Happy new year to everyone – it is so hard to believe that we are already half way through the first week of 2018, yet it seems like only last week that we left Turkey and returned to the mayhem that is our house in Cornwall.
We’ve had a couple of weeks off from our lovely builders, who will be here with their boots shined (and coffee mugs at the ready) towards the end of next week, ready to start on Phase 2. This involves knocking down a wall (eek) and installing a new RSJ (not necessarily in that order, I realise, no need to write in to let me know that my house is about to fall down). I shall be glad to avoid the accompanying mess by being away in the Midlands, visiting friends and family, and cat-sitting for the same trio of Greek cats that we looked after back in the summer. In return for providing Claridges-style five-star catering and door-opening services for the Grecian trio of whiskered musketeers, we get to stay in Rosie’s lovely home in a pretty village on the Warwicks/Northants border, which handily means we are minutes away from our family and friends. Continue reading “Steak & ale hotpot”
Christmas appears to be almost upon us, though it will be a quiet event in our household this year. Last year we went to Prague, having spent much of 2016 to-ing and fro-ing to various distant bits of the world, so we promised ourselves a much quieter year in 2017. That didn’t exactly go to plan, what with buying and renovating a house in Cornwall and going backwards and forwards between here and Turkey, so we shall be very grateful not to have to shop for – and entertain – legions of guests, or to be cooking (or eating) mountains of rich food. We have friends coming for the new year, but we’re looking forward to spending the next few days builder-free, not doing chores and generally chilling out by the fire with a book. Continue reading “Oxtail & pearl barley soup, and The Cookery Calendar Challenge”
With the exception of the occasional overnight monsoon, our gorgeous late summer weather continues unabated. We sneak down to the beach most afternoons, determined to make the most of the sunshine before we return to Cornwall at the beginning of next month. Nature is certainly confused – the banana trees in the marina are loaded with fruit and the Brugmansia clearly hasn’t spotted that it is winter either. Continue reading “‘Cornish’ pie”
We’ve finally had our first rainfall after a long dry summer, so the trees have had a lovely wash and are bright green again for the first time since June.
Turkish students are back at school, their parents are back in their offices, and the beaches of Kaş are once again a safe place to while away a sunny afternoon. Continue reading “Mushroom, tarragon & walnut tart”
Still no kitchen, but things are moving along. Today, the carpenters magically constructed our built-in seating area, which is exactly as I had pictured it in my head. I showed them a photo of the kind of thing I wanted and they built it to fit the space – the seats even lift up so that we can store our outside cushions beneath them. When it comes to anything that involves a drill or a screwdriver, shall we just say that it’s better if I just stick to making the coffee, and it always amazes me that people can just knock up something like this from some apparently random pieces of wood in the space of a few hours. Continue reading “Italian-style tuna and bean stew”
I realise I have been somewhat remiss at posting recipes of late, but there haven’t been too many exciting things coming out of my cooking cupboard – and certainly nothing remotely photogenic. My challenge is to cook things using no more than two pans, as I only have a two-ring electric camping hob at my disposal. Unfortunately, the choice of temperature seems to be ‘nuclear hot’ or ‘off’. No simmering then – I could kick myself for not remembering to bring our rarely-used slow-cooker over from Turkey. Continue reading “Smoked haddock & sweetcorn chowder”
I’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) Vegan”
The Turkish word for asparagus is kuşkonmaz, 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”
You 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)”
Just 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)”