Tag Archives: Seasons

In the Freezer

After a couple of nights of freezing weather it has now warmed up.  Enough to tempt us away from the wood stove and to venture outside for anything other than getting more wood from  the wood store.

This is what the weather did.

The bougainvillia will recover and go mad in summer, the geraniums will be cut back and some should come through again.  The aloe is probably gone and are a few others.  The chillis are dead, kind of annoying because they were a non local varieties that do best in their second year.

Fortunately we moved the ficus into full shelter.


Yaz Hazır – Ready for Summer

The swallows are back and breeding.  Moths have invaded our felt slippers.  The bike has been for its roadworthiness test, its new tyres and its service.  We are ready for summer and looking forward to taking a trip somewhere that is not an Industrial site in Izmir (where we have to go to have the bike made ready for travel).

There are wild flowers on all the roadside verges – we’ve been flying past so it’s not always possible to identify them – but they do smell fantastic.  In town the wisteria is in full bloom.  And orange blossom.  Both smell wonderful but do tend to irritate the nose.


Seasonal Sauces

Last week we were invited to a Christmas dinner, nothing unusual, these things happen this time of year.  It was really nice, thanks Mike.  We contributed by making cranberry sauce which was appreciated and we were asked for the recipe.

Cranberries are known locally as yaban mersini, not to be confused with kizilcik which are something completely different or kuş burnu which are rosehips.  Fresh cranberries are generally not available but dried are so we bought a good Cranberry-saucequantity of dried cranberries on the market.  Unlike packet ones these do not contain added sugar.  Then Ashley poked around on the internet but did not find a good recipe for making cranberry sauce with dried cranberries.  Nothing looked really good, but it did serve to inspire some ideas.  The objective was to get the dried cranberries to swell up and then burst, achieving what is much easier when starting with fresh cranberries.

Method.  None of the quantities here are critical.

Take two good handfuls of dried cranberries and put into a bowl.  Add orange zest and sufficient orange juice to cover.  Put to one side for a few hours or overnight.  Then add a tablespoon of pomegranate sauce (Nar Eksili) – we used a village made sauce rather than the mass produced supermarket varieties.  If you like to spice cranberry sauce this would be a good time to add spices.  We added some finely chopped fresh ginger.  This really is a matter of personal taste, cinnamon or allspice would also in our view be good.  Transfer everything to a lidded saucepan and simmer as gently as possible.  To get the cranberries to really swell and burst may take a couple of hours, if the lid does not fit tightly you may need to add some water, check this from time to time.  Once they have burst gently reduce the sauce to desired thickness.

We have no idea how long it will keep for.  Essentially it is preserved fruit so should be OK in a bottle in a fridge for some time.  We don’t intend to try to find out, it is delicious and will be eaten within a day or two.

On the subject of condiments, especially those popular this time of season, we triffidhave fresh horseradish growing in a big pot – kept out of our limited garden space because it is really invasive.  At some stage we are going to try making chrane (horseradish and beetroot) with it, when we are brave enough to face the task of grating fresh horseradish.  Any tips on grating horseradish would be appreciated.

Popping out for a bottle of wine

popping-out-for-a-bottle-ofAfter Wednesday market we decided to pop out to buy some wine.  We got the dolmuş up to Şirıince and went shopping.  To be honest, we are not great fans of Şirıince.  It is marketed heavily as a ‘typical Turkish village’ but typical Turkish villages do not, in our experience have streets lined with souvenir shops which provide very bad value for money.  Şirıince is, however, famous for its wines.  Mostly fruit wines which we don’t like.  On Wednesday, however, we gave in to the stall holders who constantly invite you to taste their wines.  We had heard that there was a Sauvignon Blanc being made (but we failed to find it).  We sampled wine at several stores before settling for a young, very dry white on special offer.  We got three bottles.

Then we walked home.  Home from Şirıince is pretty much downhill, anGrapes-at-Sirinced it took about two hours.  No autumn colour yet but the scenery was, as ever, beautiful.  And we think it was good practice for much wine drinking walking as the weather gets cooler into autumn.

Seasonal Produce

Last of summer peaches

Last of summer peaches

Today is half way from the longest day to the shortest.  Solstice, Equinox….  For those who celebrate, have a good day, night.    Here the weather remains lovely and will for some weeks yet.  Gone is the searing heat of July and August, and it does not really get cold until into December.

On the market there are signs of the changing of seasons.  The peaches are no longer so good, coming out of storage rather than straight off the trees.  The tomatoes are coming to an end though, like the peaches, there are still loads on the market – they are just not quite so delicious.  There are still many different sorts of beans but the summer fruit and veg is coming towards an end.

The broccoli is fantastic right now, as are the apples and the grapes.

Radishes are appearing, early mandolins (in our opinion not ready to eat), cauliflower, broccoli, celeriac, beet, and cabbages are becoming increasingly abundant.  There are the lighter skinned courgettes mixed with the darker green summer ones.  Autumn and winter gourds are starting to be around and the spinach is looking increasingly tempting.

Breakfast in autumn

Breakfast in autumn

But the real dilemma is this, to start on the winter veg knowing that come January when there is nothing else we will be fondly remembering summer food, or to continue with the summer fruit and veg which we have been eating loads of for the last few months and a change might be nice.


cake-and-cherriesMarket is now full of early summer fruit.  A couple of weeks ago there were  just strawberries and unripe plums, with a few cherries and apricots at ridiculous prices.  Now the market is full of strawberries, plums, cherries, apricots, melon and watermelon.  There are some peaches but these are not really anywhere near their best this early.

Cherry season does not last very long, and apricots have a very short season so we are making the most of them whilst they are plentiful and cheap.  We have not got around to preparing cherries in any way.  They simply get eaten.

Breakfast apricots and yogurt

Put a tablespoon of Suzme yogurt in a breakfast bowl. Top with chopped apricots (3 is about right depending on size).  Top with regular yogurt, we use sheep yogurt.  Drizzle with honey.  Eat.

Then there is the cake

This is a Turkish recipe so quantities come in glasses.  A water glass contains pretty much the same volume as a UK mug for coffee or tea.  A tea glass is half of that.  The oven should be at 170 degrees centigrade by the time you’ve finished mixing.

Chop up your fruit (removing any stones and inedible bits).  The original recipe said 6 peaches but I don’t think you could fit that in a sensibly sized cake tin.  I use what I have.  This one was about 8 apricots.  I’ve used apricots, peaches, plums and pears in various combinations and all of them have worked fine.

Whisk 4 eggs with a water glass of sugar.  We don’t get caster sugar here so I use the equivalent of granulated.  I also use the whisk attachment on my hand blender  but it’s not a very powerful one.  Whisk it till it looks like snow.  Put in a water glass of ordinary yoghurt, a couple of spoonfuls of really thick yoghurt and a tea glass of light olive oil.  Mix it a bit (not too much though I often use the electric mixer for a few seconds to get it all blended in, you don’t want to lose the air you whisked in originally).  Stir in two water glasses of flour with a sachet of baking powder and a sachet of vanilla sugar.  Just mix it so there’s no lumps of flour (again, I sometimes use the electric whisk, but carefully and not very much- this is the point at which I tend to get it down my t-shirt).  Then lightly stir in the prepared fruit.

This goes into a prepared cake tin,  it is a very soft mixture so I pour it  – I use a silicone ring mould which is brilliant as it doesn’t stick.  Recipe says 45 minutes.  But test it.  My oven always takes longer.

Seasonal Fruits

What-we-got-from-marketIt is becoming hard to find good oranges.  The apples are no longer looking up to very much.  The spring fruit has not really got going yet.   It is that difficult time when the autumn and winter fruit is finishing and we are waiting for the spring fruit. There are strawberries but in another month or so they will be so much better, right now they do not taste of much.  We have seen melon and watermelon but these are imported, expensive and probably not that good.  There are local green almonds but neither of us are fans.

At least there are good local bananas and kiwifruit.

There are workmen across the road, building a new house.  Next door to them has a plum tree.  The fruits are tiny, green and probably very acid.  The builders are helping themselves, the Turks seem to really like unripe plums.   Our wild-asparagusneighbours have not as yet noticed the scrumping.

This weekend we managed to find some really nice apples.  The tomatoes are starting to become good enough to eat fresh rather than just fit for cooking with.  More varieties of beans are appearing, the peas remain wonderfully sweet but are finishing.  We are no longer on the limited selection of winter vegetables.

One of the joys of seasonal foods is seeing the first summer courgettes, the first baklapeas and broad beans.  And hopefully soon the first cherries.  We never really know what we’ll find on market until we go, sometimes there are surprises like the first time we found kohlrabi (with full explanations of what it is, how good for you it is and how to cook it, in Turkish), but generally it is very seasonal local produce.