Tag Archives: regional specialities

Hünkar Ocakbaşı

Xmas Tree 1 9" x 6" Acrylic on mount board

Xmas Tree 1
9″ x 6″ Acrylic on mount board

Last weekend we went to Patara wıth some frıends to see the results of the latest  work and the restored Lycian Assembly building alone is worth the visit.  Afterwards we popped into Kalkan for lunch and found it mostly closed up for the winter apart from some very expensive restaurants down on the quayside.  Then, further up, we found Hünkar Ocakbaşı and can recommend it for it’s hearty, delicious and inexpensive regional specialities.  Ocakbaşı means fireside or chimney corner and that’s basically where you sit in this cozy little place.  Anyway, the ambiance got me thinking of Christmas so I’ve started a series of Xmas tree pictures with the vague idea of using one or two as artwork for xmas cards.  I’m finding them perfect subjects to continue exploring this style.


Nar 9" x 6" Acrylic on mount board


This region is blessed with a Mediterranean climate and abundant water and could be described as a huge market garden.  Everywhere you look the trees are laden with fruit, the greenhouses are full to bursting and the market stalls are creaking under the strain.  I must confess I can live without figs and melons but I do get especially excited by the prospect of pomegranate juice and the arrival of fresh walnuts.  Talking of melons, last year I was given a pomegranite the size of a honeydew melon!

Armagnac or Rakı?

Armagnac Autumn. A Gascony landscape with vines and lavender. 13" x 10" Acrylic on card

Armagnac Autumn. A Gascony landscape with vines and lavender.
13″ x 10″” Acrylic on card

Before we moved to Turkey we had an apartment on the Blv. des Pyrenees in the beautiful French town of Pau. When you drove south the road signs read like a wonderful menu, a litany of famous dishes, wines and culinary delights. Bayonne, Champagne, Camembert, Bourgogne, Evian, Dijon, Roquefort, Bordeaux, Armagnac, Ossau-Iraty ……

Turkish cuisines are regional too and although not quite as famous as their French counterparts they also represent the best and most abundant local ingredients and have a long history.

The cooking of Istanbul, Bursa, Izmir, and rest of the Aegean region shows Ottoman influences with a lighter use of spices, and a preference for rice. The cuisine of the Black Sea naturally uses fish especially the anchovy (hamsi) with Balkan and Slavic influences, and includes maize dishes. The cuisine of the southeast is famous for kebabs and dough-based desserts such as baklava and Kunefe. The cuisines of the Med are rich in vegetables, herbs, and fish while Central Anatolia has many famous specialties, such as kashkak, manti from Kayseri and gozleme (pancakes)

A specialty’s name sometimes includes that of a city or region, and often refer to the specific technique or ingredients used in that area. For example, the difference between an Urfa kebab and Adana kebab is the thickness of the skewer and the amount of chilli it contains. Urfa kebab is less spicy and thicker than adana kebab.