Food Shopping

I love living in Turkey but have over the last 5 years had to get used to a whole new way of shopping.

In the UK am I worked full time. If I ran out of food mid week I ate take always until I could get to the supermarket again. Sunday mornings were shopping time….. I’d meet my friends at the supermarket of our choice, eat a full cooked breakfast…after all it’s bad to shop when you are hungry, and then do the weeks shopping. Trying to think of things that wouldn’t go bad, or take to long to cook after a hard day at work. Lots of things in boxes that could get zapped in the microwave.

Here we shop for fresh fruit and veg at the local markets. Meat and fish is purchased as we want it at the cheapest place we locate. At the moment we are paying 1.50tl each for trout…. that’s about .45p. I had a good deal on some lamb shanks last week 23.50tl for 2 that’s less than £6 and they were huge. But it’s all very spontaneous…… We have the “what shall we eat for dinner?” conversation everyday at about 6pm. I come up with an idea and my husband goes and buys the ingredients.

It all sounds wonderful…right? Healthy fresh home cooked food. Fresh meat and vegetables. Nothing in the freezer. But there is always a but……

Today we have been really busy. We have a long 4 day bank holiday weekend coming up so we had bills to pay and errands to run. We got home exhausted. My lovely husband and a little nap, we drank tea and watched television and then realised we were hungry with not much in the house.

Neither of us fancied going out….and the supermarket certainly didn’t appeal. So tonight was the store cupboard challenge. What could I produce for dinner using only things we already had in the house?

I ended up cooking a potato and lentil risotto and topped it with hard boiled egg and raw onion. My husband was very unenthusiastic about it when I described it. But he did agree to try it……. He loved it…he ate two big bowls full and asked why I hadn’t cooked it before. No answer to that….except I am a true domestic goddess.

I have added the recipe in the recipes section. But thought a bit of an explanation might be needed before you were tempted to try it.

No….this blog has not been abandoned

Many of my regular readers have probably been wondering where I am.

It’s been a busy summer and exceptionally hot. My moaning and daily begging for rain usually starts somewhere in the middle of August but this year I think I started a month early.

The heat has been relentless and we haven’t had any rain since the 9th May. My balcony has reached a rather uncomfortable 48-53 degrees in the afternoons for weeks. But at last September is here. It’s like so some flicked a switch….the days are mid to high 30s and the nights around 25-29 degrees.

So I’m feeling cooler, more comfortable and less likely to spend the afternoons on the sofa wearing as little as possible complaining how much I hate the heat. I’m sorry holidaymakers….I know you love it but it’s not much fun day after day when you have to live in it. Please be kind to your waiters, bar staff and other hotel staff who work very long hours and do an amazing job.

My phone you may remember the Samsung saga, has had a months holiday in the UK? It has been repaired but they felt compelled to restore the factory settings so all my photos and the numbers stored on it have gone. At least it was repaired before the demise of Phones4U I’d have been really stuck without them.

Not long now and all the tourists will have left and life in Çaliş will start getting back to normal. Friends that I’ve not seen since the end of April will be free for lunch and no longer working 80 hours a week. The weather will be nicer and it’ll be cool enough to travel a bit and visit some other towns and tourist attractions without the tourists.

I’ve added a couple of photos of sunsets this week just so you can see how beautiful it is.

I’ve found some lovely new recipes to share with you and I have a few blogs in draft for ready to finish off and publish. We watched a program on Wednesday night about Koh Samui which brought back lovely memories of our trip at the beginning of the year. I still have some photos and recommendations I want to share about the island too.

Keep reading. I love reading your comments.



Samsung……thanks for nothing!

Where do I start? Having spent 2 very frustrating afternoons dealing with Samsung call centres I am fed up, wound up and giving up.

I’m a Samsung phone lover. There I said it out loud…….I am I can’t help it I just love them. In the UK life is simple…..a new model comes out, your contract comes up for renewal and you can either upgrade to a newer model free of charge or pay a small sum of money to have something awesome in your bag. For as long as I can remember I’ve had Samsungs….,flip ones, slide ones, touch screen I’ve loved them all.

Now Turkey is different…. There are no free phones. You buy what you want and they have always been horribly expensive. A lot of people buy a phone in the UK and bring it here. There is tax to pay of about £30 and a connection charge to your chosen operator but it has always worked out cheaper than buying in Turkey.

So last year I had the which phone shall I buy debate…I did my research and decided on an S3. My husband wanted an IPhone 5 and wanted me to get one too. Now much as I love my IPad I still wanted the Samsung. The android apps are free, the phone is bigger but thinner and lighter to carry around and at the time £200 cheaper.

Off I went to Phones4u in Cardiff and got myself a rather unusual metallic brown S3. I explained I lived overseas……. I checked the warranty would be valid if I took it out of the UK and was assured it was. The only problem was that he couldn’t do the paperwork to claim the VAT back….not the end of the world but I had factored the 20% into all my calculations. Anyway I came home……did all the running around to register it, charged it up and left the country again all in the space of 24 hours (a long story for another post). The battery life wasn’t as good as I’d hoped but by the time. I got home again 3 weeks later I was sort of used to it and just thought it was one of those things.

So Wednesday night the battery was flat. I plugged the charger in and let it charge overnight. I know they can catch fire but I don’t know anyone it’s happened to so I continue to charge my phones and everything else overnight. Thursday I got up, checked it was charged to 100%, unplugged it and popped it in my handbag. At 1.30 I thought I would call my husband to see if he wanted to meet me for lunch….. The phone was off….odd but guessed maybe I’d accidentally powered it off when I put it in my bag.

Pressed the button….nothing….no welcome screen no irritating Samsung welcome noise nothing. Then I decided I must have been mistaken when I saw it was 100% and the charge couldn’t have been plugged in properly. I came home and plugged it in again…… Nothing….no warming little red light to let me know it was charging…..completely dead.

I didn’t panic…..not a problem it’s still under warranty. I called Samsung UK……. I pressed all the buttons they told me to and I waited in the queue…… Eventually I got a human and explained that I lived overseas but my phone was purchased in the UK and wasn’t working….. His response was to hang up…..really irritating if you are calling from Turkey!

I called again and got the most unhelpful boy they employ. He was very condescending as if living overseas means you don’t understand basic English. He explained very slowly that he couldn’t help as I was calling the UK and I lived in Turkey. I explained very slowly that the phone was purchased in the UK and had a world wide warranty. He told me they couldn’t help I would have to ring Samsung Turkey. He couldn’t give me a number as he was in the UK and couldn’t be expected to know telephone numbers for Samsung anywhere else. That’s exactly what he said…we are in the UK we don’t know the number you will have to go on line and find it.

So……I ring Samsung Turkey…..I select the option for English and get someone who only speaks Turkish……. I got my husband to call…he did the same and again we got someone who only spoke Turkish….. My husband explained and they said….. “we don’t deal with phones purchased overseas”. He told them it was purchased 13 months ago and was still under warranty. Apparently not……yes you get a 2 year warranty if you use it in the country you bought it but if you take it overseas it’s only a year.

They gave us the number of my nearest service centre who would be able to look at it and tell me if it can be repaired. They are located a 3 hour drive away. Feeling fed up and cheated. £379 of broken phone and no warranty. You can only register one phone from overseas every 2 years, hence wanting the 2 year warranty in the first place.

I am going to take it I to the Mobile Phone hospital in town here on Monday and see what they suggest, Perhaps it is something cheap and easily fixed. I hope so, I took loads of pictures last week that I wanted to share on another post.

I wish I could say my husband is sympathetic…..but he says he told me I should have got the iPhone 5.

Like Cacik but not Cacik

Cacik is a yoghurt dish served with bread or as an accompaniment to various meat dishes. Turkish people will eat yoghurt with most things but not fish.

I get bored with plain Cacik. I do like it but really fancied something a bit different tonight.

This has a garlic and lemony flavour and went really well with our chicken.

Plain yoghurt 400 grams
Tablespoon Olive oil per 200 grams I used 2
1/4 teaspoon of sumac
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 tea spoon salt
2 cloves of garlic peeled and very finely chopped. You could use purée but I prefer it with the little lumps.

Add the seasoning to a dish, add the garlic and the olive oil and mix well. Add the yoghurt and stir well. It will keep in the fridge for a couple, of days but you will find the flavours get stronger. I prepared mine about 2 hours before I needed it to give the flavours a chance to develop without been over powering. The sumac gives it a lovely hint of lemon.

Give it another stir just before you serve it to mix the oil which will separate slightly and accumulate around the edges.

The cobbler’s child………

It’s an old English saying. The cobblers child is always the last to get their shoes repaired and I know just how they feel.

My husband is a builder and decorator. He builds and decorates….he paints, tiles, instals bathrooms, plasters all the usual things you would expect.

But not at home…… I’ve waited 4 months for a nail in the wall to hang a picture….I tried asking where the drill was so I could do it myself and was assured he would do it….a few weeks later I suggested advertising for a man to come and do a few odd jobs and was told it wasn’t necessary he’d do it. Finally after 4 months he finally asked where the picture hanging hooks were and when I produced them he tapped a nail into the wall……….easy!

Last year he was going to paint the lounge at the the end of the winter as there were smokey patches from the stove……did it get done? Um nope am still waiting and there are even more patches this year.

I was in the UK 3 weeks ago and asked him to dismantle the fire…did he? Um nope it’s still here.

So my sister is coming to visit at the end of next week. So this morning himself gets up and says I must sort the fire and paint the lounge before your sister comes. Hooray I thought at last an incentive to do it….. Has he made a start? That’ll be an ummm nope…he’s out with his friends drinking tea in a cafe.

It’s not like I’m asking him to fix the car or cook a 5 course gourmet dinner….I’m asking him to do something he’s good at. If I paint the lounge it’ll take me days if he does it it’ll take a day.

Does anyone else have this problem? Why is it so hard to get a man to do things in his own home? I hate nagging but if I don’t have a daily nagging session I’d wait forever.

Pastries & Pies – Çaliş Beach

Thıs cafe has been open for over 5 years now and is run by the lovely Liza and her husband Sabri. It serves traditional home cooked English food and. Liza makes all the cakes, pies and quiches herself as well as the chutneys and jams.

In addition to eating in you can take away too as well as buy jams and pickles to take home. They do airport picnics. Anyone who ever travels to Dalaman will tell you the food and drink is extortionate and a picnic to take with you is a really good idea. If you pre order Sabri or Liza will deliver it to your hotel in Çaliş too.

Recently they have taken over the premises next door where Sabri’s Mum is the cook. They are serving traditional Turkish food. Soups, lokanta dishes and home made Turkish pancakes (gözleme) at very Turkish prices. They have special meat balls (kofte) on the menu this week too. I am 100% recommending it.


The Meeting Point @ Çaliş Beach

What a wonderful meal.

I’ve always been a fan of this restaurant and have known the owner for as many years as he has been open and previously when he worked at a restaurant on the beach.

I accept that some restaurants start out very good and then go down hill but this is not one of those.

We have been for dinner tonight. We started with free bread and some garlic butter and a peppery salca. For out mains we ordered T-bone steaks
but were advised by Ahmet that the fillet steak was better and the same price.

We accepted his advice and ordered fillet steaks with a pepper sauce on the side. The pepper sauce when It came was lovely and not too creamy. The steaks were massive…probably about twice the size of a fillet steak in the UK and cooked to perfection. They were served with grilled tomatoes, a whole heap of fried mushrooms and onions along with chips, rice and salad.

I know you are wondering how much a meal like this could possibly cost and the answer is just 33 tl or a paltry £9.10 per person.

I am again 100% recommending this restaurant for 2014.


Cat season…..take a ticket and wait for your number to be called

Wow my cat is a hottie. He has had his little op but that doesn’t seem to stop the ladies queuing for his attention.

We live on the second floor and they are managing to get up in the balcony for major flirting sessions. The tails are bushed up and presented….lots of rubbing against the window and miaowing.

He does have a particular lady friend…she could be quite cute…..long cream fur a hint of ginger around her ears and tail. But she doesn’t come from a good home….her fur is knotted, she has fleas is always starving hungry and I suspect pregnant by someone else.

We are using so much cat food keeping her fed that my vet suggested that my cat might have worms……. I had to laugh and explain that we are feeding 2 cats hence the speed the food is eaten.

Lots of yowling and some of these lady cats really have no morals…… There was a rather pretty tortoiseshell on the shed roof last week…… she was getting some cat action from a ginger tom, and 2 others were queuing ready for their turn. My boy was there waiting patiently… fighting….just forming an orderly queue.

I wish people would neuter their animals. In a few weeks there will be dozens of stray kittens rummaging in bins and looking for new homes.


My boy exhausted after a morning on the roof with his ladies.


Easy to make and very tasty.

For 4 people

1 medium onion
1 hot green pepper
1 sweet red pepper
4 medium tomatoes
3 large cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons of tomato purée
1 medium mushroom per person
Knor beef stock cube
100 g of mince per person
Salt, pepper, mixed herbs, pepper flakes or cayenne, dash of wine optional.
Corn flour or plain white thickening granules

Peel the onion and garlic. De-seed the peppers. Chop it all up.
Add some olive oil to a large frying pan and gently fry the onions, garlic and peppers. Whilst they are frying open your mince. Make little round balls of mince in your hands. Squeeze it tightly together so that it stays together.

Once the onions are looking clear add the meatballs to the pan…..fry in a low heat. Add salt, pepper, pepper flakes, and mixed herbs.

Wash and slice your mushrooms and add them to the pan. Wash and chop the tomatoes into small chunks and throw them in. Add the dash of wine if you want to at this stage.

Put the tomato purée in a small mug and add boiling water. Stir it until dissolved and then add to the pan. Put your stock cube in the same mug and add half a mug of boiling water and stir until dissolved. Add to the main pan.

Cover with a lid and turn to simmer for about 20 minutes.

Just before serving add thickening granules or cornflour to thicken. You want it to be just a bit thicker than runny.

I serve it with rice and salad.


Raspberry Ketones……….

Well what can I say? Regular readers will know that my knees are knackered and arthritis has set in with vengeance. One of the perks of the diagnosis and I am joking when I say perk…is that I now need to lose another 10kgs.

I have a group of friends who have leapt to my support who are all dieting alongside me. I am forever grateful for them been there and for our Monday weigh ins when I find out how much I have lost.

I have been in full diet mode since February and have lost precisely nothing. I started by giving up sugar in tea….about 20 lumps a day. My weight has dropped by 400g and gone up by 400g and gone down again…..but that’s it.

So I ordered a diet plate. It’s much smaller than my normal plates and has sections for meat or fish, carbohydrates and vegetables. I’ve used it since March and no I haven’t lost any weight but I am always hungry.

Finally someone was raving about raspberry ketones and colon cleanse….so with 10 kilos to lose I thought it was worth a try just to get me off to a good start and heading in the right direction. Three weeks down the line….and I’ve lost…you guessed it a big fat nothing.

The instructions on both packets say take one or two a day. I’ve tried the one of each and have as of yesterday doubled it to two of each. Fingers crossed the scales will start heading in the right direction.

I will keep you posted but at the moment I think I have just fallen victims to the hype the only thing that is actually lighter is my purse….but that’ll be the £25 I spent on the tablets.

Weigh day tomorrow…..if the scales still says the same I will be opening the last box of emergency Maltesers and scoffing quite a lot.