We are under the national weekend lockdown again last weekend. I was meant to write this post earlier but I have absolutely zero time these day to do anything else besides chasing after the little mouse, who crawls and tries to get into all drawers around the house. When she sleeps, unlike the pre-solids days, I’m busy either cooking baby food or searching for baby food ideas. I refrain myself from talking about baby stuff not to give the impression that this blog is turning into a mummy blog. However, it’s inevitable to mention her here and there since I spend all day with her and all I do involve her.
I even did the 2020 harvest with her at the winery! Though it was an exciting and unusual experience, I felt sorry, even guilty for having put her through the tough situation where she was left in the hands of strangers while I was working and was restricted to the room without her favourite toys since the outside was too cold.
I was absolutely burn out, juggling work and feeding her, and when I really needed a break from childcare after I returned home, I got stuck with the baby at home again because of the second spike of Covid. It is hitting so close to home this time around as more and more people in our social circle have been affected.
Many people are taking the social distancing more seriously and keeping a low key during this festive season. All Christmas and NYE gatherings have been cancelled and life seems monotonous as ever. The good news is, though, that I’m free to drink wine whenever I want and have stocked up some good bottles to get through a dull winter in lockdown.
I’ve noticed new trends in people’s eating habits and cooking style over the course of the pandemic. Healthy, budge-friendly and comforting, that is. So I wanted to share this meal, which we’ve been enjoying quite often lately. It’s not only delicious but also nourishing and packed with medicinal properties.
I only recently started seeing turkey necks at the supermarket and realised how underrated they were. One day I cooked them with lots of ginger and jujube collected from a relative’s garden. It turned out to be amazingly flavoursome with meat falling off the bone and aromatic sauce. Ever since, it’s been our staple meal and a bit of meat and juice left over can be used for pasta sauce or bulgur pilav, saving me from cooking for another couple of days. I still have a plenty of jujube and they came very handy when the little mouse had constipation and a runny nose.
It might not look very inviting but the taste is exquisite with the sweet and warm fragrance of jujube, ginger, anise and coriander. Jujube fruit is widely used in Korean cuisine, especially in meat stew and in tea to combat common colds and many other health problems.
The date palm is better known as an equivalent to jujube in the west but the medicinal properties of jujube, especially vitamin C, far exceeds the date palm. Of course, if you can’t find jujubes, you can use dates instead and also, you’re free to use turkey legs if you prefer. I had it with smoked bulgur aka. firik bulgar but you can have it with rice or mashed potatoes.
I hope I’ll start bringing you more stories of delicious food and wine as I won’t be cooking baby foods as much since the little mouse is refusing to be spoon-fed and showing interest in eating grown-up food that we eat. “I’m fed up with oat porridge. Give me bread and butter or French toast!”, she protests non-verbally.
Turkey Necks with Ginger and Jujube
4-6 turkey necks or 4 turkey legs
2 thumb size ginger, thinly sliced
8-10 jujubes or dates
3 carrots, cut in big chunks
1 onion, cut in big chunks
1 celery stick, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, whole
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
salt and pepper to season
a bit of dried thyme
1. In a Dutch oven, drizzle some oil and sear the necks for 2 mins (cut the necks in half before cooking if preferred). Remove and set them aside.
2. Add onion, ginger, coriander seeds, garlic and celery in the pot and fry for 2 mins. Add the necks, carrots, herbs and salt and pour water just enough to cover the meat(3-4 cups).
3. When it starts to boil, pop it in the preheated oven(160’C) and cook for 3 hours.
4. Serve it with rice, bulgur or mashed potatoes. Reduce the sauce down to the desired consistency if it’s too liquidy by simmering on the stove top.