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Whole Wheat Scone With Feta, Olives and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Recipes

]Whole Wheat Scone With Feta, Olives and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Last year I learned about a website here in Turkey that puts small-scale food producers directly in touch with the consumers, Toprakana. As I started my pursuit for the perfect sourdough to serve at Babushka, I placed my first order for a few bags of flour from a small watermill where they grind a blend of local wheat varieties into the whole grain flour (they do rye and corn too, needless to say, all whole grain).

My order arrived the morning after I placed it; the flour in the cotton bags without a single label was milled that very week! A tremendous difference from the whole wheat flour milled half a year ago you can get at the local stores. The stone-ground flour looked different too. The commercial varieties felt almost starch-like silky and looked predominantly white with occasional grayish-brownish freckles of bran as if the flour was refined from the bran, milled and then some bran was integrated back. The stone-milled whole wheat flour felt coarse and had a pleasant a golden brown tint. Its bran was abundant and visible. I was jumping with joy thinking about the new highs my baking was going to climb.

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Moroccan-Inspired Chickpea Stew

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Moroccan-Inspired Chickpea Stew by Olga Irez

I first visited Morocco 5 years ago, and ever since a small part of me has been roaming the narrow streets of medinas, bartering at the ancient souks, looking at the ocean and feasting on the finest dishes. Every winter I get in the mood for Morocco and feel an itch to come back and reunite with the chipped off part of my heart.

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Borsch

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Borsch post image

“What kind of food will you serve in the restaurant?” people ask us right after they ask about the restaurant name. In fact, many think that the name of Babushka suggests Russian cuisine. Borsch and chicken Kiev come to mind of anybody who thinks that Russian food equals the menu of a Soviet canteen.

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My New Kitchen

Running Restaurant

My New Kitchen post image

My home kitchen and our restaurant kitchen is the same person. In a minor identity crisis. Deciding whether it gears towards an old village kitchen, a kitchen that can serve dozens of restaurant guests or a kitchen I want. First I thought I would give her time to make up her mind, but since she has been taking a while, I am going to open the wooden door (that we removed upon declaring this possibly the most robust part of the whole kitchen obsolete) and get you to meet her.

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Moroccan Preserved Lemons

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Moroccan Preserved Lemons post image

It started with pomegranates. One of the four trees in our garden brought a load of them. “Sweetest I have ever eaten,” my visiting mother-in-law confessed. Mind you, she grew up amidst pomegranate trees unlike me, a child of Russia, who used to treat this exotic fruit as a questionable pleasure. Pomegranate, always sold at premium, was sour and hard to peel. It stained tablecloth, dress, pants, sofa or carpet depending on the consumption situation. In the Russia of my childhood pomegranates arrived in winter to the market stalls run by the men who spoke with the accent as thick as their black eye-brows. The sellers addressed every female shopper “young woman” and at times even asked out. Think of it, along with the pains of buying the overrated fruit you get an unsolicited evidence of your sexuality.

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Fried Sardines

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Fried Sardines by Olga Irez

Where to start? Maybe I should tell you about the tons of fruits and vegetables we have been turning into jams and pickles. Or about the simple matter of building the restaurant toilet in the garden that has acquired the fuss of a full-fledged hotel construction. Or about the most sensible requirements of assorted governmental agencies that should (at least in theory) lead to obtaining the permission to open restaurant.

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Spasibo Babushka

Running Restaurant

Spasibo Babushka post image

We came to Alaçatı in the evening of Republic Day. Public holiday may not have been the best day to move and according to our lawyer even impossible to start the rental agreement on. We arrived in our rented Doblo filled to the rim. I spent the 600 km journey with the pot of aloe vera over my knees and a bag of organic cleaning detergents under my feet. [click to continue…]

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