greek language. After great consideration, we choose to employ an agent, Gianna Peteraki in Hania. Having always tried to do all work ourselves to save money, we resigned ourselves to the fact that, this time it was not possible and to successfully obtain our licence we had to seek professional help.     

We discovered Gianna through the Greek grapevine, she came highly recommended and we soon discovered that the recommendations were well deserved. It is important, at this point, to remember that all applications are different. In our case, we have two self-catering apartments on the first floor of our house. We live here permanently and both apartments are accessed independently of the house.      

The EOT rules for Villa rental and Apartment rental are different, but as a general rule of thumb, all the points I am about to cover are relevant to most applications, however, please remember that the following information is based on our own experience and the rules are changing constantly, what was relevant to us 2 years ago may not be in force now. Something you need to consider before going any further and probably most importantly, is that the building must correspond exactly to the plans.      

To begin the process we had to submit our application, when the application was approved we were given a protocol number, with this number we could proceed with obtaining the various certificates needed. They are as follows…..    

Fire Certificate – A separate set of plans were drawn up which included the exact location of all fire extinguishers, emergency lights and exit signs in the public areas plus the sprinkler system and fire door required for our boiler room. The plans submitted and approved, we then employed a registered, fire safety engineer, to install the equipment. Then we had to apply again to the Fire Department to come and inspect the equipment and awaited their approval.        

Health Certificate – Again another set of plans were sent for approval to the Health Department, identifying the entire sewerage system and sewerage tank. These were approved and an on site inspection was carried out.     

Tax Certificate – Proving that we owed no taxes.        

Authorised passport certificate – Obtained from our lawyer.      

Deposit receipts from two Banks and the Tax Office, into which we had to pay several small deposits.        

Pool Operating Certificate – if you have one, we don’t.     

Finally, we had to set up the business with our accountant.        

Now the fun begins, after all of the above, we then had to add up our points.    

The basic tourist establishment here in Greece is rated on a key system, rather like the star system. We were applying for the basic 3 key licence. Keys are awarded according to the amount of points your property has. For 3 keys we needed 5001-7500 points. Points are awarded according to the type of accommodation you have and for certain services and or equipment you offer. For example, air conditioning is worth 840 points, a reception area is worth 600 points, parking is worth 160 points, an armchair, a desk, a kettle and other such items are worth anything between 50 to 200 points. Only when you have completed all of the above and accumulated all the necessary points do you apply for the final inspection by EOT inspectors.       

The inspectors visit is of utmost importance, ultimately they have the power to award you the licence and regardless of the above, if they are not happy with anything, your application can be in jeopardy. After all the work we had done to get to the inspection stage, needless to say we were very polite, accommodating and I even baked a cake and to our great relief the inspection went well and we were awarded the EOT license.     

The license is valid indefinitely but you must be aware of the necessary annual up keep of the Fire certificate, The Health Certificate and the EOT price list, which you must pay for at the beginning of every season. The price list is a certification of the minimum and maximum cost you can charge your customers. And of course as a business you must submit an annual tax return and pay the taxes according to your accommodation, for which you will need the services of your accountant.        

Is it worth it? For us yes, ok it’s a long and daunting task and there were many occasions when we felt like throwing in the towel. But once obtained the licence is an invaluable tool, not only to ensure that you are operating within the law, therefore,  giving you peace of mind, but it may even contribute to the value of your home.

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