Yesterday was a good day. I managed to have some free time to laze about while the boys went off with baba to the beach, all slathered in sun cream and wearing their new sea shoes. It’s quite rare that I get time to myself so I ended up spending the morning cooking. Initially my plan had been to just make some irmik helva as a kind of peace offering for my sister-in-law. But after deciding to try and take up my blog again and messing around with that I started to get side tracked and think about my ice cream maker.
Hmmm, cherries how about a cherry sorbet? Google was most helpful and inspired me to devise my own take on a chocolate cherry sorbet. I think with a few tweaks next time that will have to go down as a fantastic creation. Then came the irmik helva, at which point they all piled back from the beach covered in sand because the showers weren’t working down there. Hosed down and rather disgruntled they were given dinner while I tried new creation, cherry chocolate cake for later to go with the sorbet.
I did attempt a nap then because I’d been awake since 3 am due to some banging around in the bathroom, and being shouted at for forgetting to bring the packed up pide back from the restaurant the night before. One of those “I thought you did” pointless arguments. I only managed a fitful hour or so before I was told we were off to the yayla. It is nice up in Gozne, supposedly cooler than Mersin though it doesn’t always feel that way. So helva in hand we piled in the new car, that we actually fit into comfortably, and off we went.
Even though the roads have been widened I still find it a bit hairy being in the car whizzing up the mountain roads. The view is lovely and the village names make me laugh. I can’t get out of the habit of calling Darisekisi, Darisexy, very sad I know but it it cheers me up as we go through and it’s the last village before the ever growing town of Gozne.
My sister-in-law’s yayla is quite big and she rents out the lower floor now which is a shame as it makes me feel a bit uncomfortable going into the garden. I say garden, it was once more of an orchard, but now she has grown less interested in it because it is a lot of work and she is getting older. So upstairs we went, she was suitably underwhelmed with my tuppaware tub of helva, but at least I’d made the effort, and she coo’d over the boys in the way Turkish women do–but not too much because she has become disinterested in that even of late too. She was a primary teacher for years so smelly was questioned about what he was doing in his maths lessons, but since the education systems are very different he found it hard to answer and mumbled something about ‘different things’. Her grandson, the boy’s cousin was there so they all piled into his toys with glee, even though he is just 3. He’s an only child so was not impressed with this glut of boys forcing him to share. After a while even though they were playing really nicely together M’s niece (cousin’s mum) gathered them by the laptop so they could stare at the screen and watch a film together. I bit my tongue and was soon distracted by sister-in-law pointed out the bitter cherry tree that needed picking.
It seemed like a good idea, despite my unsuitable clothes–a white top, but before I could head off M announced he couldn’t possibly pick fruit in his, much older, much shabbier, white T-shirt. Niece was sent off to find a suitable alternative, which actually looked better than the shabby T-shirt he was so precious about protecting. Colander in hand off we went to pick the bitter cherries. Not quite sure why he’d fussed, far from getting covered in juice and staining my white top I was getting insects and dirt down my bra, but after all the rubbish that had fallen down there before we came chopping trees down in the new garden, this was small fry. After a while another bag was thrown down and filled with yet more cherries, before we were called to the apple tree. We only picked a few, and I chose the bright red ones and shined them up almost to the point of being reflective. Fatso adores apples so I couldn’t wait to hand it to him.
He was suitably impressed and chomped away merrily. Even Smelly, the fruit averse child wanted a shiny red apple. Cousin did too, but the look of shock at being present with a whole, uncut, unpeeled apple was a sight to behold. As were his attempts to bite into it as expertly as Smelly, Fatso and Lai lai–Turkish children are used to fruit presented prepared. I simply don’t get a chance with my lot, even washing it before they get to it is a triumph.
After the apples Fatso decided he would like more, so the garden might be worth investigating as it was now a source of food. Smelly was forced away from the screen, and Lai lai came merrily as arguments over playing with cousin’s toys had now begun and he had just declared “I don’t like you” to cousin who fortunately doesn’t know English, while Niece who does wasn’t in earshot. So down to the terraced garden/orchard we went with Smelly discovering his now derelict old play house, which M wants to renovate for sentimental reasons.
While I was worrying about uneven steps with no rails, Lai lai the fearless adventurer climber had no problems stepping over overgrown fig tree branches. Fatso stormed ahead determined to find the tree which bore the shiny red apples, he needs no guiding, he has his own internal food radar. Strangely though, after discovering the exact right tree he was only interested in picking one and eating it. He showed no desire to pick lots and take them home for later, which surprised me. It was Lai lai who got into the apple picking. Suddenly, the smallest of them all was attempting to grab apples as big as his hands, and as many of them as he could. It took a few attempts and dropped apples but he managed to get 4 in his arms. A bag was called for, it was clear that 4 apples was not going to be enough, he wanted lots more. Niece’s husband made a very poor effort to throw a ball of plastic bags from the balcony. Eventually a happy Lai lai had me following behind with bags and was expertly selecting the reddest apples with his tiny hands.
He filled two carrier bags, and at that point we had to force him to stop. I had been feeling bad that while back in the UK I have yet to take them to a pick your own farm. I have no idea why I’d worried, sister-in-law’s yayla orchard was just as good, if not better because it was free.
Fatso was most impressed with the ginormous bag of apples and held it on his lap all the way home. He refused to put it down despite the weight and the length of the drive. Now we have a bowl piled high with apples and a lovely bag of bitter cherries. Time to start making jam, but as I am back to work again that will have to wait till tomorrow, somewhere between work and preparing Ifthar.