Torta Rustica, ethnic treat

torta_rustica

The Torta Rustica is an easy Cuban, Greek, or Italian dish that can be eaten for breakfast or lunch. The dish which is a complete meal consisting of carbohydrates, vegetables, and food from animals, is a fairly heavy meal and best eaten before late hours.

Gather together 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup cornmeal, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3/4 cup butter, diced 2 eggs, 4 tablespoons cold water, 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese, 4 ounces feta cheese, 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1 egg 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano, 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/2 pound ham slices, chopped frozen chopped spinach, roasted red peppers, and 1 egg.

To prepare add flour, cornmeal, and salt and cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Beat in eggs and cold water and mix it into the flour mixture until the dough forms. Shape2/3 of the mixture into a flattened round and repeat the process with the remaining 1/3 and place in the refrigerator.

In a separate bowl, mix the cheese, 1 egg, parsley, basil, and oregano until blended. In an 8 inch round baking dish rollout the dough mixture and place the flattened portion in the bottom of the pan. Use the remaining 1/3 to wrap in the round section of the dish and add the cheese mixture. Add the peppers in single layer and top with the mozzarella and press down. Cover with the remaining dough and seal the edges. Use the remaining egg to top the mixture and bake in an oven at 375 degrees F or until the crust is golden brown. Once done, cool, cut into wedges and serve.

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Crete, ancient isle

crete (1)
Crete is an island in the Mediterranean Sea and is the fifth largest of the Greek isles forming a large part of the country’s economy.

It is the centre of the Minoan civilisation which is known as the oldest in Europe and as such history is a big part of the island’s culture. It has also retained some of its own culture such as great poetry and music. The country’s name first appeared in Homer’s Odyssey.

The island is quite mountainous with a high range running from east to west while there are also great valleys including the Amari Valley. The climate is primarily temperate with a humid atmosphere and mild winters.

Among the things to do and places to visit in Crete is the Aquaworld Aquarium. Sea life is big in Crete which is an island and therefore surrounded by water. There are several species specific to the island such as crustaceans (crabs).

Equine life is also important and there are several stables including the Arion Stables that can be visited. See also the Lychnostatis Open Air Museum and the Balos Lagoon.

There are over 2000 restaurants on the island with over 1300 serving native Greek cuisine.

Among the lower range are the Spyros Taverna in Gouves and The Alchemist in Koutouloufari. On the higher end are the Kapetan Dimitris and Lotus Eaters. The island has two main international airports as well as a ferry service with transport to Athens on mainland Greece.

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Corfu, castle island

corfu

In the Ionian Sea sits the Greek island of Corfu. The birthplace of the Duke of Edinburgh, the whole island of Corfu is made almost entirely of limestone formations.

The island was heavily fortified against the Ottoman Empire and its capital city, also named Corfu, is enclosed by castles. It has been declared a Kastropolis or castle city by the Greek government. Among the islands sites is the Achilleion palace. The palace is famous for itsItalianate architecture and was after the Homeric hero Achilles.

The palace is is filled with paintings and statues of Achilles and depicts the scenes of the Trojan War. The historic Palaiokastritsa monastery on the west coast has beautiful coastal views of small, picturesque bays.

The Nymphes waterfalls in the north and the deserted 14th century village of Perithia high in the mountains near the highest peak of Mount Pantokrator are also worth seeing.

The foods of Corfu are similar to those of mainland Greece such as olivesolive oilcheeses,fresh fruitsvegetables and seafood.

Things to try include Bourou-Bourou Vegetable and Pasta Soup, Bourtheto a Scorpion Fish in a Spicy Sauce, Pastitsatha Rooster with Pasta and Sykomaïtha – Spiced Fig Cakes. The island is served by the Corfu International Airport, two miles south of Corfu Town.

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Crete, cradle of European civilisation

crete

The island of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea is the largest of the Greek isles and the most populous.

The second largest island in the Mediterranean after Cyprus- Crete is teeming with history. It was once the centre of Minoan civilisation which is recorded as the earliest known European civilisation.

The culture is rich. Known for Mantinades poetry and music, and dances the most notable being the Pentozali. Crete is also rich with archaeological sites such as Knossos and Phaistos and there are also Minoan, Roman, and World War II ruins.

Crete is mountainous and has three different groups of mountains forming part of a range running from east to west. The island is plush with fertile plateaux, valleys, caves, and gorges. The climate is primarily temperate and there is snowfall in the mountains between November and May.

Heraklion is the largest city and capital, with more than a fifth of the island’s 600,000 people.

Crete has a road network larger than that of Britain and is well-served by ferries from the mainland city of Athens.

Crete is a veritable den of flora and fauna not seen anywhere else in Greece or other parts of Europe. There are no large or dangerous mammals or snakes on the island.

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Cyprus, Mediterranean paradise

Cyprus
Very mild winters and warm dry summers make the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea a hotspot for tourists. The island gets almost twice the sunshine of cities in Northern Europe with as many as 12-13 hours of sun during the summertime.

Cyprus sits south of Turkey and east of Greece and is the third largest island in the Mediterranean. The island of Cyprus is divided into Greek and Turkish rule and is unique in that it is the only one which has a divided capital city – Nicosia. Nicosia is divided by a “green line” with part in Turkish Cyprus and part in Greek Cyprus. The city is surrounded by a Venetian wall.

International flights arrive at Larnaca International Airport in the south of the island. The island is mountainous in the north and south with plains in the centre while there are also plains on the island’s southern coast.

There are many archaeological sites scattered across Cyprus that date from the Stone Age through the Roman Empire and the island also boasts a beautiful coastline.

Cyprus is a great place to buy leather goods including shoes and handbags, jewellery, lacework from the village of Lefkara, and Cypriot wine. It boasts interesting cuisine and meze, a dish that can be made from meat or fish, is a must try.

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