A food lover’s guide to Cyprus

I’ve just come back from a gorgeous week in the sunshine, in Cyprus.

One of the things I loved most was the food! Wherever I am, I think it’s important to try the local specialities, to discover the true taste of a country and immerse myself fully in its culture.

What to eat in Cyprus? Try these delicious foods!

Cheese

Halloumi:

I love the squeaky texture of halloumi and the salty kick it gives to any meal. It is filling, tasty and satisfying. In Cyprus, you’ll find that halloumi salads are very common. I often ordered a side dish of halloumi, to accompany lamb chops or tuna pittas. We also bought big slabs of halloumi from the supermarket, to slice and lightly fry or chop into chunks to go on skewers alongside chorizo.

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Feta:

Order a village salad in Cyprus and it will come with a generous helping of feta on top. Fresh Greek feta is so much richer and creamier than that you can get in the UK. It is usually served with potent black olives, sliced red onion and tomatoes.

Fruit

Watermelon:

I absolutely love watermelon. It is thirst-quenching and scrumptious, and also a very healthy snack or breakfast food! As soon as I see watermelon stalls on the side of the road, I truly feel on holiday. We bought ours from the supermarket in Cyprus and it was so cheap!

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Cherries:

Who doesn’t love cherries?! They are one of my favourite summer foods and such a delicious snack to have in the house. And Cyprus certainly has good cherries to offer!

Nectarines:

I would choose nectarines over peaches any day. They are just so much juicier! They may seem pretty firm in the supermarkets in Cyprus, but leave them out in a fruit bowl and they will ripen almost overnight in the summer heat!

All of these fruits are extremely refreshing on a hot sunny day. I loved eating breakfast alfresco – a bowl of fruit and Greek yoghurt. DELICIOUS!

There are plenty of banana plantations dotted around the island, so it’s worth picking up fresh bananas too! A useful thing to note about supermarkets in Cyprus – you need to take your fruit (and veg) to a weighing counter before going to the checkout to pay!

Seafood

Sword Fish:

Sword fish may be a meaty fish but, if cooked properly, it should be soft and juicy. The Cypriots certainly do it justice and I would highly recommend trying it whilst you’re there!

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Sardines:

I have always loved fresh sardines, whether grilled or BBQ’d. It’s something I never cook at home for some reason, but is a real holiday taste that takes me back to my childhood.

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Octopus:

Grilled octopus is a local speciality. It is served very simply, to ensure the subtle flavour is not overpowered by garnishes. The charring from the grill gives it a nice smoky exterior.

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Whitebait:

Whitebait is the perfect sharing starter. Tiny, tasty little fish that are lightly fried and are perfect for dipping in tartar sauce or lemon-mayo!

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Sea Bream:

We bought whole sea bream from the supermarket and cooked them on the BBQ. They were AMAZING! Such soft fish fillets, brought to life with that charred BBQ flavour and a squeeze of lemon.

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Meat

Sheftalia:

Sheftalia is a traditional Cypriot food. It is made with a mixture of lamb and pork mince, and plenty of parsley. The meat is encased inside caul fat rather than typical sausage casing. Sheftalia is best cooked on the BBQ and is the perfect pitta filling!

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Just a note, be careful what sausages you pick up in the supermarket as some have incredibly strong flavourings which you probably won’t be used to. Coriander seeds pack a serious punch. It was the only thing I wasn’t keen on in Cyprus!

Salad

The flavour of the tomatoes are unlike any you can get your hands on at home (unless you grow them yourself!). You can tell they are freshly picked, as they are so flavoursome and juicy.

The strong red onions made my eyes water like crazy when I was chopping them but they sure are delicious! I like to chop up red onion, tomato and cucumber together, to be spooned generously into toasted pitta breads.

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Wherever you are in Cyprus, you can pick up beautiful produce from local supermarkets. Some of the best meals I had on holiday were the DIY BBQs. It’s worth researching traditional taverns in the area you are staying in, to get the most authentic Greek food. Paphos Town did have a lovely selection of seafood restaurants, along the waterfront, that are worth trying too though in you’re nearby!

Happy holidays!

x Morts x

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Book Review: Amy Snow by Tracy Rees

I can see why Amy Snow is a Richard and Judy bestseller. It is such an enjoyable read; I devoured it in a few days!

What I liked most was that it was a refreshing, modern take on a Victorian novel. It may be set in 1848, but it isn’t bogged down with long descriptive passages or infuriating inequalities. The strongest characters are female, like the fiery, persistent and unstoppable Aurelia and Mrs Riverthorpe. Even Amy, who has grown up in the shadows, has explosive outbursts at injustices dealt to her.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Dickens, Austen or Gaskell novel. I love the Victorian era and genre. But Amy Snow was so much easier to digest!

At the start, it seems like it’s going to be a tale about Amy’s origins. Abandoned in the snow as a baby, Amy grows up not knowing where she came from or who her parents really are. Instead, the story takes a sudden turn as she receives her first letter from Aurelia – written before she passed away. Aurelia’s plea is for Amy to embrace life outside of Hatfield and to retrace her own steps a few years previous, to begin a journey of discovery.

And so it soon turns into a tale of revelations and relationships. I loved finding out Aurelia’s secrets, the truth unravelling one letter at a time. I was desperate to know more; to know everything. Along with Amy, I anxiously awaited each letter. Amy’s admiration for Aurelia certainly rubbed off on me. I became so invested in Amy’s emotional journey, as well as physical one, that I felt every moment of joy and pain.

Really, it is a tale of self-discovery; it’s about the person Amy is rather than who her parents are. Aurelia gives her the chance to explore different lifestyles and find out what she truly wants. As Amy is exposed to the world outside of Hatfield, she finally stops hiding, worrying, and pretending. She lets her guard down and new friends into her heart. She allows herself new pleasures and eventually learns to leave her bad memories where they belong; in the past.

Her memories, good and bad, drive so much of the storyline; they help piece together Aurelia’s puzzles so Amy can move forward with her quest.

One thing’s for sure, you will not forget the characters in this novel very quickly. They are simply wonderful; from the icy, heartless Mrs Vennaway and the warm, generous Wisters, to the excitable, bounding Henry and the wonderfully outspoken Mrs Riverthorpe. They are spiteful, sassy, kind and adorable. No shades of magnolia here!

Give it a go and see for yourself!

x Morts x

A guide to: Luxembourg

I have recently returned from a lovely long weekend in Luxembourg.

It was a slightly random choice of holiday (booked by my sister and her friends) but we had a fantastic time! We stayed in a camping and caravan park, about 30 minutes outside of Luxembourg city. Renting a car was essential to take in all of the sights.

What to do in Luxembourg?

1. Nature Trails:

There are tonnes of nature trails to choose from but the Müllerthal Trail was definitely my favourite. It led to a wonderful viewpoint and there was plenty to explore along the way, with caves you could go into and huge rocks you could walk between.  It was pretty humid whilst we were in Luxembourg, so it was nice to escape into the cool forest for a bit. At the bottom of the Müllerthal Trail, you’ll also find the beautiful Schiessentümpel Waterfall. The crooked bridge over the top of the waterfall made me feel like I was suddenly in the Lord of the Rings… like we had stepped right into Rivendell.

There are also caves you can visit in Berdorf. These were carved out in the Middle Ages, so people could use the rock for millstones. One of the caves was converted into an amphitheatre (Amphitheatre Breechkaul) in 1979, and it still used for plays and concerts today.

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2. Medieval Castles:

There are loads of castles in Luxembourg. Over 50 in fact! I had the pleasure of visiting two of these.

My favourite was Beaufort Castle. I fell for it the moment I saw the sun light up it’s sandy exterior. So much of it is still preserved and there are drawings around the castle, showing how it would have looked in medieval times. You can also sample liqueurs on site (cassis and framboise), which pack a serious punch!

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Larochette Castle was also fun to explore. The ruins are set up on the hillside, looking down onto the town of Larochette. The views are fantastic and you are free to scramble around the ruins for as long as you please for the bargain price of €4 per person!

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3. Luxembourg City:

Luxembourg City is a lovely place to wander around, with huge parks, historic buildings and plenty of cafes and restaurants to choose from.

The Notre Dame Cathedral is well worth a visit, with striking turrets like a fairy-tale castle and beautiful stained-glass windows. You can go inside the cathedral for free. The Palace of the Grand Dukes is also impressive, but you can only see it from the outside. There is always a guard on duty, walking back and forth with a stern expression.

It doesn’t take long at all  to walk around the centre of the city (we did it in an afternoon). This is why it often ranks as only the third best thing to do/see in Luxembourg.

One thing you definitely need to know, parking is very limited. We visited the city during working hours on a Friday and all central car parks were full, so we had to drive further out and park in the business district. Also, you have to buy a bus ticket from one of the ticket machines before getting on a bus! We had no idea about this but were luckily let off by a very kind bus driver. There seemed to be buses going in and out of the city pretty regularly which was good.

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All-in-all I was pleasantly surprised by Luxembourg and what it has to offer. It’s definitely more of an active holiday, than relaxing holiday, but it’s an easy place to find your way around – and a beautiful one.

If you’re looking for a low cost holiday Luxembourg is a good shout, as most of the activities are either seriously cheap or free! Eating out was very reasonable too. Do be prepared for fairly slow service though… they are certainly in no rush in Luxembourg!

Enjoy!

x Morts x