Thursday, 20 November 2014

Fethiye - Floods, Sunshine And A Sighting Of Snow. It's Been One Of Those Days.

It started off as one of Fethiye's usual autumn days when it decides to be a bit damp and grey; not a lot going on, no layers of cloud to speak of (those that make a moody photo), a still, calm sea; steady, boring rain; a day to stay in the house (with the lights on) and cook comfort foods. Comfort food that was going to be tonight's blog post...but then the thunder and lightning came along and the steady rain became torrential...

We get torrential rains quite a lot in autumn and winter in Fethiye - and it can stick around for days, coming in waves between rainfall that most people are accustomed to. But this torrential rain just kept tumbling from the greyness above, and it just looked like it had picked up such momentum that it couldn't have stopped even if it wanted to. Remarkably, the electricity stayed on for us, so we had internet and we started to see people's photos and videos of Fethiye town centre. At least a foot of water in the centre of town...and we just felt so sorry for everyone in the local businesses around there.

Fethiye Boat After Storm
Bailing out 
We did need to go into Fethiye at some point today, but there was no way we were budging from the house until it at least slackened off to 'heavy rain.' And eventually, Fethiye did what it's good at; the rain stopped and there was a hint of blue sky in breaks above the now hazy grey. Time to make a move and set off into town...

It was cold but the sea was still. Some of the smaller boats had sunk through the weight of the rain inside them, and those that hadn't sunk were being bailed out with whatever was to hand. But generally, in the bay, all was still and the sun was defeating the cloud. It all looked so picturesque; reflections, the sun glinting from the surface of the water, the odd bit of cloud left trapped between the mountains and clear blue sky. A beautiful autumn day... 
Flooding In Dispanser, Fethiye, Turkey
The Dispanser area has suffered again
But we'd seen the flooding in Fethiye online so we knew the streets wouldn't have recovered from the weather quite as quickly as the sea had. We also knew Dispanser (an area of town famed for flooding) would be badly hit. So much work has been done around here to improve drainage - not sure if that work has failed or if the rain was just too overwhelming anyway - it really was so heavy. Whatever the case, by the time we passed the area, these guys were on a clean up mission and the sound of water pumps and generators was all that could be heard.
Fethiye Floods, Turkey
 Reflections in the floods
It did all feel like an aftermath - which is what it was, of course. So strange because the sun was now shining and the hills and trees were reflecting in the flood waters. That's nature for you isn't it? Just reminding us all that it's still here, both in its scenic beauty and in the chaos it can cause if we play around with it too much.
Fethiye Sunset After The Storm
This evening's sunset in Fethiye - was there really all that rain?
In Fethiye, many shops were closed - either shuttered up or full of staff swishing water outside. LC Waikiki (a major high street chain store in Turkey) was closed - and someone on our Facebook page told us the staff had given them all carrier bags to put over their feet as makeshift wellies when the flood waters came into the store.

Others shop owners were hosing down pedestrianised areas around Paspatur as the fast-receding water left behind its dose of muddy sludge. And maybe the drainage is at least a bit better in Dispanser because, as we walked back home not 30 minutes later, the guys in the yellow wellies in the photo above were packing up and the flood water was all but gone. No doubt business owners around town have still got lots of clearing and cleaning to do and our thoughts are with them. Best wishes to them all.
Snow on Akdağlar Mountains, Turkey
Snow on Akdağlar
And we did say it was cold. As we walked along the harbour, the sun setting and people escaping their homes and filling the restaurants, we noticed the Akdağlar mountain range (those huge bulks that dominate the D400 skyline as you drive eastwards towards Kaş and Antalya). The first powdery snow has settled along their tops...and we can feel it in Fethiye.

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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Gözleme By The Seaside - Well It Works At Denizatı

As you're no doubt more than aware by now - if you follow our daily goings on in this blog, that is - we're big fans of gözleme. It's an almost weekly staple for us at either the Fethiye Tuesday market or the Çalış Sunday market; a good fill of gözleme and pickles - and then you've got your fuel for hitting the stalls to stock up on your fruit and veg for the week, and it all just makes for very happy shopping. 

Of course, some stalls do a better gözleme than others, and we all have our favourites - we go to the same place every week. Light-and-crispy-not-oily is the key for us, and then a filling of minced meat and potato (kıymalı patatesli) - just the right proportions - and a bowl of pickles (turşu) on the side, too. There's just got to be pickles! 

Apart from the market, whenever we walk from Fethiye to Kayaköy, on arrival in Kayaköy, our feet always manage to walk us straight to Bülent'in Yeri. They do a great gözleme...and fab homemade chips washed down with a beer; perfect after a good leg-stretch of a walk. 

Denizatı Restaurant Menu, Fethiye, Turkey
And now, in Fethiye, gözleme is also to be found in those sorts of places you might not expect. Gözleme is associated with village food, it's made in the home and bought from roadside stands or small eateries set up around family homes in villages (such as Bülent'in Yeri in Kayaköy). Wherever you drive around these parts, you'll be hard pushed not to see a sign advertising gözleme somewhere on your journey.

As a food associated with the countryside and villages, gözleme is not generally associated with Fethiye's seaside restaurants - except, now, it is! We've written about Denizatı Restaurant & Bar along Fethiye harbour in the past so we'll not go into detail there. But we will say, that when we spotted gözleme on their menu a few months ago, we were curious, yet not expecting much.

This is a restaurant where, as in other larger restaurants, you can get a whole range of well-presented Turkish and international dishes. Were they really going to be overly bothered in concentrating on a piece of pastry with a bit of filling that's usually served up in villages? Well, in for penny, in for a pound and all that. You're never going to know until you try; it's very reasonably priced (especially for a harbourside restaurant), so we took the plunge...
Gözleme At Denizatı Restaurant, Fethiye
Kıymalı patatesli gözleme 
And now, if anyone asks us where does the best meat and potato gözleme, we have a conundrum. We never thought a restaurant would do as good a version as those specialising in the serving of gözleme; but we were wrong. We already knew Denizatı Restaurant had a lady who makes the bread which is served before meals with olives and cheese - and we love that bread. Well, she's apparently the same lady who does the gözleme, too - this woman knows her way around a piece of dough! 

It's light, it's crispy-not-oily, and the filling is very generous - so you're going to be set up for a good few hours after you've waded through it. What more to say? Well, no turşu (pickles) but you can improvise. This is gözleme restaurant-style and Denizatı Restaurant does a meze of pickled beetroot. When we're at the restaurant, that's our little indulgence to compliment our cheap treat...because we've eaten gözleme at Denizatı Restaurant on more than one occasion, now. Is it our favourite one? Eek...what to's up's up there...

  • Denizatı have various fillings available on their menu, as you can see in the photo above (click on the photo to enlarge it if you need a bigger version).
  • Kıymalı patatesli (minced meat and potato) isn't on the menu as an option to be eaten together - but they'll do it if you ask (we do!)
  • For more of the menu at Denizatı Restaurant, they have a photo album of all the menu listings on their Facebook page.
Saturday, 15 November 2014

(Not) Turkish Meze Recipes - Sweet & Spicy Tomato Chilli Relish

We're always playing around with different meze recipes just because it's a great way to eat. The meze table is a social thing, even when it's just the two of us - and even if we're just talking about the food we've made. Recently, we made a new addition to our meze menu and, although it's not Turkish, it still compliments everything else on your meze table and it's really quick and easy to make.

The famous Turkish chilli tomato dip recipe is Acılı Antep Ezmesi and this is one of our favourites. But we usually make that if we have friends for dinner because it does require a bit of your time. The recipe we're doing in this post is again a chilli tomato dip...but we're going sweet, too. This is basically a homemade sweet chilli relish and is a great side to lots of meals as well as meze. 

Sweet Chilli Relish
We thought this bowlful would last us longer
We made a bowlful of the dip recently, thinking we would jar it up and leave it in the fridge to enjoy at leisure. Not sure who we were kidding with that little idea because it never made it to the jar. We just ate it! 

The following ingredient amounts are not set in stone; they're just a general guide so don't worry too much about weight and measurement.
  • Finely chop one large onion - the sweeter the better but you don't need to worry too much about that.
  • Now finely chop 1 large tomato (if you're not on the large Turkish tomatoes, you'll need 2-3 regular tomatoes - around 400g in total).
  • Heat 4-5 tablespoonfuls of vinegar in a pan. In Turkey, we use the grape vinegar but if you want a more subtle vinegar flavour, use a wine or an apple vinegar.
  • Now add 2 dessertspoonfuls of sugar with a splash of water and stir it all around until the sugar dissolves.
  • Add your chopped onion and stir around for a minute or two.
  • Now add your tomato and as many hot chilli flakes as you can handle (you can always add more later if you want to make it more spicy).
  • Now remove from the heat and leave to cool.
And that's it. Quick and easy. Do a little taste test to see if you want to add anything else to it. And to serve:
Sweet Chilli & Tomato Dip
Sweet chilli tomato dip
Remember our Brussels sprouts and yoghurt meze recipe where we served it on toasted bread? Well we had this sweet chilli tomato dip on the same day and we just made a few slices of toast. Lightly toasted bread rubbed with a half clove of garlic and drizzled with olive oil. Put your tomato chilli dip on the toast and top with basil. Yummy! 

Afiyet Olsun

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Brussels Sprouts - Two Meze Recipes In One

"In your face, Brussels sprouts!"

That pretty much sums up the feeling when eating Brussels sprouts, these days. They were the final frontier of vegetables we just didn't like or buy and we wanted to face our foodie foe and conquer it. And we've won! Brussels sprouts are in season in Fethiye at the moment, and we no longer look at them with a grimace as we pass them on the pazar...we buy them and we eat them...and we enjoy them.

Back in 2012, we did a recipe for how to love Brussels sprouts. That was our first real dalliance with them where we realised they didn't have to be boiled to an almost yellow mush and forced onto the side of your Christmas dinner plate. No, there was more to Brussels sprouts (Brüksel Lahanası) than that. Last week, we again bought some and experimented...

2 in 1 - Brussels Sprouts Meze Recipes

Yes, this is a kind of 2 in 1 recipe because we're going to do one meze recipe first and then use the leftovers to make another one. 
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
There's something really pleasurable about seasonal cooking and eating. Last week, we were enjoying the short-lived saffron milk cap mushroom season with a çintar mushroom and sucuk recipe. Brussels sprouts also don't stick around for too long on the markets around Fethiye, so it's nice that we can now look forward to their arrival and make the most of them while they're with us.

Meze Recipe 1 - Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
  • Take 500 g of Brussels sprouts and cut them in half lengthways. You don't need to peel the loose leaves away; they're the best bits in this recipe.
  • Drizzle olive oil onto a baking tray so it's lightly coated and place the sprouts onto the tray.
  • Toss the sprouts around so they've all got a light covering of oil and then season with salt and pepper (and a few chilli flakes, too, if you like a hint of heat).
  • Place in the oven for around 25-30 minutes and roast until soft through the middle.
  • The loose leaves on the outside will go charred and crispy. 
  • Remove from the oven and grate parmesan cheese over the top.
  • Serve as an accompaniment to a meal or as a selection of meze dishes.
Meze Recipe 2 - Yoğurtlu Brüksel Lahanası
Well, there's not much food in this world that the good people of Turkey won't eat with a healthy dose of natural we thought we'd see how Brussels sprouts and yoghurt fared.

Brussels Sprouts With Yoghurt
Yoğurtlu Brüksel Lahansı 
Because 500g of Brussels sprouts between two people - that's a lot. We had some of the roasted sprouts left over from the day before. They were still yummy eaten cold, but we couldn't resist experimenting with a bit of yoghurt.
  • Put two heaped teaspoons of süzme yoghurt (the thick natural Turkish yoghurt) into a small bowl and add a splash of cold water. Stir rapidly until the yoghurt thins a little.
  • Now add a teaspoonful of olive oil, a pinch of salt and stir that in, too. This makes the yoghurt smooth and shiny.
  • Once you've got a texture where you can drizzle the yoghurt, drizzle it over your Brussels sprouts and - as usual - sprinkle with chilli flakes.
And to serve, we are making posh Brussels sprouts on toast! 
Brussels Sprouts With Yoghurt On Toast
Brussels sprouts and yoghurt - it works
If you're in Turkey, go to your local Turkish bakery and buy some fresh, crusty bread. Obviously, any good quality bread will do, wherever you may be in the world.
  • Slice your bread into thick slices (about half an inch thick).
  • Take a clove of garlic, cut it in half and rub it over the toasted bread. We love the intensity of the garlic smell and flavour when you do this.
  • Do a light drizzle of olive oil over the top of that.
  • Cut your toast into manageable 'finger food' pieces.
And now all you need to do is spoon some of your Yoğurtlu Brüksel Lahanası meze onto your toast. A great lunchtime snack to make use of seasonal leftovers.

Afiyet Olsun!

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