Posts filed under 'foodporn'

Girls weekend in Porto

Man, it’s tough committing to blogging. I’ve got an injured pony (more on that in another post), an injured body (damn my chronically dislocating shoulder) and a lot going on…but damn it, I’m going to keep trying. If not for anyone else but my mother who persistently asks me where’s my next post.  So here it is…which is some text, yes, but a whole lot of pictures.  That’s what happens when you go on a girls trip with a bunch of photogenic gals, one of which is an actual photographer (Check out Christine Jackson Photography HERE and get excited because we’re having a family shoot in the fall with her).  Needless to say, she wasn’t in most pictures but taking them…but if it’s just a shitty iphone pic it’s mine.  I tried not to steal her gorgeous normal pictures but just ones of me cheesin’.

Yes, these is me cheesin’…but aren’t we adorbs?

 

Can you believe this was my first ever girls trip? If you know me well, that’s actually not too surprising. I’ve never rolled deep with a posse of ladies but rather like to keep my friends separate (I’m an extroverted introvert and groups of people make me feel like I need to perform). We had a group of 6 ladies for a short weekend trip (though slightly adjusted a day because of flights) flying out of Edinburgh to Porto directly on Saturday evening, and getting back late Tuesday night (11pm arrival, and then the 2 hour+ ride home to Aberdeen). It was a good mix of ladies, 3 moms and 3 unspoiled by motherhood (ha!).

This was my second time to Portugal (see first time recap HERE) and I was excited to see another part of the country. I’m actually going for my 3rd trip to Portugal this fall with E and my mother back to Lisbon…there’s just a lot of love about this country so I’m not minding the duplicate trips at all! Porto as a city is just as hilly as Lisbon, and like Lisbon is against water (though the River Douro, not the Atlantic) and maintains a quaint feel with pedestrian only streets and tiled buildings.

 

This trip we had a secret weapon…Lillian, you might know her from The Smalls Abroad, who is actually Portuguese. Born in Canada, but her extended family is in Portugal she holds dual citizenship, and her parents still own a house there, and her fluency was so helpful! It’s just nice to feel like you aren’t getting ripped off for being a tourist when you have a native speaker with you. Which reminds me that this is actually the 2nd time I traveled with a secret weapon native speaker…but the last time I have YET to write about (2 years post)…our trip to Croatia. Alas…

The Smalls Abroad and Hot Dogs to Haggis

 

Porto is obviously known for making Port wine. And while the port wine is made a bit further away from the city centre of Porto, planning in some winery tours is a must. We booked a private tour through EcoTours Portugal for 71 euros a person, which had one poor man drive our gaggle around, hitting up two wineries with lunch in between (lunch wasn’t included in the price but tours and tasting were).  Even if you don’t like Port…you’ll learn a lot and the views are amazing.

Our very lucky tour guide!

 

What a view, huh?

we cheese so well!

I have to say, I wasn’t ever a fan of port before, but the trip changed my mind a bit. I think a combination of trying new things as well as a phenomenal dessert pairing helped. In the end, here’s what port I found I liked.

  • Rose’ port – because I’m totally a #basicbitch. Rose’ and Slay all day!
  • P&T – I’ll never abandon gin, but a white port and tonic is a refreshing drink.
  • Graham’s 20-year port – Was it the dessert I had with it? Was it the 7 bottles of wine before it? We’ll never be sure, but I thought it was delicious.

Diane was also quite fond of Graham’s 20 year

Unfortunately for our little jaunt, we got in late Saturday night and because we didn’t know when we’d be checked in and all that, didn’t have a dinner reservation so unfortunately had to wind up eating at such a tourist trap of a place…. the food wasn’t awful but it was just meat and cheese and over priced sangria. Tip: If you’re in Porto, when go down to the main square on the river, while looking at the river, the places to your right tend to be more authentic (They are up on a ledge from the river) while to the left with their seating at river level are more touristy. Portugal has a great food culture but our only two dinners being on a Sunday and Monday night really limited where we could go eat, as those are the days most restaurants are closed. We even had a difficult time finding a little grocery store that was open on Sunday to get our breakfast essentials.

Even though it was over priced, they lit our sausage on fire so points for that.

We ended up eating at Vinhas d’alhos on Sunday night after we had walked past it on Saturday night trying to find anywhere that would take us. Most nights (perhaps every) they do a live Fado. Now what’s Fado? The google tells me it’s popular folk music originated in Portugal. It’s included as a UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. Fado comes from the Latin word fatum (fate in English). It is most commonly performed over dinner and bounces between love and death and sadness…with silly little songs. A great experience to say the least.

Another reason I would recommend Vinhas d’alhos (specifically if you’re a group of ladies) is it seems they only hire cute male servers. I mean, they’re little men (I am a strict 6’3” or above type of gal) but when you’re sitting down you can’t really tell their height and they are all just so charming and cute. The food was good, not mind blowing, but they made great wine recommendations, you have a view of the river, and we got a welcome drink of Port and tonic.

Our last night we went across the river, which actually isn’t in Porto, but across the Douro River in Vila Nova de Gaia. In this area there are a lot of Port Cellars and while we originally planned a tour + tasting…bagged it and just went for the meal. It’s kind of like whisky distillery tours…once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen em all. I have to say, the food here is amazing, and the view is even better as you’re looking over Porto from high above. There is a big patio that hosts some couches for pre-dinner drinks, as well as has a glassed in section with tables for dinner. It got a bit cool at night, but I believe you could open up the doors/windows on a nice night and be practically eating al fresco. And to be fair, the interior it top notch…but since we’re stuck inside Aberdonians, we wanted out! This was a pricey (for Portugal) meal but I thought it was excellent…and even with about 5 bottles of wine, an appetizer, main and dessert (2 desserts for some as previously mentioned), AND port pairing with dessert, AND tip (which isn’t necessary in Portugal but for such good service we went with it) it was £70 a person.

We had perfect weather.

View from Graham’s/Vinum

A much better than my shitty iphone camera skills shot by Christine

And on the subject of food…make sure you try pasteis de nata for breakfast…or snack…or anytime you see them. A flakey shell with a sort of vanilla custard inside…drool.Other traditional foods to try:

Grilled Octopus

Bacalhau (salted cod fish – can be served a 1,000 different ways)

Alheira – a smoked bread and meat sausage, when asked what kind of meats? The response was, “all”

Maybe not traditional, but have you ever seen me so happy? Ice cream for the win!

To me the allure of Portugal is friendly people, warm climate, pretty cities built into hills against bodies of water, good food and wine…. and all that for SUPER CHEAP. I mean, I think I ate more on this trip than any other holiday (some people in our group might have even ordered two desserts on multiple occasions…) and we averaged 7 bottles of wine a day…. AND IT WAS CHEAP AF. And just reiterating, it was really good, fresh, seafood and yummy, local wines. What’s not to like? I’m already looking forward to my next trip.

One more selfie before I go…

Friday Faves 4.22

Well, I was sorta hoping for another real blog post…. but it would be about my injuries and I’m hoping to know more next week and I don’t really feel like dwelling on what I am assuming is wrong with me. So instead- my Friday Faves!

  1. PRINCE OF COURSE.
    This is our first halloween together in 2005.

    This is our first halloween together in 2005.  Of course this picture is a) before digital cameras and b) framed in my house.  

    Especially my favorite Prince song, preformed with the Muppets.

  1. My new favorite breakfast. An instant packet of Quaker Apples & Cranberries porridge with a dollop of Rachel’s Organic Apples & Cinnamon Greek yogurt. Yum. And the extra protein keeps me going longer.273923011_0_640x640
  2. Reflexology. And even more so, friends that are getting trained in reflexology which results in me getting free treatments as she practices. Unfortunately it’s hasn’t healed my shoulder, hip, tailbone…but I’m sleeping better and it definitely makes me less stressed. And who doesn’t want a two-hour foot rub with some gal chat. Now I just need friends who are working on getting certified in massage, acupuncture, nail tech, and physical therapy….
  1. Ginger Beer. I consider myself a connoisseur of ginger beer and the best hand’s down is Old Jamaica.

5.  Shake Shack. I only took a snapchat so it’s disappeared into the vast Internet space never to be found again. But was able to nip down to London to see my BFF (of my entire life) while she visited her in-laws. And I had to demand some American goodness for lunch. Cheeseburger, cheese fries, and a vanilla milkshake. We did walk about 15K steps and I needed an American fix dang it!

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Hmmmm….lot of foodie things today.  Probably a sign to get back on my diet.  Until next time….have a good weekend and think positive thoughts for me next week as I see doctors on Monday and Tuesday to try to get to the root of all my pain.

Troo Granola Review

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I’ve said it complained about it probably more than anything else whilst living here, the food options in Aberdeenshire suck. (See, normally I say the UK but I know London, Edinburgh, etc has totally acceptable options.) Well, suck comparatively to what I’m used to in America. Going out, your options are limited, but what’s more annoying to be is grocery shopping. I would kill a first born for a Trader Joe’s up in here. And probably a second born for a Whole Foods- a store I rarely shopped at in America because you didn’t need to with the diversity of kick ass grocery stores. I mean, it’s great that I’ve bought and cooked with persimmon here, but I would kill for some spaghetti squash and jicama.

Anyway, this is all the more reason to get super stoked when I hear about something somewhat progressive in the food options here. Enter Troo Granola. I actually can’t figure out how I heard about it, I’ll assume it was a facebook ad. But I was intrigued because who doesn’t like Granola?! It’s fresh, homemade, handmade granola that comes straight to your door….what?! The company just started (first trial production of granola was mid-November 2015) and they seem eager to please. I’m a bit of a social media junkie (um, it pays my bills so I kind of have to be) so I love seeing a company doing right- and Troo Granola is. Granted, they only have about 150 followers (so they’re gonna need to start pushing that) but the content they’re putting out there is spot on so far.

What makes them special?

Well, I already mentioned you get fresh granola to your door. How fresh? Well they make the granola every Tuesday in small batches, and it’s sent First Class mail arriving at your door Thursday or Friday. You don’t need to sign for it and your (roughly) week’s worth of granola goes right through the letterbox. I say roughly a week’s servings because each pack is 250grams of granola, which is either 5 x 50g servings or 7 x 35g servings.

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The other thing that makes Troo Granola special is you get set up a reoccurring order/subscription for it as frequently as you want. You want fresh granola every week- great. Twice a month- done. Once a month- easy. I’m not sure if it’s for better or worse but every packet cost the same: £6.99 regardless of how often you have it coming (or if you’re just ordering a one-off pack which is an option as well). You can pause or cancel your subscription at any time (which I guess makes the payment bit work out easier), but I would think there should be a price incentive if you sign up for 12 months of granola.

Super Seed Granola

Super Seed Granola

Right now there are 4 varieties: Original, Super Seed, Go Nuts, or Feeling Fruity. I got to try “Go Nuts” and have to say, it was really good. Not nearly as sweet as any store bought granola I’ve had (or probably not as sweet as the ones I make- but it’s a good thing!) and the ingredients are not only all pronounceable, but are all items I know well.IMG_2678To see how it stacks up, I compared nutritional info from Troo Granola with info from: Dorset Simply Oat Granola, Lizi’s Original Granola, Jordan’s Simply Granola, and Tesco Red Berry. There’s not a huge difference in any granola stats (I will say it looked more favorable when I was using the Super Seed nutritional info against other Granola’s Nut versions as most don’t have seed versions).

 

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So no, this isn’t crazy healthy, but it is fresh and locally made (if you’re in the UK), and I guarantee there are no mystery ingredients (like “natural flavoring” WTF is that?!). As much as I love the idea and the product…it’s not for me. I can’t be trusted with granola showing up at my door every week. Do you know how small a 35-gram serving is? You can’t just snack on it or you’ll inhale 1,000 calories without realizing. And it’s so messy, try to grab a handful and there are little nuts and seeds and grains all in-between your sofa cushions. It’s an indulgence /craving every couple of months, but I’ll stick with making my own. But if you are tired of constantly preparing handmade batches of granola, that goes stale before it’s consumed, or trying to eat whole foods but your granola is coated in mystery oils: Troo Granola is for you!

A Homesick Recipe

I’m calling it homesickness, but it’s mostly just that I am just over Scotland right now. Well, that’s not exactly right either. I am annoyed at expat life (on several different levels), this is the longest I haven’t been home, I missed the excitement of the cubs in the playoffs, I missed my nephew’s birthday, I need a bunch of stuff I have to wait for until I’m stateside…I just want to go home. I am counting down the days already (6 weeks exactly!) which isn’t a good sign.

The sucky part of homesickness is you’re kinda stuck with it. Or, to fix it, it’s really expensive. I mean your options are flying home, having people fly out to you, or buying a bunch of American shit to surround yourself with in hopes of feeling less homesick. All expensive options. Seriously. Even if you’re thinking I just want to eat Lucky Charms for breakfast and Velveeta Mac n Cheese for dinner for my comfort food. IT’S EXPENSIVE.

For example. On rare occasions I do get E one box (of the 3 out) of Lucky Charms from the back of Tesco in the “American” section next to a random selection of foods, some American some not. (In case you’re looking, there is Gatorade there!)   The cost for a standard box of sugary crap.

uk lucky charmsLucky Charms = £5 = $7.63

ON ONE BOX OF CEREAL. That lasts E MAYBE 4 breakfasts.

Or today, with Halloween approaching and plans to eat candy with friends (no one trick or treats out in these parts of the country), I went to pick up some at the ASDA (UK Walmart). What is Halloween to me? Reese’s and peanut m&ms.

uk mandm10.5 ounce bag of peanut m&ms = £1.80 = $2.75

uk reeses

bag with 16 MINI reese’s cups = £2.30 = $3.51

 

$3.51 for 16 MINI REESE’S CUPS. What the efffffff.

So last week we were having a little party and I’m blaming homesickness, but I was dead set on making Hanky Pankys. Hanky Pankys mean different things to different people. To me and my people, it means little party rye breads with a pork sausage/ground beef/Velveeta mixture on top. I wasn’t raised in a house that had Hanky Pankys, I actually wasn’t raising in a house that ever had even Velveeta in it. But my nextdoor neighbors….they were a Hanky Pank and Velveeta loving house that I benefitted from.

So I swung by the Aberdeen store that I’d been told had American food (specifically Velveeta) last week and was told they didn’t have any of their overpriced Velveeta in stock. I was pretty annoyed but oh well, for I’m sure a little more I can get it from Amazon. I go home and first off, I couldn’t even find plain Velveeta. Secondly, what I did find, was UNGODLY expensive.

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 8.04.58 PM

£19 = $29

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 8.03.51 PM£39.99 = $61.03

NO F*CKING WAY.

But I wanted hanky pankys! I was already making my own pork sausage (okay just ground (or mince as they say here) pork with seasoning). And had already spent £9.90 on some weird German pumpernickel bread to substitute for party rye that I had to throw all away because it tasted like ass. These Hanky Pankys were becoming the most time-consuming, expensive appetizer ever. But how hard could making homemade Velveeta be?

So without further rambling or ado, for my homesick American expats, here’s how I made Hanky Pankys.

IMG_1963Expat Hanky Pankys*

  • 1 lb mince hot pork
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2/3 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb mince beef
  • 1 lb Faux-veeta**
  • ¼ ounce unflavored gelatin
  • 6 tablespoons dry milk powder
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 16 ounces mild Scottish shredded cheddar
  • ½ tsp. Fennel SeedIMG_1990
  • 1 tsp. Oregano
  • ½ Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • ½ tsp. Garlic Salt
  • 2 loaves strange rectangle rye bread, each slice cut into thirds

Make Faux-veeta the night before.

Line a small loaf pan with plastic wrap with extra plastic wrap hanging over the sides. Put gelatin and milk powder in a blender, add 1 cup boiling water and blend until combined. Add in the cheese and puree until mixture is well blended and smooth. Immediately pour/scoop cheese mixture into loaf pan, spreading the top layer so it’s even. Wrap completely with excess plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 hours. And there you have Faux-veeta. This makes more than 1 lb so be sure to weigh the final product before using it in the Hanky Panky.IMG_1950

Add mince pork to a skillet and add salt, paprika, garlic powder, 1/3 tsp fennel seed, ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cooke until browned. Drain fat and set cooked pork aside.

Brown mince beef. Drain fat. Add in 1lb Faux-veeta, ½ tsp Fennel Seed, oregano, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, and browned pork. Stir until combined and Faux-veeta is melted.

Spoon onto bread and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes in a 204 degrees C (or Gas Mark 6) oven. Enjoy!

I actually made the Faux-veeta a couple days before and made the entire mixture of stuff the night before and left it in the fridge. It’s really easy to prep it all early and just spread the mixture on bread and toss into the oven.

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*Hanky Panky recipe from The Seerups

**Faux-veeta (or homemade velveeta or make at home velveeta) recipe courtesy of The Brown Eyed Baker.

5 Friday Faves

I have at least 5 expat related blog posts started….and another 4 post ideas written down…but I just caaaaaaaaaaaaan’t. Can you hear my vocal drain all the way over there? I am just having like spring fever. Is it the gorgeous Indian summer in Scotland? Probably doesn’t help. Is it just that I have too much going on? Yeah, we’re close to lighting both ends of the candle. Or it is just that I am too excited/distracted/interested in too many things? Probably that’s the biggest thing.

I mean right now I feel my brain is thinking of and trying to figure out and plan: horses, running, chocolate, home décor, party planning, my blog, home baking, client work, horses, running, chocolate.

But I need to stay relevant peeps. And I actually pre-planned this and just never carried it out. I have a heading of “lists” which I envisioned to be short little posts containing…drum roll please….LISTS! Like top 10 things I’m missing from America, 5 veg I’m using this week, books I’m extra excited about, goals for the month…ya know. But I always had so much to say…and I still do now, I just can’t focus it. So here we go with a list.

5 Faves from This Week

  1. My momma. It’s her birthday today. I am so lucky that she could come out to visit me in Scotland twice this year! And while I haven’t recapped her last trip yet, here’s a sneak peek of some awesome pictures from it.IMG_1362 IMG_1345 IMG_1495
  2. Carol’s Cookies. For several reasons. A) Because I just gifted a small tin to my momma for said birthday. B) Because they’re my favorite client in the US. C) Because the cookies are amazing and really are still handmade every day. D) Not only are they amazing, they are huge…nearly half a pound.  What’s not to love?!  Seriously, if only they shipped to the UK. I guess my waist is happy they don’t…Cookie piles
  3. Scotland’s Indian Summer. Holy cow this week has been AMAZING with weather. This week for the first time now only did we go outside with the kids in Riding for the Disabled (RDA), which was just so great. The horses are happier, the kids are happier. I was even sweating. But I also got 3 outdoor runs in, have had to wear sunnies everyday, the sky is beautiful, the farmers’ jobs are easier, AND even my riding lesson was in the outside arena today! First time ever and even though there is all kinds of construction going on so it’s not so pretty…it was just so damn nice. And it didn’t hurt that I was on Abby (my fav horse) doing cantering pole work and getting into two-point position. Also didn’t hurt that I got several, “excellent”, “well done”, and “wonderful riding” –s thrown my way.
  4. Getting back on my Fitbit game. It’s been months since I’ve been active. My ugly Fitbit rash has cleared and I’m back in a healthy space running and working out. Watch out friends, I’m gunning for you.

    remember when I ran a marathon?

    remember when I was training for a marathon?

  5. I passed my UK Driving Test!! God, it’s been a 5-month journey and I promise a very informative (and undoubtedly funny) post to help out all future expats going on this journey or a process. And show every a glimpse of the frustrations of systems in other countries. But in the end, I PASSED! Happy girl.

    No more "L" for this girl.

    No more “L” for this girl.

Homemade Pumpkin Creamer

imagesHappy First Day of Fall!

I actually had to Google if the UK’s first day of fall is the same as the states, which might sound stupid but our daylight savings times AND mother’s day are different, so you never know. From what I can tell it’s the same…or the UK doesn’t really care about the exact date because we live in permanent fall minus the beautiful foliage. Or at least Scotland.

You know what I love about fall? PUMPKIN. There are few things I love as much as pumpkin…mainly, s’mores. I am the total cliché white girl when it comes to fall and pumpkin madness. Seriously, my mom brought me some Bath & Body works pumpkin soap on her trip (even though I already have a surplus of 5 of them and will be fully replenished when I get home for Christmas) and I have no short of 7 pumpkin candles in this house. And you don’t even want to see my stockpile of pumpkin puree (which can be found seasonally in the “American” section of some grocery stores here for insane prices, or on amazon.co.uk). I buy anything pumpkin. Errrr…I did when I lived in American and there was everything you can buy pumpkin. I’m smuggled over pumpkin butter, pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin m&ms, pumpkin pudding mix, pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin cliff bars (yes, they made them), pumpkin tea and coffee…like white girl wasted on pumpkin over here.

Yeah, I would totally buy this.

Yeah, I would totally buy this.

But my heart is still empty because I simply cannot bake the same quality of pumpkin goodness that will be all over America starting this month. It makes me so sad. And I have to use my pumpkin reserves carefully because they can’t be easily or cheaply refilled. I’m already out of pumpkin coffee and the stock on pumpkin oatmeal is dwindling….oh #expatproblems.

Anyway, what I didn’t previously mention is that I also brought over pumpkin coffee syrup…but unfortunately; I just don’t think they’re very good. I even brought over two different kinds but the fake sugar substitute crap they use leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Yes, I can go to starbucks and get the pumpkin Spice latte…but I don’t really go to Starbucks very often and I like my pumpkin coffee at home where I sit and write blog posts with a pumpkin candle lit and go into my own restroom and wash my hands with pumpkin soap and so on and so on.

There’s also that little issue that there’s no creamer in Scotland what so ever (which was in fact one of my first, unsettling expat life blog posts – see here). And that is why I decided to go down the path of homemade coffee creamer. But not just any creamer my friends, PUMPKIN coffee creamer. I wish I could say that the fact that store bought coffee creamers are filled with fake crap helped lead me down this path, but lets be honest, if I could get my hands on a big ole’ jug of International Delight Pumpkin Spice Toxic Creamer…I’d be all over that. (Shedding a little tear for Target as I type.)

So if you’re an expat mourning a morning cup of pumpkin coffee or just want to stop buying the expensive toxic crap creamer…I wanted to share my recipe with you.image1 (8)


Homemade Pumpkin Coffee Creamer

  • 1-cup semi-skimmed milk (US- 1% milk)
  • ½ cup single cream (as oppose to double cream here in the UK)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup maple syrup

Just blend all ingredients with an immersion blender, hand mixer, or regular blender and refrigerate. Shake well before pouring into your coffee.


This recipe actually isn’t too sweet so don’t be fearful of that…I actually add one packet of fake-sugar-toxic-crap Equal and it is just heaven for me. Go on and embrace your white girl and give it a try!

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Must Try Turkish Delights

I’ll clarify that this is not about literal Turkish delights. They have those in Turkey of course. And they were…okay. But not my favorite, and they don’t really deserve mention in this post. This is just about delightful Turkish Food. Oh my god Turkish Food!

It’s so good. With SOOOO much oil. We discovered a lot of these on the food tour, but other ones on our own…and pretty much all of these came from Istanbul {both the European and Asian side} and Cappadocia {mmmmm Testi} though they can probably be found across Turkey.

Meze – this is basically Turkish appetizers. Generally come on a platter with a wide variety of things not limited to {in layman’s terms} hummus, eggplant salad, yogurt & herb dip, stuffed grape leaves, carrot slaw, “raw” meatballs {tomato paste & bulgur} and deep fried little anchovie-like fish…maybe it’s mackeral?IMG_2516 IMG_2195

Pied – like pizza, without tomato sauce. A favorite of E’s obviously.

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Meze with stuffed mussel

Mussels aka Midye Dolmasi – I forgot to grab a picture of this but found one online. These are stuffed mussels with rice, currants, pine nuts, and cinnamon and nutmeg. SO GOOD.Midye-stall

Meze with a stuffed mussel on the side.

Meze with a stuffed mussel on the side.

Lahmucan – This is like a Turkish flatbread with crumbled meat on top. Lighter than {and I think preferable to} pied.

Ayran – a foaming, cold, frothy, salty, yogurt drink. I found it especially tasty…E not so much.

Mmmm, frothy yogurt on a hot day.

Mmmm, frothy yogurt on a hot day.

Tatuni – A spicy, tasty, greasy little beef wrap.

Tatuni and Ayran

Tatuni and Ayran

 

Menemen – Breakfast of the gods. Eggs not quite cooked, lots of butter or oil, diced peppers and tomatos.IMG_2607

Kokorec – I had it served from kebab {or doner} form. It is sheep intestines, stuffed with sweet breads and other too gross to talk about bits. Shaved off the kebab and put on some bread and heavily seasoned with pepper and oregano. This dish and Turkey’s refusal to stop serving it is actually one of the reasons they aren’t allowed to be in the EU.IMG_2207

Dondurma – Turkish Ice cream. Two kinds: one thick and sticky made with something called salep to create this texture which makes it kind of impossible to melt. The other Kesme dondurma you eat with a fork and knife. I’d take either on a hot day.

Dried fruit & nuts – Self explanatory. But so many great dried fruits and nuts that are local. The shops featuring these…to die for. You could even get sweet dried bell peppers…if they grow it, they dry it…and it’s amazing.IMG_2611

Baklava – Get it at Karakoy Gullluoglu and unfortunately, never be satisfied with Baklava again.

Testi – The Turkish word for “clay pot”. A slow cooked stew {with either lamb, beef, or chicken} in a clay pot. I got to crack the pot open upon arrival.

cracking open the clay pot

cracking open the clay pot

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Raki – every culture has one. The national alcoholic beverage of Turkey. Unsweetened, anise-flavored lighter fluid.IMG_2597

Kunefe or kanafeh – This one is going to sound weird, I was beyond skeptical but I am salivating thinking about it now: a rich, sweet and savory cheese dessert. I’ll borrow this explaination from seriouseats.com:

Kunefe is made from a stretchy, unsalted fresh melting cheese called hatay found only in this region—mozzarella would be the closest Western analogue. The cheese is coated in sugar syrup-soaked phyllo shreds called kadayıf (the same ones used to make some varieties of baklava, as described above), and fried until crisp. Its appeal is the contrasting textures of the crunchy exterior against the soft, melty interior. It can be topped with pistachios,kaymak (clotted cream) or ice cream—or simply eaten on its own, preferably while still piping hot.IMG_2208

Ekmek Kadayifi – Online it’s compared to a bread pudding, which I guess is kind of accurate When you fork into it, it gushes syrup and comes with a healthy topping of Kaymak. Wait, what’s kaymak…

I saved the best for last….I mostly had this for breakfast on bread with honey, but it’s also amazing on Turkish desserts.

Kaymak – The US has cool whip, the UK has clotted cream, and no one has anything on Kaymak. I can’t explain what makes it so good…I can just say if I was still living in Chicago I’d have a weekly pick up of Kaymak {and weight 200 more pounds.}

And can I just say, the Turks do breakfast right.  Besides menemen and kaymak on bread, they do loads of fresh veggies {cucumbers, tomatoes}, olives, and even more kinds of cheese.  IMG_2477