Tag Archives: holiday

Holidays and Haydari

Hello! Sorry for the long break in posts, I went on holiday! Mum and I jetted off to Turkey for a week of R&R, sun, sea, sand etc.  It was lovely to get away from it all for a bit, it’s amazing how much better I feel with a tan, the wonders of vitamin D eh! We didn’t do too much, just chilled out by the pool/on the beach reading.  We did put in one epic day trip to Pamukkale though, so very very very worth it!

It took 4 hours to get there but I saw a lot of Turkey as it is rather that as a tourist resort. The women still work the fields by hand with scythes and hoes! Once there it was just an incredible site, absolutely unique.  It’s much bigger than you would think too.  We swam in Cleopatra’s Pool and I grazed my knee on a sunken Roman column. There were plenty of interesting ruins for me to geek about too!  On the outward journey we visited an onyx factory, and I won an onxy egg that was carved in front of us!  On the return journey we visited a carpet factory… I can now identify many types of carpet, yay!

Turkish food seems to be variations on several themes: meat (either on a stick or not), kofte (minced meat, eithr on a stick or not), tomato based casserole (cooked in various receptacles for various lengths of time).  All of these were ususally served with chips, rice, mashed potato, bread, tomato, cucumber, onion, cabbage/lettuce and carrot.  Turkish breakfast wasn’t that far removed we had hard boiled eggs with cucumber, tomato, a feta type cheese, olives bread and jam.  I certainly got my 5 a day! One thing I got really into was Meze, a mixture of lots of different salad things with bread for dipping.  My favourite, and, happily, the easiest to reproduce, was Haydari.  It’s similar to Tzatziki but this is yogurt with mint and garlic.

Serves 1-6 (depends how many other things you have going on)

~200g greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic, crushed
~ small handful fresh mint leaves
pinch of salt

– Put in a bowl and mix.
– Ta da!

The flavours develop well if left overnight but if you’re whipping this up in a hurry it’s good to go straight away.

TIP: To finely chop herbs put the herbs in a small glass/bowl/mug and use scissors to snip, snip, snip at the herbs until they’re as fine as you want them.

I served this with another of my favuourite snacks; houmous!  I simply take a tub of supermarket houmous and mix in a few spoons of red pesto and some chopped sundried tomatoes and job’s a good’un!

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Filed under Easy, Not Food, Starters

Post Holiday Round Up

Well I have crossed Europe and back again. I’ve eaten some good food, some excellent food, some indifferent food and some bloody awful food but all in all a good time was had by my stomach. 

We crossed several regions of France, German speaking Switzerland and Northern Italy and back again so a real cross section of food on this trip.  On one day we had breakfast in Italy, Lunch in Switzerland and Dinner in France.  I have to say that was probably my favourite day because I had Brioche for breakfast, which is a sort of breadier Italian croissant.  Then came vienna sausages and chips for lunch, which in England would have been awful but they were proper german sausages with bite and continental chips always taste better than their English counterpart, we just can’t make proper french fries! 

Wurst und Pommes

And finally in Alsacian France I had my dinner, which started with a glass of cremmant d’Alsace and a warm tarte d’oignons.  

Tarte D'Oignons Cremmant D'Alsace

Then came a main course of what the menu translated as meatballs with a mushroom sauce served with roast potatoes.  In no way did that description do it justice.  Visually it wasn’t much to look at but, frankly, German food never is that tempting visually, the taste, however, was sublime!  The meatballs were huge, hearty and full of flavour and the mushroom sauce was a delicious forestière sauce full of weird and wonderful mushrooms you’d pay through your nose for in England in a wonderfully germanic cream sauce.  The potatoes weren’t just plain roast tatties but they also had delicious smoked bacon pieces and were sort of crushed together in a way I’ll never be able to create.  Hearty and simple food but utterly satisfying in every way.  For dessert I had an ice cream which included plum ice cream, which I really must try with some of the plums as it was very nice.  All of this was washed down with a local rosé wine from a vinyard about a mile away, bliss! 

Meatballs!

I love the Alsace region of France.  I love France but it’s also so very German, the perfect melding of the two.  We traveled up the Route des Vins through dozens of picture perfect villages passing caves left right and centre.  It was harvest time and driving through some of the towns with the windows down was a positively intoxicating experience and the scent of wine making wafted in.  We followed more than our fair share of tractors pulling along trains of buckets filled with grapes.  I managed to find myself a kugelhopf mould too.  You see a lot of these moulds sold as decorative items but I wanted one I could actually cook with and I managed to grab myself a bargain at 9€80.  I’ll be experimenting with that as soon as I’ve tempered it.  I’ve got to get some Alsacian wine glasses next time I go back, I love the green stems on them. 

Vines

Other foodie highlights of the trip included another thrown together picnic in idylic surroundings, the fresh peaches that are always 10 times better over there than here and the patisseries, without which I would never have gained half as much holiday weight!  

Tarte Framboises

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Plum Jam Recipe and Holiday Eating!

I was trying to post this recipe the night before I left to go on holiday but the internet had a massive panic attack or something and everything went horribly wrong.  As I type I’m sitting in a hotel in Colmar in the Alsace region of France.  We stayed last night in St. Quentin in the north of France and tomorrow we drive through Switzerland and into northern Italy where we will be staying for a week.  I’m already in food heaven!  Last night for dinner I had Flammekueche, sort of a pizza but with creme fraiche instead of tomato.

Sitting in St Quentin town square eating dinner.

For lunch today we hit the supermarket and grabbed bread, pate, cheeses, cold meat, crisps and a tarte aux pommes and sat by the side of a canal on a blanket, simple and basic but blissful!  YUM! 
Hasty Picnic
The recipe I was actually trying to post was for the plum jam I made the day before we left.  We have had a glut of plums and I was looking for something to do with them that would last until we came back from holiday so Jam it was!
Plums
– First make sure you have plums, sugar and jars/lids/wax disks and plastic covers. 
– Place the jam jars, lids removed, in the oven at gas mark 1.  Put the lids in boiling water to sterilise. 
– Stone your plums and weigh how much you have.  Remember this number. 
– Put the plums in a large heavy bottomed pan with a little over 150ml water per kg of plums. 
– Bring to the boil then simmer for 30 minutes until the fruit is soft.
– Weigh out the same amount of granulated sugar as you had plums. 
– Add this to the plums along with a knob of butter. 
– Bring to a rapid boil and leave at a high heat for 10 minutes or until the setting point is reached. 
– To test place a little jam on a cold plate and push it with yout finger.  If it wrinkles as you push it it’s ready. 
– Add another knob of butter to dissolve the scum.  Remove any remaining scum with a slotted spoon. 
– Remove the jam jars from the oven and carefully ladle the jam into the jars. 
– Seal while hot then leave to cool and store. 

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Filed under Jams and Preserves, Moderately easy