If you are still with me (and I don’t know how I have deserved such loyalty being a lousy food blogger), you have noticed that last year this space was not too lively. Most of my cooking remained behind the scenes at my restaurant kitchen, and I kept most of the thoughts to myself. Now I can tell the truth: after we left Istanbul I knew my cooking, teaching and this blog were not going to be same. Posting my Aegean updates on the blog called Delicious Istanbul did not make sense, and my heart was not fully into the Turkish vegetarian cooking you know me for. And yet I felt I had not arrived to my next destination. The transition took a long year and a half, but finally I am ready for the next step. Will you come along?
Sometimes I feel sorry for beets enjoying the reputation of a one-dish-ingredient. Maybe it is just my Eastern European sentiment, but I feel whenever we say beets, we mean borsch. Oh, there is one or two traditional salads that feature (we all know difference between “star” and “feature”, right?) beets and grace every post-Soviet festive table. So much for the beet glory, huh?
My whole winter has been about kichdi (also kichri), an Indian porridge of lentils and basmati rice. There are endless variations of this dish, and Indian home cooks can make kichdi fit for a festive occasion, an everyday table, an ascetic offering to a deity, a simple baby food or a healing meal for a sick or recovering family member. Kichdi is a popular dish in Ayurvedic cleanses and suits any dosha. When someone says “superfood” I think of the nourishing and wisely composed meals like this rather than a chia seed pudding with blueberries.
Having peeked in the every corner of my mind I can’t come up with any reasonable explanation of not cooking this genius galette earlier. I will not waste more time wringing my hands in vain and will tell you about this savory galette, casual and chic as a French woman with her curly hair in a bun fussing around the kitchen wearing a loose sweater, black pencil skirt and of course, ballet flats.
I am not shy with my spices. I was born in the country of black pepper, salt and occasional bay leaf, but have gathered my spice knowledge through my life and travels in India, Turkey and Morocco. Now when I go back to Russia and cook in the houses of my parents or friends I feel I can’t express myself fully without my spices. Why am I so keen on them?
How come the year ends all of a sudden? Before you know it’s time to relief your house and your heart of all the useless belongings and hard feelings you’ve accumulated, consciously or not, over the past twelve months. Time to think where you want the 2016 to take you and what to fill your your house and heart with this time. For me 2015 was a turning point naturally as we moved from Istanbul to Alaçatı and opened Babushka restaurant, and yet the biggest changes showed up in the most subtle ways.
“Once I was having coffee outside. I lingered for a while, and the cafe owner who had probably forgotten about the only stranger in the shop started scolding her assistant while they were both working at the open kitchen and prepping for that night’s dinner. The assistant looked scared and upset, and for a second I imagined how all the verbal abuse was leaking into the food that the guests would be eating that night. I thought that I do prefer eating food prepared by the people I know, people with clean and positive minds,” my friend shared on Instagram a while ago. And who said that Instagram exists only to showcase the hip-looking cups of cappuccino and your manicure?