Back from our press trip to Turkey loaded with new good experiences. This is just a teaser to our coming new posts from this big and colorful country.
Working on the story for Kodin Kuvalehti magazine at Tarja’s and Andros’s house was fun. As we reached the coffee time after the big late lunch, Andros suggested that we`ll go to visit his home village up the mountain about half an hour drive from Pafos, where a traditional coffee shop still exists. As we had less than two hours of day light left, Andro stepped hard on his 4×4 vehicle and we reached Stroumpi’s coffee shop on time. A true old school place with a great gallery of faces and stories. And yes, they still do the coffee in the very traditional Cypriot way. I always wonder about the owners’ interest in running such places these days. As you can witness in the images and the video, there are hardly any orders on the tables. It is more of a meeting place for men than a profitable business venture. They are most probably worth it.
On the evening of our 3rd day in Cyprus we reached the village of Arsos. The ancient village is built on a round shoulder of a hill about 30-40 km away from Pafos. On that late evening dinner we learned from our hostess that her neighbor, a young man who recently moved to the village, will be happy to guide us on the next days to explore the village and the area .
He was born in Pafos but spent his summer holidays in the village of Arsos with his grandfather. Recently, as economical crisis and unemployment hit the island, he decided to move to the mountains and live on his grandfather’s land. He runs a small Tea Shop where, except tea and beer, you can get the dried weeds and herbs that he collects from the nature around. He is very much concerned about the small community and volunteers to help and promote the village. I noticed his great affection and human approach towards an old disabled neighbor.
Later that night I thought that the future of Arsos is secure as long as people like Christos are around.
A few years ago I was on an assignment in west Tuscany photographing a few villas. In the end of a 2 day session in a most wonderful old house not far from the ancient town of Lucca, I was treated by the owner, Mrs. Loffredo with this fantastic vegetable pasta. She also introduced me with this special pasta mix spice.It became my favorite pasta ever since and, if I may, the favorite of many others that I had the pleasure to cook for.
This recipe is my own improvisation based on Mrs. Loffredo`s delight.
This pasta recipe is my own improvisation based on Mrs. Loffredo`s delight. Enjoy!
- 2-3 onions
- 3-4 ripe tomatoes
- 1 whole garlic
- spring onion or parsley
- a few sun dried tomatoes in oil
- pitted green olives
- small tin of tomato purée
- 1-2 cubes of vegetable stock
- oil (you can use the oil from the sundried tomatoes, if you wish)
- herbs (preferably fresh): sage, rosemary, oregano
- Italian spaghettispice (Aglio, olio & pepperoncino). This is a spice mix with herbs, garlic salt and chili. If you don’t have this, remember to add some fresh or dried chili into the sauce.
- Pinch of sugar
- 500 g spaghetti
- Chop the onions and the garlic small, keep separate
- cut the fresh tomatoes to small cubes
- chop the dried tomatoes
- cut the olives to halves
- cut the spring onions to small rings or chop the parsley fine.
- all fresh herbs should be chopped very fine
- Cooking the sauce:
- Sauté the onions till golden and then add the garlic and fresh herbs.
- Fry them well but do not burn..
- Add some water and mix the tomato purée and the vegetable stock
- Add the olives and dried tomatoes
- Taste and add a little sugar to balance the acidity of the tomato puree
- only when you are happy with the balanced taste, add a tea spoon of the
- Italian spice. Taste and add more if needed. The chili should be noticed a
- bit later. Be careful with it.
- Let the sauce boil on low heat for 15-20 min.
- Cook the Pasta
- The fresh tomatoes should be added to the sauce only when you start
- cooking the pasta to avoid cooking them too much.
- Mix the sauce with the pasta in a big bowl and garnish with
- spring onions or parsley
- Serve with Parmigiano or fresh goat cheese.
Serve with Parmigiano or fresh goat cheese.
And yes, some wine…