Whisky & Ginger Truffles – Recipe

IMG_0270 This is a divine classic combination on chocolate, whisky and ginger, evocative of the Scottish Highlands. Use any whisky or rye you like. Enjoy with a glass of something strong or a coffee. Makes about 24 truffles.

Ingredients

  • 225g dark chocolate
  • 3 Tbsp whisky (I used Glenviddich)
  • 15g finely chopped crystallised ginger (or 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
  • 170ml whipping cream
  • 28g unsalted butter, room temperature

To Coat:

110g cocoa powder 1 T ground ginger

Directions

Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Add the whisky and ginger, then set aside.

Place cream and butter in a saucepan and boil over gentle heat (be careful not to let it boil over). When it has bubbled for a few seconds, remove from heat and pour over the chocolate, whisky, ginger mixture. Allow to steep for 5 minutes.

Whisk everything together until smooth. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 90 minutes.

Using an electric hand mixer, beat the mixture for 10 seconds until just fluffy. Cover and put in freezer for 90 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a melon-baller or a teaspoon, scoop individual portions of the truffle mixture onto the tray. Roll into balls with your hands if necessary.

Return to the freezer for another hour and then dust each ball with the cocoa powder/ginger combination.

Store in a single layer at room temperature or bag up as gifts. Will keep for a few days.

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Hot & Sweet Mustard – Recipe

IMG_0263A sweet and tangy mustard which is quick and easy to make and perfectly compliments sausages or smoked meats. Makes about 450ml.

Ingredients

  • 125g (3/4 cup) light brown sugar
  • 1 x 57g (2oz.) tin of Colman’s mustard powder
  • 225ml cider vinegar
  • 60ml (1 cup) honey
  • 3 large eggs, beaten

Directions

Whisk together the sugar and mustard powder in a bowl. Add the vinegar and honey and whisk well. Pass through a fine mesh sieve.

Add beaten eggs and combine.

Put the bowl of mustard mixture over a pan of simmering water in a bain marie. Don’t allow the bowl to touch the hot water, as the eggs may scramble.

Cook the mustard over the water, whisking frequently until the mixture is thick and unctuous and has reached a temperature of 71C (160F).

Add mustard to sterilised jars and store in fridge for up to two months.

Adapted from Christopher Hirsheimer via Bon Appetit

Chilli & Red Pepper Chutney – Recipe

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This lovely chutney is easy to make and a delicious combination of sweet red pepper and spicy chillies. Leave some of the chilli seeds in for extra heat if you wish. A very tasty accompaniment to cheese or meat. Makes about 3 large jars or several small!

Ingredients

  • 8-10 fresh red chillies
  • 8 red peppers
  • Olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 stick cinnamon (about 5cm)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 150ml balsamic vinegar

Directions

Blacken your chillies and red peppers in a griddle pan or under a hot grill. Remove and place in a bowl covered with cling film to cool.

Once cool, remove skins, stalks and seeds and blend in a food processor. Set aside.

Saute the onions, rosemary, bay leaves and cinnamon slowly in a pan until onions are caramelised (at least 20 minutes).

Add the pepper and chilli mixture to the onions, along with the brown sugar and vinegar. Combine well and continue cooking until the liquid evaporates and you’re left with a sticky chutney. Remove bay leaves and cinnamon. Season well to taste.

Put into sterilised jars and leave to cool. Store in a cool, dark place. If in jars, they should last for a couple of months.

Adapted from Jamie Oliver.

Shakshuka – Recipe

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My idea of breakfast heaven, I first encountered shakshuka in Egypt. This is an unctuous and spicy one-pan dish of braised eggs, peppers, tomatoes, cumin, harissa, garlic and chilli, similar to the Turkish menemen or Mexican huevos rancheros. Shakshouka means ‘mixture’ in Arabic slang and the dish is thought to have originated in Tunisia. I’ve adapted this recipe from Ottolenghi and added chorizo, red onion and spinach for added depth. Other tasty additions could be feta or other salted sheep’s cheeses, other spicy sausages such as merguez, or preserved lemon or olives. Delicious with crusty white toast. Serves 4-6.

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Ingredients

  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp harissa paste
  • 2 Tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 large red peppers, diced
  • Diced chorizo as desired
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  • 4 medium to large free-range eggs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Handful of roughly chopped coriander leaves

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add red onion and sauté until softened (about 10 minutes).

Add the harissa, tomato puree, peppers, garlic, cumin and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Stir and cook over a moderate heat until peppers are softened (about 8 minutes). Add the tomatoes, spinach and chorizo and simmer for a further 10 minutes until you have a thick sauce. Season to taste.

Make four wells in the sauce. Gently break an egg into each. Use a fork to swirl the egg whites with some sauce, but try not to break the yolks.

Simmer gently, covered for 8-10 minutes until the whites are set but yolks still runny.

Remove from heat and serve on individual plates with toast and some labneh or yoghurt if desired.

Kaş, Turkey – Travel

The Vibe

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Kaş is a small fishing village (ancient Antiphellos), now a laid-back holiday destination with a bohemian vibe. Still relatively unspoilt by mass tourism, Kaş lies on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, between the major tourist airports of Dalaman (2 hour drive) and Antalya (3 hour drive).

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There is much to see and do in the environs of this relaxed little place. Tour companies organise adventure and cultural excursions to the surrounding sights, including the sunken city of Simena, the ruins of Xanthos and Patara, the rock tombs and church of St Nicholas at Myra, and the stunning gorge at Saklikent. Boat skippers also tout their trips every morning in the Old Harbour. World-class hiking trails are plentiful along the Lycian Way.

Kaş itself is a charming and pretty town, with traditional wooden houses lining cobbled streets, secluded shady squares and a small harbour. The main shopping street in the Old Town is Uzun Çarşı Sokak, nicknamed by locals as the slippery street (be warned!) … here you will find tour companies, artisan silver jewellers, carpet shops and art galleries. There is none of the hassle you may find in other Turkish towns, which leaves one to browse blissfully undisturbed. Everyday shopping and supermarkets can be found in the Ataturk Caddesi and a weekly Friday market happens in the bus station there.

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Kaş and the surrounding areas are littered with ruins and you will walk past several. Of note are the King’s Tomb (4th Century BC Lycian sarcophagus) – you can’t miss it at the top of the main shopping street – and the excellently preserved Hellenic Antiphellos amphitheatre, lying west of Kaş main square. Lycian rock tombs nestle in the mountains above and town and are illuminated at night, making them particularly magical.

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Getting There & Around

There are buses from Fethiye, Antalya and Istanbul, but if using an airport transfer, it is much cheaper to book directly with a local firm than to use one of the online booking companies. I used Tunahan Turism who have a good reputation and are very reliable and reasonably priced.

The local dolmas (collective minibus taxi) run very reliably from Kaş Town to nearby beaches, towns and sights.

Eating & Drinking

There are some lovely and picturesque restaurants in the Old Town, but don’t ignore the unassuming restaurants lining Ataturk Caddesi – these can offer cheap and good home-cooked Turkish food.

Kaş offers plenty of choice, from upmarket fish and seafood and traditional meyhanes, to fast food börek, pide and gözleme. For an early evening snack, buy iced almonds or midge dolmas (mussels stuffed with rice) from the street vendors on the seafront.

Click here for my Turkish Food Compendium.

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Three of The Best

Hideaway Cafe Bar
A very chilled place to have a fresh juice or a beer whilst reading your book. They have some amazing cocktails too.
Cumhuriyet Caddesi 16/A

Retro Bistro
Fabulous, quirky cuisine and some very nice organic Turkish wines. I only regret that I didn’t have time to go back for a second visit. I had mezze selection, followed by lamb shanks with pomegranate, quinoa and aubergine paste – one of those meals you remember for a long time.
Andifli Mah. Ibrahim Serin Cad. No:13/A

Deniz Restaurant
Unassuming place on the main road, usually full of locals. Unfussy traditional Turkish fare and friendly service at very reasonable prices.
Ataturk Caddesi

Spiced Caramels – Recipe

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Salted caramel is ubiquitous these days, but here the addition of garam masala gives a subtle spice. Easy to make and there is scope for other flavourings – these would lend themselves well to Christmassy spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. You will need a sugar thermometer. Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus 2 hours for chilling. Makes about 50 squares.

Ingredients

  • 240ml extra thick cream
  • 70g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 vanilla pod, split and scraped (keep the pod for infusion)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 120ml honey
  • 280g granulated sugar
  • Sea salt flakes for sprinkling

Directions

Line a loaf pan with parchment or foil and grease. In a medium saucepan, bring to boil cream, butter, vanilla pod and seeds, salt and garam masala. Remove from heat as soon as it boils, and fish out and discard the vanilla pod. In a large saucepan, heat the honey and sugar over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches 138°C, stirring only at the beginning with a heatproof spatula. When the sugar mixture reaches138°C, strain the cream mixture into it. Be careful as the mixture will bubble furiously. Continue to cook until it reaches 121°C. Remove from heat, stir and pour into prepared loaf tin. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before refrigerating uncovered for 2 hours. Transfer the hardened caramel to a cutting board, sprinkle with sea salt flakes and cut as desired. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks (though they’re too delicious to last that long) Adapted from Aliya LeeKong via Leite’s Culinaria