Tag Archives: Turkey

Lavender Honeycomb Butter and Alacati

Lavender Honeycomb ButterVisiting Istanbul for the first time last year my husband and I wanted to spend a few days in a different region of Turkey before heading to Istanbul. Searching the internet and gathering bits of information here and there as you do, decided to visit a small town on the Aegean coastAlacati.

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This beautiful and charming picturesque town is filled with old stone houses, lots of narrow streets lined with sidewalk cafés, bars, restaurants, boutiques and antique shops. As it was low season Alacati was quiet (some businesses close) and with not many visitors around, felt like we had the town to ourselves.

Even though our visit was short and sweet you could feel a real sense of community spirit and pride among the local people who live there. We met the lovely Neyran while visiting Lisa Cortis very colourful home textile shop and ended up sitting at a sidewalk café, chatting like old friends while Neyran filled us in about the history of this enchanting town… thank you for recommending the Barbun restaurant, it was a delicious end to our short stay.

Unfortunately we had not been able to include a Saturday on our visit, missing the famous Alacati market mentioned on this blog Cafe Fernando. I never got to taste the chocolate and chestnut cake mentioned as it was not on the menu. However, we enjoyed some delicious home-made cakes at the charming and quaint Tas Otel during our stay and the owner kindly parted with one of their recipes… which I will share in a later post you can find here.
Tas Otel-Turkey

The smell of dried lavender perfumed the air throughout the Tas Otel and the fresh honey we enjoyed at breakfast inspired this simple recipe… butter perfumed with lavender and sweetened with fresh honeycomb brought back from Turkey… utterly delicious slathered over hot toast, crusty bread or warm scones.

LR-edit-0048This beautiful and extremely friendly cat lives at the Tas Otel whose name was difficult to pronounce and  remember… you were right Zeynep (the hotel owner),  I have already forgotten!
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Lavender Honeycomb Butter

Ingredients:

  • 100g slightly salted butter, softened
  • 100g fresh honeycomb or thick-set honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried lavender, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried lavender

How to make: In a bowl mix all the ingredients together using a wooden spoon, until combined. Place the flavoured butter into a suitable sized mould which has been pre-lined with cling film. Leave the butter in the fridge for at least 8 hours for the flavours to develop. If you do not wish to shape the butter with a mould, place the butter into a suitable bowl to serve. Recipe can easily be doubled.

 

A year gone by 2012

 

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Already one week into the New Year… so please 2013 go slow! Looking back over the past twelve months there have been a few favourites on the Food and Tools blog! But first I would like to say a big thank you to all the readers, subscribers, viewers, also those that have liked and taken the time to comment on food and tools blog posts! Look forward to another years blogging with you all!

  Favourites on Food and Tools

Meeting Happy Hens: On a visit to Ireland my lovely nieces introduced me to their Happy Hens, all very friendly and I was equally happy to eat their freshly laid eggs for breakfast every morning! Sadly, some months later a pine marten managed to enter the chicken coop during the night and kill every hen… I had never heard of a pine marten until then! After recovering from the shock and horror of witnessing such a scene, my sister bought some more hens… a few weeks later a buzzard hovering around swooped down and made off with one of their young bantam hens… it seems hens living in the countryside have their challenges!

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Food Workshop: Meeting the lovely Silke Croppe, an artisan cheese maker and attending one of her cheese making courses at Corleggy in Ireland was such a lovely experience and a wonderful way to spend a day outdoors in the Irish countryside!

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New Kitchen Jewellery: Apart from acquiring a  yoghurt/cheese maker, my favourite baking tin for 2012… the muffins tin from Ikea, loving the tall shaped cupcakes and muffins!1-2013-01-057

Styling and Photography: Attending Meeta K Wolff’s two-day Food and Styling Workshop (day oneday two), hosted by Sally Prosser in Dubai was an event that I was glad not to have missed… and meeting Giorgio Locatelli… what a surprise!

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New Cookbooks: Got to meet the lovely Suzanne Husseine and Ariana Bundy at book signing events at Words Bookstore and Cafe in Bahrain… adding new cookbooks to my collection, “When Suzanne Cooks” and “Pomegranates and Roses”!  A signed copy of Bobby Chinn’s cookbook “Vietnamese Cooking” was a gift from a lovely friend!  Lots of delicious mouthwatering recipes!

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Travel: Traveled to Turkey for the first time, first visiting the charming town of Alacati (a blog post soon) for a couple of days and then to the bustling city of Istanbul! Definitely a place to visit again!

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Farmers Market: Excited to have visited Bahrain’s first Farmers Market and pick up some lovely fresh vegetables and herbs, also good to know that it will be held every Saturday until next May!

Cheers to the year ahead… 2013!

Hot Turkish Wintertime Drink – Salep

Exploring and wandering the wonderful streets of Istanbul, tea and coffee stops are inevitable. Recharging the batteries and soaking up the atmosphere of a bustling city steeped in history and culture. Istanbul is a busy  city all year round… literally heaving with people!  On entering one of the many cafes, and scribbled on a chalk board,  I noticed hot Salep on the menu and was told… “we make the best!” Ditched the usual Turkish Tea and ordered Salep. Who was I to argue whether it was the best, this was my first taste of this very popular Turkish wintertime drink.

A nice change from drinking a hot chocolate or a winter spiced latte, this hot thickened milky drink (the taste of semolina was the first thing that came to mind) was served with a dusting of cinnamon on top.  Although a little overly sweet I did enjoy this warming drink and found Salep quite filling.

Salep (Sahlab, Saloop,) is a nutritious starchy flour derived from the tuberous root of a certain species of Orchids. In Turkey export of pure Salep flour is apparently illegal, as over harvesting of their Orchids (Turkey known for the best Salep flour) has led to its decline. Salep is also used in the famous Turkish Dondurma ice cream.

Throughout the Middle East, Mediterranean, Europe and Asia drinks made using Salep were enjoyed for centuries and touted as an aphrodisiac (a botanical Viagra) and a restorative for the young and old. London’s industrial era served many a labourer Saloop (flour derived from British Isle Orchids ) in the early morning hours, a hearty drink flavoured with orange blossom and rose-water to kick-start a long and hard-working day.

Pure Salep flour is expensive and many use cornflour as a substitute or use a mix of both (both have thickening qualities) and say it tastes like the real thing! Some say Salep flour has little or no taste and others say it has a slightly floral taste. Can’t say I noted a floral taste when drinking Salep as the cinnamon was the dominant flavor. Maybe some Salep drinking experts can enlighten me on the subject.

Purchased a box of flavoured salep/sahlab at a local supermarket which contained the ingredients; sahlab, sugar, mastic, rose and orange blossom flavour to try… it turned out way too sweet and overly perfumed for my liking.

This is my way of making a faux style Salep (which tastes just as good) using glutinous rice flour as a thickener, preferring the creamy results it gave over the cornflour.  However, cornflour may be used and here is another recipe and other information on Salep. Camping season has begun in Bahrain and the desert can turn very cold… so why not treat family and friends to this warming winter time drink.

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Winter Warming Hot Salep

Ingredients:

  • 8 level teaspoons of glutinous rice flour (sweet rice) (found at asian supermarkets)
  • 1 litre of full-fat or low-fat milk
  • sugar or honey, to taste

Flavour Salep with:

1/4 teaspoon orange blossom water OR rose-water, per cup

OR 

a light dusting of cinnamon powder

garnish with some finely chopped pistachio, if desired.

How to make: Add the glutinous rice flour into a medium saucepan, using a whisk, slowly mix in the milk until smooth. Bring the milk mixture to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon. Reduce heat and simmer gently for about 3 minutes to thicken and cook through, stirring often. Sweeten with sugar to taste, add desired flavouring and pour into cups, serve hot. Alternatively, pour the unflavoured Salep into cups and let each person flavour their own. Serves 4

Have you tried Salep before? Do you have a favourite wintertime drink?

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