Blackberry pork

IMG_3097We have just returned to Cornwall after spending a few weeks in Warwickshire with our families – hence no blog posts for a while! I am sure we couldn’t have picked a hotter spot in the British Isles if we had tried. We tortured ourselves daily by watching the BBC weather report and seeing that, back here in Cornwall, it was a whole ten degrees cooler. Obviously we’ve come back to cool weather and rain, though it does make quite a change. We will be back in Turkey in a few weeks, so there will be plenty more sunshine to come. Continue reading “Blackberry pork”

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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)”

Home sweet home (and summer plum cake recipe)

IMG_1129We 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)”

Double chocolate & cinnamon muffins

IMG_1029 (600 x 450).jpgToday is the first day of Şeker Bayramı, the ‘sugar feast’ which follows the holy month of Ramazan, when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Today will be a day of family celebrations with everyone contributing special dishes and plenty of sweet treats for the children.

I’ve baked chocolate chip muffins – mini versions to offer to children who are going door to door looking for sweet gifts, and normal-sized treats for our friend the almond seller in town and for Zerrin,  our lovely housekeeper who helps us with our rental cottage in the next village. Obviously one or two may have to be sampled for quality control purposes, but we are having a 5:2 day today, so that will have to wait until tomorrow. (*brushes away incriminating chocolate crumbs from keyboard*) Continue reading “Double chocolate & cinnamon muffins”

Portuguese custard tarts (Pastéis de nata)

IMG_0977 (600 x 450)Before we came to live in Turkey, when I had a proper grown-up job, I was working on a major project just outside Lisbon in Portugal.

One morning, after a particularly lively night out in Lisbon with some members of the British press, we asked a taxi driver to take us to wherever was his favourite place to have breakfast. It was a life-changing moment – and one from which my figure may never recover. The place the taxi driver took us to was Pastéis de Belém – a famous pastry shop in the Belém district of Lisbon, right on the bank of the River Tagus. Continue reading “Portuguese custard tarts (Pastéis de nata)”