Monday, April 13, 2015

Pasteli: Greek Honey Sesame Bar




Was doing a bit of spring cleaning.  Going through the cabinets and came across a small collection of half-filled jars of honey.  Not a bad thing, though said jars were monopolizing prime real estate in my limited cabinet space.  Or maybe it was a longing to return to Greece (I ♥ Greece from 2010 -- it's been too long) that steered me in this direction today.  

Pasteli is a really simple Greek treat made with honey and sesame seeds.  It's an all natural energy bar, the original energy bar.  You can add other nuts and/or seeds to suit your taste. 

Many recipes for pasteli call for sugar (in addition to the honey), which makes the bars a bit crunchier.  My pasteli are made solely with honey.  They're pleasantly chewy.


A bit of orange zest is a nice addition.  I've seen versions that incorporate orange blossom water which sounds really interesting.


After chilling in the refrigerator, they're much easier to cut...





Thursday, April 9, 2015

Ahh, Sardinia...

Alghero, the main city in northwest Sardinia.

It's been nearly a year (June 2014) since I explored Sardinia and am just getting around to posting photos.  With only a 10-day visit, we just scratched the surface.  There's so much more to see and experience.  Although I only got a glimpse of this spectacular and magical island, I was quickly seduced by its charms. Hope to return someday (soon).

Sardinia is definitely a place to relax, to unwind, to enjoy il dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing).

'This [Sardinia] is an island where coastal drives thrill, prehistory puzzles, and sheep (four million of them) rule the roads.  Sardinia captivates with its wild interior, dazzling beaches, and endearing eccentricities.' [Lonely Planet]

Researchers have designated Sardinia as one of the world's five Blue Zones; that is, Sardinia is one of five regions with the highest concentration of centenarians in the world -- nearly 10 times more centenarians per capita than the United States.  Evidence suggests that lifestyle and environment (i.e., culture, community, diet, family life, or, perhaps, "something in the air"), not just heredity, are the keys to long life.  Not surprisingly, wine is also a part of Sardinian culture.  The cannanou grape (aka grenache), in particular, is known to contain high concentrations of resveratrol and other antioxidants. Perhaps a contributor to longevity?


Northwest Sardinia...Spiaggia della Pelosa.


Stopped for a bite to eat and spent the rest of the day on this tranquil, much less touristy beach...



Eastern Sardinia...

We made our base in Cala Gonone,which is an ideal launchpad for exploring some of eastern Sardinia's striking beaches.

Most beaches are accessible only by boat or foot.  I highly recommend taking a boat excursion along the 20km stretch of Golfo di Orosei to get the best views of the majestic limestone cliffs, secluded beaches, coves, and grottos.  Excursions offered by the various boat operators lining the port in Cala Gonone build in plenty of time for swimming and lazing on the beach.



Cala Goloritze (Goloritze Cove)...

Cala Goloritze is accessible by foot or boat.  It's about a 60-minutes walk, along an old mule trail, to reach the beach.  The return is a slightly more challenging, uphill trek.  FYI: Finding the parking lot at which you leave your car was no easy task -- up a windy road, around another windy road, down the dirt road, no signs, unmarked...).

Despite the effort, it's totally worth it.  Bring lots of water, wear good walking shoes, and pack a lunch, as there are no bars, restaurants, or any other places to buy food at the beach or along the trail.


Taking a short break in the shade to catch my breath (whew, I'm out of shape)...


Totally worth it.




Western Sardinia...


Wandering around the town of Bosa (Western Sardinia)...


Our typical lunch: seafood salad and/or grilled seafood, grilled vegetables, and a glass of Vermentino di Gallura...


Lots of goats and sheep wandering around the windy, switchback, mountain roads....the land of shepherds.


And a wild boar, which was moving a bit too fast for a good photo...