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Nourishing Mung Bean and Basmati Porridge (Kichdi)

Recipes

Mung Bean and Basmati Porridge (Kichdi Recipe) by Olga Irez

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.

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Buckwheat and Rye Galette with Chard and Feta

Recipes

Buckwheat and Rye Galette with Chard and Feta by Olga Irez

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.

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My Favorite Spices

Turkish Pantry

Favorite Spices Olga Irez 2016

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?

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Gözleme with Chickpeas, Pumpkin and Spinach

Recipes

Gözleme with Chickpeas, Pumpkin and Spinach by Olga Irez

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.

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Green Lentil and Spinach Stew

Recipes

Green Lentil and Spinach Stew by Olga Irez

“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?

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Turkish Carrot Salad with Yogurt

Recipes

Turkish Carrot Salad with Yogurt by Olga Irez

Even more than cooking I love being in the kitchen with somebody as crazy about cooking as myself. If needed, I can travel for that opportunity like I did a while ago with Güngör Abla, woman who endured working with me at Babushka the whole season.

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Red Lentil and Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Recipes

Red Lentil and Roasted Pumpkin Soup Olga Irez

Have you noticed how the cold days bring food cravings along? Finding yet another excuse to bake. Ditching meals for a cake. Curling up on the sofa with a treat. Tell me about it. Or do you know the feeling after a meal when you had quite a bit to eat but still don’t feel satisfied? A few years ago I often considered a sweet bite and espresso after lunch or dinner. I could pass on the dessert, but no meal was complete without a cup of espresso. Now with my growing awareness about how we eat I can see that I was intuitively looking for the astringent taste to finish a meal, only that I did not know better than coffee. This espresso incident still reminds me that the meals I was eating back then were not balanced enough leaving me to crave even after I ate sufficient quantities of food.

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