Travel to Cyprus with helpful Apple apps

Cyprus officially the Republic of Cyprus, is a Eurasian island country in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of its most popular tourist destinations. The Republic of Cyprus was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement until it joined the European Union on 1 May 2004.

The earliest known human activity on the island dates back to around the 10th millennium BCE. Archaeological remains from this period include the well-preserved Neolithic village of Khirokitia, which has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, along with the Tombs of the Kings. Cyprus is home to some of the oldest water wells in the world. At a strategic location in the Middle East, Cyprus has been occupied by several major powers, including the empires of the Hittites, Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Rashiduns, Umayyads, Lusignans, Venetians and Ottomans. Settled by Mycenean Greeks in the second millennium BCE, the island also experienced long periods of Greek rule under the Ptolemies and the Byzantines. In 333 BCE, Alexander the Great conquered the island from the Persians. The Ottoman Empire conquered the island in 1571 and it remained under Ottoman control for over three centuries. It was placed under British administration in 1878 until it was granted independence in 1960, becoming a member of the Commonwealth the following year. For those planning to travel to Cyprus we have come up with a few apps that you could assist you on your trip.

Cyprus Travel Guide by FidesReef provides information on cities, transport, sights, shopping, restaurants places to stay and lots more valuable information. Available through the iTunes App Store for £0.69/$0.99 this app is an ideal offline way of accessing all the important details required to enhance your stay. Find out about Larnaca, Limassol, Nicosia, Paphos, Ayia Napa, Protaras and the South East coast of Cyprus with the use if this easy to use travel guide.

Cyprus (Nicosia, Limassol, Lamaca) Maps Offline by FidesReef is a great way to search for anything from restaurants to hotels. For £1.99/$2.99 at the App Store, this application includes street maps, parking and lots of other useful information. With help from location tracking, using Wifi there is a bookmark feature so you know exactly where you are and where you are going.

Cyprus News by Cocoon Creations is a free application that gives the user the opportunity to access current relevant information regarding Cyprus. Find out what is going on with all the news from all the major newspapers and blogs across Cyprus and Greece. Share articles on Facebook, Twitter or email them to a friend. Cyprus News downloads the news on your device, making them available even when there is no internet connectivity, for a more convenient reading any time, anywhere. for more information on this visit, the App Store.

Cyprus Maps by CITY APP is the ideal app for finding your way around Cyprus and places including Nicosia, Limassol, Paphos, LarnacaLarge and Cypru. Cyprus Map enable you to use maps offline without internet connection for £1.99/$2.99 at the App Store. Find out where the nearest restaurant is, or hotel with the help of real time GPS tracking capability. Zoom in and out; bookmark your favorites with this easy to use app.

Make the most of your trip and use applications to get all you can out of your adventure. Have you been to Cyprus before but could still use added assistance? Some of these apps can also be a handy tool for permanent residents or seasoned travelers.


Six struck with malaria in Greece – Travel

Following six cases of malaria in Greece, holidaymakers have been warned to protect themselves against mosquito bites.

The cases included five Greek adults and a Roma child, all have been reported since June this year and were seen in people with no history of travel to countries where malaria is more common, according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

All six patients are recovering at present, there have been no deaths.

The cases have been identified in areas of marshy wetland – were mosquitos are more common. Including the districts of Laconia, in the south of the Peloponnese peninsula, and the island of Euboea, east of the Greek mainland.

Professor David Hill, director of the HPA’s National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) said: ‘The risk to holidaymakers of catching

malaria while in Greece remains extremely low, so there is no need to take anti-malarials when visiting this country, but travellers should take

measures to prevent being bitten.

‘We already advise people travelling to Greece to prevent insect bites to protect against another mosquito-borne infection caused by West Nile virus.

‘This can cause a nervous system disease and over 200 cases were reported in Greece last year. The recent cases of malaria in Greece reinforce the importance of taking precautions against being bitten while on holiday.’

Dr Jane Jones, a travel health expert at the HPA, added: ‘It is important that travellers returning from affected areas seek medical advice promptly if they experience symptoms of malaria, which include fever, headache and muscle pains.

‘The HPA is also advising health professionals to consider mosquito-borne illnesses in travellers returning from Greece with relevant symptoms and ensure they are tested appropriately.

‘The HPA and NaTHNaC will continue to monitor the situation in Greece closely and will offer any further advice to health professionals and the general public accordingly.’

These new cases make it the third year Greece has seen cases of malaria from local transmission.


Adventures By Disney Announces New and Enhanced Itineraries for 2012




Adventures by Disney, the leader in guided family travel, announces the addition of two new destinations to its repertoire of immersive family vacations – Greece: “Greek Odyssey” and Northern France: “Esprit de France ” – available to travelers in 2012. The adventure continues in Egypt with “Pyramids, Pharaohs Ancient Treasures,” an unforgettable expedition. New for 2012, Adventures by Disney will feature distinct enhancements to its Australia, London and Paris and Galapagos Islands departures – details, dates and rates are available at www.AdventuresbyDisney.com.

Over the last six years, Adventures by Disney has developed a collection of exhilarating tours with one goal in mind: help families experience the most sought-after and culturally stimulating destinations in the world. Led by knowledgeable Adventure Guides and authentic local experts, families unlock the wonders and stories of the world through unparalleled excursions and engaging activities designed for all ages and activity levels such as pizza-making at a farm in Italy, spending the night at a German castle and playing the role of an art detective at the Louvre. With the smallest details planned in advance, it’s easy for parents to relax and immerse themselves in the most valuable experience of all – quality time with their family.

“Through our dedication to storytelling and exclusive hands-on experiences, families can get a glimpse of the history and beauty synonymous with Greece, France, Egypt and every vacation destination on our roster,” said Josh D’Amaro, Vice President, Adventures by Disney. “We are in the business of creating unforgettable, VIP hassle-free itineraries so guests can focus on discovering and exploring a new world and creating priceless vacation memories that last a lifetime.”

Adventures by Disney presents three featured adventures for 2012:

“Greek Odyssey” Athens, Santorini and Crete – the adventure starts in Athens where Greek mythology comes to life through moonlight storytelling at the Parthenon and sporting games at the home of the modern Olympics, Panathinaiko Stadium. Discovery continues on the volcanic island of Santorini where kids go feet-first into Greek grape stomping while adults enjoy a wine tasting at Volcan winery. After sailing the azure waters of the Aegean Sea, families travel to Crete and are immersed in mountain culture with local expert-led lessons in Tsatziki cheese making and Greek dancing.

“Pyramids, Pharaohs Ancient Treasures ” Cairo, Aswan, Luxor, the Nile and Sharm El Sheikh – uncover an ancient world of pyramids, mummies and man-made marvels as this expedition kicks off with a camelback tour of the Great Pyramids of Giza and a Nile River cruise to Luxor. Families will be in awe of the architectural wonder of the Sphinx and experience the secrets of Tutankhamen’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings with a Junior Adventurer scavenger hunt at the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities. Activities like papyrus making, traditional cooking, and hieroglyphic writing give guests a first-hand view of life in ancient Egypt.

” Esprit de France ” Paris, Normandy and Loire Valley – perfect for families looking to experience the arts, this itinerary features a drawing activity in Monet’s Gardens, a visit to Château du Clos Luce, the last known residence of Leonardo da Vinci, and a private dinner at the Louvre in Paris. A true taste of the French countryside, adventurers learn of the art of brandy-making on the Normandy Cider Route; enjoy a picturesque country bike ride and spend the night in an authentic Château. Guests continue the adventure with visits to Versailles, Mont Saint-Michel monastery, Omaha Beach and a viewing of the Bayeux Tapestry.

Adventures by Disney unveils three enhanced itineraries for 2012:

“Discovery Down Under” Australia and Tasmania – the action-packed Australian adventure will now include a visit to the island of Tasmania featuring a Eucalyptus forest zipline experience, an introduction to traditional cuisine at Kate’s Berry Farm and Meadowbank Winery as well as a visit to the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary to meet the infamous Tasmanian Devil.

“Grandiosos Galapagos” Galapagos Islands – Now families can spend more time discovering the flora and fauna of Darwin’s famous islands with seven nights aboard the Galapagos Explorer cruise ship. Guests will have the opportunity to swim and snorkel with sea lions and penguins and come face to face with giant tortoises.

“Cities of Knights and Lights” London and Paris – Adventures by Disney’s classic European itinerary now features an exquisite trip to the British Countryside where guests can play British lawn games and receive royal treatment on a privately-guided tour of Windsor Castle.

From VIP experiences and world-class accommodations to add-on excursions, Adventures by Disney has a quest to suit any traveler. For more information on Adventures by Disney, visit www.AdventuresbyDisney.com.


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National Bank of Greece Posts EU1.31 Billion Loss on Bonds

August 30, 2011, 12:18 PM EDT

By Maria Petrakis

(Updates with CEO comment in third paragraph.)

Aug. 30 (Bloomberg) — National Bank of Greece SA, the country’s biggest bank, reported a first-half loss after writing down its holdings of Greek government bonds.

The net loss was 1.31 billion euros ($1.89 billion), compared with a profit in the year earlier period of 146 million euros, according to a faxed statement from the Athens-based lender today. National wrote down the value of its bonds by 1.645 billion euros, according to the statement. Stripping out that figure, profit was 29 million euros.

“The Greek economy and banking system will continue to face formidable challenges in the period ahead,” Chief Executive Officer Apostolos Tamvakakis said in the statement. The completion of the private-sector contribution in the Greek government’s second financing program, which entails losses for bondholders, and a review of loan portfolios must be concluded before National Bank can determine its next strategic moves, he said.

National, the country’s oldest bank, is being challenged in Greece and the region by Alpha Bank SA’s takeover of EFG Eurobank Ergasias SA, announced yesterday. That combination, designed to ride out a deepening recession and the country’s sovereign debt crisis, will create Alpha Eurobank, the biggest bank in southeast Europe.

National Bank fell 22 cents, or 6.1 percent, to 3.37 euros in Athens trading, following a 29 percent surge yesterday.

Debt Writedown

European Union and Greek officials, including central bank chief George Provopoulos, have pressed the country’s lenders to form stronger groups that can survive a crisis that has depleted capital as bond prices slump, loan-losses mount and banks lose deposits. Lenders have been left reliant on funding from the European Central Bank.

National wrote down the book value of 9 billion euros of bonds eligible for inclusion in the debt swap that will help fund Greece until 2014. It also had provisions of 822 million euros for bad loans in the period as the country’s economy shrank under the weight of wage and pension cuts implemented in return for the country’s first 110 billion-euro bailout from European Union partners.

Without the bond markdown, National said it had a profit that was largely due to units in Turkey and southeast Europe.

Share prices in Greece’s lenders plummeted last week as the country grappled with a third year of recession and the government pursued negotiations on a second bailout package, which will entail losses for bondholders.

Deposits Decline

The bank reported deposits of 62 billion euros at the end of the first half, a 10 percent drop from a year earlier. The decline in deposits intensified in Greece in the second quarter with a reversal noted after EU leaders agreed on a second financing package for the country on July 21, the bank said.

Deposits in the country slumped by 21.4 billion euros since December 2010, or 10 percent, overall, according to figures from the Athens-based Bank of Greece, with the withdrawals forcing Greek banks to borrow more from the central bank as money markets remain shut.

National Bank said its Tier 1 capital ratio was 11.2 percent at the end of the period.

–Editors: Frank Connelly, Stephen Taylor

To contact the reporters on this story: Maria Petrakis in Athens at [email protected];

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tim Quinson at [email protected]


Lawyer says Crittenton to surrender on murder warrant

NBA

Lawyer says Crittenton

is ‘not guilty’ in slaying

Former player Javaris Crittenton, who was suspended from the NBA for having guns in a locker room with teammate Gilbert Arenas, plans to surrender to face a murder charge in a deadly Atlanta shooting, an attorney said Monday.

Crittenton, 23, will travel from Los Angeles to Atlanta and should arrive early Tuesday, said lawyer Brian Steel.

“He offered to turn himself in,” Steel said. “He’s not guilty. We look forward to getting it to the courts.”

Police earlier obtained a murder warrant for Crittenton in the Aug. 19 shooting of 22-year-old Jullian Jones, a mother of four.

Police say Jones was walking with two men when she was shot and they believe one of the men with her was the target.

Police spokesman Carlos Campos said the motive appears to be retaliation for a robbery in April, in which Crittenton was a victim.

Crittenton played in 113 NBA games, most recently in April 2009 for the Washington Wizards.

Owners, players reportedly

will meet Wednesday

Two people with knowledge of the plans say the lead negotiators for league owners and players will meet Wednesday — for the second time since the NBA lockout began.

College basketball

San Diego State coach Fisher gets 4-year extension

San Diego State coach Steve Fisher, 66, got a four-year contract extension worth $3.448 million and longtime assistant Brian Dutcher, 51, has been designated as his eventual replacement.

“In my mind, Brian is more important than the extension of my contract,” Fisher said.

Fisher will get a $150,000 raise next season to $800,000, with a 5 percent escalator in ensuing seasons. Aztecs athletic director Jim Sterk — previously Washington State’s AD — said there is no penalty if Fisher retires before the contract ends.

Fisher has a 232-152 record in 12 seasons at San Diego State, including a school-record 34-3 mark last season.

Former Seton Hall player

is expected to get 3-year term

Ex-Seton Hall player Kelly Whitney, 28, has pleaded guilty in an armed robbery at a house near the school’s New Jersey campus.

Whitney is expected to get a three-year state-prison term in a plea deal with Essex County prosecutors. The Chicago resident pleaded guilty to burglary, conspiracy and criminal restraint charges, and must serve 85 percent of his term before becoming eligible for parole.

Golf

Woods to play in October

Tiger Woods will play the Frys.com Open, which starts Oct. 6 in San Martin, Calif., his first time competing in the PGA Tour’s Fall Series. Woods, a former No. 1 player who is ranked 38th in the world, is trying to prepare for the Presidents Cup in November in Australia.

Auto racing

Harvick is in NASCAR Chase

Kevin Harvick has clinched at least a wild-card berth in NASCAR’s 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

Harvick was not listed among drivers who had clinched after Saturday night’s race in Bristol, Tenn., because there are still scenarios where he could fall outside of the top 10 in points. Further review by NASCAR determined his three victories this season have earned him at minimum one of the two wild cards.

Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards also have secured berths. That leaves seven spots available over the next two races.

Cycling

Martin wins Vuelta time trial

German Tony Martin of the HTC-Highroad team won the individual time trial and Briton Christopher Froome of the Sky team took the overall lead in the Spanish Vuelta.

Froome leads Leopard Trek rider Jakob Fuglsang of Denmark by 12 seconds after 10 of the 21 stages.

Martin completed the 29-mile test in Salamanca in 55 minutes, 54 seconds.

Elsewhere

• More than 100 youths attacked a Panathinaikos soccer fan club in downtown Athens, Greece, leaving three people hospitalized with stab wounds.

Police said three people have been detained for questioning after the mayhem.

It was the latest sign of trouble in Greek soccer despite a government campaign to crack down on violence and corruption in the sport.

The Greek league started last weekend, with three of the 16 teams in the top division still to be determined because of a major match-fixing scandal.

• For the first time in her harness-racing career, 3-year-old filly See You At Peelers was not in the winner’s circle.

Her 22-race winning streak ended with a sixth-place finish in the $193,150 Nadia Lobell Stakes at The Meadows in Washington, Pa. Idyllic, who paid $12, won by 3 ¼ lengths over Myluvmylife.

See You At Peelers’ winning streak was the fourth-longest in U.S. harness racing over the last 20 years.

Seattle Times news services


Incredible $499 Week Long Travel Package!

Vacation season is getting ready to wrap up. Families are preparing for autumn, focusing on more family oriented activities. Kids are ready to go back to school (even if they are unhappy about it!) In fact, I spent the last week sitting next to the bay, drinking coffee, working and relaxing as much as possible on my vacation. Until, of course, we were evacuated on Friday due to the hurricane, which was preceded by an EARTHQUAKE (Only my vacations, folks)! Fortunately, all of our friends and families are safe and we got out of there with time to spare. But ending a relaxing vacation by being evacuated, then having to batten down the hatches for what was supposed to be the storm of the century (pardon the terrible joke, but Irene was more of a HurriCAN’T!).

As fall closes in on us, travel doesn’t cease. This season begins traveling to visit families, kicking off the holidays with our loved ones. Maybe even planning for next summer! Yet, as usual – money is tight. Especially when beginning to think of the holidays! So, in order to aide you in spending time with your families, we are working with World Resorts International to offer this incredible package. For $499, you can purchase a certificate that will allow you to visit over 500 locations across the US, Canada and Mexico for a FULL week.

$499 Seven-Night Resort Stay from World Resorts International™ (Up to $1500 Value). Choose From Over 500 Locations!

Vacation. Holiday. Escape. Everyone refers to it differently, but the one universal theme is that everyone needs one!

For only $499, you may book a 7-night resort stay through World Resorts International, at any one of their 500-plus US, Canadian or Mexican resort destinations. Available inventory varies and is updated regularly. Though an average seven-night stay at a WRI vacation rental falls in the $1500 range, this Voucher may be redeemed for a stay at any available participating property in the United States, Canada, or Mexico without any additional charge (participating resorts located in Hawaii and Mexico are subject to additional local/state taxes). Voucher buyers do not need to purchase a WRI membership and will not hear any sales pitches about timeshare rentals. Available resort Inventory may be viewed here: http://www.worldresortsinternational.com/resortstayvouchers.php

Highlights

  • Hundreds of participating resorts.
  • Choose from resorts in the U.S. (including Hawaii), Mexico Canada.
  • Plan a memorable vacation for nearly 75% off standard rack rates.

Redemption Instructions:

ONLINE: http://www.worldresortsinternational.com/pages/Resort-Stays/22/

**PLEASE REVIEW the following FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS regarding this 7-Night Resort Stay Voucher.**

Q. How can I see what resorts are participating in this promotion?
A. Please visit http://www.worldresortsinternational.com/resortstayvouchers.php for a listing of available resorts to book within the next 60 days.

Q. Why is there only a “partial” listing of participating / available resorts?
A. Because resort availability will fluctuate naturally. As time progresses, resorts will both remove availability (as rooms are booked) and add additional availability (as rooms become available to book). You will only be able to view available inventory that is within 60 days of the date which you are visiting the inventory link. There is AMPLE inventory provided for future dates, but only resorts with inventory within the current 60 day window will be visible.

Q. How can I find the other participating resorts / availability that I may book from?
A. After you purchase this voucher, you will be provided with the contact info of our Personal Travel Concierge Services Team, who will be happy to provide you with any additional inventory that is available at that specific time.

Q. If I buy the voucher now, can I travel 1.5 years later?
A. You have up to 1 year (from date of purchase of this voucher) to “book” your reservation. Once you book a reservation, your travel must be completed within a 60 day window of your reservation date. For example, you may buy the voucher today but not want to travel until the end of next March. Therefore, you will need to reserve/book your vacation within a 60 day window of your desired travel dates, at the end of next March.

Q. If I see a resort that I like now, will it be available in the future when I want to book my travel?
A. Unfortunately, due to the promotional nature of this offer and the nature of the booking process, there is no way for WRI to guarantee availability at any of the participating resorts at any given time. Keep in mind, that inventory will fluctuate naturally, as rooms are booked and additional rooms are made available as time progresses.

Q. Can I split up the 7 days and do 4 nights at one resort and 3 nights at another resort?
A. Your 7-Night Resort Stay voucher may only be booked for seven nights consecutively. If you need to check out early, there should be no penalty for doing so, but you may not break up the seven nights at different resorts.

Q. If the room/resort I want to book says “1 bedroom / 4 people,” does each person have to pay $499?
A. This 7-Night Resort Stay Voucher is for a flat fee, not per person fee. You will only be charged a flat fee of $499, not per person fee, as long as your number of people in your party does not exceed the room occupancy stipulated by the resort you book. If you book a room that has a greater room occupancy than the number of people traveling in your party, you will not be charged extra for the difference. For example, if you are traveling as a party of 4 and book a room that stipulates a room occupancy of 6, you will not be charged extra.

Q. Are meals and airfare included in this price?
A. The $499 fee is for the reservation of the room only, which is being offered to you at nearly 75% off the regular retail price. Generally, the resort taxes, fees and gratuities are already included in the $499 fee (with the exception of energy and city ordinance taxes for resorts in Hawaii and Mexico, but they are nominal, approximately $5.00-$7.00/night).

Q. Can I book from a resort that’s shown on your website?
A. By purchasing this 7-Night Resort Stay voucher, you will only be able to book from the following link that shows the current availability from our participating resorts: http://www.worldresortsinternational.com/resortstayvouchers.php. The inventory shown on our website is accessible to book by our subscribing WRI Members only.

Q. Can I use this voucher toward one of your cruises?
A. This is a “Resort Stay” voucher and may only be used at one our participating resorts listed at: http://www.worldresortsinternational.com/resortstayvouchers.php

Q. Do I have to sit through a long sales presentation if I buy this voucher?
A. Absolutely not!

Q. Do I have to buy a WRI “Privileges” Membership if I buy this Voucher?
A. Absolutely not! The premise behind this special offer is to provide our friends in the BuyBuyEscapes community with a “small sampling” of the exclusive travel “privileges” that our WRI members benefit from on a daily basis.

Q. Once I’ve bought this voucher, how do I book my vacation?
A. Upon completion of your purchase, it takes up to 48 hours to reconcile your transaction and forward your info to WRI. BuyBuyEscapes will then provide you a link to follow that includes instructions for redeeming your 7-Night Resort Stay voucher. http://www.worldresortsinternational.com/pages/Resort-Stays/22/

Q. What can we expect our room to be like?
A. Our resort rooms are typically “condominium-style,” which is great for families. This means each unit usually has a separate bedroom with a living area (unless the room is described as a “studio”), most with pull-out sofa beds, a dining area, and often the rooms/suites have full kitchens. Some of our resorts even have a washer and dryer in each unit! When previewing the available inventory on our link (www.worldresortsinternational.com/resortstayvouchers.php), please click on each resort for a full list of the resort features and unit features.

WRI offers our members access to unpublished, wholesale rates to more than 5,000 private resorts around the globe, in addition to discounts on hotel stays (with a “Lowest Price Guarantee”), airfare, car rentals, cruises and all-inclusive stay packages. We have a very special incentive with significant savings on our “Privileges Membership” for BuyBuyEscapes buyers. If you’d like more info about our membership, please email: [email protected]
Testimonials

“Thank you, WRI! Your website made booking our second honeymoon quick and easy. We enjoyed an unforgettable week in Greece and will be sending you photos soon!” – Nathan Holly S., Lake Forest, CA

“My wife and I would like to extend our thanks to World Resorts International for giving us an amazing vacation experience. We brought our kids to Mexico with us, and used our guest pass so my best friend and his family could come along as well. Your concierge specialists helped us arrange all the daytime activities for our children, golfing for my buddy and me, and a spa day for our wives. We look forward to many more fun and relaxing vacations to come!” – Ryan Tera S., Huntington Beach, CA.


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Janie Mackenzie-Cohen
Janie Mackenzie-Cohen — Daily Venus Diva.


Janie is a master with every hat she wears. As an editor and collaborator, Janie assisted in orchestrating a strong social networking presence for Senator John Kerry’s 2008 Senatorial campaign and was editor for all political blogs. She also worked closely with Director Robert Greenwald on the research and development of several political documentaries for “Brave New Films,” while at the same time writing for one of his affiliate sites, Newshounds.us.

Following the birth of her son Cross, Janie has applied her hard earned and learned lessons from the political arena to the world of marketing!
Combining her passion for social media marketing and need to shop until her curvy body drops… so was born “Diva Deal Finder”

Janie Mackenzie-Cohen will now be tweeting, facebooking, linkedin-ing and promoting every single incredible curvy deal in her path (and she will go off the beaten path too!) to share her flair for finding the best deals within the plus-size community. Just as beautiful women come in all shapes and sizes – so do beautiful deals!


Stuffed Vegetables for Late Summer

Fragrant stuffed vegetables can be made ahead of the meal and served hot or at room temperature. They don’t require a lot of patience to assemble — they just need a long simmer and then a rest to let the flavors mingle and intensify. Eat them as a main dish or a side, and serve up leftovers for lunch.

Eggplant Stuffed With Rice and Tomatoes

The filling for these irresistible stuffed eggplants is also good for peppers and squash. Substitute the chopped flesh of the summer squash for the eggplant, and just use the rice and tomatoes for peppers. Make these a day ahead for best results.

2 1/2 to 3 pounds small or medium eggplants

Salt to taste

1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, grated on the large holes of a box grater

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 to 6 garlic cloves (to taste), minced

1/2 cup uncooked long-grain or basmati rice

1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro

3 tablespoons finely chopped mint

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Juice of 2 lemons

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon sugar

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1. Cut the eggplants in half. With a grapefruit spoon or a small knife, remove the flesh to within 1/2 inch of the skins.

2. Sprinkle the eggplant shells with salt, and let sit for 30 minutes while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Chop the flesh, and steam for 20 minutes, until tender.

3. In a large bowl, combine a third of the tomatoes, the steamed eggplant, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, all but 1 clove of the garlic, the rice, herbs and the juice of one of the lemons. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Oil a large flameproof casserole or an earthenware casserole set over a flame tamer. Combine the remaining tomatoes, olive oil, allspice, cinnamon, lemon juice, sugar, tomato paste and remaining garlic in the casserole. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fill the eggplant shells with the rice mixture, and arrange in the casserole in a single layer. Add water if necessary to cover about a third of the eggplant. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, cover tightly and reduce the heat to low. Simmer 45 minutes to an hour until the eggplant and rice are tender. Remove from the heat.

5. Using two spatulas (the eggplants are soft at this point), transfer the eggplants to a platter. Bring the sauce to a boil. If it is not already thick, reduce until thick and fragrant. Pour over the eggplants, and allow to cool to warm or room temperature. They’re good chilled as well. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or cilantro if desired.

Yield: Serves six.

Advance preparation: These taste even better the day after they’re made; they firm up in the refrigerator and are easier to handle. They will keep for about four days in the refrigerator. I like them cold.

Nutritional information per serving: 193 calories; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 30 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams dietary fiber; 32 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 4 grams protein

Martha Rose Shulman is the author of “The Very Best of Recipes for Health.”