A week in Cirali

We have now been in Cirali for a week. Still very much in love with this beautiful rural place, we have been making the most of our time here.
Everyday seems to get hotter and stickier, and we have been relocated to a dirty tent, next to ‘turkish’ toilet, i.e. a hole in the ground with a cold tap on top in the place of a shower. Needless to say that we are getting smellier by the day!  And seeing each other in such states we’re really getting to know each other!

Regardless of the conditions, spirits are still high and it’s the people we meet that really make this place special. We have found the Turkish people to be extremely warm and welcoming, constantly inviting us into their homes or shops for tea or refreshing pomegranate juice. Equally, we have met a variety of tourists, each with their own stories and trips to tell.

Drinking 'chy' in a little DIY shop with our new friends Freddie and Suzanne
Drinking ‘cay’ in a little DIY shop with our new friends Freddie and Suzanne

Apart from drinking tea, being turtle heroes and lazing on the beach, we have been exploring the area, local markets and ancient sites. A notable experience was our attempt to go hiking. After hearing various stories of amazing hiking trails we set off towards the mountains. Five minutes in we were already drenched in sweat and halfway through our only bottle of water. We somehow managed to go very much off the beaten track, ending up on our hands and knees climbing hot rocks that gave way under our feet. There was plenty of swearing, tears, and moody ‘Kirsty faces’, but four hours later we were back on ground with only minor cutsand grazes; parched, sunburnt and famished. We just about made it to the local restaurant Yoruk, an authentic favorite, gulped a liter of water each and ordered a feast. The food in Turkey is cheap and delicious, using so much fresh tasty produce.

A feast at
A feast at “Yoruk”

Below is a recipe for pomegranate juice, an extremely refreshing and hydrating drink that has been helping us get through the hot summer days. Pomegranate trees grow in mass here, and thus the beautiful jewel seeds are found in many dishes and drinks. In middle eastern food they are often used in salads, or sprinkled on dips.

Pomegranate Juice Recipe

This recipe makes a bit less than a litre and measurements are approximate.

– 4 large pomegranates
– 500ml cold water or a mix of water and crushed ice
– 1 lemon optional
– 1 or 2 tbsp sugar optional

To open a pomegranate without losing any juice or breaking seeds, gently score the skin in quarters and pull the fruit apart. Loosen the seeds and separare from pith and skin using your hands. Less messier but you risk losing juice, is to do this procedure in a bowl of water. The seeds will sink to the bottom and the pith will float.

Once the seeds are separated, discard the skin and pith (the skin may be kept and used to dye fabric). Put the seeds and any juice into a plastic bag, close/zip and crush gently with a bottle end or rolling pin. Although cooking the fruit may reduce the health benefits of the juice, one can boil the seeds, water, sugar and lemon if using in a pan then leave to simmer. This allows for a sweeter and smoother drink.

If you have a blender or food processor simply blend the seeds, water, sugar and lemon for about 3 minutes until liquid.

The next step is to strain the juice with a cheesecloth or any available strainer. The drink should be left to chill in the fridge a few hours before drinking. On hot days we choose to directly freeze our bottle of juice, taking it out approximately 30 minutes prior to consumption. Although not always easy to pour this gives a slushee like texture and is so refreshing! Enjoy!

Variations: There are many ways of play with this recipe. The lemon adds a citrus kick whilst the sugar reduces the acidic kick. We tend to enjoy our juice without sugar. Another way the Turkish serve their juice is to mix it with fresh orange juice. This is a really refreshing treat! You could also simply freeze some orange juice in ice cubes and add them to your pomegranate juice when serving. Another suggestion, slightly less authentic, is to mix champagne and pomegranate. Try it, you’ll see, its a pure delight!

Fresh pomegranate juice!
Fresh pomegranate juice!

If you like this recipe or have other similar recipes, please comment below and share. We would love to hear how else you use pomegranates.

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