How do you feel about coming back home after a long holiday? I was away for more than 3 weeks. First I went to Germany for my other (aka daytime) job and to spent Christmas with my family. I only came back to Istanbul for merely half a day before we left to Abu Dhabi and then Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka we enjoyed warm and sunny days filled with an abundance of fresh exotic fruits. You’d think that coming home, especially after enjoying our last three days at the magical Tri hotel, would be nothing less than painful. And yes, our journey back home to Istanbul was not a good end to our holiday, neither a good start to work life. Due to a little bit of a snow incident in Istanbul, we were delayed by more than a day. Completely exhausted and tired from our odyssey of spending 1.5 days on and off the plane, the first thing we did was getting some comfort food….
Around The World
Today I’m very very veeeeeery excited to kick of my series of guest posts with a long time Instagram friend, Janine of Nuts and Blueberries. Janine and I connected through Social Media at the beginning of both our Instagram journeys. Since then we’ve always been in contact and I loved seeing Janine grow her following, her passion for food and photography skills.
Janine authentic style and her own story inspires everyone who comes across her blog and Instagram account. Also, if you love cats as much as I do, you should definitely check out her account and Instagram stories. Janine has a very open and creative approach to food. She doesn’t follow any super strict diets but she listens to her body. She is always keen to try new things, so when I’m in need of some dinner inspiration or a new breakfast smoothie recipe, Nuts and Blueberries is one of my first sources….
Our lives are contingent on how-tos. How to wash your face, how to cook pasta, how to treat your colleagues, how to decorate your apartment. You name it, there is an how-to book or article for it. But I’ve rarely come across the question: How do you travel? Maybe because it is a very personal one and there is no right or wrong answer. But I have to admit that I never asked that question myself until very recently. Keeping in mind that I do travel quite a lot, it should have been something to think about a long time ago. How do I travel? I travel with my backpack but also my suitcase. I travel by car but also train. To cities but also to the mountains. With an itinerary or wherever the road takes me. But how do I really travel? It was only when I went on a trip with my mum a few weeks ago that I started to realise one thing. I travel through food.
I haven’t been on a longer vacation with my mum for many years. A few days into our holiday while having yet another mind-blowing lunch in Tallinn my mum and I got talking about our experiences on the trip so far. She told me: “Most people read up on the history of the country they travel to, they visit all churches and museums and they sprint from one sight to another. You eat and wander.” And it’s true. The minute I know of an upcoming vacation, I search the internet and guide books for food recommendations. I read up on food culture, find trendy spots, check out the entrepreneurial landscape and also read a little about the history and current affairs. But I have long stopped making a list of sights I want to visit. I love wandering. I love getting lost and discovering these sights myself. And on the way I love to stop and have delicious food….
This cold blueberry soup is a reminder of my recent trip to Helsinki and its many wonderful food markets. We arrived by ferry from Tallinn in the morning and spent one day in the city, all while the sky gleamed in bright blue and the sunshine warmed the streets of Finland’s beautiful capital. It was a perfect day to explore Helsinki. Strolling the food markets became an instant favorite. They were overflowing with fresh produce from the region, colorful flowers and the occasional fish stand. One things that surprised me to see over and over again – berries of all sorts, colors and shapes….
Growing up at the Baltic Sea, I’ve really come to miss the ocean, moody days and nordic beach landscapes here in Istanbul. Every time I go back home to visit, everything has changed, most of my friends moved away but the cooling sea breeze and smell of the smashing waves still makes me feel like this is the home I’ve never left. I never realise how much I miss it until I’m there again. As a child and teenager I would always feel most comfortable by the sea and I would never get bored looking out to the horizon. Most summers we would spend our days at the beach, mostly swimming and sunbathing, sometimes playing volleyball or learning how to windsurf. I would walk the shore and collect shells and stones only to through them back to the sea at the end of the day. There, I imagined the beautiful jewelry I could make with my finds or the artsy collages I could create. The sea always got my thinking and imagining and visualizing. Today I still feel like the ocean is the only place where my thoughts can run free. No limitations, no obligations – just an empty head that wants to be filled with ideas….
A few days ago I posted a photo of my Raw Falafel Wraps with Apricot Tahini Sauce on my Instagram and you guys kind of went crazy for them. So I made them again and had raw falafel two days in a row. I’m usually not that kind of a person. I don’t like to eat the same thing twice in a week, let alone two days running. But the truth is, I didn’t even mind. Because raw falafel are something amazing. I’ve had them on my idea list for recipes for a few months now. So why make them now?
I’m doing a 5-days raw food challenge. I’m on day 4 now. I had a few ups and downs. No cravings but one major and some minor recipe fails. Raw food isn’t as easy and straight-forward as it sounds, especially not when you don’t want to eat salad and smoothies all the time. I’ve created some very delicious things but resources and ingredients are limited in my household and Turkey, so in the end I had too much soaked buckwheat creations and cauliflower rice. I think if I would have had Whole Foods around the corner or a dehydrator in my kitchen, things maybe, but only maybe, would have been slightly easier. And here is another truth (this post has a lot of honesty in it) I’m happy the raw food challenge comes to an end tomorrow. I like raw food, I even love it sometimes and I usually have a raw smoothie bowl every morning. I also didn’t have any severe cravings because if there are cashew nuts and dried figs around that’s all I’ll ever need….
Happy New Year! So much has happened since my last post (one month ago…ups). Like these Sweet Potato Bliss Balls. But let’s start at the beginning. We moved from Cairo to Istanbul, I had to put on my winter boots for the first time in three years because it was snowing non stop for a few days in Istanbul and I didn’t see the sun for a week now. Yes, that is a highlight (or rather a lowlight) in my life. Don’t take this as complaining. I’m super happy to be in Istanbul. And that is even an understatement. I’m super duper über excited about our move to Turkey. I’m personally looking forward to exploring the local food scene, testing and trying new ingredients, traveling to every corner of Turkey, discovering local craftsmanship and well of course meeting new friends. We also made plans for 2016 to tour an extensive part of the region. We call it ‘Project 12’ and we are aiming to visit (as the name might suggest) 12 countries including Bulgaria, Romania and Armenia. 2016 will be a great year.
So let’s celebrate with some bliss balls. One of my favorite food discoveries of 2015. I’m not a big snacker but I love making little snack so I can add them to my main dishes…. and maybe sometimes even munch on them between meals. Until now I only made sweet bliss balls. But after too many Christmas cookies and a pile of vegan white chocolate from my family I’m currently craving savoury foods. These Sweet Potato Bliss Balls are packed with herby flavours. Za’atar is a mix of Middle Eastern herbs and is used as a seasoning in Arab cuisine. The green superfood is a blend of chia seeds, spirulina and chlorella and high in antioxidants and a great energizer….
It is July 2007 and Argentina has the coldest winter since 90 years. On the other end of the world, in Germany, and at 40°C I step into the plane for my very first trip to South America. At that point, I was clueless on what to expect from a trip to a country which language I didn’t speak and people warned me to go due to safety issues. 7 months later I had not only found myself but also my love for food. It was only the beginning of my culinary journey and much has evolved since but I will forever be grateful to Argentina and its food.
My love affair with food started with Argentinian empanadas. It was love at first bite. If you ever tried empanadas in Argentina I guess you know what I’m talking about. It literally translates into “wrapped in bread” but this is a sheer understatement and does no justice to the diverse flavours and textures of empanadas. This savoury stable of Argentinian cuisine is served warm either as an appetizer or by its own.
This recipe is a recreation of what I remember empanadas are like, just without the meet and/or cheese but they are vegan pumpkin empanadas with peas and corn….