Thursday, December 18, 2008

Getting ready

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

Chestnuts and persimmons

Thanks for all the pumpkin soup ideas! I am definitely going to try adding some curry powder this week (getting more pumpkin at the market tomorrow) and I like the sound of adding some chilli and ginger. Yum!

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

Seasonal recipe

Remember when I mentioned my brilliant idea a while back - a seasonal recipe each month. Well believe it or not - I actually got around to doing it! The recipe this month, while not exotic or mind blowingly original, is yummy! It is also so easy and spot on season wise here.

It's my Mum's Pumpkin Soup! My sister reminded me about it when she put together a whole lot of recipes for me because I was running out of ideas for food for Yashar (what a good sister I have - and Yashar loves it!).

The thing that used to put me off making pumpkin soup was chopping the damn thing up! But here at the Pazar (our weekly fruit and vegie market where I took the photo above) and even at the supermarket they have a guy whose sole job is to chop up the pumpkin for you on the spot - yay!

1 diced onion
1 peeled and cubed pumpkin
Chicken stock
Bay leaf
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

Yashar Update: All Rugged Up

I get Yashar all rugged up before going out now. The weather is starting to get cold! He has got used to wearing his little beanie now. He used to try to get it off the minute I put it on.

We are so lucky with our apartment because we have discovered that in Autumn and Winter the sun streams in our front windows in the morning, heating up our living room like a little glass house. Yashar likes to rest his head in the warm sun. I wanted to say that the sun, streaming in in the mornings, sparkling off the Bosphorus is glorious, just glorious - but really 'glorious' just sounds sooo uncool. So, you know, the sun is like, way cool... and stuff.