Seasonal Fruits

Spring has, of course, sprung which means all the farms and gardens around the village are abundant with new, fresh and usually unknown to me fruits.

When The Turk arrived he planted trees around the garden but they are still very young and so far only our nectarine (which is a sad looking young sapling) has borne fruit.

DSC07490

I have however been thieving fruit from the neighbour’s trees to taste and to introduce to you today.

The first fruit that I have never seen (or tasted) before is called as Yeni Dünya (New World) but you may know the fruit as a loquat.  There are so many trees groaning under the weight of these little beauties that I am clearly doing their owners a favour when I steal them.   I am told that you should never buy them from the market and if you cannot eat them straight from the tree don’t bother as you are wasting your time.  They do not keep well, even in the refrigerator, and can bruise very easily.  They are succulent, tangy and sweet.  Delicious.

loquats

Another seasonal fruit in Mersin at the moment is an Erik, a super crunchy little fruit that you need to eat it now – before it ripens.  They are quite tart or sour in taste but they are very moreish.  The Turk has them with salt which I believe can soften the taste a little.  Can anyone tell me if eating unripened fruit is problematic to the digestive system?  I remember from science class (all those millennia ago) that unripened fruit is very acidic but honestly I just cannot stop eating them.  As they ripen the Erik fruit loses its zing.

erik-agaci-1-medium

There are so many fruits currently burdening the trees and gardens around the village (mulberries, apricots, nectarines) that I now take a basket with me when I go on pilfering so that I can pick at the branches as I go by – and I am not the only one who does it as I helped an elderly lady fill a plastic bag with Kayisi  (unripened apricots) this morning.  When she had had her fill she patted my face and said “sus” which basically means keep quiet or hush.  We are now partners in crime.

mulberry

_________________________________________________________________________

Loving this blog? Please help me build my audience and share with like minded people who, like you, steal fruit from your neighbours and love Turkey. You can also subscribe or like me on Facebook for all updates.

 

Quince, Quinces or Quinci?

Those that know me know that I am no chef.  Never have been.  Never will be.  Sure I cook.  It is a necessity when you have a family or even when you do not have a family.  At some stage in your life everyone needs to cook.  I have lots of recipe books here, yes I brought them all over from Australia, but when I look at the photos and read the instructions in these books I scratch my head, get a very confused look on my face, throw my hands up in the air and yell “Feck it”.

Since we arrived in Mersin I relied heavily on my mother in law for our meals.  If not her then my sister in law would always have something that I could incorporate into whatever I was attempting to cook.  Now I find it is a necessity again and I need to learn and learn fast.

Each afternoon my father in law will knock on my door and hand me some fruit that he has bought at the market (or perhaps steals from a neighbouring tree).  Fresh, crisp elma (apple), uzum (grapes) straight off the vine, muz (banana) or whatever other fruit happens to be in season at the time.  A couple of days ago he dropped in and handed me some avya.  He kept repeating to me “Avya, avya.  Good, good.” I had no idea what they were and even less idea what I was to do with them.  He looked so impressed with himself that I searched my limited Turkish for the right response, “Ben avya seviyorum.”  Of course I love avya despite not knowing what it was.

After some sleuthing I find that these strange little fruit are quince.  I have a bag of quince, quinces or quini.  What would the plural of quince be? Not sure.  Searching the internet I found a relatively simple recipe for poaching quince, quinces or quinci –  Avya Tatlisi.

I will start by saying that quince, quinces or quini are hard to the touch.  Unpleasant.  Peeled the fruit is coarse.  Unpleasant.  And believe me do not eat it uncooked.  Blugh!

Here is my final product –

Image

To be honest it didn’t taste that bad.  Very sweet, in fact a little too sweet for my palate.  Although originally a white fruit they slowly went pembe (pink) while simmering on the stove.  The sugar caramelised nicely and I added a vanilla bean for taste (although I do not think it needed it on reflection) and I did not burn them on the bottom.  I must say they may not look as appetising as the professionally made quince, quinces or quini but they were pretty moreish.  Daughter was not a fan but her cousins tuckered in and even asked for more.

If you are interested in attempting the recipe (after all if I can do it anyone can) have a look here.

Hopefully my father in law brings me apples next time.  I know what to do with them.

Incidentally the correct term for more than one quince is in fact quinces.  Mystery solved.

Juicy

A friend on mine is a great artist and prior to leaving Australia I purchased one of her paintings to hang in my new home here in Mersin.  Her painting is called “Juicy” and I do not think she will mind that I re-post it for my blog today.  You might want to check out her amazing work –

http://www.celartworks.com/

Image

Last weekend was the Mersin Narenciye Festivali  (Citrus Festival) in Mersin.  It seems that Mersin and its surrounding area is well known for its oranges, lemons, grapefruit, apples and any other type of fruit that you can think of.  This is a very popular weekend here in Mersin and what a great way to promote both industry and tourism to the city and yes this really is a festival not some dodgy political meeting like the one I was dragged to a couple of weeks back.

The seafront was full of orange and yellow stalls, flags and balloons.  There were exhibitions, fruit for the tasting, wares to purchase, music to dance to and even a parade.  This Festival had it all including a warm autumn day.  I saw on the internet that it is pouring rain in Sydney yet here we are in November enjoying gorgeous weather.  Nice one.

The Turk has promised me that it will get cold and that I will be whinging “like a bitch” (his words) but right now I will enjoy myself while I can.

Image

Image

ImageImage