A few days ago we went through our Turkey travel highlights of 2011 and, despite a bit of 'we never go anywhere' grumbling from me throughout the year, we realised that we've actually not done too bad! It was a good exercise to look back at where we have actually been.
Well, now it's time to loosen belts, forget about calories, sit back and enjoy a foodie feast.
Turkish Food & Recipes - 2011 Highlights
As with the travel post, we had difficulty choosing favourites for some months. If you know this blog well, you'll know we're quite partial to investigating, tasting and making Turkish food and then writing about it. There are a lot of Turkish food posts for 2011!
February 2011 - Döner Kebabı: The döner kebab is probably the meal that springs to mind when you ask people what they know about Turkish food. This post was a celebration of the real döner kebab - not the poor quality ones sold throughout the UK at 3am every weekend. Click the link to read our post about this most famous of Turkish street foods, the döner kebab.
March 2011 - Pumpkin Soup: Balkabağı Çorbası (Pumpkin Soup) is a regular on our menu throughout the colder months in Fethiye. Squash is widely available on the Fethiye markets and the soups they make are colourful and comforting when the weather is miserable and grey outside. Click the link to follow our Turkish recipe for pumpkin soup.
May 2011 - Ayran: Foreign visitors to Turkey have a love/hate relationship with ayran. We've never met a Turkish person who doesn't like ayran, but when foreigners are let loose to do their own shopping, ayran is often mistaken for milk. A watered down yoghurt-salt drink does not taste good in your morning tea! This post got lots of comments from people who had fallen into that trap (we've done it, too!) Here is our post on the famous Turkish drink, Ayran.
June 2011 - Meze: Thank you to the people who invented Turkish meze in an age gone by. We take great pleasure in going to the glass fridges of restaurants and choosing an array of meze dishes - we usually choose too many! But meze is not just about the food. It's about the company you're with. Read our post about the joy of Turkish meze.
August 2011 - Spicy Chickpea & Aubergine Stew: This dish is popular all over the Middle East and, despite it being called a 'stew,' it's a light meal in summer when served lukewarm. As soon as we see the word spicy, we're immediately interested in trying a dish. This recipe is from one of our favourite, cookery books, 'Best Ever Mediterranean Cookbook.' If you like the looks of this dish (centre photo), click this link for spicy chickpea and aubergine stew.
September 2011 - Lamb Tandır: Slow-cooked, tender, juicy chunks of lamb. Words cannot describe how good this dish is and the people who commented on the post agreed. Our favourite place to eat lamb tandır is at Cin Bal in Kayaköy. If you want to know why, read our post about lamb tandır.
October 2011 - Köfte: We've done a Turkish recipe for köfte in the past, but this post from October was about the best köfte meal we have ever eaten. It's possibly one of our favourite meals of 2011 because of the journey we had beforehand. Click here to find out why this köfte was so memorable: Köfte comes to the rescue.
November 2011 - Tantuni Kebabı: This is easily our foodie discovery of 2011. We've read so much in the past about this meaty kebab from Mersin and we really wanted to try it. When we were in Istanbul in October, we made it our mission to hunt down tantuni. We stumbled across a tantuni place in the back streets of Beyoğlu and loved it so much, we returned again the day after. Here is our post about our new favourites when it comes to Turkish street food: tantuni kebab.
December 2011 - Kanat (Chicken Wings): Another staple of the meaty side of the Turkish diet. We love chicken wings and have eaten lots of them since moving to Fethiye. They're a regular feature on any Turkish, Sunday afternoon barbecue - but we also enjoy them baked in the oven. Here is our recipe for oven-baked kanat.
There really were too many Turkish food and recipe highlights to choose from for this list. We've eaten our way through a lot of food throughout 2011 and we're looking forward to continuing in the same fashion throughout 2012. What are your favourite foodie highlights of 2012?