It's been wet! There's no other way to describe it - we've had a ridiculous amount of rainfall here in the Aegean this winter. Record amounts, in fact, you only have to look at the window to see puddles everywhere but we also happened to have put up a weather station and it the rainfall is off the chart.
The last few months have seen so much rainfall that the prices of fresh produce have taken a hit and vendors at the market place look so glum. Who can blame them, the food they're buying from the Hal is a record high, and they have to pass that in the market to cries of 'Are you serious?', 'I'm not paying that for broccoli!' and will you take *Lira. They apologies, the reject offers, and they ask the market goes - have you seen the fields?- They're waterlogged Brother.'
From time to time we've seen the sunbeams cracking the clouds, and it gives hope of dryer days. Last weekend like so many we headed to the beach, the sand was damp, the pavements littered with deep puddled, but there was the glorious sun.
It lasted a day before the heavens opened again but February, is a short month and if we can get through it with occasional days with sunlight then there is hope!
In the market the prices are high, the moods are low but if we focus what on offer and make wise decisions we can eat ourselves to health and joy with tasty finds.
At this time, we focused on the beauties of the season and said that we should leave winter with health and joy. Recipes that a full of comforting flavour but speckled with rays of bright colours. Cold-fighting vitamin-packed fruits and veg are perfect to get us through the gloomy days peppered with sunrays.
To get me those antioxidant and mood-boosting tastes in the local market I'm on the lookout for
Mandarines/Tangerines (Mandalina), Oranges both sweet (Portakal) and sour (Turunç).
Although these are not lasting very well after market day because the wet weather is making them mould rather quickly, in the short window they offer, they're perfect for cheese boards, snacking and with some luck bitter orange peel marmalade.
Apples (Elma), Pears (Armut) and Quince (Ayva) all make delicious sweet treat deserts like Ayva Tatlısı.
Pomegranate (Nar) for colour bursting garnishes and boiling down to make molasses.
Pumpkin, (Bal Kabağı) for both savoury and sweet treats - I'm aching to make the pumpkin cheesecake again!
And local bananas. (Yerli Muz)
In the vegetable section I'll be using:
Celeriac (Kereviz), Leek (Pırası) and Broccoli (Broccoli), carrot (Havuç) and cauliflower (Karnabahar).
Fresh herbs, Spinach (Ispanak), Chard (Pazı) and Beetroot leaves are all fab veggie-based meals as well as in boreks -perfect for tea breaks and super.