Author: Namie

nutella bread

Boozy Naughty Nutella Flower Brioche

Belated Happy New Year to all my readers! Another year has rolled in silently, and my first post in the new year is a sunflower Nutella brioche. My mind has been racing with many thoughts and some new plans to simplify my life are brewing slowly, which explains the silence. 2017 was a very volatile year in terms of relationship and work, which involved two-city life. It has finally come to an end and we will start 2018 with more stability. Fingers crossed xx What it would mean, though, that I won’t be able to eat with you in Istanbul as much as I’d like to. It’s already happened, I know, since I took a semi-permanent séjour at the winery. Having said that, my winery posts are among the most popular posts on my blog! Anyway, I’ll continue to inspire with delicious stories, travels, more adventures as a cellar rat and a WSET Dip student, and the stories of living in Canakkale. Nutella… Mr.O has a weakness for it.  Hey, who isn’t? But not for …

pumpkin tortellini

Pumpkin Leek Tortellini with Duck Ragu

Finally comes the duck story… And I’m afraid yet delighted that you’ll hear more duck stories this winter. How come? Well, I’m spreading the duck spirits around me and so many people are eager to eat more of the delicacy. Leading up to the last day of my sejour at the winery, I was thinking hard everyday about the duck: how and when to cook it.  Sensing the accumulated anticipation of almost two months, I decided to get the task over and done with. Originally, it was destined for Duck a l’Orange, but I incorporated a Chinese Peking Duck method by adding more herbs and oriental spices such as star anise and cinnamon, and also by drying out the skin for crispiness. The warm aromas had the effect of stimulating a holiday mood as well. After resting in the fridge overnight, rubbed with salt and spices, it was ready for the oven the next morning. Despite some unexpected events, I managed to cook it for as long as 2.5 hours. The tough parts, the wings …

Life in the Vineyard – Part 3: Nomad Chef’s Food Story

Sarkoy, though famous for wine, doesn’t have much to offer in terms of food and, having realised that earlier on, I brought survival packages of foods, spices and freshly ground coffee and my travel mate, a Vietnamese Phin filter. As you know, where Namie goes, there is food, not just food but thought-provoking food. Since I don’t like repeating a meal and my tummy has a limit for white bean stew (kurufasulye) and meatballs (kofte), I opted to cook instead of eating the food delivered to the winery. I try to cook no matter how tired I am, as long as I can lift a knife. The process of thinking what to cook is a therapeutic mental exercise and my body benefits from the simple clean food I make. Without fancy tools and pots, let alone a proper stove and a decent knife, I’ve been cooking just as fine as I’m a well-seasoned cook. The food produced from my tiny kitchen with an electric single hot plate and a kettle is getting more sophisticated day …

cabernet sauvignon

Life in the Vineyard – Part 2 – Harvest

Today marks one month of harvest work at Chateau Kalpak. I came back here with a small suitcase of clothes and a big bag filled with my pantry essentials. After 2 weeks here, the temperature dropped suddenly and most of the clothes I’d brought became unsuitable, not only for the weather but also for the work I do here. Red wine stains everywhere! Luckily, our sweet staff has given me some of her old clothes so I’m managing to survive so fa r. More than surviving really… I’m revitalising my inner soul and body here. I wake up every single morning, thanking to the nature and thanking to everyone who made it happen. Hubby is missing my food so much! And my in-laws are looking after our dog. My in-laws visited me and saw how happy and exuberant I looked and confirmed how happy people are when they do what they love. No matter how old you are and what obstacles you have, you’ve got to live your dream after all. While most wineries have finished the …

baked fig

Baked Fresh Fig, Cheese, Lavender Filo Pie

Morning air is getting crisper and I watch the vine leaves changing their colour everyday. I have no idea how fast summer has slipped away without having a proper swim! Despite the hectic daily routines at the winery, I thought I’d be respectful of those who are wondering about my whereabouts and waiting for delicious stories. I’m far from my kitchen and real life, and am living a dream life. I’ve lived through the full ripening seasons here and the harvest has started and the daily work leaves me little time to go online. I’ve learned and am still learning a lot and I’ll share my experiences here once the most important part of the harvest ends. Are the figs still around? Before coming back to the winery for harvest, I had a short break at home. Whenever I’m back, I just dive into the kitchen and get cooking, though there’s no one else to eat with. Farmers markets and streets were full of figs and other forest fruits that show up for a short …

parmesan okra

Two Delicious Okra Recipes You should try

Okra aka. lady’s finger. Do you like it or hate it? Hubby wouldn’t even look at it. My encounter with the strange vegetable was in Turkey and I’d had some dishes with it but had never been so keen till I listened to the podcast, Leah Chase: The cook who changed America. Though I’ve never had the Gumbo stew, I can imagine what it’s like and it sounds delicious. Okra, originated in Ethiopia, is found in many dishes in south east countries and many with seafood as in this. There’s a plenty of Indian okra dishes, too, including this one, which looks yummy and healthy. Here in Turkey, it’s called ‘bamya‘, and usually cooked with tomato based stew with or without meat and is, as usual, overcooked. So unless you trick yourself to like it, many people get put off by the slimy texture. The longer it’s cooked, the slimier it gets. So it’s useful in stews and soups as a thickener and I sneaked some chopped okro(plural) into baked beans for English breakfast one morning. And …