Happy Holidays, Peoples!

Xmas

It’s that time of year again, Peoples. I have finally put together an Australian weather suitable Xmas dinner. And we are going Middle Eastern/Mediterranean! Well, mostly Moroccan, I should say. I will be making my famous Moroccan Faux-Chicken with Preserved Lemon and Olives. This is something I haven’t made for a quite some time so that’ll be great. Here’s the whole menu:

Starters
Izot
Babaganush
Hummus
All served with Turkish bread

Main Dish
Moroccan Faux-Chicken with Preserved Lemon and Olives

Side Dish

Harissa Flavoured Couscous with Raisins and Pine Nuts

Salad
Jazar Bil Kamoun Wal Toum (Moroccan Carrot Salad)

Dessert
Orange Cointeau and Macademia Christmas Pudding which is the only Xmas-sy thing we are having this year.

Jazar Bil Kamoun Wal Toum (Moroccan Carrot Salad) is the only one I have never made before. That’s the reason why you can access the recipes for the others but not this one. If it turns out to be a handsome looking salad, I might put it on VegFusion one day. If not, we’ll never talk about it again. OK?

Because my husband and I, we both have no family living close by in Australia, we do not get many visitors around Xmas. And, Xmas is the time for family, isn’t it? So far, we were fortunate enough to be invited to our friends’ Xmas dinners. They were nice enough to share their own families with us during holidays.

This year, we are having a friend around for Xmas dinner. So, that’ll be nice. I have just finished preparing our house for tomorrow: everything is cleaned and dusted, some of the cold items on the menu are put together, olives are soaked, I washed the tagine to be used tomorrow and our faux-chicken is thawing in the fridge. In short, I am ready to celebrate!

I hope you all have a beautiful holiday season. Try and make time for the little things, Peoples. Just relax and enjoy! Life should be celebrated.

One of my creations is in Super Food Ideas Magazine

A few months ago, I participated Home Cook Hero competition on Best Recipes which is the website of Super Food Ideas magazine. I heard about the competition on the last minute and I had another important deadline at the same time too.  Nevertheless, I managed to put together a few recipes and submitted them during July.To my surprise, I was notified as one of the judges’ favourites and my Udon Noodles with Shiitake Mushrooms and Chilli recipe was going to be mentioned in one of their upcoming issues. After being sick for weeks, I went out yesterday to run some errands and checked the magazine at the supermarket and there it was… Super Food Ideas magazine’s November issue is already out and I’m in it 🙂

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It says in the magazine: Made from only seven ingredients, this is one speedy and flavourful stir-fry. Udon noodles make a great alternative to regular noodles.

VeganMoFo Begins!

VeganMoFo 2014 begins today! And it begins on my birthday. Happy MoFoing Peoples 🙂

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VeganMoFo logos are designed by Amanda Chronister.

I don’t have a theme this year although I had a very popular one last year -vegan Mediterranean food as some of you guys remember. The reason for that is I’ll be off to Ubud halfway through September and I don’t know how much food blogging I can actually fit in. At the moment I am more excited about the reasons why I am going. You want to know? Here’s the list:
1. I will be joining a very good friend of mine who organised a yoga retreat in Ubud. She is a very good yoga instructor.
2. Ubud Writer’s Festival. I have tickets to go and see Rayya Elias and Robyn Davidson.
3. I’ll be conducting interviews with village shamans around Bali as part of my research for a novel I am currently working on.
4. Best of all, I’ll get to spend time with my dear friend.

VeganMoFo 2013 Wrap Up

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I am quite sad that VeganMoFo has come to an end. I’m not even tired. As a matter of fact, I was just warming up and now it’s over.

Some of you may have noticed that I had a theme this year: Vegan Mediterranean Food. In the beginning, I made a list of Mediterranean countries. Here’s the list of 11 countries I covered during the month:
• Turkey (What do you expect? I am from Turkey)
• Italy
• Spain
• Croatia
• Israel (I am having an ongoing affair with Jewish food)
• Morocco (Tagine and lots of harissa)
• France
• Greece
• Lebanon
• Egypt
• State of Palestine

Unlike last year, I was well prepared for VeganMoFo this year. I created this special folder with food ideas which was shared between my two computers –and somewhere in the cloud too, just in case. We knew that Mum was going to visit us during the first 10 days of VeganMoFo so I had quite a few recipes which were written, photographed and scheduled way ahead of time.

While Mum was here, I spent most of my time in the kitchen, starting in the morning. It’s because the light is much better during the day, I decided to prepare tapas style cold dishes soon after breakfast so that they could be photographed better. As a result, we always had extra this and that to add our meals. I must admit, being Mediterranean food, things got pretty colourful.

While I was going through all my VeganMoFo posts, I noticed that this year I started VeganMoFo with Yotam Ottolenghi’s Tomato and Pomegranate Salad with Garlic Dressing and finished with his Freekeh Pilaf. And here’s what happened in between this crazy Ottolenghiness:

Sep 3: VegFusion received 164 hits in one day which made it second busiest day in the history of VegFusion.
Sep 4: The biggest day with 176 hits. VeganMoFo is treating me well.
Sep 14: I was mentioned in a post by Rachel. So incredibly honoured.
Sep 16: The blog views reached 20.000.
Sep 18: Emily from Triumph Wellness re-vamped one of my recipes. Honoured again.
Sep 21: I was included in VeganMoFo Friday Round Up.
Sep 25: The blog reviews reached 21.000.

One of the highlights of the event, and it is the best one ever, I met a lot of great new blogger friends, not just from Australia but from all around the world.

Lastly, thank you all for being here, following my kitchen adventures although some of them are unpronounceable. Hope to see you again next year.

VeganMoFo begins!

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I signed up for VeganMoFo 2013 about a month ago and this will be my second year. Although I didn’t have a theme last year, this year VegFusion’s theme is: vegan Mediterranean food. Some of the dishes from Mediterranean region are already vegan but I’ll make sure that the non-vegan ones will be veganised. I have a long list of Mediterannean countries. Let’s see how many of them will be featured as part of VeganMoFo.

As you may have noticed, this year VeganMoFo is happening in September and starting officially on my birthday and the day after today is my husband’s. Don’t worry, I have a few dishes that I prepared earlier on and they are scheduled to be posted while we are celebrating.

By the way, thanks to Amanda Chronister for VeganMoFo graphics!

And VeganMoFo begins…

A day to remember and the food was vegan

Coming from an incredibly hospitable country, I love having people around for dinner. I usually spend hours in the kitchen preparing many different dishes and every time my husband looks at the food and says “This is a lot of food, Darling.” Well, this is also part of my culture. Let me explain; let’s say you have people around and you have only a few dishes. What if they do not like some of the ingredients? What if your main course is not so “main” for them? They need variety so that they won’t go hungry.

I remember having a couple from Istanbul over for an alfresco dinner on a summer night, back in Turkey. You know what they asked for at the end the dinner? They wanted me print out every single recipe of the night, including the salad dressing! I started making copies of my recipes back then.

Over here, in Sydney, we don’t have many people who are willing to share this food culture with us. Meeting new people is kind of difficult, especially if you are “fringe dwellers” like us –a Kiwi and a blood thirsty Turk who now live in Australia and don’t eat meat. Still, sometimes, someone from the past decides to drop by and it turns out to be a delightful experience.

Last year, we hosted Tony Cowell for lunch at our place who is my husband’s musician friend from New Zealand. They used to play in the same band. He is now the guitarist for Kenny Wiz as part of Michael Jackson Tribute Concerts all around the world. Tony is a world-class guitarist with a big, warm heart.

One of Tony’s cassette covers we still have…
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For lunch, we had Turkish Gözleme with spicy potato, paprika and onion filling, vegan coleslaw and a bowl of fresh salad. I didn’t make the Gözleme. It came from Gima Supermarket in Auburn. This is the only vegan Gözleme you can buy in Australia. Every other variety can be bought from Woolworths but for this one, we have to go to Auburn.

The box of Gözleme –spicy potato variety- looks like this…
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After lunch, the boys went down to our local music shop to get some strings for John’s guitar so that Tony can replace the ancient ones. Then Tony had to go to prepare for the concert. At the same time, we had to prepare for the concert too because we had complimentary tickets to go and see Tony play.

This is us after the concert…
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Next time we hope to spend more time with Tony or perhaps have a jam session together too!

Cruelty Free Festival Sydney

It is that time of the year again. Same place, same kind of weather -minus the drizzle- although it seems bigger this year.

Our lunch (sausage sandwich from Spoon’s vegetarian butcher). The food options at the festival were better than last year with new additions like Spoon’s Vegetarian Butcher and Lamyong.

Lamyong is participating for the first time. It was very nice to get this package deal from Lamyong as I use their products on a regular basis. With Lamyong Package Deal for $30 we got:

  • Vegan Country-Style Bites
  • Vegetarian Prawn
  • Vegetarian Soy Nuggets
  • Vegetarian Thai Green Curry Paste
  • Natural Health  & Vegetarian Life Magazine
  • And free Vegetarian Thai Tom Yum Paste

Can’t wait to create new dishes with these ingredients and expand my repertoire.

 

VegFusion Cookbook has arrived!

About two weeks ago, I ordered 51 VegFusion recipes to be printed and presented in a nice binder through Tastebook. And this morning, this beauty has arrived…

So far, they never had the cover that I liked, my recipes written in Turkish didn’t look good in the mock-up version and the chapter seperators were not suitable for a vegan cookbook. They recently fixed most of those problems. The binder is designed to hold 100 recipes and at the moment it has 51 recipes -the ones that are published on here- but I will be able order the rest seperately. Very happy…