The fall season is here and I couldn't be more expectant for this beautiful, chilling weather. In the spirit of celebrating the seasonal change, I thought I would also take some time to celebrate and share five favorite things that certainly "spark joy" in my life right now. Without further ado...
For our honeymoon trip, we went on a 10-day adventure to Sri Lanka. It was a completely new culture and experience for both of us. During our time visiting the city of Kandy, we stayed in a lovely ayurvedic hotel tucked in the mountains. For those of you who are unfamiliar with ayurvedic practices, it is like the Chinese medicine/philosophy of India. Ayurveda covers holistic living from massages to diet to medical practices. I certainly only know the basics of the ancient practice but the hotel we stayed in offered special massages, food and toothpaste. In their bathrooms, they provided a tube of the natural Ayurvedic toothpaste. This spiceful toothpaste has barks, roots, plants and flowers which have been esteemed for centuries by Ayurvedic specialists for maintaining optimum dental hygiene - no fluoride, gluten, artificial sweeteners, dyes or harsh chemicals. I still regularly use my normal Colgate toothpaste but I really enjoy the experience of using this product every once and a while.
My Husband’s Beer
Last night, we finally popped open and tasted my husband's beer. After nearly 6 weeks of waiting, we were finally able to see if this at-home experiment went well and the result was a smashing success! It is a light summer beer that is both classic and clean-tasting; it keeps you wanting more. While we were both considerably concerned about the outcome due to the heat-wave that came to Izmir in the early stages of fermentation, we are pleasantly pleased with the outcome! Due to the success of the first batch, I suppose this is just the beginning of our journey - we might have created a beer monster!
One of the oldest forms of wheat, siyez (also known as Hittite wheat) is extremely important to the food history of Turkey, dating back 10,000 years. Praised for its’ low level of gluten and high protein content, siyez is undergoing a revival in Turkish cuisine due to the effort of food historians and gastronomers in Turkey. It is particularly important to Kastamonu, a northern province of Turkey because it is so full of antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and carotenoids, which have nourished this regions for thousands of years. I prefer to cook my siyez bulgur in the rice cooker with a splash of olive oil and salt but that is certainly not the traditional method. However, for our regular routine and diet, this works just fine for us.
‘You’re Wrong About’ Podcast
I recently stumbled about this podcast while intentionally looking for new content in the weekly podcast rotation. From topics such as ‘Yoko Ono Broke Up The Beatles’ and ‘The American Taliban’ - it is a little bit of history mixed with pop culture. I really enjoy the content, investigative research and the personality of the show hosts. I have learned a lot of new things and my perspective has been challenged - this is exactly what I am looking for in a podcast!
Oklava Turkish CookBook
For our wedding, we were gifted a beautiful cookbook called, “Oklava: Recipes from the Turksih-Cypriot Kitchen” from a dear family friend. While my Turkish husband is more-than-familiar with the recipes, for me, it is like a like secret tunnel leading me to a fountain of knowledge. My Turkish mother-in-law (kaynana) often pulls me into the kitchen to teach me however this book has measurements and clearly explained steps. For me, this brings so much clarity when I am trying to replicate these dishes in my own kitchen on a busy weeknight. Not to mention, the book is stunning and it truly reflects the everyday scenes visible from my window in Izmir, Turkey.
Art work by Alessandra Olanow © alessandraolanow.com