Sunday, April 8, 2012

This weekend, many of our friends and family members are celebrating Easter with large dinners, chocolate bunnies and colored eggs.

Why should they have all the fun when we are thousands of miles away?

So we decided to celebrate Easter at home in Istanbul and share some of the holiday traditions with my husband's Turkish colleagues.

Celebrating holidays abroad isn't always easy. See last year's Thanksgiving Challenges post. But we're pretty good sports and make the best of everything as often as we can. 

First, I bought some Easter decorations and Greek egg-coloring kits from this small shop near the Ramada Hotel called Hobby Dekorasyon in the Pangaltı neighborhood. Thanks to another friend's recommendation, I found this shop. The staff is helpful, and the prices are reasonable. 
Second, I bought some Easter chocolates from Kahve Dunyasi. I'm surprised to see how many of the pastry and chocolate shops here in Istanbul are currently stocked full of Easter candy. Somehow, this traditional Christian holiday has worked its way into the Turkish world here. I'm guessing people are just partaking in the commercial aspect of  Easter and it's something fun for the kids to do.

Thirdly, we had to go to my friendly butcher guys at Kardeşler Kasabı in Beşiktaş and explain that we wanted a kuzu incik (lamb shank) to feed 8 people. But my version of a lamb shank and their version differed. 

So through our broken Turkish and some hand gesturing, my butcher just brought out the whole hind quarters of a male lamb. We just pointed out what part of the lamb we wanted and we got a beautiful 2.2 kilo leg of lamb. I can't imagine EVER getting this kind of service in the U.S.!

Jason found this cinnamon-cardamom infused recipe for Braised Lamb Shanks with Swiss Chard. He was in charge of making the lamb while I made hot cross buns, bulgur pilaf, my macaroni and cheese casserole, roasted carrots and potatoes with mint, parsley, dill and rosemary; and for dessert, individual ramekins with sour cherry clafoutis. We had a busy afternoon!
Our braised lamb shank about halfway through the cooking process.
But we got to share this delicious Easter dinner with Jason's Turkish colleagues and chat over wine. Then, we had fun coloring and dyeing Easter eggs.
Our Easter dinner table spread at home in Istanbul.
Happy Easter wherever you are!

Where to find seasonal and holiday decorations in Istanbul:

  • Hobby Dekorasyon, Kurtuluş Cad. No:30 in Pangaltı, Sisli
Guess what we're having for breakfast for the next couple of days?
Our friend, Sinan, made Rastafarian-colored Easter eggs.
We used crayons to color silly faces and designs on the eggs before we dyed them.

Tagged: , ,


jaz@octoberfarm said...

oh what fun! i bet your friends enjoyed the experience! my wonderful leg of lamb is in the freezer until after i am repaired. cooking one handed is a real challenge. not to mention typing too!!! have a great easter! joyce

Erica (Irene) said...

Love your Easter eggs....great colours. My husband came from Turkey about 30 years ago and he's more into my holidays then some from here. I also think it's the commercial aspect of it.
Have a great Easter and dinner. Glad you could find some things for the Easter holiday!

Joy said...

@Joyce, I think our friends did. I've been a bit MIA this week with my cousins in town, so I don't know what happened. I'll need to catch up on what I missed in the blogging world. Gecmis olsun!

@Erica (Irene), Thank you and Happy Easter to you and yours as well. It was kinda funny as the guy at Kahve Dunyasi told me "Iyi bayramlar" and was asking about "Pasqua." =)

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i have had plenty of bad cuts too and skin baked in cookies.....shhhhh...don't tell anyone! this was a really bad accident. so weird! i just can't wait to have surgery if i could reach an actual person and not just voicemail. soooo frustrating!

Joy said...

@Joyce, yes, your glass jar incident sounds particularly painful and awful! Good luck with the surgery. And in the meantime, try and rest a bit. ;-)

Mrs Ergül said...

What a spread! Your guests must have enjoyed the celebrations!

Mrs Ergül said...

What a spread! Your guests must have enjoyed the celebrations!

Joy said...

@Mrs Ergül, thank you! Our Turkish friends really got a kick out dyeing the Easter eggs. Even when you're adults, you can still have fun! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Dear Joy,
Easter is not just something commercial in Turkey. Istanbul is the center of Orthodox Christians. Therefore many Orthodox people from all over the world come to Istanbul to celebrate Easter and Christmas every year. Also in the Ottoman times there have been many shops that used to sell Easter eggs and pastry.

Anonymous said...

good old days.

Easter Travel said...

Love your Easter eggs great colors and well decorated. I think your friends enjoyed the experience!

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