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….
I think we all deserve a cozy and comforting bowl of warm oatmeal at the moment. Because yesterday Donald J. Trump was elected president. Even though I’m not an American, I still care. And I think everyone is allowed to care. Yes, there is no shame in crying about it. You are allowed to be sad, angry and disappointed. Please have all kinds of feelings about it because it means that you care. I also care about Turkey, the UK, and Germany, my home country. I care about every single country on this planet. My friends live all over the world and everyone is affected by the outcome of this election in one or the other way. I’ve always seen the world as one part, as one united nation. But lately politics has been ugly. And there has been so much hate. Too much hate. And fear. …
I’m not a baker. I love making raw treats. But as soon as dough is involved I have my difficulties. For a long time I even disliked baking cakes. Too much sugar, too much carbohydrates. But that’s a different story which I’ll tell you another time. A lot of things have changed since then. I’ve tried to improve my baking skills. It’s not that easy because vegan baking (and often gluten-free) is slightly challenging.
Like at this very moment, I’m on my second round of testing a vegan cinnamon roll recipe and the struggle is real. I have the feeling there will be many more rounds. It is in these moments that I treasure the simplicity of crumbles. The love for crumbles is real at our home. I love it because it’s so easy to make and absolutely nothing can go wrong. The boyfriend loves it because it’s kind of healthy and has lots of fresh fruit in it. You can also mix and match any kind of flavour and fruit, depending on the time of the year….
Time flies. Tomato season is almost over. So let’s make something very delicious, maybe even a little unusual with tomatoes. How about a savory heirloom tomato galette. Filled with dill cashew-cream, juicy heirloom tomatoes, sweet cherry tomatoes and topped with fresh dill, coriander and basil. Sounds good, right. So let’s get started right away! Because I want to keep this recipe post short today. I rather want you to go and bake this galette instead of reading my stories. Like the one which follows me as a child. A child that rather ate ketchup than homemade tomato sauce much to the disappointment to my mum’s friend who made it just for me.
Or my recent trip to New York City where I went to the farmer’s market at Union Square and got heirloom tomato envy. Because we don’t have such a humongous offer in Istanbul. But good for you, New York people 😛 Though I found 4 lonely heirloom tomatoes in our local supermarket beginning of this week. That day I felt like I won in the lottery. Well, in the vegetable lottery but that’s still very exciting. So yes, without further ado, let’s roll, bake and eat.
P.S. Time does go by quicker as we get older, right? I mean, 5 years ago I definitely would not have almost missed tomato season….Just saying….
Hello, hello and happy autumn. I know the beginning of meteorological fall on the 1 of September seems like centuries away. But there are two reasons why it took me so long to finally welcome my favorite season into our home. First and most obvious, the weather. Istanbul was “gifted” with a hot summer and equally warm September. While I was seeing apple, pumpkin-spiced and warm golden mylk recipes popping up on my Instagram feed I was happy for every cooling food I could get my hands on. Though I was mentally ready for autumn I just wasn’t in the mood for hearty stews. Despite, the local produce in Turkey didn’t look very autumnally either. Until two weeks ago I could still buy the juiciest and sweetest strawberries. They are still available now but slowly loosing it’s delicious flavor so it’s not worth buying them anymore.
Travelling is a fantastic thing. You meet new people, get to know their culture and try their food. But what if a country’s food doesn’t go very well with your usual diet? What if you eat lots of veggies and fruits on an average day but that said country loves meat, potatoes, bread, cheese and eggs? Then you make the best out of it, have a great time anyway and enjoy every second. And the moment you come back home you storm to the supermarket to buy fresh salad greens, seasonal vegetables and local fruits. At least that’s what I did after coming back from Romania yesterday.
I dropped my suitcase in the hallway, said a quick hello to my cats and went off to buy some nourishing food. The local fruit vendor was my first stop. Among other things I bought some of the last juicy strawberries of this summer. Surprisingly they are still in season despite being it September. But then again strawberry season seems to vary greatly in the Northern hemisphere. In Egypt it goes from late December to February because that’s when it’s least hot. In Germany strawberries taste best between June and August when it’s the warmest. And here in Turkey strawberry season is going strong since May, except for a few weeks when it was too hot for anything to grow. That was also the time when it was difficult finding fresh greens….
Do you know that moment when you suddenly realize, the end has come? You knew it all the time but you repressed that thought. And from one second to the other your life may change completely because you know peach and strawberry season is going to end soon. Yes?! Sounds familiar? Well, I had that moment a few days ago and decided to pay a little tribute to my favorite summer fruit combination. So I created a little collection of three recipes with peach and strawberry as the main ingredients.
But this isn’t a selfless act to bring you creative healthy food. After our Lisbon trip and the overload of sweet treats I ate during those few days, I felt a little sluggish. Maybe it’s also what people call the post-vacation blues. Though I have to admit I’m quite happy being back home with my cats and to an abundance of fresh summer fruits and veggies. Either way, I don’t regret anything (because who has ever regretted a bite of freshly baked pastel de nata) but it was time to go back to my usual diet….
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….
I recently read a quote that perfectly describes my feelings when I received one of the most exciting news ever.
“Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open”
And exciting is a sheer understatement. But describing how I felt when I opened the email from SAVEUR would probably take up a whole page. So let me just quickly talk you through the moment an email popped up in my inbox on a Thursday night. My boyfriend had just left for some late evening work event and I had a long to-do list in front of me. I was planing on updating a few things on my website and prepare some Instagram posts. I have to admit that I usually ignore my emails when I’m working. When the phone buzzes, I glance over to see if its something important (Whatsapp is always important). If it’s Gmail I don’t even check my mobile notification for the sender or subject line. But the word SAVEUR must have caught my unconscious eye that night. So I looked back and there it was …”Congratulations: You’re a SAVEUR Blog Awards Finalist”….