I’ve just spent a fascinating five minutes watching another giant hornet (or it might be the same one – brown head, brown wings, yellow striped jumper, six engines…) trying to take off with a cat biscuit that one of our mob left in their dish outside on the terrace. Our cat biscuits are about the size of a British penny, so that gives you an idea just how big these pesky beasts are. The locals call them donkey bees – not sure why that is – maybe because of their penchant for carrying things around. Anyway, he was having trouble getting enough lift, so he solved this by nibbling all around the edges of the biscuit to make it a bit smaller – hey presto, we have lift off. He’s probably got a very fully tummy though, so I’m not sure whether he’ll make it safely to his destination with his prize. Continue reading “The Sacrifice (and raspberry ripple muffins)”→
Yes, well spotted, that’s ‘chicken with vinegar’ to you and me. I know it doesn’t sound particularly appetising, but it’s not vinegar as we know it in the UK, and of course the dish involves wine, posh vinegar, garlic and tarragon, so things are getting better already.
We’ve been in France a couple of times this summer – I lived there for some time during the 1980s, but have hardly visited since, so it’s been fun re-encountering some of the absolutely delicious food I remember from my youth. I lived in quite a rural area, so the restaurants served good, tasty, country food to a clientèle mostly made up from farmers and shopkeepers (and the odd British cook from a neighbouring restaurant, of course…) Continue reading “Poulet au vinaigre”→
We are off to New Zealand to visit Robin’s son and daughter-in-law in two weeks time. It will be just coming in to spring there and I can’t wait for cooler weather, so that I don’t have to have crazy hair all the time. We had some chores to do in town this morning (involving two trips to the local municipality and one to the tax office – opposite ends of town and it’s market day, so no possibility of driving between the two and finding a parking space). When I left home, I looked like a relatively normal person (as normal as you can be when you step out into a swamp that is over 40 centigrade and 70% humidity, that is). When we arrived at the municipality offices for the second time, having crossed town on foot twice now, I caught a glimpse of myself in the full length mirror window and wondered how I’d managed to get past security without being detained for my own safety. Continue reading “Sticky fig & orange muffins”→
Today is probably the hottest since we arrived back – ironic, since we’ve just moved into September. This morning it was 44 degrees, but has now cooled to a more manageable 34, so I might yet venture out – according to our little weather station, the temperature has been as low as 27 at some point since midnight – not sure when that was, I must have missed it while I was asleep. When I had my morning swim, I complained that the pool was starting to get cold – a quick temperature check assured me it was still 32 degrees in the water – it must have been the super-hot air temperature confusing me. Either that or I really have turned into a total wimp. Continue reading “What to do with that Swiss Chard in your veggie box”→
We finally arrived back in Turkey at the weekend after what seemed a mammoth journey. As our less-than-favourite airline, Thomas Cook, once again cancelled our flight back from the UK, we decided to go off-piste and treat ourselves to a few days in France on the way back. This may sound simple, but it involves a convoluted route back here, as the French don’t come to Turkey for their holidays – they have other places to go (no doubt all with better wine), so the only flights are with the big carriers into Istanbul. And that’s very expensive indeed, plus it is a place I don’t feel comfortable hanging around in at the moment. Continue reading “Home sweet home (and summer plum cake recipe)”→
We are in blackberry heaven at the moment. There are wild brambles growing along the canal towpath and at the sides of all of the footpaths around here. A neighbour also has the most prolifically-fruiting blackberry bramble, which handily hangs over the fence behind our house, at perfect picking height.
Robin has been out picking blackberries today while I went across to what we used to call the ‘bottle bank’ but now seems to be known by the euphemism ‘mixed recycling’. I’m confused about this new term. There’s never anything very mixed about our recycling apart from the fact that the beer bottles are mixed up with the wine bottles and occasionally there’s the excitement of a stray mini Prosecco bottle – does that count or do we have to have cardboard and stuff as well? I keep expecting some kind of recycling official to come over and tut about the lack of variety in my offerings. Continue reading “Summer fruit crumble”→
After surviving the excitement of the attempted coup, it was a relief to head for England for a spot of R&R. Short-lived of course, as we’ve had such a procession of engagements with friends and family that I’m tempted to ask Her Maj if she can lend me her social secretary.
Our friend Babs has been staying with us over the last few days, which has been an excuse for a few treats. She doesn’t have a happy relationship with wheat, so I snaffled some Doves Farm gluten-free flour when I saw it in the supermarket last week and set out to discover whether it really was interchangeable with ordinary flour – so far, so good. Continue reading “Gluten-free treats”→
We are off to the UK at the weekend for five weeks, so we’re really looking forward to that lovely moment when we step off the plane on Sunday evening into the cool climes of Birmingham Airport. I will probably be the only passenger who will be delighted if there’s a bit of summer drizzle going on. Only for ten minutes, mind you, I’ve got walks along the canal in mind, and I’m definitely a fair weather walker.
This week we are racing about like idiots, trying to finish all the last bits and pieces before we go. I think the more time you have, the more you faff about, then always end up running out of time at the last minute. I’m clearing out fridges and cleaning cupboards, while trying to simultaneously pack my suitcase and get things ready for our visitors. Continue reading “Sweet and spicy baked beans”→
We have guests arriving at our rental cottage this evening – they have stayed with us before, so at least when they arrive in the middle of the night, they know where they are aiming for.
Guests are pretty thin on the ground this year – the threat of terrorism after the recent bombs in Istanbul, the refugee situation and the little spat between our government and Russia means that many tourists are choosing to holiday elsewhere. Continue reading “Banana maple walnut muffins”→