I'm doing the fun Sample Sunday Cookoff again this week! You can read an excerpt from my romantic comedy mystery, My Perfect Wedding, and discover the recipe for Turkish Köfte (meatballs). I'm sure some of you will notice a pattern of lots of garlic in my recipes! It must be the Mediterranean in me. Still, at least it proves I'm not a vampire! Garlic has also got fantastic health benefits, and you can also read an older post about how fab it is...

My Perfect Wedding...

‘I want to get a look at the Queen Cleopatra sculpture while we’re here. I have to see it. It could be the only chance I ever get to actually look at it in real life,’ Kalem whispered to me. 

‘Is it already on display? Or are they just putting it out on the opening night?’

Kalem shrugged. ‘I have no idea. The article didn’t say. But I have to try and get a glimpse of it if it’s already here.’

‘Are you really sure you want to look at it? It’s cursed. You might die if you look at it.’ I sighed. All this talk about nuts and statues was wearing me out. I felt a hopeless fatigue settle over me. Maybe I was just weak from hunger and needed something to eat.  

‘It’s not cursed.’ He shook his head at me.

‘Hmm,’ I said in a disbelieving tone.

We peered into the bar areas. No ugly statue. Good. 

‘How about the restaurants?’ Kalem said.

Nope, we peeked in all of them. Lots of party-frocked and poshly-suited people, but no sculpture. We covered the ground floor and couldn’t see it. What a shame. Not!
 
‘What about the lower ground floor?’ Kalem suggested. ‘Maybe it’s down there somewhere.’ 

We descended the stairs to the lower ground floor. Wow! The hotel was huge. Classy – and obviously very expensive – boutiques lined either side of a large walkway. As the boutiques came to an end, the spa and fitness centre loomed in front of us. We didn’t bother looking in there. Unless Cleopatra was finally getting an upper lip wax, it seemed an unlikely place to show it. 

We had a choice of going to the casino, or taking another walkway off to the pool, beach, and the hotel’s own port. 

Hmm, probably not enough time to go traipsing around the pool. ‘Let’s look in the casino then.’

‘OK.’

I felt like I’d stepped into a scene from Oceans 11. Lots of ching ching and bling bling going on. 

We eased our way around the poker tables, roulette wheels, and various slot machines, and came across a free merchandise stand. I ignored it. Why would I want a baseball cap or T-shirt with Plaza Casino on it? Instead, something much more interesting caught my eye: A free buffet area. My stomach growled at me. I hadn’t eaten anything since lunchtime. God, I was starving. Yes, that was definitely what I needed. Food.

I grabbed a plate and hastily piled it high with food: some warm, fresh Turkish bread topped with toasted sesame seeds and aniseed, garlicky humus, some spicy Turkish meatballs, and salad.

What are you doing?’ Kalem raised an eyebrow at me.

‘I’m starving,’ I said, in between shovelling food in my mouth. ‘I’ll be two minutes. You go and look for it while I eat this. I don’t really want to clap eyes on the ugly sculpture anyway. It might give us an even bigger curse.’

Kalem disappeared on his mission while I stood at the buffet, scoffing. My eyes wandered around the room, taking in the high-rollers betting thousands of pounds on the flick of a chip. I was just studying the sombre expression of a business-suited elderly guy with a woman hanging on his arm who looked about twelve, when I stopped eating mid-bite.

It was Ferret Face. Here! In the casino. With us!

His black beady eyes darted around, as if casing the joint; getting the lie of the land, so to speak (think I’d heard those expressions in a crime movie once).

An icy chill slammed through my veins.

Copyright © Sibel Hodge 2009

My Perfect Wedding is available in paperback and all ebook formats. For more details, please check out my Books page.

 
Here's the recipe for scrummy Turkish Köfte 

Ingredients (serves 6)

1 lb ground beef or lamb (or turkey for healthier option)
1 big onion, grated
1 egg
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley 
2 tsp dried chilli flakes or fresh chopped chillis (optional)
½ tsp cinnamon
pepper and salt to taste
4 cloves crushed garlic (or more if you're not a vampire!)

Method

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl using your hands. Then knead it like dough to bring all the ingredients together. Grab egg size pieces and round them in your hands like a hamburger. 

Grill or fry them in a pan until they turn golden brown, or for best results barbeqeue them! 

They taste delish served with Cacık (minted yoghurt dip)

200g/7oz Natural yoghurt
2 tbsp dried mint
2 cloves crushed garlic
Juice of half a lemon
Salt to taste
Tablespoon of olive oil
Top with a pinch of cayenne pepper

Serve with warm flatbread or pitta bread.

Enjoy!

Sibel XX