Rampant Rabbits

rabbit hutch georgia lagodekhi

We spent the night at Bio Yard. They found a place for us to camp in their garden, amongst trees and beside two large clay pots that lay on their sides due their bloated almond shape. We settled to sleep with the shrill cackling of Jackals from the forest and the reassuring knowledge that we were guarded by a waist-high German Shepherd called Hertz. The next morning we enjoyed coffee and cake with Dali, the women that ran the home and Dali’s mother. We learnt about Dali’s life and family and stories of her mother, now sadly in her twilight years but at home and loved. After breakfast we were given a tour of the Bio Yard…

Adjap Sandal (Georgian Aubergine)

Adjap Sandal

Kiwi Café Tbilisi kindly gifted us with this Georgian aubergine dish. The flavour that really makes this dish is the fresh basil. We tried to make it ourselves during our stay in Telavi, though unfortunately it was not quite as delicious. We blamed it on the already freely flowing Georgian wine, a lack of basil and a generous sprinkling of chilli powder! Can be cooked with or without potatoes.

Frozen Fruit Smoothies (top tip to prevent food waste)

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Kiwi Cafe (vegan cafe and social hub) became a favourite haunt of ours during our time in Tbilisi. One of our favourites on the menu were their smoothies made from frozen fruits with soya milk and banana. The great thing about these refreshing drinks is that the technique lends itself to preserving fruits that are becoming over ripe. It’s an easy home trick that reduces food waste and results in delicious smoothies! Every time you have fruit in your fruitbowl that is turning or a fruit salad that is just too big after the weekend’s barbecuing session. Just chop up the fruit (remove seeds/stones) and get it in the freezer.

When you are in the mood, out the freezer they come and into blender alongside about 150ml of milk/soya milk/almond milk/yoghurt and half a banana (the banana can come out the freezer too but not necessarily – ever heard of banana ice cream?!). Whizz everything up in a blender, add a sprig of mint and ta-da tasty smoothie and less food waste!

If you’re feeling adventurous why not give it a go with your veggies too? Tomatoes? Spinach? Kale? Anything goes!

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I feel a blog post brewing…

tea, cay, rize, sunset

After enjoying 7 weeks in Turkey, our time is nearing to an end and we are sad to say goodbye. We’ve picked up the language and become accustomed to national traditions, like drinking tea (çay), the prayer call and Turkish dance. As if to celebrate our final days in Turkey our route had an instrumental role in a considerable increase of our çay consumption… in fact we did a lot more than just drink çay… We inhaled it, we cycled through it, we even soaked it in through our pores.

Revani Cake

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3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup sunflower oil
3 1/2 cup sugar
4 cups water
2 cups blended walnuts
2 cups semolina
2 cups flour
1tsp Baking powder
1tsp vanilla extract

First mix 3 cups sugar with 4 cups water and boil for 15 mins, stirring continually. Once boiled, leave to cool for at least 30mins.

Beat 1/2 cup sugar and 3 eggs. Whilst continuously beating the mix, add in the milk and oil, followed by the semolina, flour, walnuts, baking powder and vanilla extract.

Pour the mix into a 32 cm tray and cook in a 180°C oven for 30-40 minutes.

Once cake is cooked and cooled, pour the preprepared sugar and water mix over the top.

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Courgette Pancakes

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3 courgettes
1 small onion
2 cups water
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/4 cup oil
Dried mint

Grate the courgettes into a bowl. Finely chop the onion and mix in with the grated courgette. Add salt, water, egg, flour and mint to the bowl and mix together by hand.

Heat oil in a large frying pan and pour mix into pan until about 1cm thick.

Fry for about 3 minutes on medium to low heat and flip (use frying pan lid if need!)

Cook on other side for about 3 minutes and flip. Repeat this until both sides are nicely browned.

courgette pancake

“Hoşgeldiniz! Kahvalti?”

Turkish Kahvalti!

I’m not sure that either of us have consumed enough of the world’s breakfast to be able to claim that the Turks do it best. However, it’s pretty damn good!

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A typical Turkish breakfast will include a very beautiful china set hosting small plates of dips, jams, meats and cheeses all laid out on a lush table cloth – the sight makes your eyes water and you mouth widen! You can go from munching on home grown cucumber and stringy cheese to dunking freshly baked bread into runny homemade marmalades with whole fruits inside back to the savours of egg and on to sweet sweet honey. Alongside the homemade jams, Nutella usually makes an appearance*. In some homes the ‘homemaking’ even goes as far as the butter and cheese. Of course, you can rely on there being an egg dish cooked and communally eaten in an ornate metal dish with 2 looping handles. The main contenders for the egg dish are menemen, a tomato and pepper based dish cooked slowly to coax out juices and flavours with eggs added and lightly mixed last minute, or sucuk eggs, a Turkish sausage heated in butter and eggs lightly mixed last minute. Both could be related to scrambled eggs, but sooooo much better!
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For us Kahvalti is the ultimate hospitality treat, its a slow relaxed affair including lots of tea consumption, a big basket of bread and lots of dipping and diving across the table. Every family does it their own way with there own çay sets, china sets and home grown, homemade wonders….

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*Ferraro Rocher have a nice hold on the Turkey market, partially because the hazelnuts are sourced from Turkey

Bean Salad with Mint and Parsley

coloured beans

1/2kg coloured beans
(covered in water and soaked overnight)
1 onion
2 carrots
2 tomatoes
Fresh Parsley
Fresh mint
Olive oil

Place the beans in a saucepan and fill with water until just covered. Leave to soak overnight. The next day, replace the water and heat on the stove on a medium heat until beans are cooked.

Slice the onion, carrots and tomatoes. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the onions and carrots. Fry until soft.

Added the cooked, drained beans and sliced tomatoes to the saucepan with the softened onion and carrots and cook for 10 minutes.

Leave the mix to cool and add chopped fresh parsley and mint.

Sebzeli Köfte (Meatballs with Vegetables)

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1/2 kilo minced meat
Bread 2 slices – not the crust
2 onion
2 garlic cloves
Black pepper
Salt – tsp
2 Peppers
100g Peas
2 potatoes diced
2 tomatoes

Chop the onions, garlic, tomatoes, peppers and potatoes (2cm cubes). Lightly blend the bread to become chunky bread crumbs.

Sauté the onion in a large frying pan until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute before adding the mincemeat and bread crumbs to the pan with salt and pepper.

Fry until soft but not fully cooked, then take off the heat and leave to cool. Once cool, roll the mix into meatballs.

In a clean deep frying pan, heat olive oil and add chopped vegetables and meatballs and cook slowly with a lid on for about 1 hour.

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