Tuesday, 24 January 2012
Oranges are not the only fruit
In 1983, we were chucked out of our little house in Bodrum, with just 7 days notice as the landlady turned up in our (her) garden with other plans. Reading Jack Scott's brilliant blog and book, perkingthepansies.com I see that rental agreements on the Bodrum peninsula are still as precarious today as they were then. Our misfortune was that we were homeless a couple of days before Kurban Bayram, the biggest holiday of the year and every hotel, pansiyon and spare room in Bodrum was full. One of the local boat builders took pity on us and said we could rent his house in the middle of Bitez mandarin orchards. The house had three rooms but no electricity, no bathroom and an outside alaturka loo. It also had no direct access. We had to walk from the main road, over a stream and through two gardens, carefully avoiding the 3 meter wide, open well. We agreed the rent at the equivalent of £6 a month as it stood. We spent a romantic candle-lit few days over the Bayram and by the end of the next week had electricity poles up and lights. We spent two years in the house surrounded in spring by citrus blossom; the best scent on earth, and in the winter we kept colds at bay by consuming a month's worth of vitamin C every day. I made loads of marmalade while I lived in Bitez and always spent hours preparing the oranges. I haven't made it since until this weekend and thanks to the "wonders of the internet" I found a recipe that told me to boil the oranges for a hour first, then de-pulp and cut up the rind. Brilliant idea, it took less than 10 minutes to get the fruit ready. It was a bit of a let down having to get the turunc (sour oranges) from the market not the tree, but the marmalade tastes just as good as it did 29 years ago.