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.
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.
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.
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…]
2014 has been the year of two questions I heard over and over again. My food walk guests have been asking whether I am planning to open a restaurant of my own while my cooking class customers have been wondering if I have a cookbook in the workings. After many heated debates and painful hours of contemplation I finally have the answer: my cookbook has to wait.
One and a half years ago I hosted the first meetup of my Istanbul Breakfast Club. The idea was simple. I wanted to share the beauty of Turkish breakfast, most generous and inviting morning meal in the world with folks living in Istanbul or visiting the city. While discovering dozens of regional breakfast dishes, multiple varieties of local olives and cheeses, arrays of morning pastries and plethora of eccentric jams, I felt compelled to spread the word. And spread the word I did through my blog until I sensed my urge to share the beauty of Turkish breakfast in a more literal way.
I first encountered red lentils when I lived in Bergen, an idyllic town in the South-West of Norway. There I often shopped at a Middle Eastern store tucked in the backstreets of the immigrant quarter painted with graffiti and smelling of spices. I did not mind a 30 min bus ride, my longest commute of the week, to procure the most fragrant clementines in town around Christmas and eggplants ever absent from the stalls of the Norwegian supermarkets.