May has already been financially satisfying. I have made it to the breakeven – given my visa runs to Russia last year and ridiculously high rent I am paying right now in Istanbul. Which means I can give legitimate answers to the persistent questions my friends and parents still ask about the financial viability of my food career.
As Özge has started helping me with the food tours I can focus more on the cooking classes which I have been giving a lot recently. I have also had two big groups and piloted my idea of taking people to our countryside for cooking and food. Good busy times.
What’s next? What comes after the financial security is achieved again, 2 years after I quit my job? 5* vacation? A plan to conquer the rest of the world? Well, in my case it’s going to the countryside house, washing some dishes as our helper is away and then spending half a day to harvest nettle and making dry pasta. How is that for a reward?
Yes. I admit. Some of these things are nonsense leftovers from the tough winter and countryside frugality. Doing things myself instead of delegating or outsourcing. Like ironing that our useless cleaning ladies could not handle. And I understand it is not really smart to spend half a day to clean our house when I don’t have time to implement a long-planned upgrade of my website. It is time to get help.
But then there are things which are way less ridiculous in my eyes. I don’t believe that living in the countryside you can get away from doing things yourself. Because that would be against the very nature of being out there – closer to the nature and away from the big city.
It is like earthing. My grandma used to say, ” When you have a chance remove your shoes and walk barefoot on the ground. It takes away all the electricity and tension in your body” As humbling and basic as barefoot walking is the practice of the manual work. Like cooking, like doing dishes. It is letting some silence in, some tension off, creating something or helping someone.
As I was done with my homemade pasta and was about to serve lunch Özgür said, “Why don’t we sit outside?” We then carried the dishes upstairs and set a large wooden table under a humongous walnut tree. Fussing, finding the chairs for everybody, inviting our guests to join to, teasing each other, enjoying lunch. Happiness and belonging are the luxuries that can’t be bought and can’t be obtained if you outsource your single step. To get you need to give. I feel that the financial security I have just re-obtained comes from that fact that I first have given a lot without asking back much.
Homemade Nettle Pasta (Isırgan Otlu Erişte)
Homemade, delicious, green, pasta! Anything else need to be said?
Prep Time: 1 Hr 30 Min
- 150 g fresh nettle
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 4.5 cups all-purpose flour for the dough
- 2.5 cups all purpose flour for the rolling
- Prepare the nettle: Soak the nettle (check the tips on picking up nettle) in a large bowl of cold water for a few minutes and then using tongs transfer it to a strainer. Meanwhile bowl a huge pot of water, throw in some salt and add the washed nettle. Boil for a 3-5 minutes and then transfer in a strainer again using the tongs and immediately put under the cold running water. As the nettle has cooled down squeeze as much water of it as you can and transfer into a blender. Puree until smooth.
- Make the dough: Sieve 4.5 cups flour on the clean working surface and make a well in the middle. Put eggs and purred nettle in the well and mix slowly incorporating more and more flour – work from the center of the well to the outside. Start forming the dough by eventually incorporating all the flour you have already got on your working surface. Give it a good kneading for 7-10 minutes to form soft smooth dough. Sprinkle with more flour, wrap tightly with stretch film and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
- Roll the dough: I use pasta machine to roll the dough at medium thinness setting for this pasta. If you roll the dough manually check out the detailed instructions.
- Cut the pasta: In Turkey homemade dry pasta comes in short stripes. To get those generously dust the sheet of dough with flour and then fold twice or three times lengthwise and then cut into then thin with a sharp knife. Toss in flour to help them separate and arrange on a tray lined with baking paper.
- Dry the pasta: Put the tray with pasta in a well-aired room for a week, until the pasta dries. Then transfer into glass jar: this pasta stores for up to 6 months. I have also done a butch of tagliatelle in the same fashion: I cut them with the pasta machine and toss in flour. I then took about 5-7 stripes, curled them into a nest, sprinkled with more flour and arranged in the tray. The only difference in the dryingis that you’d need to turn the nests upside down couple of times so they evenly dry on both sides.