Robin’s favourite favourite is fish pie. Closely followed by fish pie. It is not mine, on several counts: a) I find it a bit on the mushy, school-dinner, nursery-fare, side; b) it doesn’t look very appetising once it’s slumped onto the plate; and c) it is a right faff to make, what with having to pre-cook the fish, cook and mash the potatoes and then make a bechamel sauce with the cooking liquid. You feel as though you need to start thinking about dinner roughly five minutes after you’ve put the cornflake bowls in the dishwasher, and you’ll need more pots and pans than Jamie Oliver.
But help is at hand. I was idly watching a Mary Berry programme back in the summer and she made a fish and cauliflower gratin – a kind of fish pie by any other name. Now, I am not overly keen on cauliflower and I certainly don’t think it goes with fish – it’s just about OK if it’s been swathed in a particularly Cheddary-mustardy sauce and baked to a golden crisp in the oven, as a bit of a mid-week tea, but as a component of a fish pie, well, yuk. However, I decided Mary definitely could be on to something with her idea for a more simplified method and, with a few judicious tweaks in the ingredients department, I came up with a yummy alternative. Continue reading “No-faff fish pie” →
Who remembers spring vegetable soup? It was a mainstay of the 1970s – I remember it being served at practically every wedding we attended, presumably because its delicate nature meant it wouldn’t offend some long-lost great aunt’s fussy palate (or mine – I was a complete nightmare to feed when I was younger – something that many people would find hard to believe now). Unfortunately, most of the time it was straight out of a tin, so tasted of a mixture of metal, dried herbs and fake stock. Continue reading “Spring vegetable soup” →
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” →
Hot news – it’s snowing. That may not be exciting to those of you who live in northern climes, but this is only the third time we’ve seen snow here in 13 years – one of those being just a couple of weeks ago. It isn’t going to settle, but it’s enough to provide us with the amusing spectacle of Toast and Marmalade chasing the flakes as they blow around.
It is definitely sitting-by-the-fire weather. Our trusty stove chunters on throughout the night if we feed it enough before we go to bed – this morning, the living room was warm and toasty, and it only took a couple of sticks and a new log to send it bursting back into action. We had planned a long walk today, but Linda is coming up here to eat her portion of the packed lunch I’d made for us all, in the warm in the kitchen, instead of sitting on a cold rock in the wind! Continue reading “Creamy cauliflower & leek soup (vegan)” →
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” →
No posts for 18 days, now two come along at once.
To be truthful, posting on the blog allows me to sit in air-conditioned bliss at the kitchen counter, feeling as though I am doing something slightly useful (while attempting to ignore the fact that there is a pile of ironing in the spare bedroom so big that it’s starting to block out the daylight).
Today is a half-day holiday before Eid Al-Fitr, the feast that follows the month of fasting during Ramadan, or Ramazan as it is called here. Known in Turkey as Şeker Bayramı, literally ‘sugar festival’, the local children will be out early tomorrow morning, knocking on their neighbours’ doors, looking for sweets and pennies. Watch out for tomorrow’s easy chocolate muffin recipe, which I’ll be cooking up for any children passing this way. Continue reading “Leek & onion tarts” →