Archive | August 2012

Sweet & Sour chicken

Made this tonight and thought I would share.

For 4 People

1/2 kilo of chicken breast

1 large onion

1 green pepper

1 red pepper

tomato ketchup

white vinegar (I use apple)

brown sugar or white works well too


Peel and chop the onion into slices.  Wash and cut the peppers into strips.  Cut the chicken into small cubes or pieces.

Fry the onions until clear – add the peppers and chicken and some salt and pepper.  I sometimes add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper or pepper flakes if I want it with a bit more of a kick.

Once the chicken is white in all sides add a good squirt of tomato ketchup and a good 1/2 a glass of vinegar, stir add some warm water to cover the chicken and vegetables and simmer for 10 minutes.   Add the sugar to taste – I find about 5 teaspoons is usually enough.  Once you have the flavour as you want it turn the eat up to reduce the liquid and to make it stickier.

Serve with plain boiled rice or a Turkish pilaf without th chicken stock added.     If you are fancying something a bit more authentic once the rice is cooked add it to a frying pan with ht oil……..add some frozen peas and stir a beaten egg into the rice.  Result very tummy egg fried rice to go with your chicken,

People who visit and people who don’t

People never cease to surprise me.   I remember clearly the day I announced I was moving to Turkey.   My daughter had been listening to me talking about it for over 10 years and just responded she’d deal with it if it happened.  Some friends were jealous, most were happy and some just behaved really oddly.    One friend who I had known really well for over 20 years never spoke to me again – she never attended any of my leaving parties and I’ve never heard from her to this day.

Then there were the friends that were truly devastated – they cried and promised me we would be friends forever – they’d come and see me regularly and one even announced she would be moving too and coming to join me in about 6 months.  Three years down the line she’s been once and the others haven’t ever bothered.    The same friend told me earlier in the year she couldn’t get way from work and had a big Vets bill to pay and couldn’t go anywhere this year – I asked her last week whether she would be here on the 13th of September as I am going to visit Denizli for the day and she said she couldn’t as she would be in Morocco on holiday with another friend the following week.

My oldest friend from school and my old boss in the UK are regular visitors.  I’ve had a few surprises – people who I would have never expected to come and visit have made the effort booked flights and hotels and come for a holiday and spent loads of time with me.  My friends parents have been for a week and loved it and my Aunt is coming in October for a walking holiday and is going to have lunch with me one day.

My mother hasn’t been – she has no interest in Turkey and no desire to visit.   My sisters haven’t been – the one I keep in touch with says she can’t afford to.    A really close friend keeps promising to come and then at the last-minute books somewhere else.

I’m beginning to get a bit of a complex.  These people expect me to visit the UK a couple of times a year – hire a car and drive over 50 miles to have dinner out with them – no one offers to put me up for the night – or suggests they drive 50 miles and come and see me – is it just me or are they really not good friends?

One friend told me that her and her boyfriend couldn’t come and see me as they wanted to save their money and go somewhere really nice…………………..they went to Cornwall – now I like Cornwall but it rained the whole time they were there and it cost them more than a trip to see me would have.   Someone else to delete from my Facebook friends list perhaps?

I live in a beautiful location – the weather is lovely, I’m close to the beach and mountains, there’s a lot to do, loads of bars and restaurants and cultural things to see locally too.    It’s cheap to eat and drink and accommodation is cheap.

Either the people I thought were friends are the sort of friends who are only friends if you are on the doorstep and they don’t have to make any effort or perhaps they don’t like me really.

So if you are in the position now where you are thinking of leaving the UK for pastures new – don’t bank on having the same friends as you do now.  You will make new ones but the old ones will leave a hole where they used to be.  People you expect to support you – may not and may even be quite rude in their efforts to talk you out of it.   The people who cry the most are probably just attention seeking drama queens.

Make your decision for you but accept that old friendships may never be the same.  Do I regret the move?  – no.   Do I regret not doing it sooner? – yes  – don’t let your friends talk you out of it if you want to live somewhere warm and sunny do it.

At last………one of the happiest days of my life.

Well for regular readers you will know that since the early days of this blog I have been contemplating whether I need a cleaner or not.

My lovely husband fell off a rood 6 weeks ago and broke his heel.  He never did much but he did pay the bills, do the shopping and make the occasional pot of cay (Turkish Tea).  For the first couple of weeks I coped well with the extra things to do but then managed to damage the tendons in my left arm.  Much as I feel sorry for my husband I’m feeling pretty sorry for myself too……it really hurts.

Anyway I finally decided last week that I cannot live another moment without some help.  Even when we are well we are always busy and housework gets in the way of other things I like to do.  So I have done it I have found a cleaner – she is going to come for a couple of hours twice a week and on the days I have to work late she is going to do some cooking too.

Ayse will be my regular lady but cannot start until after Bayram – so her daughter Zoe is going to clean for me until then.  They don’t speak English so I am going to have to master a few new words or cleaning vocanulary but it’s s small price to pay for a lovely clean house.

Think of me at 4pm today – I am going to be so excited – it’s on a par with first date nerves.  Will she like me.  Will she go home and tell her family about the strange foreign woman who can’t clean her own house?  i hope we get on well – but whatever she thinks I don’t care as long as she cleans.

Houmous or Hummus?

However you spell it ………….it’s cheap and easy to make…tastes delicious and homemade always looks more impressive than anything you can buy in the supermarket.  Have to confess i’ve never seen it in a supermarket here so like so many other things I took forgranted in the UK I now make my own from scratch.

So you will need one large can of chickpeas, drained (save the juice), or approx 2 cups of cooked chickpeas (save some cooking liquid), about 4 large spoons tahini (stir it well before spooning out), juice of at least 2 lemons, 2-3 garlic cloves, a little salt.  I like mine with quite a lot of garlic and lemon so you can add to this recipe if you want to.  If you can’t get tahini it’s not the end of the world – make it without.

Now this is the complicated bit – throw all the ingredients in a blender or a bowl if you are using a hand blender…….turn it on and blast it to mush.  Taste……add extra whatever you want…lemon or garlic…a bit more salt……then add a bit of the cooking liquid or the juice from the can and mix again…..keep adding the liquid until it is smooth and as thick/thin as you want it.

If you don’t have a blender, don’t worrt you can mash your chickpeas one cup at a time with a potato masher or a fork , adding cooking liquid or juice as needed until you have a smooth consistency. – if you are using this method you will have to either chop your garlic really small or pop it through a garlic press to make it into a puree.  In the UK you can buy garlic puree and this would be ideal.

You can serve it as a dip with crisps or tortilla chips, with fresh veg chopped cucumber and carrot are good or just with warm pitta bread and olives…….

Gitarici Restaurant & Music Bar

Well as promised I did say I would include recommendations for places to eat and things to do around Calis & Fethiye.

Gitarici was a lovely surprise this week.  Located in a small courtyard behind the main street in Calis – there is a pool in the middle complete with ducks.  The seating area is around the pool and is rustic.  No flashy leather seats here – it’s very traditionally furnished.  Wood tables, tapestry cushions and traditional Turkish cloths.

Run by a Turkish family it’s not been open long and they all seem to be involved in one way or another.

The menu is not extensive but has just enough choice to please everyone and is very cheap.  We had chicken shish kebabs at 10tl each – about £3.50 – 3 big sticks of chicken, salad, rice and a few chips – really t and good value for money.

They have live music every night – traditional Turkish every night except Tuesday when it’s still live but more middle of the road easy listening type music from around the world than just Turkish.

The atmosphere was lovely and we sat for ages after we ate – drinking tea and chatting – no pressure to leave and free up a table – all very relaxed.

I think this is going to become a firm favourite in the coming months and I’m more than happy to recommend it to others.