Tuesday, 1 June 2010

sticky orange fingers, geckos and flight of the eagle

Its not often I get to eat an orange straight from the tree.
Fresh, juicy and sticky. I actually ate loads of oranges, peeled and chopped with Greek yogurt for breakfast or freshly squeezed as a juice.
One of the trees were adorned by these flowers. I was told these were called hibiscus. I wonder if its the same hibiscus you find in herbal teas?

Cyprus is a self-sufficient island. It has always produced a huge variety of food due to its climate: citrus fruits, grapes, figs, beans, grains, dates, almonds, pecans,
Apricots still about a month away from ripening.
Walnuts still in shell.
Tiny olives still growing. These prickly cactus plants were growing all over parts of Cyprus. I was told by my father-in-law, that one of the locals cooked some and gave it to him to sample. He really enjoyed it, but was unable to tell me what the cactus plant was actually called. I think it may be what the Cypriots call 'avocado pear', but I don't know for sure. If any of you can shed light, it would be really appreciated.
As we drove around, I noted a number of banana plantations, but these bananas below
were actually growing outside someones home.
I loved these little flowers, that came in many shades, including orange, red and white.
Another thing that amazed me were these trees with their purple flowers. Stunning. Every time their was a breeze a load of blossom would fall to the ground and within hours of the sunshine hitting them, they dry up like paper confetti. If I lived in Cyprus I would have scooped them and doused them gently with some scented oil: this could then be used as either pot pourri or thrown into the bath, so that I could pretend that I was a pampered lady.
There were a number of trees with these long beans. To my eyes they looked like black mangetout, but on further investigation I learned that these were carob. Carob is a tropical pod that contains a sweet, edible pulp and inedible seeds. Carob is also known as mavros chrysos, the black gold. Whilst in Cyprus I learned that there were so many products made from the carob. There is carob honey and Charoupomelo, Carob syrup. I have actually bought a bottle back with me to drizzle over pancakes and ice-cream. There is pastelli, a traditional healthy snack made with carob syrup and sesame seeds using a fairly complicated method that is being preserved by a few people. Nowadays, a similar product is made by a combination of peanuts, carob syrup and sesame seeds. Also after drying the carob, the pulp is roasted and ground into a powder that resembles cocoa powder. It is often used by some vegans as a chocolate substitue. I actually have a box in my kitchen that has yet to be open, perhaps I will make some carob muffins and carob biscuits. Oh I also bought some hard boiled carob sweets, the chocolate flavour is really, really subtle.
The colours in this photograph capture the Cypriot countryside well.
You have to watch where you put your feet. Every now and again, I would catch a glimpse of a scurrying baby dinosaur, also known as a gecko or is it a lizard?! Each one differed in shade and size.
The odd ribbit.
I admired this dragon-fly for about 10 minutes before it decided to flutter away.
And finally, we were blessed to witness not one eagle, but two gliding eagles whilst driving up in the mountains. These pictures have focused on natural aspects of Cyprus. Tomorrow I hope to share with you some photographs of the built heritage.


  1. Beautiful photos and that one of the rusting item reminds me of a holiday a few years back when Mr OC did a whole series of Rust In Greece photos of all the old farm machinery, trucks and cars left to rot in the fields of Santorini.

  2. Hi MangoCheeks - sounds like you had a fab holiday - the photos are certainly great. I didn't know they grew carob in Cypress. I grew up with it as a "healthy" alternative to chocolate, so used to drink carob (instead of cocoa) and make carob cakes. I used to really like it and now you've reminded me of it, I think I shall get hold of some and make a cake again. You can also buy carob bars in health food shops. I think the cactus fruits are "prickly pear".

  3. Che bellissime foto ! Peccato che non conosca così bene l'inglese ! complimenti per il tuo blog ! mi è piaciuta anche la foto dell'header, che splendide bietole ! un caro saluto

  4. What a paradise! That little dragonfly seems to be looking right back at you! The cactus looks similar to what they call a prickley pear here...but can't be sure. Thanks for showing us these marvelous photos of your trip.

  5. A very nice informative post.All the photographs are very beautiful.

  6. You were awarded the Sunshine Award on my blog! Check it out and come claim it! :) Thanks for blogging! Keep up the great work!

  7. Wow, mangocheeks, so much beauty!! I don't know that I would want to come back home;) It would be so cool to have a banana tree in my yard and an orange tree too. I have always had a thing for birds, the eagle is amazing, it must have been something to see two of them soaring. And the dragonfly photo is wonderful, such a great shot.

  8. Oh mangocheeks, thank you for your very lovely words on my most recent blog post. I cannot believe I haven't blogged since then. Things have been so busy since my fiance returned from the South (after 18 months in Antarctica) and the wedding planning got more urgent. I have been to the plot a few times but failed to make the time to report back. I have been thinking about you and your gardening/cooking and I so look forward to catching up on your blog properly either on honeymoon or afterwards. I can't wait. And I'll get back to the Plot35 full-time again (well, when I am not at work).

    We are indeed heading up to the Western side of Scotland for the honeymoon. Many thanks for your tips. I will report back on our return. Take care and thanks again.

  9. What fantastic photographs. I've never been to Cyprus, but I remember the Greek island of Paxos being a little like this with regards to food growing on trees, I stayed in a villa with hundreds of loves trees outside, it was wonderful x

  10. Fantastic, and it makes me feel like summer....summer...nearly there!!!!

    It looks like my ideal climate, growing all those Mediterranean and subtropical things, now I can spend the day dreaming of a garden of Eden :-)

  11. Gorgeous pictures, gorgeous light and what delicious looking fruit. What a lovely trip.

    An avocado pear is an avocado, no? I ate delicious cactus in Marrakech, but can't recall what they called it. What's a prickly pear? Could it be that, I wonder?

    Have fun!

  12. Thank you Kath.
    My husband encouraged me to include that particular photograph. I was actually going to leave it out, so am really pleased that you commented on it. I am pleased to read that it reminds me of one of your holidays and even better reminded you of when Mr OC took a load of 'Rust' photos in Greece. I do think they do have some kind of charm.

    Hi Choclette and Thank you. I have so many photographs so have to be selective with what I share, as I am concious this is a growing and cooking blog. Like you I didn't know they grew carob in Cyprus, but to be honest I had no idea where it actually grew until I actually saw it.
    I have carob powder, you will have to tell me how to use it in place of a 'warm mug of cocoa. If you do make a cake, you may just inspire me to have a go at using the box in my cupboard, providing it has not passed its sell by date!

    A nubmer of fellow bloggers also think the cactus fruits are "prickly pear". I wonder...

    Thank you so much for your lovely compliment. I am pleased that you like the swiss chard in my header. Thank you so much for coming by.

  13. Thank you Rose.
    Your are right - I do think that little dragonfly was looking right back at you :D
    You think the cactus plant is prickly pear to, mmm... Have you ever eaten the one where you are.

    Your so kind HayMarket8.
    I will be over in a little while.

    Thank you Kiran.

    Thanks Janet.
    The heat was too much for me, so to be honest I was glad to be back on home turf. But like you I would love to have a banana tree and orange tree in my yard.

    Yes, the eagle is amazing. It truly was an honour to have seen two of them soaring. Something I will never forget. And the dragonfly, yeah what can I say. I just love it. I am so glad you enjoyed looking at them. Thank you.

    Ah Ribbit.
    I was honestly thinking of you when I wrote ribbit and even better I took a glance at the one you gave me that is perched happily on the side of a house plant.

  14. FlowerPowerGirl.
    You are so, so welcome.
    Warm wedding wishes.
    Enjoy your time and I do hope the weather is kind to you.
    I will look forward to your return.

    Thank you Karen.
    Your stay at the villa sounds dreamy.,

    Thank you Alessandra.
    I came back to the West of Scotland on Monday and it was raining (typical for Scotland) but today it is quite warm. I think summer is nearly here.

    I do think you would like Cyprus, it certainly is the ideal place to grow plants, except for the water shortage. I liked it too, but the weather is to warm for my liking. I like wearing my layers.

    Oh Scarlett,
    It has been such a long time since I have heard from you. Thank you so much for coming by.

    I think your right when you write an avocado pear is an avocado, So what are these prickly little cactus called? Prehaps it is a prickly pear?

    So Scarlett, what did it taste like? I am curious.

  15. No, have not eaten the "prickly pear"...it was just a guess really, but I think it looks similar.

  16. Remember, Baloo in the Jungle Book disney film version, he sings if you pick a paw paw or a prickly pear........ it's an opuntia cactus - CT's a botanist. He says you can also eat the pads with the needles removed, they call them nopales in Mexico.

  17. Stunning pictures. That dragonfly one is outstanding.

    How wonderful it must be to be able to wake up and pick an orange or banana in your own back yard. *sigh*

    I had no idea carob came in so many forms - I always just thought it was a veggie chocolate substitute. I will have to scour my health food shops to see if I can find something other than carob bars.

  18. Thanks for letting me know Rose.

    Thanks Choclette.
    I love the way you responded. I actually remember someone in Cyrprus sayig that they may be called 'paw paws' but had forgotten. Thank you to CT too. Next time I got to Cyprus, armed with a recipe, I will sure give them a go, as I have certainly heard of the Mexican napoles. Thank you to CT too.

    Thank you so much Christine. I love the dragonfly too.

    Yeah, its so amazing how carob is used. Like you I thought it was a vegan chocolate substitute. I am looking forward to trying my carob syrup at some point.

  19. the cactus is called rachette in trinidad, and it can be eaten. its quite delious.


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