To quote its own blurbs, “Parikiaki” is ‘the leading Greek Cypriot newspaper published in London which serves the Greek and Greek Cypriot communities in excess of 300,000 people’. This month it ran a story about a Greek Cypriot couple who recently opened a restaurant featuring Cyprus cooking in a town called Chandler in the State of Arizona, U.S.A. I extract a couple of paragraphs, for your interest, and have marked in bold a couple of fascinating errors. Bear in mind this is published in London! It surprises me to see the fairly common error encountered on Cyprus menus – “Lamp” instead of “Lamb” – in this context.

“Penélope Acosta-Komitis and Christodulos Komitis are experienced restaurateurs, who wanted to have a restaurant that offered both authentic-Mediterranean dishes and a lively ambiance… Patrons can enjoy cocktails at the bar and patio area, and when their table is ready they can dine on fine dishes, from a plethora of menu options like shrimp and eggplant with spicy marinara sauce, grilled lamp pita and flank steak.

“Our food is pretty much Mediterranean with a modern twist to it,” Penélope said. All dishes on the menu are authentic to Christodulos’ home county of Cyprus; a small island in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea”.               Thanks to John Wood for sending me this item.

Are you Cheating on Yourself?

We all know them. It’s usually a man. He proudly tells of “how much he drank last night/at the weekend/at a party or whatever”. He does this as if it is an achievement to get legless. One in my ken is of a certain age, so he has to have a medical check-up every now and then. Firstly, for some days before his appointment with the doctor he doesn’t drink in the belief that his blood pressure will be lower at the check-up. And then when the medic asks him how much he drinks he greatly understates his intake. This man is intelligent. He knows he is probably shortening his life, but more important that he stands a good chance of scrambling his brains and becoming an old burden to family or carers. One wonders why on earth he tries to deceive; himself and others.

More and more evidence is accruing that a regular moderate intake of alcohol does you no harm and in some cases actually does you good. Red wine has many good reports, a number concluding that it can actually reduce the risk of lung cancer. It is already known as an inhibitor of prostate cancer, heart disease and blood pressure, provided it is taken in reasonable quantities. And these would seem to be between 2 and 4 glasses a day, according to your body-weight. So for a couple, a pleasant bottle of wine with the evening meal is probably actually assisting your health.


Just the one glass…. is good for you

If you adhere to a regular half bottle, it’s OK; what you have to avoid is not drinking for six days and then taking three and a half bottles on board.




Mary McCartney is the photographer daughter of Beatle Sir Paul, born in 1969, whose mother Linda wrote about vegetarian cookery in addition to her work as a photographer and musician. She’s followed in her parental footsteps with a cook book aimed at young people who want to learn or expand their cooking abilities. Robert Skinner reviews it.

‘At my Table’ by Mary McCartney


Published May 2015 by Chatto & Windus.

Hardback, Price St£20.00

Inspirational for the Aspirational

This is Mary McCartney’s second cookbook, the first being Food, published in 2012. At My Table continues in much the same vein: easy-to-make family-oriented recipes…that just happen to be meatless.

As the daughter of the late Linda McCartney: professional photographer and celebrity vegetarian, it is not surprising that the photography is Mary’s own and the recipes are vegetarian. At my Table looks to be muchly a solo effort – no Team Nigella here. I like this approach; it’s refreshing and doesn’t feel forced or artificial and a feeling that the author knows what she’s talking about.

Of course the McCartney identity looms large here – three generations, so far for whom meat and fish asre eschewed. As a long-time vegetarian myself, I admit that to curiosity about what a superstar vegetarian family prepare for themselves and their friends. Mary’s dad’s Margarita recipe makes an appearance here in the Mexican Food chapter and one can almost see Macca giving this inclusion his famous ‘thumbs up’ salute, and mine as well.

This is a good entry-level book for the new or intending vegetarian, much along the lines of Simon Rimmer’s The Accidental Vegetarian. American, Middle Eastern, Parties and Feasts get their own sections. The recipes are light, fun and uncomplicated. I have tried several, including : Falafels and Lentils and Rice. Both turned out well, with ingredients that most vegetarians would have to hand. I thought the recommended seasoning was a tad heavy, but this is personal anyway, and one can adjust to one’s own taste.

The chapter devoted to sandwiches is excellent and reminiscent of the wonderful Pret a Manger book. And when McCartney pitches to the younger market she gets it spot on, take the recipe for Cream Cheese and Banana for example.

So, here is a nicely turned out, non-heavyweight cookbook, if want to try some veggie recipes for yourself or friends, or to inspire you to eat less meat. It’s a suitable gift, too, for a young, aspiring vegetarian cook.

A carnivore friend of mine on leafing through this book declared it definitely one that they’d like in their collection. A big (Macca) ‘thumbs up’ it is then.


This Week’s Recipe… a delicious vegetarian starter



Recipe from Ousia Restaurant/lounge, Limassol

1 kg. Pumpkin

3 large potatoes

1 medium onion

2 tbsp. oil

1 clove garlic

2 tbsp red curry paste (or more or less to your taste)

400 ml can coconut milk

2 cups water

1 cup frozen peas

Salt and pepper to taste

Cream to serve


1. Cut pumpkin and potatoes into small pieces. 

2. Heat oil, add onion and garlic, cook until soft.

3. Stir in curry paste, cook for 1 minute.

4. Add pumpkin and potatoes stir until coated with paste, add coconut milk and water. 

5. Bring to boil, simmer for about 15 minutes.

6. Stir in peas and cook until all vegetables are soft. 

7. Blend until smooth, return to pan and add cream to taste.




This issue of “Cyprus Gourmet”  was  published on Wednesday April 1st.  No fooling!

Many of my readers will remember John Wood from his days as general manager of the Le Meridien Hotel, Limassol. That was when he and I crossed paths quite frequently: wine tastings, the annual Beaujolais Nouveau bash (I thought Le Meridien’s was one of the best on the island), gala dinners, exhibitions, conferences…. Oh, and lots more. Now he is one of my regular correspondents, sending me newsy snippets and ideas. He reports, proudly, of his daughter Samantha, resident in Dubai, who created and runs a very good food website. It’s lively, creative and full of info. Try it at


clip_image002Where Cyprus Gourmet leads, others follow, it seems. In the September 2011 issue of our sadly short-lived Cyprus Gourmet Magazine (*), Matthew Stowell wrote about a thriving – and exciting – Cypriot restaurant in Philadelphia, U.S.A. called “Kanella”.

Now, the BBC America website has done a rave write-up, by Giles Coren. Again, I have to thank John Wood for drawing this to my attention. It’s worth looking it up, because the owner, Konstantinos Pitsillides, is a chef to be reckoned with. I quote Giles Coren:  “For here I had a traditional Easter sheep’s head soup, in which a traditional avgolemano contained also spoon-size chunks of tongue, cheek and eyebrow, awesomely authentic and very faintly daunting. Great regional cooking is often a little bit scary, and I welcome it.

Then there were two grilled octopus tentacles on huge borlotti beans, a great fattoush salad, home made merguez sausages wrapped in filo pastry, three fresh, plump “manki” dumplings and the best fried pork chop I have ever had. Simple, perfect”.

All too often a nation’s food, when transplanted into another country, rests in a time-warp, in which the food stays exactly the same, year after year. I remember one such Cypriot restaurant, close to my old London office, which served exactly the same variations on the kebab-mezze theme every day for more than 20 years, until the owners sold up and retired. It was good, by the way, every day!

Here in Cyprus, there are so many “restaurateurs”, who, if they could no longer open jars of tahini, and packets of lounza, halloumi and pitta bread, or if their barbecue broke down, would be hard put to actually cook anything. For this reason the gospel of Philadelphia’s Mr. Pitsillides should be spread far and wide. Namely, that a national cuisine has to move on. And Kanela’s cuisine itself is doing that: the dishes Giles Coren writes about in 2015 are noticeably different from those reviewed by Matthew Stowell in 2010.

I can only repeat what our review concluded with then: “Philadelphians are extremely lucky to be hosting Mr. Pitsillides and his culinary talents. I should like to launch be a campaign to lure him back to Limassol”. But maybe we are too devoted to the tahini-lounza-halloumi-kebab syndrome for him to flourish here?

Enquire Within…

Q: “Patrick, how can I liven up a shrimp cocktail?”


A: Simple! For each serving:

1. In a small bowl put 1 tablespoonful of mayonnaise.

2. Very finely chop a scant teaspoon of capers, 2 pitted black olives, a tiny sprig of parsley and a few chives or a piece of the green part of a salad onion.

3. Combine the mayo and the capers etc., and mix well, then put it into a large red wine glass.

4. Take two wooden kebab sticks and impale and impale three cooked king prawns on each.

5. Insert the loaded kebab stick into the glass, add a sprig of rosemary to the top and a few bits of chopped black olive to the top of the mayo mix.

6. Serve with a glass of chilled dry white wine. Since my photo was taken by William Fèvre, producers of very fine Grand Cru Chablis, preferably it should be that! Available for Cyprus shoppers (personal and on-line) at €31.00, from Oenoforos, Limassol.  In the UK it is fairly widely available at between £13.00 and £26.00 a bottle (quite a variation for the same wine!)

* Cyprus Gourmet Magazine was published “every few months” (like when we had enough advertising to cover the costs) from 2008 – 2011.  It was bloody good while it lasted and people loved it – it sold well, but Cypriots don’t believe in spending money on advertising.  A typical conversation with a restaurant owner went something like: “Mr Patrick.  I give you and your wife nice dinner FREE and you write something nice about my restaurant. OK?”   But, no money for advertising.   Nevertheless, through the efforts of our little team, it did seem we would make a go of it… and then  Cyprus felt the chill wind of recession.  Budgets were slashed, and so was our income.  I have all eight issues, nicely book-bound.  I shall always treasure them.

Cyprus Gourmet – February 25th. 2015


ALL GREEK TO ME, with a NISTISSIMA (Fasting) touch Greece’s economic plight is widely discussed and I hear “Tut Tuts” about the profligacy and irresponsibility of those in charge there. Especially the Teutonic “Tut Tuts” coming from Germany. It brought back memories of driving around Peloponnesus a few years back and talking to one of […]

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