I do have a soft spot for Oriental desserts, though not for their sweetness. However I could bathe in cinnamon, cardamon, vanilla and rose water. If you then hand me a jar of tahini, ground pistachios or findik ezmisi (Turkish hazelnut butter), I believe you can create some of the best and most flavourful desserts in the world (sorry Italy and France). Just try a spoon of this creamy rosewater rice porridge topped with spiced and sweetened apricots and you know what I’m talking about. It transports you to a different place where the sun is shining, Turkish coffee is served and you get lost in the hustle and bustle of the spice and fruit bazaars….
I already hear you thinking “Kati, the photos are nice but isn’t your blackberry rosemary focaccia a little overbaked (read burnt)?” And I hear you. I like my photos too. But the answer to the second part is “no”. Though when I took the focaccia out of the oven I also thought I went a little too far with my desire to add some crunch to the otherwise more velvety texture of most focaccia breads. And then I panicked for one second and the next I google “Is there such a thing as crispy crunchy focaccia”. Turns out, that’s how the original focaccia is supposed to taste like. Well, almost….
In one of my latest Instagram posts I talked about the concept of home and what it means to me.
Living abroad since more than 12 years, I often get asked if I miss home. I always say no. Then people are confused and ask ‘So where is home for you?’ It’s everywhere. I’ve lived in 10 countries on 4 continents. For me home is not a place. It’s not a mindset, not a feeling. It’s not about nostalgia. And it’s not a person. Not a single experience. Neither is it the sound of crushing waves, nor the smell of my grandma’s cooking. It’s everywhere. In all of the 10 countries I’ve lived, no matter if it was for years or only a few months. It’s also in all of the 70 countries I’ve visited, every city, every meal, every new friend. Home for me is everywhere. Home is literally where I’ve been, I am or I want to be.
The response to sharing my journey and my thoughts on it was incredible. Many shared their stories too and the countries they had lived in so far and I absolutely loved reading about it. There were also a few people who were interested in the how and why. And I thought my blog is a good place to share a little bit more about this side of my life….
Don’t be fooled, this is not yet again another overnight oats recipe. Though it clearly is an overnight oats recipe. But it’s the mother of all overnight oats recipe. It’s a vegan Bircher muesli. The Bircher muesli was originally developed by the Swiss Maximilian Bircher-Brenner around 1900. Until today it’s still very popular on Swiss and German breakfast tables. Though today’s versions of the Swiss Bircher muesli often don’t nearly look like the original recipe….
I’ve done some thinking. The more I work and photograph for my blog, the more I wonder where all this is going. Or better said, where I want to take it. So far most things just happened naturally. I have a passion for food and travel. So obviously I post about recipes, publish food guides and give some tips for destinations I’ve recently been to. But I wanted to give my blog a deeper focus. I feel like that even though I have my own style and my content is unique my vision is still too generic.
So consequently, yes, I’ve done some thinking. I want to take my blog to the next level. I want to broaden our cultural and culinary horizon, write about places less covered, challenge traditional recipes by veganizing them and only cook with ingredients that are widely available for everyone (sorry, no acai bowls for now). It’s my goal to create food that tells a story about my travels, about nation’s traditions and about personal experiences. I don’t know much else yet. Just that the focus will be more on food as a way to bring people together, to share their passion and to unite different cultures through cooking. Does that make sense? My recipes are and will be still all vegan, often gluten-free and mostly healthy. I’ll just add a little international touch. Like I did for this Israeli Vegan Skakshuka with Tofu….
It’s Valentine’s Day today and though I make nothing of it, this recipe is for my favorite person. I could now tell you how much he means to me, that he is the best travel buddy in the world and I can’t imagine daily adventures without him anymore. But I’d rather tell you that I love him so much that I created this Stovetop Nut Coconut Granola just for him (hint: not saying the last sentence with too much seriousness).
I’m not very romantic and won’t bore you by telling you the story of how we met or anything like that. At least not today. I think the internet is overflowing with love stories today. So let me tell you another story instead. Last night we went out on a late night grocery shopping spree. And as it always happens with those late night food searches, it’s usually not the healthy and green items that want to be taken home with you. So Felix (the favorite person I was referring to earlier) was desperately looking for his brand of sweet, very sweet granola. Luckily the supermarket was out of stock. Unfortunately, it was quite late already and I was too tired to make him a batch of oven-baked granola. So I made him this quick recipe of Stovetop Nut Coconut Granola the next day….
Anyone else who can’t stand these dark winter vibes anymore? I’ve had enough of cold, grey days. I want sunshine in my life again, colorful fruit bowls and fresh salads. And I want my high energy level back again. Every year it’s the same procedure. Every winter I’m taken by surprise. Like why is my body and mind suddenly so tired? At times, I don’t even recognize myself anymore. Then I wonder how other people deal with the winter blues. But I quickly realize that I need to find a solution for myself instead of looking at others. And that’s the moments when I get moving.
I go on daily walks outside (running to the supermarket or close by coffee shop does not count), I visit the gym more often, I do yoga and I make myself a green smoothie with my JTC Omni V Blender in the morning. In the past few years, every single winter I went through this exact process. And every single winter I make the same smoothie because my body seems to crave its green, fresh, slightly sour, slightly sweet taste. It’s literally the easiest thing to make….
It’s the last week before Christmas and I’m currently on a flight from Istanbul to Munich. Though Munich used to be my home for more than two years I only have some business meetings here before heading up North to spend Christmas with my mum. In previous years I never really got into Christmas mood until the very day. Maybe it’s because we lived in countries that don’t celebrate Christmas. There was the occasional glittery and often very pink Christmas tree in shopping malls in Hong Kong. And even in Egypt, the German school would organise a yearly Christmas market which was hugely popular and very crowded. Last year we spend most of the Christmas season moving from Cairo to Istanbul, searching for a flat and unpacking boxes.
I take it back. What I said about autumn in Istanbul in my last post. Winter has officially arrived now. It’s been rainy, windy and freezing the past few days. I didn’t leave the house much because I didn’t want to deal with reality. And that reality is that I no longer live in a country where there is no winter (I miss your weather Hong Kong and Cairo). I moved to Turkey in the hopes that summers would be longer than winters. And even though summer are definitely much warmer than in most European countries, Turkey’s winter are as uncomfortable….
This past week has been intense, exhausting and very tiring. First of all, autumn is coming to an end. That’s such a bumper if you ask me. Icy winds took over colourful leaves. A thick scarf, a woolen hat and even gloves have become essential accessories on a Sunday morning walk. Here and there you can already hear the first Christmas tunes. But I’m not ready to let autumn go yet. After all it’s my favourite season. I love its cold but sunny afternoons. I enjoy its flavours and produce. Everything pumpkin and apple, preferable with cinnamon and cardamom lets my heart jump of joy. I even love the first very cold and rainy days, snuggled in a blanket with a hot cup of chai latte. I’m lucky that I live in Istanbul because it’s still autumn here. That means I can still hold on to autumn a little longer. Also my very autumn-y smoothie recipe with Spiced Persimmon and Roasted Apple relives this season….