Monthly Archives: August 2012

Day 7: My Adventures in Istanbul

Day 7 was the last day for sunshine and beach before coming back to Paris. Our friends took us to a beach and we watched the interesting people, quaint boats and striking colours.

It’s so great to catch some last minute sun before coming back to the routine of work. Don’t get me wrong, it is great to be back now!

This Turkish pop song was played everywhere when I was in Istanbul.

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Day 6: My Adventures in Istanbul

Day 6 was a lazy day of wandering and observing. Below you can see the Turkish evil eye set in concrete. It is designed to protect you. Like Ganesha in India I am guessing.

What I would do for a plate of this right now…

In Istanbul there are cats everywhere. They keep the rat problem under wraps, and give the city a friendly atmosphere.

A Gypsy busker family.

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Day 5: My Adventures in Istanbul

The architecture of Istanbul makes for most of its charm. The architecture in this magnificent city depicts a large mixture of structures which reflect the many influences that have made an indelible mark in all districts of the city. The ancient part of the city (the historic peninsula) is still partially surrounded by the Walls of Constantinople, erected in 5th century (just a little bit old!) AD by the Emperor Theodosius II to protect the city from invasion. The architecture inside the city proper contains buildings, statues, and functional constructions which came from Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern Turkish sources. The city has many architecturally significant entities. Throughout its long history, Istanbul has acquired a reputation for being a cultural and ethnic melting pot. It really feels like the point where the East meets the West. Such a gorgeous combination. As a result, there are many historical mosques, churches, synagogues, palaces, castles and towers to visit in the city.

I just love the mosaïques, the gold arabic script, and the stone.

Day 5 was a day of exploring the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Bazaar and the surrounding areas. Bear with me, I got very camera happy and took lots of photos.

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Day 4: My Adventures in Istanbul

The fun continues! On my fourth day I walked around the “Asian” side, the side that is less modern, more traditional, and where you can find all the monumental mosques. This side of Istanbul has so much history to offer, and being Australian, where the history is relatively modern, makes me feel like I am walking in Disneyland, or in a documentary.

The freshly squeezed Pomegranite juice is just incredible, and very tart!

View over the water.

And of course, Turkish coffee, my favourite!

Gosh, how am I going to be able to go back home after seeing all this? I could stay here another month and explore because there is just so much to see!

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Day 3: My Adventures in Istanbul

Burgazada is one of the Princes’ Islands. It is pure magic. You can only access it by boat, and there are no cars on this island, just bikes and horse and buggy.

It is officially a neighbourhood in the Adalar district of Istanbul. Burgaz is a common setting and even a major theme for writer Sait Faik Abasiyanik, where he also lived. The island consists of a single hill 2 kilometres across.

There are not many tourists here, so it’s perfect for a lazy restful afternoon.

What do you think?

There are so many photos to come- so stay tuned! :)

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Day 2: My Adventures in Istanbul

Today I had a wild day in the Grand Bazaar. It is such an experience! On my way, I walked through the winding streets down towards the water and Galata bridge.

The view of the sea is just a teaser of what is to come.

I discovered a wonderful modern Turkish café called Mavra Galata. Please go there if ever in Istanbul!

The architecture of Istanbul is breathtaking. There are no words… the water sparkles, the sun beats down, and the city is alive.

All the local produce. It makes me want to live here and eat olives for breakfast.

The Grand Bazaar is both spectacular and overwhelming at the same time. There is so much to see. Make sure you bargain with the sellers!

What a day! Tomorrow I am off to Princes’ Islands. Cannot wait!

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Day 1: My adventures in Istanbul

After arriving in Istanbul very late last night (or should I say very early this morning) I quickly got into the swing of things this morning. This city is so alive, it’s pulsing, the vibe is wonderful.

I am as in love with this city as I was in India. Uh oh, another love affair.

What a better way to kick off my week of solo-traveling than a strong Turkish coffee?!

And breakfast of course. Their breakfast is just as I like it: savoury and not too heavy.

I walked around the lush winding streets that branch off the main street of Taksim (Istiklal Caddesi). The café scene is really on the mark, Turkish meets Europe, and they offer great simple menus.

I didn’t expect to come across so many vintage shops. The tiles make me want to have my bathroom inspired by a mosque.

Just off the main road mentioned above I came across two young fellows selling muscles stuffed with rice served with lemon juice. Words do not describe. DELICIOUS.

They were so friendly too!

If you haven’t had Turkish coffee before, here is a simple explanation: Roasted and then finely ground coffee beans are boiled in a bronze pot and served in a small cup where the beans are allowed to settle. Sugar is added to taste. This method of serving coffee is found in the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey of course.

Cats are everywhere. I was told that they don’t get rid of them because they kill all the rats. Cats kill the rats. That rhymes.

I walked past this family and asked to take a photo of them because I thought they looked so wonderful. They then invited me for tea (called chai) and home-made walnut baklava. What an experience!

It may be full of sugar but hell, we only live once!

Turkish men dancing in the street.

Pickles as a side dish with my kebab for dinner.

And to finish off my night before catching my z’s, some more tea!

Tomorrow I have another big day, so keep tuned! :)

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Flourless Chocolate Nib Cupcakes with Raspberry Hearts

I am so delighted, this recipe is going to be posted on the Loving Earth website. If you don’t know Loving Earth then you really should look at their site, and of course try their products.

Just because there is chocolate in this cake, does not mean you can’t eat it! In any case, this flourless version is low in both carbs and fat, so it’s free of sin and full of taste! To put the raspberry on the cake, the Loving Earth raw cocoa nibs are full of nutrients, antioxidents and magnesium to make this cake a borderline superfood! They also give these cupcakes a richness and slight crunchy texture.

The next great thing is that even those who have a super sweet tooth love these. My J is the kind of person that could eat a kilo of m&m’s in one sitting, so making these really is a healthy alternative. Could be a great lunch box treat too!

Ingredients:

  • 50g (1/2 cup) organic cocoa powder
  • 5 tbsps of Loving Earth cocoa nibs
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) hot coffee
  • 2 tsp boiling water
  • 1 x 100g pkt almond meal
  • 100g dessicated coconut
  • 100g (1/2 cup) brown sugar (infused with vanilla beans- as in picture)
  • 3 eggs, separated

Preheat oven to 180°C. Put the cupcake patties in a muffin tray.

Combine the cocoa powder and hot water in a medium bowl.  Put in the cocoa nibs. Add the coffee and hot water to the cocoa mixture and stir until combined.This will soften the cocoa nibs slightly.

Add almond meal, coconut, sugar and egg yolks to cocoa mixture, and stir until well combined.

Use an electric beater to whisk egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until soft peaks form. Use a metal spoon to fold a spoonful of egg whites into cocoa mixture until combined. Gently fold in remaining egg whites until just combined.

Spoon half of the mixture into patties, put in the raspberry heart, then spoon in the second half of the mixture. Bake for around 12 minutes or until a skewer comes out dry.

If you wish to do an icing, here is how I did it:

200g of chocolate
100g crème fraîche

melt both the chocolate and the crème fraîche. Pour them in the same bowl and mix until combined. After a few hours in the fridge, using an electric beater, mix until light and fluffy. Using an icing bag, ice the cupcakes and put a raspberry on each cupcake. I suggest making the icing the day before and beating it just before icing.

and VOILA!

I just got back from a week in Budapest and tonight I am off to Istanbul. Very excited! More food and life adventures to come.

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A Sunny Afternoon in Aix en Provence.

On our way to get the boat from Marseille to Bastia we had an afternoon in Aix en Provence. It’s a city with many fountains, and the vibe and culture are polar opposites to Paris.

Being only thirty minutes away from Marseille, it really feels like a Mediterranean paradise. The apartments are precious and the cobble stones remind the people that walk on them of France’s long history.

I couldn’t resist, this olive and fig bread looked so good so I got some to snack on with fresh goats cheese.

Entre la mer et la montagne il y a Bastia.

Throughout history, Bastia was a rich city thanks to its geographical situation, being between the mountains and the water. For many centuries it was a wealthy city. The people of Bastia saw the city destroyed during WWII but its economic importance for Corsica is still high.

Walking around Bastia gave me a great idea of the previous glory and wealth of Bastia. A lot of the apartments need renovating. It feels like an old world enchanted city.

The presence and respect of Napoleon is also very strong, even after all these years.

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