Tuesday, 27 November 2012

We are moving!!

So I thought that you would all like to know that Whats Really Going On in Greece has moved!!

You can find all the same posts at our new home ... www.lemonandoliveoil.com

Hope to see you all there very very soon! 

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Preparing Olives

So, it’s been a little bit manic this month and honestly I haven’t actually spent that much time on the island, which makes a huge change from the norm.

Last week I went to the UK with some friends from Greece, they had never been to England before, and well, I went along as a tour guide. We stayed at my parent’s house, which meant that a huge amount of Greek produce was off loaded on them! One of the things which they where given was fresh green olives, quite literally off the tree.

As my father can tell you, eating an olive directly of the tree is not the same as eating an apple or and orange, they are as bitter as hell and require some treatment before one can even consider putting one anywhere near ones mouth.

Preparing the Olives is pretty simple so much so that I thought that you might like to know how its done, just on the off chance that you run into an olive tree at the right time of year!

First off you need to pick the olives, these olives where picked just before they turned black. Then you need to clean them and cut a cross into both ends.

To do this you are going to need two very basic ingredients other than the olives of course. These ingredients are water and salt. You will also need an egg but that is not for consumption just so that you know how much salt to add – you will need A LOT of salt!

Take a large bowl and fill it with room temperature water, poor in about 2 tablespoons of salt and stir until all the salt is dissolved (it is best to use rock salt). Then take the egg and put it into the water, you will need to keep adding salt until the egg lifts off the bottom of the bowl.

Once the egg lifts you will have succeeded in making brine. Put the Olive into a jar and poor the brine over the top. You need to make sure that the olives are completely covered by the brine, by doing this you will be able to keep them in this jar (provided they are always covered by brine) for about a year.

It really is as easy as that! When it come to serving you simply take them out of the jar put them into a bowel and squeeze some lemon juice over the top. If like me you are not such a great fan of salt you can rinse them off before adding the lemon. 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Bling My Truck

A couple of years ago some of our friends realized that there was a hole in the market for good quality expedition equipment.  With a vast amount desert driving experience, they quickly realized that at the time what was available on the market in Dubai was not up to scratch, so like any good team of entrepreneurs they set about making a plan to rectify the matter.

They searched high and low, scouring the four corners of this world for interesting, practical, useful products. After much hunting and many hours of research they found some really great stuff. With a combined total of over 40 years of experience in the desert (they grew up in it) they faced a small problem - not everything was exactly what they wanted - so inevitably they started making their own gear.

They product tested it all, and had a great time doing so, in the process they ended up with some really cool toys and extremely reliable gear – exactly what you need when you’re a million miles from help a hospital or general civilization.

David, Theresa and Cameron operate Bling My truck out of Dubai. They are constantly ordering new gear and bringing in even cooler toys and more practical equipment. Though it doesn’t stop there, if they don’t have what your looking for, they will find it for you and if you live in the UAE personally deliver it to your door.

The Bling My truck team joined us on my last trip to Dubai for our little adventure in the sand and despite the fact that we where in the bush for 4 days The Bling My Truck office was never far away. At this point thanks must be given to the guys who invented the iPad, the telephone and the Internet as Theresa spent a good amount of time in her mobile office checking on orders and talking to clients.

We played with a large number of toys, on one occasion … after one of the party became stuck, some green sand shoes where produced from one of the cars. These sand shoes have been specially made by Bling My Truck and are really great in the sense that can pop your car out of the sand when it gets stuck, though one must recommend that you tie a long rope to them as after they have efficiently and effectively performed their job they tend to try and find Australia, needing a bit of finding after they have performed their task!

We where also treated to some freeze dried army food. They kind that packs 500 calories into a bag the size of an apple! Bling My Truck have them in all sorts of flavors, we tried chicken curry and much to my surprise it tasted really good all things considered and all you did was add water – much like a pot noodle! They are light, easy to pack last forever and a day… well not quite but will happily sit in your supply box for 3 years and still be good to go.  I thought that they were a fantastic idea if you where going to go on a long trip and didn’t have the space for fresh foods, but they are also something that everyone should keep just on the off chance that you need some extra food!

The Halal Chicken Curry

 boil the kettle..

 Add the water to the dry food... and wait a few mins ...

 hay presto dinner al la army! 

The team can be contacted through their web site www.blingmytruck.com

Or you can find their telephone numbers here, they are a friendly bunch who really know their stuff so give them a call and see what they can do for you. 

Monday, 12 November 2012

Sand in my Veins!

I have toyed with putting this up as it doesn’t really concern Greece, but then I figured why not. It’s about an adventure in the desert, so here you go!

At the end of October I decided that I needed a break from Island life, Crete is lovely but I had been in once place for too long and I was itching to go somewhere else. Given that I was brought up in the United Arab Emirates and still have quite a few friends there I though it was as good a place as any! So I caught an flight and landed in Dubai.

To be honest my friends are your not your average jo’s, in fact when it comes to their 4x4s and off-roading they are about as far away from normal as an elephant is on an iceberg! These guys, like my self and my husband are into off-roading, big time. So much so that what was once a small competition in mine is, bigger, better, more powerful (I’m talking about cars here!) than yours, has stemmed into a flourishing company kitting the adventurous dubia-ites out with every thing from toys and food to rescue and recovery year – more about that later.

We loaded the cars with a small amount of gear – it was after all a short trip – in went the camping year, tents, mattresses, pillows, duvets (no sleeping bags here people!), enough food to feed a small army, a fare amount of intoxicating beverages, barbeques, chairs, tables, gas lights, electric lights, towing gear, awnings, pots pans, plates, knives and forks, you get the idea, we had everything including the kitchen sink and some more. Eventually after some carful packing which resembled more a game of chines chess than anything else, we where ready and set off along the road, picking up other friends along the way – four hours later – we found our camp site, a stones throw from Saudi Arabian boarder!

The makings of a camp ... 

Good old under water housing for the camera

Safa doggie making good use of an abandoned Iceberg!

Clear clear water ... what you can't see is the massive school of fish that are about to swim past me!

Swimming out to play with the dolphins.... 

 Safa doggie is sent home! 

The dolphins spent about half an hour breaching in front of our camp on the beach, G and T's in hand we watched them until the sun set.  

One of the small coves around the corner from our beach camp.

An abandoned dock ... now slowly being consumed by the sea.

The beach was stunning, completely untouched (I will add pictures of it when I find the right chip!), we where graced by dolphins in the afternoon and stunning phosphorescents for our evening swim. With the camp set up we decided to spend two nights on the beach. It was so calming and relaxing that who could blame us! We swam, snorkeled and played various games of Frisbee with a Frisbee that was so misbehaved we where all convinced it had had a game change and was in fact a boomerang!

We chanced upon a run way ... just incase you wanted to fly in, the air strip was less than 800m from the beach! 

After, eating, drinking, swimming and laughing as much as we could we decided to move on. The party grew smaller as the sensible people went back to work to in the big bad city. The rest of us, well the four of us decided to head of into the Sand.

The desert has a remarkable ability to change shape, color and content in less than 100m ... at one point we thought that we might find the mars rover (sadly the picture dose not to the land scape justice!)

There is something so incredibly soothing about the sand. I think I have more sand and water running in my veins than I do blood. To the untrained eye and the in experienced the desert is a dangerous, baron and forgoing place, to us it is a play ground full of objects of pure curiosity and entertainment. There is a huge wealth of wild life out in the sands, bird life, flora and furan indigenous to the Arabian plateau, we where followed for over 80 kilometers by swarms of butterflies taking refuge on our trucks when ever we stopped.

Yes this is the impact / crash site of a rather large rocket ... guess some one was being naughty! 

Having driven for hours we found the beginning of what would one day (very soon) be a huge fence... the fence line stretched as far as the eye could see in both directions.

A line of cones marks out what will i suspect one day be another fence ... so off-roading will become off highwaying. Sadly huge reminder that the human race is taking over everything.

We spend the night out in the wild, sand surrounding us in every direction.  The next morning we decided to try to make it to a road which uncommonly non of us had driven down ... this was, as always, some what easier said than done. First we had to find it and to find it was had to criss cross a wealth of small dunes. The dunes where very soft and very hard to read. The boys driving the cars are extremely experienced, I have seen them do things with cars that most people would only dream of doing. Yet even these boys decided that the sand was too soft and while we thought that we would make it to the road, we where also convinced that it would come at quite a high cost if not to us than to one of the cars. So the grown up versions of our child like selves decided to back track and head for an old Bedouin high way we had passed on the way in.

In order to make a sand crossing easier we let the air out of the tires so that the weight of the car is spread over a much larger surface area.

Shiek Yabber ....

This was another one of those genius ideas that was perhaps not so genius … driving into the sun in the sand makes the sand somewhat harder to read than normal, inevitably we got our selves slightly stuck… though nothing that we could not get out of!

Eventually we made it back to the black top and a few hours after that we where home with more friends eating more food than even my Greek chums could have cooked up!!