Monday, May 25, 2015

Maltese Balconies

Because I never tire of looking up at these. Ever.

Homemade Limoncello

Our neighbors have several lemon trees and reciprocate hospitality of our baked items to them with a constant supply of lemons back to us, when they're in season. We love having them on the ready for lemonade or just to jazz up dinner.

I think the Mediterranean bug bit Chris. All those lemons, a love for brewing and some beautiful wine vessels we picked up at a junk sale a few months ago was too much to ignore.

We also had 3 liters of 95% grain alcohol (White Lightnin') we picked up in Sicily on our October trip for the very reason of making limoncello. That stuff has flammable stickers on it!
And will knock you straight on your ass!!! ... just to smell it. It is NOT for the faint of heart.

He researched... as he does in these masculine projecty times, finding the goods here. He gently peeled the lemons, sure to not have a spot of white pithing. He meticulously filtered the alcohol. He joined and soaked the peels/alcohol and sealed them away inro the dark and cool corners of the kitchen for 45 days, gently rolling the jars every couple days (that is the only tiny role I played, peel roller). After 45 days, he filtered the liquid about 3 times, added simple syrup (chilled to room temperature) and then condemned the concoction to the far recesses again to sit for another 45 days.

We sipped at the beginning... holy dragon fire!
We sipped at Day 45... harsh throat burn, just like Grandpa curing the flu, but with a beautiful hint of lemon.
We sipped at Day 90... it's official, we are meant to live in the Mediterranean!

He nailed it!
We might not bottle and sell it, but we definitely can please some friends and make an impression... if there's any left (he has a tiny cold glass after the girls are in bed each night).

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Malta Finale with guests

Our friends stayed with us a couple nights, a chill visit, multiple cooks (and cleaners!) in the kitchen, kids milling about, outings and laughs. They were AMAZING house guests, so thoughtful (brought us Bulgarian goodies), helpful (cooking, bed making, pulled linens upon leaving, etc.) and just felt like we'd been friends (or even family) forever. Being in the same work/life overseas environments maybe helps with learning the unspoken book of etiquette, but I think they are just great people and would've done all this regardless.
We hiked one of our favorite trails at Xemxija, by the bee apiaries. We also visited Mellieha Bay (when Paradise was too windy), historic Valletta, did an underground tour and had a night out for sushi sans kids!
They moved into town half way into their stay to see a different perspective of the island. But we all enjoyed the visit so much, that we still kept meeting up for outings and dinners right up until they left. Hopefully we'll get to Bulgaria (not likely...) before we leave this fall, but if not, we'll be sure to cross paths whenever location allows.

Marsaxlokk Fishing Village with guests

In line with the last blog post, our good friends were in town with us and journeyed down south to Marsaxlokk. The harbor there is always beautiful and full of color. It was a great place to let the kids enjoy the boats, boardwalk, sealife and water fountains, while we adults chilled for lunch, had a beer, picked up some produce and relaxed a bit.
We all were amazed watching the fishermen mending their nets, hands and feet busy at work. 
(Stategic placement of our lunch choice next to the fountains for the kids)
The kids were concentrating on their gang signs. 

Blue Grotto with guests

A couple weeks ago, we had house guests. I've posted on FB a few times about visitors and how anyone interested in our casual B&B to get on the ball, because our time here is coming to an end after the summer. A handful have taken us up on the offer.

These friends began the Foreign Service near the same time as us, and we were neighbors (and pool pals) while we lived at the Oakwood apartments in Virginia in 2010. At the time, their son was only about a year and a half old, while Ceiba has just turned 3. Though they really didn't remember anything from that time, they became instant buddies on the trip.

We've gone to Blue Grotto several times, usually just seeing the falconry man and having a bite to eat. For some reason, I thought the boat ride would be pricey, and we were usually there in snotty or chilly weather.
When the gang arrived, a boat ride into Blue Grotto was a must do on both of our lists. The tickets were cheap, no lines, the scenery stunning, and we all just really had a great time!
(Each of the kids enjoyed driving. Ceti is territorial of her new beau E)
(The grotto is stunning! Lovebirds and breakfast of champions below)
 (The area around the boat dock is really pretty, small and quaint. The kids loved the bicycles!)
(Really happy we did NOT look like the "caution overboard" bunch before us. Whiplash crew!)