Results tagged “maras pepper”

Turkey II: Syria (nearly) to Greece

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Smmountainpass0001.JPGAfter our epic journey to Erzurum, we had a very long day's drive ahead of us to get to Mardin and the south-east.  Partly because it's quite a long way; partly because we took quite a roundabout route.  But also because as well as getting stopped by the police as usual, we started getting stopped by the army.  This is PKK country: villages have military watchtowers, and roads have frequent checkpoints.  (Perhaps a bit like Northern Ireland in the 1970s, but with more kebabs.) There's a fair amount of traffic, though, so you'd have thought they'd have seen someone like Anna driving a Land Rover before, but apparently not: once the first soldier saw who was at the wheel, he immediately called the rest of the squad over for a laugh.

But it was definitely worth the drive.  Not only was the south-east probably the highlight of the trip (although it's a close call), we went on from that to see the centre and the coast in ways that most tourists don't get to do - mostly because of the people we met.

So read on for stories of underground ovens, underwater cities, pizzas as long as Anna is tall, and ice cream you eat with a knife and fork.

A pepper pilgrimage

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smistanbulspicepazar0001.JPGAs ubiquitous as the aubergine is the pepper (biber), in all its versions:  red hot chilli peppers, fat bell peppers and numerous thinner green varieties.  The fresh green pepper - longer, thinner and paler than a regular bell, and sometimes with some pleasing heat - must be used in 8 out of 10 savoury Turkish dishes.  It adds a wonderful fresh pepperiness (for want of a better word) to meat stews, vegetable meze, egg dishes and more.  Its fatter bell cousin is usually stuffed with rice and flavourings. But it was the chilli pepper that really caught our interest ...

Özge's boiled egg meze

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This recipe is really thanks to Zeliha İrez, Özge’s mother, but I’m naming it after Özge as she helped make it while we stayed with them.  In fact, Özge has not (yet) taken after her mother kitchen-wise, but does know how to boil an egg.  This is a great little starter or amuse bouche, and so simple to make. Go on, try it!

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