Thursday, 3 March 2011


“There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” - Jane Austen

Ah, it’s good to be home! While I love travelling, after a while living out of a suitcase gets tiring and even if one resides in the best hotel it just doesn’t compare to home comforts. While foreign countries are exciting and interesting and stimulating for the mind, opening the door of one’s home after an absence and smelling that lovely home smell, being surrounded by one’s own things, sleeping in one’s own bed is just wonderful! We got back very early this morning and fortunately we were able to get through customs quickly, hiring a taxi immediately and managing to get home before the morning peak-hour traffic.

After unpacking, I had a shower, a shave and off I went to work, as today was a working day. And there was such a lot to do. Meetings, emails, phone calls, catching up with people. Although we did not manage to get much sleep on the plane, we did manage to snooze on and off. However, the lack of sleep made itself felt in the afternoon at work, and is telling right now. There is a good night’s sleep predicted for tonight, that’s for sure!

Another of the benefits of being home of course is home cooking. Whatever one may have while away – delectable dishes, new tasty treats, interesting and exotic foods, classy hotel food, the best of restaurant fare – one always misses the favourites of one’s own home. Especially so when they are made with the products of one’s own garden. We came back to find growing in abundance in the garden tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, beans and various garden greens. Fortunately the weather had been kind, with some showers and no temperature extremes while we were away so the garden fared well.

This evening we decided to have something simple and homegrown for dinner. This dish is a traditional Greek one and is typical summer fare, popular all over the country. It is called “vlita”, as its main ingredient is a variety of garden greens known as Amaranthus blitum var. silvestre. This is a species of purple amaranth and grows as a weed in many a wasteland. However, in Greece, it is considered quite a delicacy and is sown in spring, to be gathered for summer eating. We sow it in the garden and needs little care except watering. One gathers the young and tender shoots and boils them with a variety of other greens and vegetables. A must is the addition of the young shoots of black nightshade, Solanum nigrum. These should be less in proportion to the amaranth, as too many will cause the dish to become too bitter. Other bits and pieces in the mixture are slices of potato, zucchini and French beans. All the greens and vegetables are boiled until tender, drained and served hot or cold with a simple vinaigrette dressing, or some people prefer to dress the greens with olive oil and lemon juice, or even just olive oil.

Accompanying this dish one may have cheese, crusty bread, and some kind of canned of smoked fish, for example tuna or smoked salmon, to make it a complete meal. Alternatively boiled eggs may also be served with such a simple meal. One may be misled into thinking that this is a poor man’s dish suited to fasting. However, it is surprisingly tasty, filling and satisfying, not to mention nutritious and filled with vitamins, minerals and bitter tonics good for the liver. Just the sort of thing after a few days travelling in distant and exotic lands. The taste of home!


  1. Some folks' weeds are other folks' nutritious meals...
    Glad to hear you're safely back home Nicholas!

  2. bleuccchhhh
    gimme a hamburger :)

  3. Hi Nick, it is good you gave me this link, as i didn't know you still have this blog, oh you have so many, wonder how you can keep up with them! This amaranth, the green one is also eaten here especially in the northern part of the country. However, i haven't eaten eat and maybe it is an acquired taste. It is our local spinach, as some say. But that Solanum nigrum, i am not familiar yet. I know there is a solanum which is poisonous, we have it here. I will search for the S nigrum. I thought only us eat those marginal weeds that emerge after the first heavy rainfall, apparently also Greeks do, i mean Australian-Greek. Happy Weekend.