Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Skiathos to Skopelos

Wandering along the harbour at Skiathos town on Monday, we were idly looking for a boat trip when we came across Captain Dimitris and his Day Sail yacht. We liked the captain, we liked the boat, we liked the fact that he promised a whole day's sailing and how could we resist the cryptic legend on his flyer: 'Enjoy a genuine race sailing boat as long as a special greek cuisine!' Did we need to bring anything? No, said the captain, just your swimming costume. We booked for Wednesday, and were delighted to find that we were the only passengers. The captain disappeared on his scooter and returned with fresh bread, and we were soon off towards Skopelos, past a tiny island with lighthouse.
The captain dived into his cabin and returned with a mid-morning snack of iced tea and tiny choccy croissants. He navigated passed the Mama Mia beach and on to a tiny cove where the pines met the sand.
The anchor grumbled down and there we were, 30 metres from shore and ready for my first ever ship to shore swim.

The sea was that improbable mixture of turquoise and azure. We tentatively clambered down the ladder - Dimitris confidently said the first shock of the cold sea was good for the heart. Once you're in, it's heavenly.
After half an hour of splashing around (and J getting some serious attention from flying bugs on the beach), we were off to a tiny harbour village on Skopelos. Dimitris sent us off on a search for a bakery/sweet shop where I bought a jar of quince jam and nutty sweets as presents for cat and garden sitters back home. Then it was time for lunch...

And what a lunch! We were ravenous after our swim, and Dimitris served up meatballs, spiked with oregano, in a rich tomato sauce, pasta and a greek salad. With beer for me, and wine for J. It was delicious.
Did Dimitris make this himself. Yes, he said, good captain, good cook, good sailor, good tailor. 'Tailor?' said J. Yes, he said, he makes sails. So that settled that.
Perfect weather, perfect meal.
After lunch we began the slow journey back, stopping off at another tiny island for our last swim. J and I sat up on the prow of the boat, soaking in the afternoon sun. Then we were back on land, and climbed up to explore the old town and look back at the harbour.
Back home, I've rustled up an approximation of those wonderful meatballs.
The captain's meatballs
400g minced lamb
Two finely chopped spring onions
Handful of herbs - I used oregano, marjoram and parsley from the garden
Salt and pepper
Half a beaten egg to bind
Mix everything together and squash it firmly through your hands to mingle and bind. Shape into ping-pong sized balls.
Pop them into the fridge to firm up. Fry the balls in olive oil until they've coloured, then add to a tomato sauce - I used a homemade version from the freezer, made by gently stewing toms in a onion/olive oil base then sieved to produce a silky sauce.
Simmer gently while you're cooking your pasta.
Serve with further fresh herbs and, if you like, a sprinkle of parmesan.
It's not as good as on board ship in the sun, but it's a great supper for a grey London.


mangocheeks said...

Wow - the water is so brilliantly blue.

goodshoeday said...

Its so nice to cook a dish you had on holiday and it remind you of the blue sky sea and warmth - especially with the rubbish rainy weather we have at the moment. Looks v tasty indeed.

Dan said...

Great Photos - reminds me of almost drowning in Santorini a few years ago whilst swimming off a boat...hahaha- long story.

Meatballs and Pasta - its only 10am and its making me feel hungry looking at it. Very nice indeed.