Monday, October 15, 2012


I arrived back in Atyrau on Friday evening, having left California on Wednesday morning and spending Thursday night in Istanbul, which was good for some wonderful fresh fish, but only about three hours sleep.

It has been a busy weekend and Monday, and I must still be a bit jet lagged because I don't really know where to start this blog!  I arrived at Sandra's new apartment which is in what I used to call, incorrectly, Isker, as that is the company behind the development, but is actually called Zheti Kazyna (sort of pronounced Djittee Kasna).  I will introduce you to this new residence in more detail later.

On Saturday we had to do some shopping as Sunday was to be our rather late Canadian Thanksgiving dinner with 11 guests, and I needed to get on and prepare!  The key ingredient was naturally turkey, which Sandra had ordered through the kitchen of Zheti Kazyna, which provides a food supply service.  We got two turkeys about 7 pounds each, the largest they had.  Not only were these the smallest turkeys we had ever seen, but they were also the most expensive!  We supplemented them with a  two pound piece of ham which we also got from the kitchen at a modest $35.00.

So having sourced the meat we needed to make stuffing, vegetables, and of course, pumpkin pie!

Saturday and Sunday were spent in preparing the dinner.  Though to be honest, I woke at 4am on Sunday morning and had it almost all prep-ed and the pies made, before Sandra awoke.

Our guests arrived at 5pm on Sunday, they were all the Canadians, we could find plus Lena, who's parents lived in Canada, and Jon and Aleida (who are Americans and included us as honorary Americans in their Thanksgiving party last year so deserved reciprocation). 

We had those famous turkeys, with cranberry sauce and turkey gravy.  Undecided on the right choice for stuffing I made an English style bacon and chestnut, American style with cranberries and of course a plain Canadian stuffing.  We had roast parsnips, carrots and potatoes, mashed yams with chipotle flavoring and brussel sprouts (chiefly for their value as bubble and squeak, the next day (some of you may have to look that up!).

Our guests arrived on cue with much wine and other goodies. And this is the beauty of the new apartment....we have a large enough table to seat a good sized group of guests, something we have badly missed.

The residence mangement also supplied extra chairs so we could seat all 12 and an half of us round the table.  I wont say 13 as that is an unlucky number for supper, and as one guest was only 2 years old I dont think she will mind if I only call her an half.

I was using the new oven for the first time and it only has instructions in Russian so there was slight technical hitch when it failed to crank up for the last blast of heat for the roast vegetables, but it responded to some fiddling and cursing (under my breath) and came on.  People were drinking and chatting anyway, so only the few jet lagged guests really noticed, I hope!

Anyway, the turkeys were eventually ready and shown to the guests as evidence, before being taken away and carved.  (I look a bit red because I had my head in the oven!)

The guests at the table.  Jon and James managed to slip out of sight.  We managed to get James later, but Jon somehow got away!
James was especially partial to the roast carrots!

We were quite surprised how much meat there was on the turkeys.  After feeding the whole crew we had enough left to make four chicken pot pies, which we had with bubble and squeak the next evening when we invited Ian and Simon over.  And I still have a large pot of turkey barley soup, made with the stock and another 3 cups of turkey leftovers.

Of course we finished with pumpkin pie, and ice cream.  No pictures of those I am afraid.  The photographer must have gone off duty.

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