Monday, 7 June 2010

Eimai hortofagos. Den troo kreas i kotopoulo

Although I had done a little research on vegetarian options, we actually struggled to find many dishes that were suitable. It was okay finding fresh fruit and vegetables and dips, but cooked dishes like Pourgouri a cracked wheat that is steamed with fried onions to make a nutty pilaf and served with yogurt, louvia me lahana a mixture of greens cooked with black eyed beans was not to be seen on any menu: and when I thought I came across something that looked vaguely vegetarian such as the Koupepio rolled vine leaves stuffed with rice and Melinzanes Yiahni (Iman Baylidi), annoyingly both had mince meat in them.
One of the reasons for the poor selection of traditional albeit vegetarian cuisine was our location. We were based near a place that had a large British immigrant community and catered primarily for British tourists. So if you wanted a full fried English or Scottish breakfast, a toastie or even a chips, you'd be fine, but a traditional Cypriot and vegetarian menu wasn't so easy to come by. Another reason for our lack of sampling of cooked traditional cuisine was family. When your travelling/staying with friends or family you find yourself restricted as some members tend to limit themselves to food they know, so it makes it hard for you to experiment and enjoy new, local and traditional cuisine. So a number of compromises had to be made. So for breakfast we mainly had toast with eggs; or Greek yogurt with fruit. For evening meals it was jacket potato with salad or a meze style plate with dips. And if we ate out and we barely did as it was self-catering, it was necessary to eat at a place where the menu was familiar. Whenever we had the opportunity D and me would sneak off to the local bakery and pick up some sweet syrup soaked pastries that were dubbed as Lebanese delights, tahini seseame paste pies and something that was known as bourekia pastry. These were filled with fresh curd cheese and honey and dredged with icing sugar. It felt naughty but nice. Along with the sweet pastries, we had some savoury ones such as these spanakopitta and pastry horns full of black olives (above)
These are halloumi pastries, mashed potato, mint and onions. I have to admit that I even ate a number of frozen food products, but you will be pleased to learn these were all frozen Cypriot dishes: spanakopitta and koupes fried rissoles stuffed with mushrooms. I think there was only one day that D and me got to eat out without family and we stumbled across a little place called Laona that was promoting itself as a traditional Cypriot eatery. Even better it had a number of vegetarian dishes. I was just going to have a bowl of louvi black beans, but the owner said he would bring us a few vegetarian dishes to sample. Though all were familiar to me, I was a happy bunny. Here are some of them.
Dried broad bean soup with lemon and marrow.
Minted vegetables.
It was towards the end of our holiday we came across a place that offered a traditional vegetarian menu. D's parents were familiar with this place as they had eaten there before. So everyone was happy with what was presented before them.
We both had the Yemista, stuffed vegetables (courgette, pepper or tomato) with rice, onions in a tomato based sauce.
This little eatery was next to St Pauls Church in Paphos, Cyprus where the the Pope recently visited.


  1. I'm so glad you continued posting about your lovely trip as well as highlighting all this amazing food.
    It entices me to want to learn more about this cuisine.
    Thanks for sharing the beauty.
    Flavourful wishes, Claudia

  2. Thanks Claudia. I just wished I got to try more.

  3. What a shame you had such trouble finding veggie food. I have trouble when I go away also.
    The stuffed vegetables look SO good!


  4. That all looks brilliant. I used to work in a couple Greek restaurants (was vegetarian at the time) and think I lived off salads, gemista, tiropita & spanakopita. So very delicious. I've never attempted to make spanakopita - have you? Not sure I could work with phyllo that well...

  5. Rose.
    I can imagine it being much harder for you being a vegan.

    Thanks Christine.
    I have made spanakopitta.
    But not in the coil style.

  6. my goodness this food looks good, especially the halloumi pastry, the combniation of ingredients sounds delicious! looks like you had a fantastic holiday!

  7. Thanks Clare. I did have a nice break. Glad to be home though.

  8. We were in Paphos at Easter and the food was lovely - I too got hooked on Halloumi Pastries. We spent a lot of time in the local supermarket because we couldnt get enough of all the lush fruit and veg - your pictures took me right back there...

  9. Thank you so, so much free range girl.

    Shows that this is a small world.

    The halloumi pies when fresh were lovely and I agree with you about the fresh fruit and veg.


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