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)”

Spring vegetable soup

IMG_1973.jpgWho 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”

Asparagus tart

IMG_1956.jpgThe 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”

Salted almond & cranberry granola

IMG_1938 (600 x 450).jpgI’ve just noticed that it’s been nine days since I last posted anything on this blog – really must do better. I have thought about it several times – I’ve even taken photos of things I’m cooking, with the intention of posting them. Unfortunately, things conspire against me – either the dish I had great hopes for turns out to be mediocre or it tastes nice but looks like a dog’s breakfast once it’s on the plate. More often, I get half way through cooking something, the phone rings or someone calls round, then I get distracted and remember about photographing the rest of the process about five minutes after we’ve finished eating the evidence. Continue reading “Salted almond & cranberry granola”

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)”

Smoky Puy lentil and bean soup (vegan)

WisteriaI feel that spring is springing. The wisteria on our south-facing fence is out in full bloom, the bougainvillea is in bud and we had a pair of Cretzschmar’s buntings passing through the garden yesterday. I’ve never seen them before – they were so pretty in their rather eye-catching salmon pink and pale blue liveries – I had to pore for ages over the photos in our Mediterranean bird book to identify them. Any day we should be receiving visits from hoopoes and bee eaters, then we’ll know that summer is truly on its way. We had our first giant wasp in the kitchen this morning – no doubt house hunting, so I hope he eventually decided on a different neighbourhood. Continue reading “Smoky Puy lentil and bean soup (vegan)”

Hummingbird muffins

IMG_1795I think you could describe the weather around here this week as ‘mixed’, though that would be rather an understatement.

Earlier in the week, we awoke to beautiful sunshine and temperatures nearing the mid 20s in the middle of the day. The almond blossom and wild anemones are in full bloom at the minute, so we headed off for one of our favourite walks near the ancient Lycian city of Hoyran. Continue reading “Hummingbird muffins”

Pea, courgette & mint soup (vegan)

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Spring seems to have sprung in our neck of the woods, so last night I thought we would have something light and slightly summery for our 5:2 day soup.

After two weeks in the UK, eating all kinds of things we wouldn’t normally go near (Cornish pasties in St Ives, custard tarts from the Portuguese bakery near our house in Warwick, bacon sandwiches, English Cheddar, Cadbury’s chocolate – the list is long and very distinguished), we are definitely feeling the need to get back on track! Continue reading “Pea, courgette & mint soup (vegan)”

My favourite vegan snack

img_1711-600-x-450With Veganuary declared well and truly over in this household, we suddenly find ourselves faced with a huge variety of ‘new’ foods to eat. While I did enjoy my roast chicken last night, we only had a really small amount and I can’t say I am desperate for more meat any time soon. I cut the chicken in two and only roasted half of it – this was tons for the three of us, with a bit leftover for the felines. Continue reading “My favourite vegan snack”

Chocolate banana marble cake

img_1706We have declared Veganuary  over for the year. I know we have two more days of January to go, but we decided that today would be a good opportunity to celebrate the approach of February with a roast dinner. It’s Sunday, it’s raining, it’s cold and miserable – what could be more appropriate? We’re breaking ourselves in gently and going for slow-roast chicken, rather than the more traditional beef, which we hardly ever eat, mainly because the quality here is so unreliable. Continue reading “Chocolate banana marble cake”