Let’s talk about Kunefe baby

Let’s talk about you and me, let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be, let’s talk about Kunefe!

I was thinking we would talk about Kunefe.  What is Kunefe you ask?  Kunefe is a crazy ass desert served here in Mersin and throughout Turkey made of cooked cheese, syrup and icecream.  “Wwhhaaattttt?” you cry.


Yes I know.  Separately these three food items are sensational.  Cheese?  Legendary.  Sugary syrup?  Amazing.  Icecream?  Anytime.

But incorporated into one meal?  Maybe not.

As you will no doubt recall I recently became a rock star, letting my hair down and singing at the top of my over endowed lungs at a karaoke bar in Pozcu, Mersin.  After spending a few hours singing, dancing, drinking and generally embarrassing Daughter to the point that she wanted to disown me Prince William (previously known as Capt. Awesome) decided that we should finish the evening with some dessert.  Dessert?  By 2 am I was starting to lose my groove so the idea of dessert (and its subsequent sugar rush) perked me up considerably and I was ready to go and check out our next destination.

A couple of minutes drive through the back streets of Mersin brought us to an amazing little pastanesi (cake shop) just west of Carsi (near our new amazing dentist).  Even though it was very late the place was packed but when we arrived it was clear that they knew Prince William (aka Capt Awesome) and a table magically appeared.  There were no menus, there were no options.  We sat and dessert was supplied – Kunefe.

Kunefe is well known throughout the provinces of Icel, Gazienterp, Hatay, Kilis and Adana although it is served in many Arabic countries.  Downstairs you could watch them make the dessert and, honestly, it seemed like a lot of work.  The pastry chef was very generous letting me behind the counter (obviously a friend of Prince William’s as well) and explaining to me in limited English the process.  The process is long and drawn out and I will not bother explaining it – to be honest it was all a bit fuzzy.  There was a lot of work involving tel kadayif (stringy filo pastry), a butt load of cheese, huge pans and the largest wood oven I have ever seen!  If you do want to make an attempt of this amazing dessert I suggest you go check out Ozlem’s recipe.  She is, as usual, my go-to person when attempting Turkish food but this one looks a little out of my league.

If you ever find yourself at 2 am needing a pick me up and a kebab just isn’t going to do it for you try and find a pastanesi who serves this amazing dish.  Now that Kunefe has been brought to my attention I find that just about every pastanesi in Mersin serves it.  It might be a little more difficult to track down on the west coast but it is definitely well worth the search.  Your tastebuds will thank you for it.


Do you remember getting take-away when you were a kid.  I do.  We would go to the fish and chip shop up at Narraweena.  We would get fish and chips (duh), hamburgers and potato scallops.  It was always amazing.  Because it was take-away.  Food is always better when you don’t have to cook it.  Then home delivery became an option and my culinary world exploded.  Chinese food!  Wow.  I really am a kid from the 1970’s aren’t I?

Here in Mersin take-away and home delivery is certainly an option.  They have Dominos that delivers as well as Hungry Jacks (which is a disgusting thought).  Many of the little restaurants here in the Village also home deliver and on occasion The Turk has had people knock on the door at odd hours delivering huge bags of food but I have not felt the need to partake – until now.

A couple of nights back The Turk decided it was too hot to cook (it is definitely warming up here in Mersin – I expect I will be complaining about the heat to you sometime soon) so he made a couple of calls and arrange for home delivery.  I was excited.  What would it be?  Obviously Turkish food, no option there but Turkish food could mean practically anything.


Two hours (!) later and Daughter and I were getting a little edgy.  The Turk is well aware that if I do not eat at my allotted hour I become quite the bitch, well add Daughter into the mix and we were both chomping at the bit for dinner.  Finally a young boy arrived carrying an abundance of food that could have fed a whole army.  He firstly handed over two bags which contained Kiymali pide, Peynir pide, salads, freshly baked bread, rice and Ayran.  Then he disappeared back down the stairs returning with the largest clay plate of Kağit Kebabi I have ever seen.  This huge plate with a circumference of 60 cm was filled with lamb, mushrooms, eggplant and handfuls of spice.  Holy moly this was a feast.  Total cost 25TL (about AU$13).


Was it worth the 2 hour wait?  Oh.  My.  God.  Yes.  This was a taste sensory overload.  Possibly the best thing I have ever put in my mouth (don’t be dirty).

100 posts!

This post is the 100th post on my blog.  100 posts!  100 posts in 270 days.  Yikes!  That equates to a new content every 2.7 days.  It seems like only yesterday that I started this blog, mostly to keep me occupied and also to update my friends back in Australia and around the world.  I am pretty proud of myself for committing to it (I never finish anything I start) and frankly a little amazed that you people keep coming back for another episode of my crazy life.


I’ve got a few other stats for you.

350 subscribers is amazing (a big thanks to each of you) and 217 ‘likers’ on my Facebook page.

802 published comments.  I’ve had to cull a few of the nut jobs from publication.

Nearly 20,000 page views is phenomenal!  I mean that’s a big number.  That’s a lot of people that either stumbled onto this blog or intentionally went out looking for it (which is nice).

I’ve had some crazy search terms as well including: “hot bitchy wife” – I like that one.  “Will cheese fill you up?” – the answer is no, no it will not.  How about “Screaming sex on rooftop” – not recently.  I have also helped people “Muslim sad funeral Turkey” and made people laugh “crazy, funny mersin”.  One final search term that made me scratch my head “cat, elephant goes out out out by the bell 101” – worryingly this search term has been used 3 times.  Three separate people have typed those words into a search engine and somehow ended up at janeyinmersin.com.

Most viewed?  All About Janey … in Mersin and Contradictions


First ever post? You’re Moving Where???  Originally titled “Where the Bloody Hell Are You?” I thought it wise to not alienate my PG audience with swearing.  Now, of course, I swear like a feking trooper!

Most likes?  Coucous Kofte.  This makes me laugh as honestly I am no chef.


My Personal favourite?  Ancient Wonders.  This one was only recent but Daughter and I had such a great day together exploring the ruins and just talking about ‘stuff’.  ‘Stuff’ is important you know?


Least viewed?  Let’s talk about cheese.  This makes me sad as it is one of my favourite memories with my mother in law and after all who doesn’t love cheese?

Daughter’s personal favourite?  Five things in Istanbul.  Daughter wanted to be included in today’s post because she is a big part of this blog and, of course, my life.  Why did she choose this post?  “Simple mum.  Shopping and Istanbul.  What else is there?”  Of course.


So that’s my first 100.  What have I learnt about myself over the past 270 days?  I think I am funny (sometimes).  I am happy (most of the time) and, most importantly, I am enjoying myself.

Here’s to the next 100.

Tomato Trauma

Anyone who knows me personally knows two things.  One – I am a drama queen.  Totally.  Factual.  Well documented.  Examples can be provided upon request.  The other is that I hate tomatoes. 

Hate is a strong word.  I often remind Daughter that she should never hate anything or anyone.  It is such a negative emotion but here I am shouting it from the rooftops.  I hate tomatoes.  I really, really hate them.

It all goes back to a childhood trauma from the early ‘70’s.  A trauma that was so horrific that both my brother and I have never allowed fresh tomato to cross our lips.  What was this trauma that caused such pain to these two children you wonder?  Are you ready?  *Deep breath*  My mother made my brother and I eat tomato sandwiches for lunch.  Yep.  That is it.  A plain old tomato sandwich. 

If one asked me to explain this trauma now, as an adult, I can say that the issue stems from the fact that a tomato sandwich in itself is boring.  Not just boring it also has the potential to be sloppy.  A tomato sandwich needs a moisture barrier to protect the bread so that it does not become a pink goopy mess.  A piece of ham.  A slice of cheese.  These two items form the protective barrier necessary to ensure that your sandwich is edible.  But as a kid it was just gross and we were not going to eat it!  Fed up our mother made us sit at the table until the sandwich, which was quickly disintegrating into a mess of goopy bread and warmer than hell-fire raw tomato, was consumed.  I remember one of us falling asleep on the sandwich that day.  Childhood trauma exposed. 

Nearly (or possibly more) than 40 years later I find myself living in a country where tomato is served for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  And guess what?  I think I could be putting my childhood trauma behind me because I can tolerate tomato now.  In small doses.  Very small doses.  My current favourite is a Acile Ezme


Similar to a spicy salsa but the tomato is cut so small that it is practically pureed it is definitely a tomato dish that I can stomach.  My sister in law makes it in no time flat.  Basically biber paste, cumin and domates.  My sister in law adds sarimasak (garlic) and soğan (onion) as well.  It is magic in your mouth.  My other favourite is, of course, the well-loved tabouleh.  I am a pretty dab hand at making it now and I mask the tomato with a heap of parsley that again you can hardly taste it.  So there you have it Jane now eats tomato. 


My fear and absolute distaste of fresh tomatoes may be diminishing but I can assure you if I suddenly found myself in Bunol, Spain celebrating its Tomatina Festival it would be like living a nightmare.  A Freddy Kreuger, Elm Street infused nightmare! 


Waiting for Rain

It was depressingly grey in Karaduvar.  The sky has been overcast with the potential of rain dangerously close.  I have been waiting for the rain to fall for a few weeks now.  The constant of dust is starting to grate on my last nerve.  It has become cold but not winter cold just overcast, kind of eastern bloc cold.  There has been some major flooding in some of the resort areas along the coast however the storms that have been pounding western Turkey have not yet made it to our neck of the woods.

Last night the rain hit – and it hit hard!

I woke at 1.00 to the sound of thunder and the immediate follow up of lightning.  As a kid I used to count the time between the thunder and lightning to see how close the storm was.  “One Mississippi, two Mississippi”.  Last night there was none of that!  It was crash and flash one after the other.  Holy crap!

Holy crap was right – I realised that my mother in laws cheese had been on our roof the last few days to dry in the sun (well in the overcast with glimpses of sunshine).  I ran upstairs to bring the cheese (now a soppy mess) in and in the process was drenched to the skin. 

Fast forward to 5.00 this morning and she was ringing my doorbell about her cheese.  Now I could have thrown it on her but . . . probably better to not do that so with my limited Turkish I yelled down to her, “Peynir, burada, evimi” (Cheese, here, my house).  I would have yelled “go back to sleep” but my Turkish is not that advanced yet.

Come 7.00 this morning and the doorbell rang again.  This time it was the builders (yes I know it is Sunday).  At this point I gave up trying to sleep so Daughter and I took Hurley for a walk.  It would have been better to have put on my swimmers and taken him for a bath but . . . well they already think I am the crazy English lady so I had better not give them any more to talk about.




And for those of you who were concerned about the cheese it survived the night (a little worse for wear) and is now drying out on my back balcony which appears to be the only place in Karaduvar that did not get soaked by the storm last night.  It should be ready to eat early next week (fingers crossed).


A morning routine

Breakfast is apparently the most important meal of the day.  I used to skip breakfast a LOT when I lived in Sydney.  Or it was a healthy breakfast of coke and cigarettes – yes really!  Then I found out I was Type 2 Diabetic and I pulled my head in and actually learnt about eating healthy.  I still have a lot to learn but a good breakfast and my early morning jog to the deniz is a good start.


Now living in the Village breakfast is the first of many delicious (and healthy) meals I eat every day.  I love that everything is organic.  I love that the bread is delicious and costs the equivalent of AUD$0.25 for a loaf.  The eggs are huge and when cracked the yolk is so yellow, scrambling them is a sin!  Cucumber, tomatoes,olives and my mother in law’s cheese (https://janeyinmersin.com/2013/10/) all washed down with a glass of cay to complete our Turkish banquet.  Yesterday we made borek (lightly fried pastry with cheese) and if we make it to the market we also buy Turkish sausage (although I recently read an article in a Turkish newspaper where someone suggested that the sausage could possibly be made from horse meat.  Eeek!).


Daughter and her cousins have already left for school by 7am so generally it is just us girls (and now, of course, The Turk) sitting in the sunshine enjoying this delicious banquet.  Actually now that The Turk has arrived we also must have corba (soup) for breakfast.  He loves his Spicy Red Lentil Soup (which I made last night) and he believes that a good breakfast is not complete without corba on the table.  The Turk also suggested this morning that I learn to make Tripe Soup but THAT is never going to happen!


Now if only I could find some bacon . . .

Let’s talk about cheese

My love of cheese is legend – wait for it – ary!  Legendary!  I will eat cheese anytime, anywhere and in any manner.  I will have it for breakfast, as a snack, as a main meal, hot, cold or even as a cake.  Cheese.  Peynir.  Nom, nom nom!

Last week I was called by my mother in law down to her kitchen.  Bubbling on the stove was a huge pot of milk (which I subsequently learned was in fact yogurt).  Once boiled she strained the yogurt (separating the whey) into three parcels wrapped in clean cloth, tied it up and let it hang in the kitchen.  Cheese!  She made cheese!

I returned to her kitchen yesterday afternoon to find her mixing the cheese with red pepper paste (which we had made a few weeks earlier), dried thyme and a butt load of salt.  She rolled the cheese into balls, placed them on a large metal plate and put them in the sun on top of my garage where they will stay until they dry.


If I ignore the flies that are constantly congregating over the cheese at the moment I am sure it will taste delicious when ready.  This spicy cheese is usually eaten in the morning with ekmek (bread), domates (tomatoes) and a drizzle of yağ (oil).


My mother in law tells me that she has made this cheese for The Turk as it is his favourite.  Yes the prodigal son will return to her next weekend and she is very excited!  I guess I am excited too.  Daughter is currently indifferent but will probably change her tune when he actually gets here.