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Saturday, 20 February 2010

Today is Saturday

Father-in-law was expected here on Thursday...today's Saturday and there is no sign of him.  Maybe he got lost on the way from Ankara?  Who knows?  I suspect it's all about control, and that he will in fact turn up quite unexpectedly at some point.  No matter....I am ready!

I haven't seen very much of Mr Ayak this week.  He has been busy going here and there, sorting out work for the future...hopefully to start in April.  In the meantime, there is absolutely no work to be found locally, so we will muddle through as best we can.

The past couple of days has found me sitting outside in a t-shirt in the sunshine.  The weather has been glorious, with temperatures around 70 degrees F.  The sun cheers me up no end, and I suddenly get that "summer" feeling of anticipation.   I know that summer isn't really here, so I don't start packing away my winter clothes just yet.  I'm reminded of this fact when I woke up this morning to gale force winds again, and a grey sky.

I'm enjoying British TV at the moment on the website I downloaded on my laptop.  The "free" viewing time is almost up, so I will have to start paying a monthly subscription.  I have decided to justify this by cancelling my Digiturk contract.  It costs more per month than the TV site subscription, so as I don't watch Digiturk anymore, it seems to be the obvious decision.

In any case I'm now hooked!  I would have hated to have missed Eastenders live episode last night which revealed the killer of Archie Mitchell.  It was brilliant...proving that these characters can really act.  Eastenders at it's very best.   If I'd watched it on Digiturk, I would have had to wait another two weeks for this episode, by which time I would have read about it, and it wouldn't have been so enjoyable.

I'm also well into the other soaps...Emmerdale and Coronation Street.  We don't get them here and up until a couple of months ago, I hadn't seen them for years.  I've now more or less caught up with the characters and there are very good storylines in both at the moment.

I'm sure some of you will think I'm a sad individual...sitting here in front of my laptop...glued to the soaps, Jeremy Kyle and This Morning.   But winter here is just so boring.   I love being outside, but the weather in winter generally prevents this.  The tourist areas are like ghost towns at this time of year, and the villages where people are out in the fields and their gardens during the good weather, seem almost deserted as the inhabitants stay inside huddled around their wood-burning stoves.  Even the animals are quieter...almost as if they are a bit fed up with the gales blowing outside.

We are having to be very economic as far as food is concerned at the moment.  I actually quite enjoy this because I have to use my imagination when it comes to producing a meal.  You would be amazed at how many meals I can produce from one chicken!

I picked up an enormous cabbage for half a lira at the market this week.  Yesterday I used the larger outer leaves for stuffing.   I remove the stalks and bring the leaves to the boil and simmer until slightly limp.  I buy chicken livers for the dogs which are cooked and mixed with pasta or rice.  I saved some of the chicken livers to make a stuffing for the cabbage leaves.  I chop them and fry in olive oil with chopped onions and garlic, seasoning and some chilli flakes.  This is then mixed with bulgur which has been soaked in hot water with half a stock cube.  Having stuffed the leaves with the mixture, I place them close together in a large pan, with a little water, and steam with the lid on until they are tender.   As I had some of the chicken liver mixture left over, I also stuffed some large tomatoes which were going a bit soft, and baked them in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil.  Delicious!

I often make bread pudding, using leftover bread, soaked in milk.  To this I add sultanas, sugar, marmalade or jam (whichever I happen to have), an egg and some margarine cut into small pieces.  This is baked in a greased pan in the oven.   It's really tasty, and keeps for a few days...that is if you can stop yourself scoffing the lot as soon as it comes out of the oven!  It's also delicious served with custard.

I'm interested to know if any of you have tried and tested recipes for very economic meals...please let me know.

Have a good weekend.

16 comments:

  1. We use iportal.me which is five euros a month and allows you access to all the UK channels' iplayer sites. It somehow tells them that you live in the UK I think. You can only watch yesterday's programmes but they have no adverts and none of that 'buffering' that spoils the programmes on surfthechannel.com which is a probably illegal site the kids put me on to :-)

    Every good wish for M Ayak and his job plans and for you with his father.

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  2. Umm all that made me very hungry.
    I love dolma´s and cabbage is very good for weight loss. Sounds like a very healthy way of living.

    The dried fruit also, it´s the best candy you can get. I would imagine that a bread and butter pudding would taste so much better in Turkey.

    Chicken is so versatile isn´t it and so economical. I love rolling chicken up in a flat bread and either adding chili sauce or Jalapenos...hot hot mmmm.

    If you have gelatine you can make your own chicken and vegetable mousse.

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  3. I am ever-so glad to know you are without visitors this weekend!

    I'm interested to know if any of you have tried and tested recipes for very economic meals
    Well... yes, as a matter of fact, I have. My life revolves around them. I grew up poor and have basically stayed that way, save for brief stretches when I was on my own (ie: unmarried and/or without a man/leech) and working. Right now it is just me and my two girls and I am unemployed as I haven't found anywhere near me to work (I have no transport) plus the place where I was working closed down. Plus the girls' father refuses to pay a penny toward their needs. Plus I'm in a dispute with the government over my 'Right to Stay' (which is now possibly resolved.) So, yes, money is stupid tight.
    (Great for weight loss! I'm down another 5kg!)

    (If anyone suggests I should 'just go back home' like I'm on some Holiday Lark here in France, I'll scream. I mean seriously, I AM bloody home!)

    I've started making my own bread since I have a bread machine I brought over from the UK. I used to work in a bakery and made my own bread for years but now I cannot handle the kneading required since I have a deteriorating left shoulder. But I also sometimes use this other method from the UK which was hugely popular after the War but it has been refined, improved and is now like 'sliced bread' in the USA. Here is a link: http://www.nokneadbread.org/

    I base our lunch around bread, beans/lentils/meat, one or two vegetables and a feculant: either potatoes, rice or pasta. The girls eat red bell peppers, cucumbers, apples or clementines for snacks. Dessert is home made fruit juice jellies or cake or cookies. Dinner is whatever is leftover from lunch bulked out with soup or a starter. Breakfast is usually these healthy muffins I make or they might have some bread and jam and a yoghurt. I eat muesli, honey and milk and have coffee with cream. That's often my meal for the day.

    We are all happy and healthy, the girls never have colds or sniffles, nor do I.

    I will very happily share any of the recipes I use; just give me a few ingredients and I'll play Ready, Steady, Cook! with you.

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  4. Dear Ayak,

    I've found this site VERY good at "Med" type recipes. Maria Vervaki is based in Crete and her cooking is based on natural inexpensive products found locally and good traditional recipes. (and she's got a good archive!)

    http://organicallycooked.blogspot.com/
    if you haven't checked out her blog yet, try it. It may be just what you were looking for!

    hugs/

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  5. I was pondering cheap meals and what we were having for lunch while heaving barrowloads of muck around the garden this morning. And realised you couldn't get much cheaper than the soups/bread/cheese we always have. Today's is really cheap. A couple of carrots, sticks of celery, onions sweated in a huge pan. Add a catering tin of tomatoes, simmer and then whizz up with my trusty hand held blender. If I had a chicken carcass stock that would go in, or some bacon, but mostly it's variations on a theme of veggies. Celeriac and some leafy celery sticks; roasted squash, cumin seeds and onion; leek, onion, potato. It could be made more filling with cheese grated on it or some pulses or pasta in it.

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  6. Like Kitty, I've always been poor. Hence my obsession with wild food gathering: it's free AND it's good for you. This makes me realise I haven't put any recipes on my blog for a while, I should do so. We've been making our bread without kneading for ages. I didn't know it was a special technique.

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  7. I like something we found in Egypt...lentils, rice, chickpeas and vermicelli as a base to whatever sauce I can muster...garlic and lemon, a sort of ratatouille, left over lamb stew...you name it.
    I can cook up the four things, keep them in the fridge and it makes simple lunches for a few days.

    Glad you're feeling so positive.

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  8. Rosie: I use Filmon.com. I can watch all the UK channels live..no delay. The monthly sub will be 9.95 dollars. (There are more expensive subs for extras such as films and Adult channels). Its working well and I'm very happy with it. And thanks for your good wishes.

    Chris: yes it's all pretty healthy..except for the bread pud of course! I agree chşcken is so versatile.

    Kitty: It's hard at times having to manage with so little isn't it? Your food sounds pretty healthy and economical. I'd like your recipe for the muffins.

    Jes: Thanks...I'll check that one out.

    Rosie: I also make loads of soup..with whatever is in the cupboard or fridge. Lentil is our favourite. Lots of Turks eat soup for breakfast..so that's another meal covered too.

    Heiko..I'll look forward to some more your your recipes on your blog

    Fly: That's a very good idea. Just the kind of thing that would suit us. Thanks x

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  9. I like your recipe ideas. The cabbage dish sounds very interesting, although I can't say as though I have ever tried anything quite like that or the bread pudding before. These must be English dishes? Isn't creative cooking fun.:)

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  10. Eastenders was good wasn't it? I had not suspected Stacey. Too bad about Bradley falling off the roof! (Anyone would think it was real the way I go harping on!) I don't watch any other soaps though.

    I think that you can make Spanish omlettes very cheaply. Fry up an assortment of leftover veg including potato and put egg over it and cook thoroughly. You can put lots of different flavourings in it. Whatever you fancy.

    Nuts in May

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  11. Mr H..Bread pudding is certainly English..my mum used to make it and her mum before her. Stuffed cabbage is more Turkish...they love stuffing vegetables. Yes it is fun!


    Maggie: I loved the Eastenders episode...I was on the edge of my seat throughout!

    Ooh yes...spanish omelette..thanks for that reminder.I haven't made one for a long time. I make Turkish egg dish sometimes called menemen. It consists of frying chopped onions, peppers and tomatoes in olive oil, then adding eggs and scrambling them. Served with crusty bread...another cheap meal.

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  12. Pan bagna - well,my style...some of that super Turkish bread with olive oil soaked into the crust, sweet pepper paste, cucumber, tomato and yogurt.

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  13. Fly: Ooh lovely...I'm feeling quite hungry now. I buy my extra virgin olive oil from my neighbour who has lots of olive trees. It's so delicious I could drink it by the spoonful.

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  14. Pancakes are easy and cheap.
    It was Pancake Tuesday this week, I love them.
    I made too much mixture (1 pint milk, two eggs, 4 oz flour) for just 2 of us, but it lasted for 3 days.
    We ate them for dinner, breakfast and lunch.
    Lovely...

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  15. Monalisa: I know it sounds silly but I had forgotten the quantities for normal pancakes so I'm glad you posted them. I do occasionally make scotch pancakes where I soak a packet of dried yeast in sugar and tepid water then add that to flour and milk...although the quantities are guesswork. I think I'll probably make some normal pancakes today. I have some local honey which will be good with them, plus a bowl full of lemons from a neighbour's tree (my lemon trees have only produced one or two fruit..the rest are the size of acorns)

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  16. Lucky you on the nice weather and having g generous neighbours with thriving lemon and olive trees. Glad the old goat hasn't turned up yet.

    Don't do soaps - but I'm with all those who swear by Everything soup as a cheap and cheerful filler.

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