Author: Namie

bone soup

Oxtail Soup: Natural Healing and Immune Booster for Winter

The second half of 2018 has flown by while I was lost in the vine and exam. What a remarkable year it has been, with many new opportunities and challenges thrown at me… all at once… I’ve muddled through somehow, despite some physical and mental hurts. Now that all wines are resting after pressing, it’s time for me to heal my burnt-out self with this soulful soup and prepare for the next rounds. You might think I’m being overly dramatic but surely, being responsible for an entire harvest for the first time is a full emotional ride. However, it has been such an enriching experience and I’m so glad that I was given the chance, even though, as they say, precious things come with a price. The price of not being able to share everyday moments with my family was one, but the bigger price was not being able to write for my blog or study for my WSET exam. I really missed the joy of writing and of course, cooking. December is a festive month …

Akitu NZ Pinot Noir

London Wine Scene: Amazing NZ Pinot Noir Tastings, Denbies Wine Estate

It’s too hot to cook! These days I’m living on watermelon, cheese and ice cream, and occasional BBQ picnic. So, to fill the gap, I thought I’d write up a post about my experience while I’m still savouring in my mouth the flavours of delicious Indian, Thai, Italian, Spanish, French, Hawaiian food I scoffed down, while drinking copious amount of wine around the busy London city. First, I’ll start with my exam, because I know so many people are curious about it. The first classroom day was exciting to finally confirm that the fellow students, whose names appear at random online, were human not computer-generated avatars. After the exam and a short break, tasting workshops started and we evaluated a series of wines according to SAT (systemic approach to tasting). I really need to give credit to Chris, my level 3 instructor, for the very helpful SAT sheet he created. The students at my table rushed to take a photo of! A lot more emphasis was put on assessing the quality of each wine compared …

globe zucchini

Stuffed Globe Courgettes: Turkish Red Pepper Paste and Siyez(Spelt) Wheat

I’m sorry for having been slack in blogging. In case you’ve been wondering… When you read this, I’ll be on the plane to or already in London for my first WSET Dip exam. Juggling work and study has been quite a task. So I thought I’d go a bit early to give myself a few days to cram. I hope all the wines to try AND the world cup won’t be too distracting! Last month, I went on a spontaneous road trip, which combined many celebrations into one: hitting the 40s bracket, friendship, new adventures, etc. Gosh, what an ecstatic holiday it was! I struggled quite a bit trying to get back to the grind after such a long crazy holiday with endless eating and drinking. But it was well deserved and that’s what life is about: being happy. A fabulous boat trip and swim in Bodrum and an unplanned catch-up with an old friend in Cappadocia… I came home with such lovely memories that I wished I could have been a full time traveller. By the way, …

fava purslane salad

Spring Pick-Me-Up Food: Artichoke, Fava Beans, Purlane

Hello! I’ve been so swamped by study lately due to the crazy commitment I’d taken. The WSET Diploma is far more challenging than I’d thought, demanding a lot of my time. I hope it’ll get a bit easier as the course progresses and I get a better handle on the course frame. After a couple of overseas trips, the realisation how far behind I was in the coursework threw me into panic for a period. While I was catching up on the course materials, May suddenly arrived, making me jittery again. I have a lot going on in May, more travels, and the first exam is in June. So I’ve locked myself at home for the past week, trying to get as much studying as possible done. Today, I finally felt a bit of relief and thought I’d write something up here. In between my study breaks, I still visit the weekly farmers market as it’s impossible to skip! However, these days, when I see lovely seasonal staple veggies, I have to turn away quickly …

Turkish pancake

You say Crumpet, I say Akitma! – Holey Pancake Day Out in Canakkale

One of our family rituals for spring is a visit to MIL’s village to collect some spring food items. The day always starts with the most anticipated breakfast with akitma. It’s meant to be a carb-loading day, which happens only once in a while, so why not just enjoy it? Akitma is a pancake leavened with yeast, which fits somewhere between a pancake, English crumpets and French crepes. The texture and the holey appearance place it very close to English crumpets though. This cross-cultural root of akitma made me look deeper into the history of crumpets, pikelets, pancakes, etc. The fact that akitma is eaten specifically in this Thracian region of Turkey coincides with Bulgarian pancake, ‘katmi‘, though the latter has more eggs. I’m not a food anthropologist but it might be fair to say that akitma is the holy mother of  the later more-refined crumpets in the Victorian era? The more I eat it, the more I appreciate the honeycomb-like holes and spongy texture. Butter, honey, or anything put on it will be trapped in all those tiny …

semolina cake

Healthy Semolina Coconut Revani with Grapefruit Syrup – Tricks for Moist No-Sugar Cake

Yes, the title is correct. If you love the classic Revani soaked in a pool of syrup, it’s great! Otherwise, you’d be pleased to learn that you can replicate the decadent dessert without sugar yet as delicious as the original, which can be also healthy. You don’t believe me? Then, read on. I say healthy because semolina is indeed more nutritious and tastier than normal flour. But the problem of baking with semolina is the gritty and dry texture it creates. So syrup is crucial in making it moist but the dense and heavy taste isn’t for my palate. After several trials and errors, this is the best version that everyone loved. You might consider adding this to your Easter table if you want something traditional but with a modern twist. It’s light and moist without compromising the taste, though Revani would turn in his grave seeing his favourite quintessential Middle Eastern dessert being adulterated. Who is Revani? It’s said to be named after the 16th century Ottoman poet, Revani, who was the governor of …