Thursday, December 18, 2008
Look at this grown up little man! He is really not a baby any more. As you might have guessed things are pretty busy around here (and I'm guessing you are all pretty busy too)- not much time for posting on ye olde blogge. I have quite a few little projects on the go, but no unveiling before Christmas!
It feels strange to be digging out the bathers and summer dresses when it is so cold here - I keep thinking 'surely it won't be warm enough to wear this'. We have been packing ready for a trip home for Christmas which means seeing all my family that I have missed so much and showing them how much Yashar has grown, lots of yummy christmas food, kids playing at the beach, lying in the hammock, dinners with old friends (preferably outdoors and with the rosy glow of some good wine!), spending lots of time with Senol...I am so excited!!! I keep thinking of Yashar, with his little backpack on, walking out of the gate when we arrive.
My plan is to post a photo each day we are away, but you know, the thing about plans...
Friday, December 12, 2008
Well I haven't been around here in a little while for a couple of reasons. This week is a national holiday here in Turkey for Kurban Bayrami - The Sacrifice Feast - where rams and cows are sacrificed. The traditions is that 1 third of the meat is cooked immediately, another third is given to the poor and another third distributed among relatives and neighbours. Of course I think that sharing the meat with the poor is a wonderful practice, and I like to think that I am pretty open to different cultures and practices, but...ah... I'm not so into the slaughter part. Don't worry - no photos here. In the morning we saw lots of cows in the back of trucks, but when Senol's family were calling me to see the slaughter in the backyard (a butcher came to the house to do it) I was like 'no way!' and hid in the living room with Yashar.
The other reason I have been MIA is that Yashar got a pretty nasty infection, and has been though a lot the last couple of days, including very high fevers, night time rushes to hospital, a blood test, cold baths (the paracetamol and ibuprofen wasn't working in getting his fever down) and generally getting poked and prodded too much :( He was such a good little trooper. Although he cried during the tests and cold baths, and even though his fever got as high as 39.6C, he soon gave us sleepy little smiles when we showed him the fish in the aquarium at the hospital. Poor little man. The doctor and nurses were fantastic and I am happy to say that he is recovering well.
So instead of taking photos of cows being sacrificed and an anxious visit to the hospital, I thought you would prefer some more photos of our neighbourhood that I took on a little walk and drive we went on just before all this. Warm chestnuts, winding narrow streets, the Bosphorus and persimmons hanging like lanterns from the tree.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
1 diced onion
1 peeled and cubed pumpkin
Nutmeg (I didn't have any, but added some paprika instead)
1 tablespoon of butter
Fry onion in butter. When soft add pumpkin and enough water with stock to cover and add bay leaf. Simmer until pumpkin is soft, take out bay leaf and vitamise with a pinch of nutmeg. Return to saucepan until ready to serve. Serve with a dollop of cream, a sprinkle of nutmeg and bread.
There are few variations with this recipe - I know my Mum sometimes adds curry powder and I think coconut cream (?). Sweet potatoes are also nice to use instead of pumpkin but at $20 a kilo here...
Do you know of any other yummy variations for me to try out? I am going pumpkin soup crazy!
Monday, December 1, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
I really enjoyed the process for this one. I did a quick sketch and then took my time inking in the detail. Then I put it into photoshop and coloured it. As always, the detail shots give you a better idea of how it actually looks.
I had my dear little 2 year old nephew Riley in mind when making it (I can just picture his smiling little face as I write this!)- hoping that he might like it as a Christmas present. But I am not sure if it is too fierce looking. What do you think? I might try to see if I can come up with something a little more colourful and fun in time to suit the fun little boy that he is. Knowing how long it takes to get things done here though, it may not eventuate :( If not, then hopefully this will be something that he can grow with.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
And sometimes he opens so many he just gets all worn out, it's a tough life ;)
Thursday, November 20, 2008
To keep up the nerdy image (thick rimmed glasses and all) I just finished reading The Google Storyand I totally nerded out about it. I couldn't put it down!
The book starts with the development of the system and technology of the search engine while the Google duo (Sergey Brin and Larry Page) were at Stanford and then goes through the rise and rise of the company. The book claims on the back cover that "This book was not created, authorized, or endorsed by Google Inc." But they wouldn't really have anything to complain about and I totally wouldn't be surprised if they funded the whole thing. The author even attempts to make the whole computer/software/business story a little risque and sexy (attempts not succeeds) with a chapter called 'Porn cookie guy', another called 'Playboys' and another about the 'burning man' festival with mention of getting naked around a burning effigy. He also quickly argues himself out of the small amount of criticisms he makes and provides many favourable comparisons with 'evil' Microsoft. And despite the obvious bias I still bought in to the whole 'don't be evil' Google mantra wholesale! It makes Google look like the cool guy from the Apple Mac ads and Microsoft the PC guy.
I loved getting info about how the ranking of search results works, the conditions at Google offices (massages, time to work on your own projects, free ice-cream days etc) and the floating of the Google stock which made many of the employees super rich. There is even a whole chapter on the apparently legendary chef who cooked up nutritious organic food for all the employees.
And now that I have finished with Google I dipped into Sacre Cordon Bleu: What the French know about cookingand I am already addicted. It starts with the burning of recipe books by celebrity chefs and then Micheal Booth, his wife and two young children are off to Paris so that he can study at the famous cooking school - Le Cordon Bleu. By the time Madame Raffarin shows them around the Parisian apartment full of shelves of dusty antique books, vast oil paintings and fading velvet curtains with views of the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower (and then they excitedly spy the boulangerie and chocolatier on the street below) I was hooked! I am already dreaming of moving to Paris or at least having an extended holiday there.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I love how he writes about the relationship between food and family. He writes "I want my family to grow up with good memories around food. A freshly brewed cup of tea with a slice of cake still warm from the oven or a tart made from freshly picked apricots will become part of a happy memory..." I want that too! I have some very happy memories of making cupcakes with my mum. I am so looking forward to when Yashar is old enough that we can bake yummy memories together.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Because the paths were rough and Yashar was still sleeping when we arrived we stopped off at the picnic area for some rice pudding - best in warm weather, but always a favourite of mine!
The forest was part of the setting for the water supply system for the Byzantines and Ottomans who used aqueduct bridges to supply water to Constantinople. Parts of the bridges are still standing like this one we drove under on the way to the forest. History really does permeate everyday life here - it's so easy to forget how rich and interesting the history is when you drive under it and walk past parts of it every day.
Yashar loved looking at all the Autumn leaves and the lake and touching the bark of the trees. We loved it too - a little bit of stillness to take back to Istanbul.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
For his little party we put up some autumny forest decorations after being inspired by our recent visit to Belgrade Forest (which was so pretty, calm and green that I will definitely be posting a few pictures from there soon). Nothing overboard with the decorations - at this age the kids didn't even notice the decorations were there and, of course, I think handmade decorations are the best kind! Yashar and I went for a walk and collected some gorgeous Autumn leaves that are blowing around and piling up on the paths at the moment. Then I sewed some together just using a needle and thread to make the chains of them and attached the rest of them to the walls using blu-tac.
We got the poster on our trip to Sweden - so gorgeous! And the little boy in it has something Yashar'ish about him. It is by Elsa Beskow who wrote and illustrated children's books and I think this illustration was originally from a song book. Her illustrations are some of my all time favourites. Some of the books have been translated into English and are just beautiful. (We also bought Children of the Forest while we were there.)
And of course there was the cake! I made a bunny from the same book that my mum made our cakes from - Australian Women's Weekly Childrens Birthday Cake Book -
we used to love looking through the book and choosing the cake we would have that year - I particularly remember loving the piano cake with the little music book sitting on it. The cover looks a little dodgy but this is a great book! I cheated a bit though and bought the cakes to make it up - no oven makes baking pretty hard!
Monday, November 10, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Before coming here I had romanticised ideas about what looking after babies and bringing up children would be like here. I thought that because of the strong family focus here, having babies and parenting would be more natural and easier, with good experience and knowledge being passed down from generation to generation. This has not always been my reality here though. For example there is a startlingly high rate of cesareans here (according to this article around 39% which is double the maximum rate recommended by the World Health Organisation - in some private hospitals the rate is as high as 95%!) and many doctors are notorious for their over prescription of medicines. Old wives tales also abound. Apart from that, my own ideas about parenting have meant that I need other sources of guidance. Plus I just love books!
Now Yashar is almost one year old and I have found myself rereading the last section (9 - 12 months) of Baby Love and wondering where to next? I have copies of Raising Boys (a book recommended by my cousin who has three boys) and The Creative Family by Amanda Soule on their way. But I need more! I guess I am fairly relaxed in my parenting and don't enjoy being preached to or a one-fits-all approach.
Do you have any suggestions?
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
and now I know...
they don't always make it!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Flowers for you all!
Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I have climbed to the top of the tallest tree
And no one knows I'm here
And I could hide for hours and hours
And I can see for miles
And I have never fallen
And I will not come down
And the sun is shining
I don't know the name of the track or who made it so if you know please leave a comment - I would love to know.
I made it for my dear little niece Ruby and thought the colours would be cute in a little girls room. I am so sad to be missing out on seeing her grow (she is just a few months younger than Yashar). So I hope my sister can point to the picture and tell Ruby about her Aunty Verity.