30 DAYS, 30 DISHES – DAY 14: Kokoreç


Kokoreç is a popular street food in Turkey – one that I’ve not yet been brave enough to try and I don’t think I ever will!

Kokoreç is made from sheep intestines. The intestines are cleaned then packed onto a large skewer and cooked horizontally over a coal fire, giving it a unique taste. The smell of it cooking is very strong and puts me off even more!

After it is cooked, it is carved off and finely chopped up into pieces then squished in between a half or quarter loaf of bread and eaten like a hot sandwich. Ayran is usually the drink which accompanies this feast!

30 DAYS, 30 DISHES – DAY 13: KUNEFE

Kunefe is a popular, authentic Turkish dessert. It’s made from kadayıf (dried shredded dough which looks like shredded wheat) and cheese. It is covered in syrup and eaten straight out of the oven when hot, so the cheese is stringy and gooey but the pastry is crispy. It’s sometimes served with crushed pistachios, like the photo above.

The combination of cheese and syrup doesn’t sound like it would be good together, but it is!

It’s Berkay’s favourite Turkish dessert.

30 DAYS, 30 DISHES – DAY 11: Sucuklu Yumurta


Sucuk & egg is one of my favourite weekend breakfasts.

Sucuk is a spicy Turkish sausage, made from beef or lamb. It is mixed with garlic, cumin and other spices/seasonings then left to dry for weeks before selling.
It is sliced then fried in oil for a few minutes, then eggs are cracked and mixed into the mixture, or left whole. It is quite spicy and has a strong flavour, so I always chop up some fresh tomatoes and drizzle them with olive oil and eat them along side it, with some fresh crusty bread of course!

It’s often served as part of a big Köy Kahvaltısı (village breakfast).

The only bad thing is how strong it smells – when Berkay cooks it I can smell it for hours afterwards! I love the fancy pans it’s sometimes presented in.

 

Denizli – The City Centre, the Cable Car & the Cool Cockerel.

Around 1.5-2 hours away from Berkay’s family village Beyagac, is the busy city of Denizli.

Both Beyagac and Denizli City are in the province of Denizli, but Denizli City Centre is the capital of the whole province. The city is very much a working, industrial centre with factories and a lot of textile production. In summer it’s hot, in winter it’s cold, even down to snow, so the climate varies a lot with the seasons!

It has a lot of tourists passing through, but mainly just on their way to Pammukale and Hieropolis, a short distance away from the city centre. The city seems to get more modern every time we visit, with new buildings, shopping centres, and even a cable car being built since our last visit 2.5 year ago.

We were in Denizli  visiting Berkay’s uncle, his wife and their two children. They rent an apartment right in the centre of the city. Berkay doesn’t know his way around, so we met his cousin e-route. While waiting for him, we had some beautiful views across the area, if a little foggy due to weather and pollution! The rest of the family were out, so me, Berkay and his cousin went straight towards the ‘Denizli Telferik’ – the cable car up the side of the mountain with absolutely amazing views. I plan to write about this more in a separate post, because I loved it so much, so I’ll save the further details for then!
  
After coming back down to ground level, we drove to the family home. I really like visiting their home, they’re so welcoming and friendly and after a few days in the village sitting on the floor for every meal, it was nice to see an actual dining room table and chairs again. Berkay’s uncle is a fireman in summer, and goes off to the mountains for days at a time, to wait at look out points and search for first sight of wild fires. In winter, he is a bus driver. His wife is a stay at home mum at the moment, but used to work in local factories making slippers – part of the cities big textile industry. They have a 15 year old son, and a 6 year old daughter, Berkay’s two cousins. It’s funny to me because that’s quite an age gap  and it’s identical to the age gap between my brother and sister, who are the exact same ages. A few years ago, my family came to visit us in Calis, and Berkay’s uncle came from Denizli to spend the day with us – with Berkay’s cousin and my sister the same age, only 1 at the time, we got a cute photo of them sat in a hammock together in Guvens restaurant. 4 years later, in April 2016, they were reunited again at Guven’s restaurant and danced together at our wedding – bless them!

Berkay’s little cousin, Eylul (which means September in Turkish.. guess when her birthday is…), was trying to communicate with me in Turkish, and although I do know some, not enough to hold a conversation. She had a little toy laptop which said the alphabet and words in Turkish and English, so she tried to teach me some using that bless her!
 
We had lunch which Berkay’s aunt had prepared, and just sat relaxing in their home for a few hours. It was nice to eat around a proper dining table whilst sitting on a chair – no pins and needles from sitting cross legged on the floor , although its not without sacrifice – they don’t have a ‘normal’ toilet, only a hole in the floor style, so I tried to limit my wee breaks. I still haven’t entirely mastered the art of the Turkish toilet and have to strip naked on the bottom half of my body to avoid splashes… awkward!

A while after, we walked to their local weekly market, which was really busy, full of people buying their weekly fruit, veg and other goods. It was even bigger than Fethiye market and actually covered two levels, one underground! It had all the usual stuff, food, clothes, shoes, nuts, baggy pants! It was so noisy and a bit overwhelming – the photos I took make it look quiet, but they were taken in a more quiet spot away from the hustle and bustle of the fruit and veg section which was just chaos.  On the way back we saw a weird rainbow, a kind of upside down very faint small arc – I’d never seen one like that before! 
 

In the evening, Berkays uncle, aunt and youngest cousin, went to a friends ‘going to the army’ party – they asked if we wanted to go but I said no.. I still don’t really understand the mentality behind gatecrashing strangers parties! It’s a bit odd. Instead, Berkay’s older cousin showed us around a part of the the city centre called Çınar, just a short walk from their house.

This is a very modern part of the city, very popular with young people and families, even late at night. We were out around 9pm but it was busy and bustling! There are lot of bright lights, bars, cafes, restaurants, coffee shops, street food stalls, big name brand shops and some quirkier ones. “Googil cafe” and “Woops” just made me giggle. There are also several McDonalds, Burger King’s and even a Starbucks in the city. Whenever I read about such places coming to Fethiye or other areas, it seems to cause arguments as people assume these places are only popping up to appease tourists or expats – it’s just not true. Whilst a lot would prefer their little tea houses, the more modern, younger Turkish people appreciate a big Mac or a Frappucino as much as the rest of us, and you can find these places in most of the big cities in the country, even the least touristy ones possible.

 
Another thing that seems to be increasingly present all over the country is the multi-coloured umbrella. We all know and love photographing the famous ‘umbrella street’ in Fethiye, but I’m not sure which was actually the first in the country, there is now one in a lot of different places, some more impressive than others!

Wherever you go in Denizli, you will see the famous Denizli Rooster everywhere – statues, posters, humorous references etc. It has been the symbol for Denizli City and province for over 900 years. This special breed of chicken is unique to Denizli and is only bred in the area, it has very specific characteristics and is valued highly. I’m no chicken expert, but research has told me that they are unique in their long crowing abilty, colour and weight, and a great lot of effort goes into the conservation of the population of these special chickens.

 
After wandering around for an hour or two, and a quick trip to LC Waikiki, we went back to the families house. I do love how hospitable they are, without a second thought they gave up the children’s beds for us and made sure we had plenty of clean bedding and pillows. It does amaze me though, where exactly they keep their clothes as there’s never any wardrobes etc!  Although I’ve spent some time with Berkay’s other family members, it’s usually us who are the youngest in the room, so the one thing that I really noticed from being around Berkay’s younger cousin, is the respect he showed to me. He’s 15 years old, and has clearly been raised to respect his elders, which sounds weird as I’m only 25 myself! Around Berkay, he acts ‘normal’ as they are cousins and more like brothers, but as soon as I walked into the room he stopped slouching or laying and immediately sat up straight and ‘proper’. He also has a lot of respect for his own parents, there was one point where his mum smashed a tea glass in the kitchen and he jumped up off the sofa, asked her if she was okay and grabbed the hoover to help her clean up – he’s not a stereotypical moody teenager that’s for sure!

The morning after, we had planned to go back to Fethiye after breakfast, but as I’ve already tried to make clear, these particular family members are just so nice it’s hard to say no, so when they suggested we stay for lunch and go with them to a local picnic place, we couldn’t resist. We decided we didn’t have time for a BBQ, so instead took bags full of coke, nuts, sunflower seeds and of course blankets to sit on. The place we went to was called ‘Servergazi Piknik Alani’ and was really nice with big tall trees all over, BBQ facilities, benches and play areas for the kids. It was really pretty, and Berkay’s youngest cousin picked out a whole bucket full of daisies for me, bless her. Despite a lot of begging, we declined their offer of dinner and managed to ‘escape’ back to the car and get on the main road out of Denizli to make the 3.5 hour journey back to Fethiye.
 
 
I really like spending time in the city of Denizli and there’s so much to see that we haven’t even explored. It’s very ‘normal’, not touristy, not villagey, just ‘normal’ life, and I think it would be a nice place to live. Hopefully we’ll go back to visit and can go and see some different places, there’s always something interesting to photograph! 
 
 

Turkish goodies giveaway!

When I started my blog back in August 2013, 9 months ago, I never expected many people to read it, it was more of a personal thing for me to look back on, so when I reached 1,000 views I was amazed. Time went on, and it became more popular, more people read including some very loyal members who comment on every post, and then I got to 10,000  views… then 50,000….. then 100,000 and I really was flabbergasted.

I also created a Facebook page for my blog a few days ago, and have over 400 likes on that – which is also amazing! 🙂 Click HERE to go to the page and please like it if you haven’t already so that you won’t miss any blog updates!

Four months ago I done a little thank you giveaway to celebrate 70,000 views. Now I have almost double that, with 136,000+ so I think another giveaway is well overdue. It’s not much, just another little something to say THANK YOU to my readers. Although there will only be one winner, I’m so thankful to each and everyone of you for reading, liking, sharing and commenting on my posts – I really do feel like I’ve made some friends through doing this. The comments I get always make me smile, I read every single one. Just knowing people click onto my blog to read what little-old-me is saying is a weird feeling – but a good one. I feel like you’re all on a little journey with me, from when I first started and was living in Turkey, to the challenges and emotions I faced when moving back to England, the stress of visas and excitement when Berkay comes to visit me, the sadness when he goes home again, and now of course all the excitement of moving back to Turkey again for the summer. I hope to keep my blog posts up while I’m there, even if I don’t have internet access at home to enable me to post regularly, I’ll continue to write posts occasionally using a wifi spot elsewhere.  I hope you’ll all carry on reading and carry on going on this little journey with me!

Enough of the soppy stuff – now for the details of the giveaway! I was struggling to think of something to give, but I wanted it to be Turkey-related. I decided to take a trip to the Turkish Food Centre to buy some goodies to put together a little package. Here’s what it will include:

Apple Tea – good hot or left to cool with ice cubes in – yum!
Turkish delight – rose and lemon flavour. This is really, really good. I took a box into work yesterday and it was all eaten! It’s better than the normal pre-packed boxes.
 Cin biscuits – biscuits with orange jelly and chocolate sprinkles – a bit like Jaffa cakes.
Tutku biscuits – biscuits with chocolate cream in the middle.
Kombo biscuits – biscuits half dipped in chocolate and coconut- my favourites!
A sachet of Salep – just add hot milk, it’s a thick, milky drink with cinnamon. Mmmm.
A Turkish Eye keyring.
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To enter, all you have to do is comment on THIS blog post – it has to be on here directly, not on a facebook comment – and say what your favourite thing to eat in Turkey is – it can be anything, even an English breakfast 😉 I’ll choose the winner at random using a random number/name generator.  It’s only open for people in the UK/ROI I’m afraid, as I don’t know the customs rules for sending food to other countries. Winner will be chosen after 8pm on Monday 26th May and will be announced on here via a new post.

A little disclaimer, I paid for this with my own money, it was not given to me. I also earn no money at all from my blog, I do not get paid per view or receive any income from adverts, I blog entirely for fun, and just wanted to do a little giveaway to say a huge thanks for helping me reach over 136,000 views, and 400+ on Facebook! 

Thank you all so much once again, and good luck.

Turkish food shopping..in London!

Today Dad took me to the Turkish Food Centre near us, and we stocked up on a few Turkish goodies. Always on the look out for new blog post ideas, I thought Id take a few photos and share the store for anyone else in London who may be experiencing withdrawal symptoms from their favourite Turkish snacks!
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The TFC we went to is in Welling, south east London, but they have branches all over London. Click here to visit their site and see if there’s a store near you! 

The shop has a selection of fruit and veg as well as a meat counter and bakery. The bakery sells that fresh Turkish bread we all love, along with all kinds of traditional Turkish cakes and pastries, most importantly there is a good selection of baklava too!
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They sell everything else you could want, shampoo, toiletries, snacks, cakes, biscuits, crisps, juice, cheese, butter, all brands that you would find in Turkish shops and that you wouldn’t normally see in the UK. In typical Turkish style, the ‘pickled vegetables’ aisle was the biggest, along with huge jars of olives and bags of cay!
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Everything in the shop seemed reasonably priced to me, more expensive than in Turkey, but not by much. We came away with a bag of Turkish tea, apple tea, sunflower seeds, simit bread, sachets of salep, cracker sticks, pop keks and wafer chocolates.
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It was so weird seeing all these Turkish brands in the shop, it was like being back home in Fethiye! When you spend 2.5 years in a country you get used to their food and I really quite miss it when its not there anymore. Seeing the shampoo I used to buy in Turkey made me smile, sometimes it’s the small things! In the same way when going abroad you miss home comforts, when returning back after so many years, you miss things you never thought you would. It’s a lot of adapting, even down to the little things like which shampoo you buy!..Perhaps I’m just a little odd and too sentimental (: