Friends of mine took a radical decision to move far from the madding crowd; from Istanbul to Şirince. And they did well! They are now located in an amazing villa of which they will be renting some of the rooms and also running a coffee place. They planted vegetables and roses in the garden, which are blossoming now slowly. Premises are named Villa Nikbin, a Persian word that means optimism, positive thoughts.
Şirince is an unusual village located in south west Turkey, close to İzmir. While the world was ending to an apocalypse according to Mayan calendar in December 2012, Şirince was believed be one of the only safe places in the world, so that all Hollywood high society was floated here, to this tiny mountain village with 200 houses. After that to this day it’s still sort of touristic, while it kept the natural Aegean village pattern.
It is said that the settlement was found by slaves who escaped from Ephesus, the 3000 year old ancient city nearby. Meaning it was rooted by independence seekers. And has a similar meaning for me personally as well: For some years I’m following the wonderful works of the Mathematics Village and the Theater Madrasa. They give me hope that wonderful things also happen in this country, located in Şirince.
So I decided to pay a visit to see my friends over there to breathe a bit of the creative soul of the town. And I did well! Time stops there, just pure peace. Every evening in two-three spots of the villa there is open fire, grilling over the nights, meat marinated, days pass in calm, evenings just chilling by the fire… And we spent nights listening vinyls by the fireplace.. And mornings passed slowly around rich breakfasts in the terrace…
And in one of those mornings, a breakfast table designed for the guests of the pension was set for me. It’s a typical rich Turkish breakfast with honey, thickened cream, olive oil, fruits, cheese, local olives, walnut filled fig and gigantic local bread with corn and chickpea flour baked in open fire ovens in the square.
But this table, which is the pure source of happiness, was featuring two specialties of Nikbin Konak; bruschetta and menemen (eggs with tomatoes) in clay-pot. Bruscetta is an Italian specialty based on garlic olive oil spread on toasted bread and served with a combination of vegetables. It’s yummy, especially if the best quality olive oil and tomatoes are used. Menemen is a very beloved Turkish specialty, eggs cooked slowly in onion, tomatoes and peppers. But there were no peppers in this case and it smelled deliciously of Mediterranean due to fresh oregano topping.
- sliced bread
- cherry tomatoes
- crumbled feta cheese
- black olives
- lemon, oregano
- virgin olive oil
- Toast the breads in pre-heated oven
- In a small bowl, beat the smashed garlic with olive oil. Set aside
- In another bowl, mix cheese and pitted olives. Add oregano, lemon and olive oil
- Just before serving add cubed tomatoes and salt.
- Spread the garlic olive oil on the toasted bread first, then place the tomato mix with a spoon.
- Serve fresh before bread gets mushy.
- two tomatoes
- 4 eggs
- olive oil or butter
- salt, black pepper
- fresh oregano
Menemen [Eggs in Clay-pot] Recipe:
- Add olive oil or butter to the clay-pot on small fire. Cook cubed onions until golden
- Add grated tomatoes, salt and freshly ground pepper
- When tomatoes are cooked and got a bit dry (don’t wait until too dry) break the eggs and mix
- Take away from fire when eggs are cooked. Add fresh oregano and mix once.