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”.
I was probably shaking when I took my phone to check my mails. I don’t remember much because it was all one happy exciting blur. In the first few days I kept telling my friends and family that SAVEUR probably made a mistake. I would soon get a second email in which SAVEUR admits sending the email to a wrong recipient. But it never happened. Instead on Monday the voting page for 2016 SAVEUR Blog Awards went live. I’m one of the 6 finalists for the category “Eat the World”. I’ll ask you to vote later but if you already want to do it now, go ahead 🙂
Here is the thing, when the voting period for nominations opened this year, I had a quick look. I sighed and thought that nominating my blog could maybe, but only maybe, be a possibility in a year or two or three. Once I left SAVEUR‘s website, I had all forgotten about the Blog Awards. However I was or still am secretly working on a food guide for Istanbul that I wanted to pitch to SAVEUR. Being published on the SAVEUR blog or in its magazine (dream big, you know) is like a foodie * blogger * photography dream come true. For me, SAVEUR stands for everything I love and do. Eating and travelling. Delicious and authentic world cuisine combined with adventurous and interesting travel stories.
So being nominated for “Eat the World” couldn’t be a better fit. And I feel so honoured to be a finalist this year. I dreamt big but I could have never ever imagined in my wildest and most adventurous dreams that I get nominated for the SAVEUR Blog Awards. And whoever suggested my blog deserves his or her very own love award.
But my story wouldn’t be complete without me asking you to vote for black.white.vivid. It won’t take more than 5 seconds, you can find black.white.vivid. on top of all the options (lucky me).
But now, let’s get back to talking about food. And foreign cultures. And travelling. Because that’s we are here for, right 🙂
Healthy Granola With Turkish Summer Apricots
Just before I moved to Istanbul last year in December, all I could think of were its fresh fruits and vegetables. I knew that its figs would be the best ones I would ever taste. And so it was. But the juicy and sweet flavour of Turkish stone fruits caught me by surprise. Since peach season started I’ve been having a peach smoothie almost every other day. Nectarines come in all sizes and shapes in Turkey. I always thought I knew how they look like until I went to the farmers market and got a lecture in nectarine science. And then there are Turkish apricots. They are firm outside but have the smoothest and creamiest texture inside. I love to roast and bake stone fruits to bring out the flavour but since this summer I prefer to eat them raw. No enhancer needed if you buy them seasonal.
And as almost every Saturday I went to the organic farmers market last weekend and came back with way too much produce. But that’s when the interesting part starts in the kitchen. Apricot tart, apricot chia jam and apricot smoothie are obvious choices but what about granola with turkish summer apricots? Puree apricots, mix it with grains and seeds, add a pinch of vanilla and sea salt and bake it in the oven. A word and a blow. I also sliced up some dried apricots and mixed them in.
If you have time and don’t mind the wait I’d recommend to set your oven to a lower temperature and bake the granola for longer. Also put it in the fridge after the cooling process, it’ll stay crispy and fresh that way. You can easily swop the apricot with peaches, plums, nectarines, bananas, apples, there are no limitations to your creativity. So how about a celery granola? Maybe next time. Always choose soft and ripe fruits. The baking process will reduce the intensity of the flavour so its important to pick sweet and flavourful apricots. I don’t recommend to add any sweetener as the pureed apricot is a natural sweetener itself. However I’ve listed maple syrup as an option in the recipe.
- 2 cups / 180 grams rye or spelt (or any another variety of) oats
- 1 cup /130 grams pumpkin seeds
- 200 g apricots
- 150 g dried apricots
- 1/2 cup/ 105 grams / 120 ml coconut oil
- 2 tsp vanilla powder
- dash sea salt
- 2 tbsp maple or coconut syrup
- Pick the freshest, softest and juiciest apricots from the market
- At home, preheat oven to 160°C/ 326 F
- Remove the pits and add apricots to a blender (or use handheld blender)
- Blend until creamy and smooth
- Add apricot puree, oats, pumpkin seed, vanilla and sea salt to a large bowl
- Whisk until well combined and then pour in the coconut oil and syrup (optional)
- Mix well until every seed and oat is coated
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
- Pour granola onto baking sheet and spread with large spoon
- Bake for 20-25 min or until golden brown, stirring once or twice in between
- Let it cool down
- Slice dried apricots into chunks
- Combine granola and dried apricot in a jar
- Store it in the fridge
A little video from my recent visit to the Farmers Market. Follow me on Instagram and check out my Stories for more daily snaps and videos of my life in Istanbul.