Kandil or the Five Holy Nights are celebrated throughout Turkey each year.  The meaning of Kandil comes from the word Candle from the time of Sultan Selim II who lit candles in the Mosques Minarets to mark the holy evenings. The Days of the Islamic Calendar start at sunset, which is why Kandil is celebrated

Cadianda is one of those Turkish gems. A ruined city, that in any other country, would be awash with tourists. In Turkey, it sits on top of a mountain with scarcely any visitors. The wealth of history that litters the countryside never fails to amaze me. For the bargain price of £1 you can walk

THE SILK ROAD The Silk Road is an ancient caravan trail that stretches from East to West. From China through India, Asia Minor, ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, the African continent, Greece and Rome, and finally to Britain. I have always been fascinated by the Silk Road. I am sure that the reality was very tough but I think

In our markets broad beans have just started appearing. A rare treat from the local villages. They are never seem to be in abundance so I always grab them while I can and freeze some. Here are two lovely recipes that make the most of this spring delicacy. Broad Bean Dip 600g fresh broad beans  2

A couple of weeks ago I went on an exploration to Afyon. This is a very brief account of the trip. Situated in the middle of Turkey it is a bit of a trek from Dalyan. Six hours of driving through countryside.  As we neared Afyon the landscape changed from green forests to the flat plains

Since I moved to Turkey I haven’t missed any food. Even at Christmas there wasn’t much tat I missed. However, Easter is fast approaching and I have been known to consume quite a few hot cross buns. Toasted with lots of butter, cold with lots of butter, straight out of the packet, I don’t care

What is Hidirellez ? Hidirellez  is one of the most important bayrams in Turkey and celebrates the arrival of spring. The period between May 6 and November 8 was classed as summer, called the “Days of Hızır”, and the period between November 8 and May 6 was winter, called the “Days of Kasım”. Therefore, May 6th

Turkish court has ruled for the suspension of Booking.com’s activities in the country on Wednesday after the Turkish Travel Agencies Association (TURSAB) filed a lawsuit over unfair competition. According to a statement released on TURSAB’s website, Istanbul’s 5th commercial court of first instance ruled in favor of the association, suspending the online hotel reservation website’s

A good example of the richness of its cuisine is, without a doubt, Turkish dried fruits and nuts. No country eats and reveres dried fruit, seeds and nuts quite like Turkey. Today, the consumption of nuts has become an essential part of a healthy diet. Nuts have been recommended primarily for coronary heart diseases, problems in

This Mother’s day make your mum, or anyone else, a sweet treat that you can wrap and give. Turkish Delight and crunchy Nut Brittle make a lovely combination. Both these sweet treats are popular in Turkey. You can find them in markets and towns when you go shopping. Some of the nicest are found in

Alan Fenn and his partner Janet have lived in the village of Okcular for the past 20 years. He is the author of ‘Okçular Village – a Guide’ and ‘Backways & Trackways’. Alan Fenn’s  books are for the sole purpose of generating an income that can be spent on environmental and community projects in Okcular,

At this time of year there are hundreds of oranges in Turkey. Literally falling on the floor and rotting. So far I have marmalade, biscuits, rice pudding and sorbet! Now to try Turkish Orange cake……… Ingredients Zest from 5 oranges 4 eggs 1 cup sugar 1 1/2 cup flour Syrup: Juice from the 5 oranges

In Britain I was very good at knowing my wildflowers. If you had stuck me in the middle of a meadow or woodland I could have told what you could and couldn’t eat. Move to Turkey and I am slightly lost. Common Turkish herbs are easy, as is fruit. It’s everything in between. Flowers for

This is more than just a Persian soup. It can make a very filling meal and is a great way to use up vegetables and pulses that might otherwise be thrown away. I hate waste! Alternatively, visit a local market and try out some vegetables that you have never seen before. Visit a Turkish market

Turkey has witnessed many different religions leaving the country with a wealth of religious tourist attractions. There are the world famous examples, the stunning Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, in Istanbul. Both are spectacular and definitely worth visiting but what about the other , lesser known sites? Akdamar Church is an ancient Armenian place of

If you fancy going all out on pancakes today then try these gozleme as your main course followed by yet more pancakes. You can kid yourselves that you are being healthy before you ruin everything with lots of sugar, chocolate spread and maple syrup! To enjoy authentic Turkish gozleme you can try them on one of

Ever wondered what those dried things are that hang outside shops and in the market? Dried aubergine shells, is the answer. I hadn’t really taken much notice of them but I decided to explore and experiment! I have included a Turkish recipe below but these dried aubergines are fantastic as a carb free cannelloni substitute.

The busy town of Fethiye is only an hour away from Dalyan. It is situated in a pretty bay surrounded by steep mountains and pine forests. Within the bay there are numerous islands, perfect for sailing around. Fethiye The town is rich in history with similar Lycian Rock tombs to Dalyan. Fethiye was known as

Around Dalyan there are many picturesque small villages. Often overlooked by tourists and they remain undiscovered. Despite being close to the thriving tourist town of Dalyan, famous for it’s loggerhead turtles, village life revolves around agriculture. They retain their rural charm.  In Turkey the definition of a village is a population below 2000. Before the

In Turkish and Islamic folklore spring arrives only after the three Cemres have occured. The Cemre are three fireballs that come from Heaven to warm earth at the end of winter. Each cemre happens a week apart and heats one aspect of nature. Dictionary definition – Cemre: means “ember of fire; piece of fire; coal in

The Yoruk people of Turkey have traditionally been shepherds that migrate between the mountains and the coast. Today many now live in houses but still have dwellings in both areas. Migration In winter, they drive their flocks down to the coast where the weather stays warmer and there is more food available. Whilst in spring

There are numerous Alevi villages around Dalyan. Kemaliye, Marmarli and Fevziye to name a few. Alevi is the term used to describe people  and the religion that form the largest minority within Turkey. Alevis take many beliefs from Shia Islam, also Shaman, Sufi and Zoroastrian religions, going back 6,000 years. Their faith includes the worship

Tah-chin – Persian Savoury Rice cake Tah-chin is an Iranian rice dish that can be baked in the oven or cooked on the stove. The description of being a savoury cake always puts me off but please persevere. This is one of my favorite recipes and is a great comfort food. Tah-chin can be made

Totally guilt free flapjacks Make these totally guilt free flapjacks with a clear conscience! They are sugar free and packed with healthy ingredients. The perfect treat for when you aren’t meant to be eating treats. They also make a great addition to a lunchbox. Ingredients 2 over ripe bananas 150 gr porridge oats 3 tablespoons

My recipe for spicy sweet mixed nuts is the perfect way to use up leftovers from the holidays. You can use any combination of nuts or stick to one type. Easy to make and a tasty snack for any time of the day. Ingredients to make spicy sweet nuts 3 tbsp of runny honey 2

Tandır lamb is a dish that you can find in any Turkish restaurant. Here, I have taken the main principles but added some extras. It makes the perfect dish for New Year. Serve for a dinner party with added pitta, spiced rice and a pomegranate salad. As a big rustic stew after the fireworks or

This year I moved to Turkey and am therefore spending Christmas in a Muslim country. I have never been very good at Christmas. As a child with divorced parents no matter how hard everyone tries you are painfully aware of the missing parent. As an adult that issue never goes away but you have the added

My background is horticulture. For as long as I could walk and talk my mother dragged me around gardens, woodlands and parks drumming into the names of plants. I have worked everywhere from rundown nurseries to very high-end garden centres to huge landscaping contracts. Now I live in Turkey, one of the best and most

These hazelnut biscuits are delicious with a cup of çay or coffee. Store in an airtight box they will keep for a week. As long as you can resist! Ingredients 250 g salted butter 350 g caster sugar 2 eggs 300 g plain flour 2 tsp baking powder 50 g ground almonds 4 tbsp hazelnuts,

This recipe for Wedding Pilaf, Perde Pilaf, comes from the south east of Turkey. Roughly resembling a house, the final shape of the dish is meant to symbolise the building of a new home. The dough is filled with a variety of nuts, herbs and spices and chicken. Within the family the making of this celebratory dish falls to the women, they gather together and assemble the dish before the wedding dinner.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Turkey Turkey has 16 sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List. These include the magnificent Ephesus, Istanbul and Pamukkale. Many of the sites are popular due to being located within well known tourist areas. Hierapolis – Pamukkale Pamukkale is situated in the Denizli Province in Southwestern Turkey. Because of the

History The history of Turkey goes back to the earliest known human cities. This is the country that gave us the mighty empires of the Hittite, the Lycian, the Roman and Ottomans. The land that witnessed the great wars of Troy, Crimea and Gallipoli. The birthplace of St Nicholas, St George, Prophet Abraham and the

Now is the time of year that Turkish families begin to stock up for winter. If you visit the small villages around Dalyan you will see village life in full flow. Vegetables are pickled , jams and chutneys are cooked. Plum chutney is the perfect way to use up fruit before it spoils. Plum Chutney

Last week I spent a perfect Saturday horse riding in Dalyan. I have loved horses and riding since I was a child. Weekends were always spent tearing around the countryside or mucking out stables. This was the second time I had ridden in Turkey and it is perfect. We set off from a smallholding, in the

Koycegiz Lake Köyceğiz Lake is situated between the small towns of Dalyan and Köyceğiz. It is the second largest coastal lake in the Aegean region and ıs formed in a deep depression, surrounded by mountains. To the south side of the lake, there is a fault line bordered by the Sultaniye and Rıza Çavuş sulphurous

This recipe is for a Turkish meze. Chili salad is delicious as a dip, paste or spread. Especially good wıth yoghurt and garlic! Turkish and Greek versions are very similar with the Turkish being much spicer. Ingredients (serves 4 as a side dish): 4 medium-sized tomatoes (it is important that you use the tastiest tomatoes

This is a delicious Turkish hummus recipe. Lovely in summer or winter. Recipe Serves 4 Preparation time – 15 minutes (add 1 hour if used dried chickpeas and soaking overnight) 225gr/8oz dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight or for at least 6 hours or equivalent amount of precooked chickpeas in can 5ml /1 teaspoon salt

An honorary Turkish recipe! Turkish flora is extensive and varied. Turkey is one of only a handful of countries that self sufficient in it’s fruit and vegetable production. In a land of aubergines and honey this is a perfect addition to a plate of mezze. Especially good with Ezme. Crunchy aubergine crisps served with warm

There are thought to be over 80,000 species of fauna within Turkey whilst the number of species in Europe numbers approximately 60,000. As in the case of flora Turkey is the original homeland of many well-known species. The pheasant, fallow deer and domestic sheep to name a few. Today many of the national parks and

Turkey has some of the oldest varieties of cultivated plants in the world. The wild species of which are still found growing in Turkey. The original wild forms of plants retain many qualities that cultivated plants do not, frost hardiness, resistance to pests and diseases and ability to cope with fluctuating water levels are a

Tree of Life For thousands of years people across the world have been inspired by the Tree of Life. History of the Turkish flora is varied and mythical. Also called the tree of knowledge, tree of immortality or the world tree it is believed to connect heaven and the underworld and all living creations. One

Menemen – the best breakfast yet……. Recipe 1 red pepper, finely chopped 1 green pepper, finely chopped 1 large onion, finely sliced 4 medium tomatoes, finely diced 8 eggs 1 tablespoon olive oil  1-2 teaspoon red pepper flakes Salt and Pepper to taste Method Heat the olive oil in a frying pan then fry the

These courgette fritters are perfect as mezze or a snack. I have added red pepper flakes to my recipe as I like the kick it gives but this is not traditional! Recipe 3 courgettes 150 gr  Turkish white cheese or feta cheese 1/2 medium onion 3 spring onions 3 garlic cloves 1 bunch dill 3

Abagannuc or baba ghanoush is a popular mezze from Southern Turkey. It can be used as a dip or as part of a table full of mezze. It is also delicious as a sauce for spaghetti. Recipe 2 aubergines 1 red pepper 3 tomatoes 2 garlic cloves, crushed with a teaspoon of salt Juice of half a lemon 3

Early mornings in Turkey are special. Particularly in the heat of the summer, very early mornings are the only time of day that it feels cool. Years ago when I used to stay at my mum’s house in Köyceğiz we used to get up at 4.30 every morning to walk the enormous Kangal that she

This recipe for honey cake is a mixture of a Greek and a Turkish recipe. I have elaborated on the similarities of the cuisines previously. Recipe You will need: 1 cup plain flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon crushed cardamom pods 1 teaspoon lemon zest 3/4

The Tulip The Tulip was originally a wild flower growing in Central Anatolia. Although most people believe that the Dutch first cultivated the Tulip. The plants were originally harvested, and subsequently, cultivated by the Turks as early as 1,000 AD. The Turkish word for Tulip ‘lale’ gave its name to the richest period of the

Köycegiz Dalyan Special Protected Area is located in the Province of Mugla, on the southern Aegean coast of Turkey. It was one of the first three SPAs declared in July 1988, as a consequence of the Genoa Declaration of the Mediterranean Action Plan. In 1990 the original SPA area was extended westwards. Up to now, there

Visit Dalyan and you will find yourself surrounded by Loggerhead Turtles. From the giants floating in the sea, hundreds of t-shirts, trınkets and cuddly toys to the large gold statue as you enter the small town. It is safe to say that Dalyan is obsessed with its turtles. Now a protected area the future of

Following the horrific attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport it is with a heavy heart that I write this.  I am sure that many tourists will now be cancelling or worrying about their holiday plans. I can fully appreciate that it is frightening but please just stop for a minute. Breathe deeply and think. Turkey is