Turkish Coffee Machine

Every time I go back to Turkey, I bring back cooking magazines, my favourite authors’ new books, cookbooks and kitchen gadgets I cannot get in Australia. One of the kitchen gadgets I brought back with me this time around is a Turkish coffee maker.

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I actually had the intention of buying a cezve-style one which is also an electric Turkish coffee maker, just smaller and more compact. However, my friends in Istanbul convinced me to buy this one instead. I noticed that this style and this brand was what everyone is using over there these days. After the decision was made, all I had to do was to pick a colour.

I experimented with a pack of coffee I was given by Uğur Atik from Galeri Set after I got back but the machine itself came with a pack too. At some stage I will have to go out and hunt for real Turkish coffee though.

This coffee machine is a darling. You just put your coffee, your sugar and water in it and press the button and go and save the world if you want while you’re coffee is being made. It beeps when it’s all done and you have a cup of foamy Turkish coffee, just like Ottomans intended!

How to make Turkish coffee with Turkish coffee machine

Ingredients:
1 level coffee spoon Turkish coffee (measuring spoon comes with the machine)
1 level tsp sugar
1 cup of water (the same Turkish coffee cup)

Method:
• Place the sugar and coffee in your cezve (it comes with the machine and it is the red thing in the photo with a handle) part of the machine, add water and stir.
• Place the cezve  on top of the circle. It should go all the way in otherwise the machine will not start.
• Press the button on top. It’ll automatically switches itself off when the coffee is ready.
• Once you hear the beep, pour it into your cup and afiyet olsun (enjoy in Turkish).

Note: Turkish coffee is served with rose flavoured Turkish delight and a glass of water. You drink the water to cleanse your palate and have your coffee with the Turkish delight. This is the Ottoman way Peoples.

Here’s the sugar levels in Turkish coffee making business:
• Şekersiz or sade: no sugar at all
• Az şekerli: with little sugar (½ Turkish teaspoon)
• Orta şekerli: medium (1 Turkish teaspoon)
• Şekerli: 2 Turkish teaspoon

Note: 1 Turkish teaspoon equals 1 level teaspoon.

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I was also given a nice set of coffee cups by a dear friend of mine (the one in the photo above) which makes my coffee experience more special.

Note: I promised this post to our hairdresser Nathan Yazbek from Salon Yazbek long time ago. Sorry for the delay, Nathan 🙂

The Living Cookbook – The one and only recipe software for me

Living Cookbook

I have been using Living Cookbook since 2010. It is a wonderful recipe software which does a lot of cool things for me. I am a Virgo so organising everything has a deeper meaning for me than most people out there.

Here’s what you can do with Living Cookbook recipe software. You can organise:
• Recipes
• Menus
• Ingredients
• Shopping lists
• And even pantry inventory

I have thousands of recipes, either on my computer or as in the form of clippings –clippings are the worst. Some of those recipes are irreplaceable like the family recipes that had been passed down to younger generations. In case I lose them I may never be able to recover as most of my family members are dead. Or cooking magazines that are no longer available, like a particular one from Turkey. I don’t see the publisher reprinting the entire 15 years of magazines simply because I lost the clippings from them. And what about those recipes which came exclusively from all the neighbours I had during the time I lived in Turkey?

Talking about recipes from Turkey… One of the most important features of Living Cookbook for me is the fact that it has no problems with some of my recipes being in Turkish. All the characters are displayed as they are typed.

At the moment I have 4448 recipes only on Living Cookbook divided into 20 cookbooks (for now, of course). That’s probably a small portion of my entire recipe archive. I am still in the process of de-cluttering. Only the important ones will make it to the “finale”. Do I sound like Cat Deely from So You Think You Can Dance? I think I do since I have a posh English accent too!

Living Cookbook comes with over 8,000 ingredients in its database with full nutritional information provided by the USDA. It’s very cool but what if they missed Tofutti Sour Supreme? Well, you could easily add ingredients to the actual database and include nutritional information too!

You don’t have to have a huge archive on your computer like me; you can import recipes from the internet. You could even do that with my recipes on VegFusion if you want to. All the recipes you have on Living Cookbook can be e-mailed, shared and printed. Printing options are insane; you can print them on your usual A4s or on index cards, you can publish your own cookbooks in the shape and size you choose. You can add multimedia like photos, videos to each dish you have on it.

I have just upgraded to 2013 version of it on one computer -every computer uses one license key by the way and if you want to use Living Cookbook on more than one computer, you will have to buy separate licenses. Once my other computer is cleaned up, I will do the same with that one too. Here’s a tip about licensing; when you purchase your license key, write it down somewhere -you will also need your previous ones when upgrading. If you lose it then you have to go to Radium Technologies Forum. They recover it for you. I recently lost mine -like all of them except for one -and Paige from the forum resent them to me.

There are a few features which I haven’t used yet –like the shopping list –so I can’t comment about them but I will probably come back and update the review here when I finally try them out. That’s all for now Peoples…

Tagine

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Yes, I bought one! Since I am doing Mediterranean style of food during VeganMoFo, I thought this is the right time to get myself a colourful tagine. And wasn’t I lucky that an incredible sale is on at the moment –as I mentioned on VegFusion Facebook page yesterday. Sydneysiders, if you can get yourselves to any Victoria Basement stores, the tagines are for $69 instead of $300 and they are those Chasseur ones! The bottom part is cast iron and the lid is ceramic. They come in lovely colours. I picked “citron” as you can see in the photo.

What is a tagine? Well, it is a two-piece traditional North African cooking pot with a conic lid. They are mainly made out of clay –mine isn’t but I actually have a clay baking dish and it smells so bad every time I use it, so who cares?

Tagine is not just a cooking vessel either. You cook and serve your tagine dishes in it. Tagine also refers to cooking style which is one of those healthy cooking methods as you retain the nutrients like you would in a slow cooker and not much oil is required either. Apart from being healthy and nutritious, they say that cast iron gives tagine dishes a unique flavour too. We’ll see.

Anyway, I will be making a faux-chicken dish tonight with preserved lemon and green olives. So stay tuned…

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ActiFry – the one and only kitchen gadget for me

Is there a kitchen gadget that you can’t live without? I don’t think I ever promoted any of my kitchen gadgets to that rank until I bought this ActiFry by Tefal.

To be completely honest, I had no plans of adding another kitchen appliance to my small and dysfunctional kitchen but I’m glad I did. It wasn’t love at first sight. My first encounter with this gadget was at a friend’s place in Istanbul. Because she is such a zucchini lover, she fries large quantities of the vegetable and eats the whole lot after gym. Clearly, ActiFry is working for her. But what about me? Would I be going to the gym? Would I like zucchini more? Would eating ActiFried zucchini make me taller like my friend? More importantly, would I use it?

Before I even got my answers to those questions, the ActiFry sightings in Australia were already happening. First we located one at Harvey Norman and then The Good Guys. At some stage we even came across the competitor’s gizmo: Philips Air Fryer.

My husband wanted to get involved and that is a very good thing as he is fantastic at reading and comparing reviews about anything electronic. Well, in the end, we bought one from Costco for AUD239.99.

Yes, it’s big but ActiFry turned out to be incredibly versatile. I use it all the time and some days, it doesn’t even go back in the kitchen cupboard. What makes ActiFry special is that you use a tablespoon of oil to make a kilo of potato chips.

The cookbook that came with it was a big disappointment though. Clearly, it is designed for Australians but it is boring and not suitable for vegans. My dear friend again came to the rescue. She told me about Tefal’s ActiFry website with recipes –in Turkish. If you open an account with them for free, you can even put together an online ActiFry recipe book. In the end, basics came from one place and interesting or potential ideas came from another. The photos you see on here as part of this post, all made in ActiFry.

 

Now, I have a special cookbook chapter in Living Cookbook –the recipe software I use to store my recipes, archives, etc. – for every recipe that I cook in ActiFry. Actually, they should pay me to write their vegan friendly cookbook for ActiFry.