Skink in the bedroom (and Thai peanut, ginger and lime salad)

IMG_2029I’ve been on holiday for the last week or so. My very old friend Sally came to stay, so we had a few days away before heading back here, and managed to cram in shopping, walking, sunbathing, swimming, a day trip to Greece and quite a lot of news ‘downloading’.

Thankfully, the weather was kind to us, but has since taken its usual May direction – showers, storms and high winds, interspersed with patches of hot sunshine. Up here on our high ridge above the sea, we are still having cold evenings and nights, so although we’ve put the log baskets away for another year, we’re well and truly snuggled up under the duvet with at least two cats on the bed, just in case the temperature plummets. Continue reading “Skink in the bedroom (and Thai peanut, ginger and lime salad)”

Asparagus tart

IMG_1956.jpgThe Turkish word for asparagus is ku┼čkonmaz, which literally translates as ‘the bird cannot land’. Most people think this is because a bird couldn’t perch on the wavy fern fronds, but the awful truth is that birds here in Turkey have never been able to afford the rent.

When we first came to Turkey, we lived near the fish market in Galata – one of Istanbul’s oldest quarters. As well as amazing fish, the market also had the best vegetable stand in the city – they sold celery, fennel, fresh coriander and ginger years before they became available more widely. All of those things are still difficult to get, but we are lucky enough to have an enterprising greengrocer in this town, so we have fairly reliable supplies. Continue reading “Asparagus tart”

Sweetcorn fritters (Maryland style)

IMG_1886You can take the girl out of the 70s… Or so says Nigella Lawson, I think when she was expounding on the virtues of prawn cocktail – and what could possibly be wrong with that?

My first ever slightly grown-up date, at the age of 16 and a quarter, involved being picked up in a car borrowed from a parent and being taken to the dizzy heights of The Buttery at the De Vere Hotel in Coventry. In 1979, it was the swankiest place in town. Obviously we will gloss over the other, not-so-swanky, offenders. To be honest, I am not sure how much we’ve actually moved on since then. Continue reading “Sweetcorn fritters (Maryland style)”

Pumpkin and spinach coconut curry (vegan)

IMG_1679.jpgJust for a moment, we thought Spring had sprung, but we’re back in front of the fire after being lulled into a false sense of security by a couple of days of warm sunshine. Now we are back to rain and hailstones with winds from Russia and Bulgaria, which are by no means tropical even before they’ve swept down over our very snowy mountains. Continue reading “Pumpkin and spinach coconut curry (vegan)”

Spicy lentil ‘shepherd’s pie’ (vegan)

IMG_1601.jpgAnother grey day, though it hasn’t actually started raining (so far). I feel a day of catching up with a few jobs coming on, interspersed with a spot of light blogging activity. I think we are having a 5:2 day too – I was put off eating any breakfast this morning by having to deal with the regurgitated remains of a mouse – at least I think that is what it started life as – which had been left in the middle of the kitchen terrace, so I’m off to a good start. (Thanks guys). Continue reading “Spicy lentil ‘shepherd’s pie’ (vegan)”

Herb-roasted vegetables (vegan)

img_1489-2The weather’s taken a serious downturn, so we are being treated to several thunderstorms each day, with short periods of sun in between the downpours. A perfect excuse to light the fire, stay indoors and catch up with a few chores.

Post-trip laundry and ironing are finished, so now I can turn my attention to using some of the produce from the garden. Our Seville orange trees are groaning with fruit, so I will make some more marmalade to share amongst my family next time we go back to the UK and I plan to make a Seville orange drizzle cake today, to take with us when we go out to dinner this evening. Our friend Cafer and his wife Sultan, who own our favourite restaurant in town, have just had a baby, so they are pretty busy with the new arrival, as well as chasing after their six-year-old and running a restaurant. All food treats are being gratefully received! Continue reading “Herb-roasted vegetables (vegan)”

Slow-cooked beef and Old Speckled Hen stew

DSC00020.jpgWe’ve been in the UK for the last ten days, mainly drifting about in Devon and Cornwall, where the temperatures were surprisingly mild and the sun shone most of the time. Now that we are back in Warwickshire, things have taken a downward turn, with strong winds and pelting rain.

My parents are due back from a holiday in Madeira today, so if I can ever brave the rain to get across to Tesco, I am planning to make a warming beef and ale stew to leave for them to heat up when they get home – they have a two-hour drive from Gatwick when they land, so my mum certainly won’t be wanting to cook. A bowl of stew and a herby dumpling or two should be just the ticket. Continue reading “Slow-cooked beef and Old Speckled Hen stew”

Mediterranean beef & cinnamon braise (and Cevdet’s carrots)

IMG_1397.JPGHmmm, we seem to have a change in the weather. Shock, horror, only 25 degrees and very blustery. Lots of white horses on the water (or ‘white geese’ as our neighbour calls them) and the sun keeps hiding behind the clouds. Last night, we ate dinner inside for the first time since May – it was so windy that the contents of half of the garden were blowing around our terrace (which always includes the possibility of a flying saucer in the shape of a carelessly discarded cat bowl), and I also feared for the wine glasses – we’ve had so many blown over in the past, so now we always go for low-slung models when we are choosing replacements. Continue reading “Mediterranean beef & cinnamon braise (and Cevdet’s carrots)”

Super-easy Asian chicken stir fry

IMG_1379.jpgAutumn is on its way; I can sense it. That dazzling light that we get in the Mediterranean during the summer has gone, replaced by much gentler sunshine and cooler breezes. Despite the fact that it’s still 30 degrees in the middle of the day, and we are enjoying going to the beach now that the last of the tourists have departed for the year, our neighbours are getting out their winter woollies and refusing to leave the house without several layers and a flat cap. Continue reading “Super-easy Asian chicken stir fry”

Prawns saganaki-style

IMG_1370.jpgWhile we were on holiday in Tonga, one of the ladies in our group was a marine biologist, who spends a good deal of her time in Africa. In an idle moment when we were bobbing about in the Pacific, waiting for whales to come and join us, she filled us in on some of the less attractive features of the prawn fishing industry, which made me never want to eat them again. Continue reading “Prawns saganaki-style”