Monday, February 28, 2011

Exploring Izmit: Kefken Rocks

Kefken rocks! Well, yes it does but I think it's called Kefken Rocks or Rocks of Kefken. Awesome God creation - ahhh the beauty of Turkey!

only nature can paint such a perfect pristine picture

Our first day of 2011 was spent exploring the city of Izmit, specifically Kerpe and Kefken on the Black Sea cost. It was a day spent with the entire Demirkol family. The weather, although a bit cold, is conducive for a good walk, morning tea and lots of family bonding. Uncle Necmi has a summer house in the area - it is 2 hours, more or less, (roughly 150-km) away from Istanbul on the black sea coast. It is quality time away from the city noise of Istanbul. The place is fairly secluded, quiet, relatively unspoiled and best part - perfect, green landscapes along the way.

We had fun exploring the Kefken red cliff/ rocks in the morning. I could only imagine the sunset view. It must be spectacular.  It was great fun exploring the rocks with the family.

pure happiness  - me, my husband's shadow and kefken rocks
almost all of us!
perfect black sea coast

the town and pension houses!
It is proving to be a perfect way to start our year - we have been so inspired since.

Keep exploring!

Turkish Dishes: Leek with Olive Oil

Starting the week off with my wife's favorite dish! She can eat all servings in one meal.

Leek with olive oil

What you will need:
4 leeks, sliced into 1-inch thick
2 carrots, sliced
1/2 cup of rinsed rice
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 mid-sized chopped onion
1 table =spoon tomato paste
1 cup of hot water

How to cook:
Before starting , make sure to wash the leek and carrots well.

First, toss the chopped onion into the hot pot with olive oil. Wait until onion pieces turn pinkish. You can then add the sliced carrots. Cook for five minutes before adding the cut leeks with rice. After 5 minutes,you can add hot water into the mixture. Leave the mixture to cook until rice gets softened. It will take 15 minutes in medium heat.

Serve hot.

Afiyet Olsun!

Exploring Istanbul: Balcony of Istanbul

We were married in this place and going back and enjoying the night life with kids is just pure bliss.Balcony of Istanbul is  a really awesome view; the bar and restaurant is fantastic though, not really a five-star kind of fantastic. But it's definitely a happening place in Istanbul especially during weekends.

It is a dream come true for me to take the kids in this place since Kylie started to ask lots of question about marriage and weddings - no thanks to Disney stories. Of course, foreseeing palaces and white horses, she was very disappointed to see the bar and restaurant where we had our wedding reception. No, we were not married in a palace - we were married in Kartal Municipality for the civil wedding and at our parents' home for the Islamic wedding. But a man's house is his palace - so, if you think that way, we were married in a palace. Not appreciating the humor, it gave the princess kid more disappointment. Goodness, I hope Kerim won't share this phase.

So here goes my Mommy and Me moment during one fine night. Summer is just around the corner in this part of the world so I have to put that boots in storage until next winter. Note to self: Must get new power shoes.

Mommy, the kids, the boots in Camlik Bar and Restaurant - our version of fairy tale

Love. Live. Explore!

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Exploring Izmir: Alsancak Cornish

On the way back from our first "exclusive" family adventure in Denizli, Pamukkale, we had to pass by Izmir for the second time while waiting for our plane going back to Istanbul.

We stayed in the Cornish and kinda observe the rush hour of the city. It's nothing compared to Doha and reminded be of the rush in Manila. However, everybody walks and very very few people flag a taxi. In Manila, commuters either chase an overloaded bus, jeepneys and taxis!

I really love the view of observing the rush hour to my left and the view of the sea to my right while having dinner and/ or chilling with beer. That would be an awesome thing to do after office hours. Shame I won't be able to experience this. Well, if I do someday, somehow, it has to be when the kids are all grown up so we don't have to literally run home after office hours to be able to spend quality time with them. Oh that's long shot. 

along the Cornish
While waiting, we ate dinner by the Cornish. Kylie tasted one of the most popular street food in Turkey, mussels with rice.
Kylie's favorite food in Turkey - mussels with rice
she finished three of this - oh boy
Of course, Cihangir enjoyed Turkish team while I settled for a cola for energy boost. Good thing because the plane got delayed for thirty minutes and the kids were cranky while waiting. But it ended up so well. Exploring with them is always fun!

Keep exploring!

Turknoy's 101st Blog Post!

Don’t you just love that number? I have thought about blogging for several years but I was so preoccupied with lots of silly things such as attending to the family’s needs, teaching the kids and working– ha!

But excuses no more! Blogging relaxes me so I am blogging away Plus the idea of earning from blogs makes me optimistic (common people, click ads away!). Of course, it’s not going to replace the monthly salary I am so blessed with my current occupation – but I am blogging for free, as a stress reliever and as a training for my writing skills (which doesn’t amount to much!)

For less than two months, I managed to start joining the husband in the kitchen, started the homeschooling program for the kids ,got motivated to get social in Doha community and made me appreciate my work and my life!. Big YAY for blogging! I believe now that we only have something to blog, if we live and love, right? Unless, of course, we rant about everything in our blogs – that could make lots of blog entries!

In that short period, my blog stats have increased gradually which I owe to all my followers. My web ranking is continually upgraded. My followers increasing. My next goal is to have deeper connection to people around the blog world and to make meaningful online relationship. And that I think should be my ultimate goal: blogging results not number of followers; Number of people lives touched, not number of views.

The intangible benefits of blogging are tremendous. It could be life changing if we allow it to be. I am just very happy not I am not “too busy” with lots of things. It’s how life should be. We juggle priorities, yes, but it doesn’t mean that we let the smaller balls in our lives float in the air (assuming what we juggles are balls - metaphorically!) We have to make time to something we love to do; even though we think, it won’t fit.

So I make time to blog. And by I, I meant the entire Turknoy family.

We blog about our adventures. We blog about the reasons behind it. We blog because we want to continually improve our lives.

Love. Cook. Eat Healthy. Blog about it! 

PS: Taking this opportunity for a roundup of our current pages. These pages will change entirely based on our family’ life’s progress.

Our Family Adventures - Exploring, dining out, learning and many more
Leng Writes  - Mommy's point of views on everything; raving about life, ranting very little
Cihangir Cooks  - husbands cook Turkish dishes but recently wife joined him to innovate certain meals - Turknoy dishes!
About Us - Who are the Turknoys
Contact Us - and we will reply!
Link Exchange - selection of blogs and articles we really really love

PPS: Linking it up here: 


Turkish Dishes: Ezo Gelin Soup

Ezo Gelin Soup

This soup is one of the Turkish soup which has been cooked for ages. It is very easy to prepare.

What you will need:
1 cup of red lentil
1 cup of bulghur (thin)
1 small onion
3 teaspoon butter
2 teaspoon tomato paste
2 pinch red pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper paste
2 teaspoon dry mint
2 pinch salt
7 cups of water

How to cook:
First, place your chopped onions with butter until the onion turns pinkish. After that, tomato and red pepper pastes need to be mixed and other ingredients to follow. Add the warm water. After boiling , let the soup simmer for about 5 minutes in low heat and close the pot lid.

You can also boil the red lentils in a separate pot then pour in a mixer to get better taste of the soup.

Add a slice of lemon to make your dish tastier. Serve hot.

''Afiyet Olsun!''

The Kid Can Cook

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal (Pilot)

Thoughts lead to action - I hope.

I finally found a way to articulate my thoughts on homeschooling. I have been doing lessons to my kids at a regular basis but with no structure and all. I also try to supplement a lot daily. For me our exploring is part of my homeschooling. There are also lots of things we do at home which can be consider homeschooling. I hope, i get to keep this organized and I intend to join this journey through this home school journal.

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week...
are thoughts of homeschooling.

In our homeschool this week...

It was Kylie's half term break at KG2 (Reception), so we went to lots of places, read lots of books of Dr. Seuss, Fancy Nancy and Oxford Reading Tree Stage 2 (she finds the latter really easy) and started addition (adding 1-3 to numbers 1-30). I have been meaning to start our topic on The World, gather resources but yet to start. 

Kerim, 18 months today, started his phonics lessons and can manage to speak A, K, P. I read to him books in English and my husband, in Turkish, but still can't get his attention long enough.

Places we're going and people we're seeing...
This week, we went to
Circus at the Souq, Logos Hope Floating Book Shop , Taste & Fun Food Festival., Bowling Centre and Fish Market. 

My favorite thing this week was...
starting cooking healthy food. 

What's working/not working for us...
I suppose what's working for us is exploring a lot of places and then relating it to books. But I have to start the formal homeschooling for my toddler really soon. As for my Preschooler, she's doing a great job socializing in school but to quote her: I teach her more than her teacher.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...
How to start toddler in homeschooling.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...

This is Kylie counting 1-10 in different languages. Any home school thoughts for learning languages?

Exploring Izmir: Buca Park and Pazar

It seems like yesterday that we were in Turkey visiting friends. The memories made during the quick visit will stay in our hearts despite being in Doha. We are very keen to get back soon and meet again these lovely Turk friends.

On our way to Denizli, Pamukkale, we had to stay the night in Izmir to be able to catch the bus early in the morning. Cihangir's bestfriend, Cinucen, invited us to stay the night in their beautiful home with open arms. And what a night it was.

To entertain the kids, we walk through the Buca Park and explored the Pazar (Market - similar to the Fish Mark, Fruit and Vegetable Souq we went to last Friday) and we were able to get fresh fish, fruits and vegetable for dinner.

At the park with Cinucen
Kylie meeting someone at the park - tskkkk
Lemons, anyone?

say cheese!
fancy dinner with great friends

bestfriends, raki and EFES! - happiness!
Izmir is such a lovely place indeed, but nothing compared to how big heart of the people residing in the city. It may not be as touristic destination as Istanbul or Denizli, but it will always be special for the Turknoys. Until we meet them again.

Keep exploring!

The Blog Entourage

Turknoy Dishes: Roasted Giant Fish

We had a blast exploring the fish market and the fruit and vegetable souq yesterday. But what's even more fun is the what we cooked and ate after! We have officially started our quest for healthy eating. I think, that is one of the quick wins of blogging, We get to clearly see, read and visualize what IS and what we want it TO BE.

Right now, we eat a lot of unhealthy food, fatty, oily, meaty, you name it, we eat it. What we want is to eat healthy foods, but it has to be affordable and fun as well.

It doesn't have to be Turkish Dishes - although majority of it will be based from what Cihangir knows or what his mom taught him. Most of the dishes will be modified by me who doesn't know the basics of cooking, who can't even distinguish a parsley from a dill, a lettuce from a cabbage (sometimes!). But hey, I know onions and garlic and it's a start right?

Hence, we introduced... drum rolls.... Turknoy Dishes! It may not be as regular as Turkish Dishes but it will something to look forward to. And to kick off - our first Turknoy dish is something so simple, easy to make and so delicious like you're-eyes-will-turn-crossed-eyed-delicious! (In tagalog, nakaduduling na sarap!)

But please bear with us, it won't be as detailed as the husband's recipe. My cooking reflects my personality - anything goes, whatever is available, optimizing things, making it quick and easy, hopeful for great results. Here's me hoping again that someone will understand or even read this recipes.

Roasted Giant Fish (I want to call it Lapu lapu but it didn't turn red so am really not sure about the name of the fish - I suppose our point is, it can be any fish!)

What ingredients I used: 
3+Kilo fish - big, enormous, colossal fish is not a requirement, size of fish is totally up to you.
Olive oil

4 whole garlic bulbs
finger chillies
slices of lemons
salt and pepper to taste
( you can add parsley and lemon grass if you have the patience to buy these things unlike me!)

Prepare the fish. Make 3-4 diagonal cuts or slits on the body of the fish, season with salt and pepper and stuff some thin lemon slices and dill into the cuts.

Prepare the "aromatics" bed. Saute the ingredients in the olive oil and place the ingredients mixture in the big roasting dish. Drizzle additional olive oil in the bed as you wish.

aromatic bed
with the fish - i know, we got too big fish; next time we'll get something smaller
Put in the oven for 30 minutes each side. And serve hot. For Pinoy, serve with rice. For Turks, serve with the potato and other ingredients in the aromatics bed as side dish.

Roasted Garlic

The roasted garlic is a meal in itself. Cihangir loved it - wished I could have included more whole garlic bulbs. So next time, smaller fish and more garlic bulbs for us.

Afiyet Olsun!


Between the Lines

Roasted Fish

Turkish Dishes: Turkish Style Meatball

Turkish Style Meat Ball

We love meatballs especially the kids. It just may take a little while to prepare as it contains herbs and pepper.

What you will need:
400 grams minced meat
2 table spoon cumin
1 table spoon red pepper powder
2 table spoon bread crumbles
1 table spoon salt
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 onion-chopped
1 egg

How to prepare:
Mix all ingredients. Let the mixture rest for about 20 minutes in the fridge.  The bread crumbles will absorb the moisture.

With your palm,  roll the minced meat to balls and then flatten with 1-cm thickness.
Deep fry the meatballs on medium heat until dark red.

Serve with parsley.

Afiyet Olsun!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Exploring Doha: Fish Market and Fruits and Vegetable Souq

To get fresh ingredients for our Turkish Dishes blog, off we went to the Fish Market along Salwa Road and since the Fruits and Vegetable Souq is nearby, we explored the market as well. "Souq" in Arabic means market or marketplace.
It is  a great sight to see wheelbarrows full of fish, fruits and vegetables towards the buyer's cars. We didn't need wheelbarrows as we explored the souq as a team of Turknoys.

our explorer team - inside the fish market!
love the classic market wheelbarrows!

Although a bit fish-smelly and the place is packed with lots of consumer wanting to get fresh produce, buying fish, fruits and vegetables are here is a way cheaper than in the supermarket. Not to mention,  higher quality as these produce are really fresh.

The Turknoys enjoyed running and jumping around the fruit and vegetable souq, not so much in the fish market. It was very crowded and floor is understandably very wet.Yes, it is not a good idea to bring kids in these places, but hey, we are the explorers. One very good thing is that , the kids are good way to haggle. We always get freebies from the very kind vendors. All of them just adore kids.

healthy food, healthy kids

With the fish, vegetable and fruits we got today, we are looking forward to a week of healthy meals.

Keep exploring!


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