Tag Archives: Shopping

Tire in the Snow

Tire-with-snowWe’ve been pretty quiet recently.  We went to the UK at short notice due to a family emergency and ended up spending Christmas there.  We’ve been back home just over a week now and are slowly getting back to normal.

Today, though, we decided to go to Tire market because Hilary needed some thread for a sewing project and because we just felt like a trip out (not to mention the late breakfast/early lunch at Haci Baba which was, of course, as excellent as always).

We met some tourists on the bus who had a wonderful app. on their phone which translated whatever language they were speaking into written Turkish.  I think the lady to whom they showed it was a bit …. puzzled by it!

We failed to take into account just how cold it would feel.  There was snow on the higher hills visible from our house and quite a lot more snow on Kaplan Dağ, as can be seen in the pictures.  We got some thread (and some almonds and some dates) and had an excellent lunch.  It was a good day out.  Then we headed back home to the warmth of the radiators and the wood burning stove.

We did find one travel site that maintains that in Turkey it is always ‘bikini weather’.  Then can, with all due respect, keep their bikinis.

Tire-market-in-the-snow

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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.

Selçuk Festival

Selçuk festival takes place every year at the beginning of September.  Dates are variable and it’s often very difficult to find out precisely when the festival is going to take place until pretty close to the last moment.  This year we thought we would miss most of it as we were off on a roadtrip (of which more later) right at the beginning of the months, but we were in luck and the festival didn’t actually start till after we got back.

There are stalls selling crafts (traditional and modern) and various other goods all over town and concerts at various locations.  There was a film show running more or less constantly under the aqueduct.  We took our longest wander round on the Friday night and the town centre was packed with people strolling around and enjoying themselves.  There were camels!  I think they were young camels.  They were not wearing their finery.

There are cookery demonstrations and competitions and some very interesting demonstrations of local craftsmen and women.  There was a tinner and people making the decorations you see on the camels in wrestling season.

There was a music programme and we heard some of the concerts were very good though we didn’t actually catch any of them.  There was also a lot of music on the streets and some of that was very good indeed.

We did do some shopping.  We bought a couple of beautifully made stools – turned wood with woven string seats.  They are comfortable and look very smart on the back terrace.

We didn’t get any good photos of the festival, despite having returned on a second occasion specifically to take them.   The living statues, however, were standing very still….

Festival-living-statues

Furnishing the roof

new-furniture-for-roofWhen we bought this place we inherited wood furniture on the roof terrace.  It was in need of repainting, which we did in the hope winter would not kill the chairs.  We were overly optimistic, and the time and effort painting was wasted.  Winter killed the wooden armchairs.

We have been looking for replacements for a month or so, but it is early in the season and not a lot of garden and patio furniture was around.   It is May now, so on our way back from Izmir having had the bike fixed we stopped at a bamboo furniture place in Torbalı and poked around their stock.  They had just what we needed and we were quoted a very reasonable price.

We discovered this price included cushions and were shown various fabrics.  Most were bright, flowery, and really not to our taste.  Fortunately they had some striped fabric options one of which was much more to our taste.  We were asked a few times if we were sure, the sales people clearly thought we should have bright flowery fabric.  All the cushions we were shown also came with frills, we did consider asking not to have frills but they would probably have thrown up arms in absolute horror and not believed us.

We settled on the price and were told everything would be delivered on Sunday or Monday.  Sunday passed.  Monday lunchtime we phoned, were told they would be coming in the evening.  By 9pm we had given up hope and resigned ourselves to waiting another day or so.  Then we got called and told they were on their way.  Half an hour later we got another call, this time from the delivery driver who was lost in Selçuk.  We managed to work out where he was, met him, and by around 10pm we had our new furniture for the roof terrace.

Just in time really, the weather is getting lovely in the evenings.

Apricots

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.

I can see clearly now… (but it is still raining)

Feb-13-aAbout a week ago, Hilary fell over in the Artemis Temple and scratched her glasses.  She also sustained some nasty bruises but those have gone now…  The scratches were too deep to polish out and, whilst they had no drastic effects upon her vision, Hilary was due for an eye test anyway.  So we decided to get her new glasses, involving a new eye test and a new prescription.

On Monday we went to Kuşadası to visit Lara Optik.  They are highly recommended on the Kuşadası forum.  Our confidence in the place was further boosted when a friend walked in at the same time as us.  Necdet was very helpful and very personable.  He arranged an appointment at Ada Göz, a private eye hospital which offers a hefty discount for people with GSS – the Government Health Insurance scheme in which we are enrolled.

not-a-cruise-shopWe had an hour or so to spare so we went for tea at Guvercin garden, the Belediye run tea garden right on the waterfront.  No cruiseships this time of year though the harbour was not exactly empty…  It seems the US navy were in town although we did not see any sailors.

After tea one of the guys from Lara Optik gave us a lift to the Eye Hospital, whereupon we discovered that Hilary was not registered for GSS.  Ashley was registered and Hilary should have been registered as his dependent…  We ended up payıng for her eye test.  120 lira.  Not unreasonable but somewhat annoying.  For that she not only got an eye test and glasses prescription but examination, treatment and eye drop prescription for some irritation she’s been suffering recently.

Back to the optician for a discussion of options.  Hilary chose some frames and expensive varifocal lenses    All in all about what the same as the equivalent would have cost in the UK.

The next day we went to sort out the Health Insurance problem.  Not being on the system was worrying.  This involved a trip to Tire on the dolmuş.  It was market day so things were hectic.  Ashley remembered the way to the SGK office where, after we explained what we wanted, the security guy issued us with a numbered ticket.  We waited about half an hour then explained to the memur that Ashley was on the system but Hilary was not (we had taken along our translated and notarised marriage certificate, though they already have a copy of that).  At first we were told it was because we had not got the paperwork from the nüfus office in Selçuk.   We explained that we had delivered that back in September.  Then the memur who originally dealt with us came over, showed the other guy how to put Hilary on the system, put her on the system and told us that she would be on the system should we return to the hospital straight away.

new-glassesToday we went back to Lara Optik in Kuşadası to collect Hilary’s glasses.  They are purple and, she thinks, quite becoming.  As they are varifocals it will take a while to get used to them but she already notices a big improvement for reading, sewing and using the computer.  And hopefully (inşallah) in future seeing her feet and the corresponding part of the ground at the same tıme.

Three Days in Izmir

ChromeThe Harley has a lot of chrome, the previous owners liked chrome and skulls.  The Harley spent five years (five winters) in Istanbul.  Istanbul winters are not good for chrome.  When we got it, the chrome was quite scarred and corroded in places.  Purely cosmetic but we are now addressing this…

A friend told us of workshops on the Sanayi in Izmir who can re-chrome things.  So, early this week,  Ashley took the heat shields off his exhaust and , on Wednesday, we took them to Izmir.  We had fun getting into the Metro carrying cylindrical metal objects in a plastic bag but the security man was reassured when he was shown the corroded pipes.

Off to Stadyum (three stops on the Metro) where we met up with our friend who drove us to the workshop in question…

Well they do stainless steel (very good stainless steel) but they have a man who does chrome for them.  He was phoned, he came over, he went off with the heat shields.  We went out for lunch with our friends then looked at one of their bikes then, as they had a complex set of riding bikes to one place and driving people to another place to do, so we took ourselves off to Ikea.  Where we bought some bits and pieces we’d been promising ourselves for ages.  Then home on the bus.

On Thursday we went back to Izmir to pick up the re-chromed parts.  Only they weren’t ready.   We waited half an hour, then we found out there had been a problem with the machine.  We were told they would be ready at six, probably, but definitely on Friday.  This is Turkey so, probably at six is best taken with a pinch of salt.  It was frustrating but everyone was very sweet.  We went and bought some sewing machine oil and a large piece of swordfish then came home on the train.  The swordfish was delicious and excellent value.

On Friday we went back to Izmir.  We picked up the parts.  They are veryfabrics, very shiny!  We drank tea.  We went to Kemeraltı where we managed to find the fabric shops Hilary went to with the Craft Club.  Hilary bought stuff.  We had coffee and kebab.  We came home on the train

So, three days back and forth to Izmir.  It began to feel a bit like commuting, but at least there was not that work thing at the other end of the commute.  Thursday was quite frustrating (apart from the swordfish) but the rest of it was great!

The chrome conew-pipesmes with a two year guarantee, and the workmanship is excellent.  It will probably last a lot longer away from the ice, snow and grit of Istanbul.  Today Ashley put it back on the bike.  Looks really good.