The yogurt is back. Those who know me, would know I have a long and obsessive affair with yogurt. But you don't know this. I have found a new and most addictive way of eating it everyday. With orange marmalade. No I'm not kidding you, I have been doing this for the last 2 months almost every single day.
The new affair started on our first day in Turkey. Our first stop was Selcuk, a beautiful small historic town near Ephesus.We stayed in this beautiful boutique hotel, which was surrounded by roses of all colors. Red, pink, white, purple you name it and scented with dried lavender plants on every corner. Quite happy with our online choice of the hotel, we headed for breakfast next morning. At first sight, we thought the arrangement for breakfast was well just say good enough. We did see some local things like dried apricot, olives and fresh strawberries but nothing too Turkish I thought.
With less than great expectations, I walked through the buffet and then came across the yogurt. I murmured, Urgh! they have yogurt, thats good enough for me, that will make my day. And loaded my cup with
lots loads of yogurt. And right next to the yogurt stood a bright orange, full of zest looking orange marmalade. I grabbed some of that too.
As I sat for the breakfast and as one would know, the first thing I had was yogurt. I was in ecstasy. This was not any yogurt my friend, this was divine. It was tangy, creamy, velvety and luscious. Nothing like the store bought sweet tasting yogurt we are used to. And there accidentally happened that I mixed up the marmalade with the yogurt and when love was born. Again, this was just not any marmalade, it was brightly screaming orange, with sweet bits of zests, a perfect balance of sweetness, that bought out the flavors of our humble orange. I had two bowl fulls. I continued to add different nuts and fruits to the yogurt and marmalade base thereafter.
And as we entered into day 2, I understood what this hotel was behind, quality. There food was simple, but delicious. The apricot were not just the dried apricot we buy from our supermarkets. And the same could be said about each and everything they served. By the 4th day I was head over heels in love with the town, people, hotel and roses.
The town had a quiet and almost meditative pace of life. As every evening we walked towards the hotel, people of all age and size would bring out there chairs and play different board games, just outside the cafe. The table had fresh baked breads with olive oil dips spiced with kirmizi biber (Turkish red pepper flakes). At night, the town would be buzzling but yet in a subtle way. It was as if everyone wanted to be lost for a while there. No rush, no hurry. It reminds you of how simple a good life can be.
Since, it is a small town, getting around the town and near by towns was quiet easy. We randomly took Dolmus (Turkish minibus) to almost anywhere. This also gave as the opportunity to visit non touristic towns. The best way to have food in Turkey is to ditch the tourist cafes. They always end up serving mediocre food, which is good I must say but it can be so much better when you end up eating in restaurants, whose sole purpose of existence is not to please the crowd but to please the soul.
Selcuk, has a very special place in my heart. For, may be thats the kind of place I really belong. But, for the time being, I have a much simpler way to revisit it.
Yogurt with Orange Marmalade, walnuts and Pomegranate seeds
1 cup Yogurt*
2 tbsp Orange Marmalade
1 tsp Orange zest**
1/4 cup Pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup Walnuts
*I bought a good quality yogurt this time around to make my own yogurt. I haven't still got around making my own but used some of it this morning.Try to get a thick and velvety Greek style yogurt.
** Its not crazy important to add the zest, but since homemade orange marmalade has not made its way into our kitchen yet, I like the freshness that orange zest imparts.
Top with walnuts, pomegranate seeds and zest.