Turkey: What travel dreams are made of

“I need a holiday.”

“I need to get away.”

“I need a break.”

If like me, these thoughts have been on a loop in your head, I think it’s only right to reward yourself with a much-needed getaway. I mean, 2017 has been quite extra so a holiday from it all is just what the proverbial doctor prescribes.

While I had a wonderful holiday to Australia and Dubai in January, it feels like ages ago so I’m already looking at a possible trip to Turkey in the very near future.

Enter Travelstart Black Friday. From 23– 27 November 2017 Travelstart will be cutting the cost of flights to your favourite local and international destinations with some epic “Black Flyday” travel deals. (Look out for the Spin to Win competition on the page!)

I’m so excited. I have my fingers and toes crossed for a good deal because Turkey has been on my travel bucket list for ages. 

I dream of visiting The Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

 

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And then learning all about the rich and complex history of the Hagia Sophia.

A cruise on the Bosphorus will be amazing bonus.

 

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As a lover of a good bargain, I long to see what the Grand Bazaar has to offer.

The foodie in me can’t wait to tuck into as many local dishes as possible.

 

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And buy as much Turkish Delight as I can fit into my suitcase.

I’m also dreaming of a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia.

 

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There’s much more to do and see in this beautiful country that I’m told is rich in history, architecture, culture, and good food. I am itching to explore it all. Turkey is pretty much what dreams are made of. 

PS: if you need a holiday but don’t want to go all the way abroad, you can also book a flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg and tick some things off my bucket list.

Are you as excited about Black Flyday as I am? 

  • Partnered with Travelstart.

Mom’s tripe curry

Apparently today is World Tripe Day. That’s right. October 24. Mark it in your calendars for future food adventures.

It started as a fun campaign in the UK to get more people to eat tripe “as part of a healthy, balanced diet”, according to the Tripe Marketing Board. Yes there’s a Tripe Marketing Board in the UK. These people obviously mean business.

A while ago, when I found out there was such a day, I asked many people if they ate tripe. There was a general chorus of “NO!” in that disgusted-how-can-you-ask-me-this tone.

But I like this campaign because I believe if we eat animals, we should be ethical and not wasteful. Consume the whole beast. Sure there’s a textural element to tripe that puts people off but if it’s cleaned properly, prepared tastily you won’t immediately turn your nose up at it.

Look I’m not advocating that suddenly everyone who is squeamish about offal start eating all the parts they usually wouldn’t but we shouldn’t discourage the eating of this or any other animal organ. If there are people willing to consume parts of the animal you’re not willing to, be grateful. No butcher should be throwing these parts away.

I’ll confess that while I eat tripe, it’s not something I’ll have often. Probably once a year or less, but when my mom makes it – and she makes it good – I won’t turn it down.

I’ve shared her recipe below. If you’re feeling adventurous enough you should give it a try. In Italy they sell it at food stalls on the road, battered and deep fried. My mom says her grandmother used to make it this way sometimes. I’d imagine this way makes it calamari-like. I’ll have to try it to find out.

My mom’s recipe is an adaptation of her mother’s recipe, which was pretty much how Cape Malays cooked it back in the day. Best of all, it’s not hard to make. The only thing that takes a bit long is the pressure cooking of the tripe – about an hour or slightly longer – but once that’s done the curry is quick and easy to make.

All you need are the ingredients pictured below.

And you’ll end up with this beautiful and tasty bowl of food.

Mom's tripe curry
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Ingredients
  1. 1kg of cleaned tripe, pressure cooked until soft
  2. 2 onions, chopped
  3. Ghee or butter for sauteing
  4. 2 tomatoes, grated
  5. 2 tbsp tomato paste
  6. 1 heaped tsp grated ginger
  7. 1 heaped tsp ground garlic
  8. 1 tsp salt
  9. 1 tsp cumin
  10. 1 tsp coriander powder
  11. 1 tsp Packo roasted masala
  12. 2 tsp kokhni masala
  13. 1/2 tsp tumeric
  14. 2 curry leaves
  15. 2 tbsp vinegar
Instructions
  1. Pressure cook tripe until soft. Should take an hour or just a bit longer than that.
  2. Allow to cool and cut into thin strips.
  3. Saute onion in butter or ghee until golden.
  4. Add tomato, tomato paste and spices and curry leaves.
  5. Allow to cook until spices are well combined and curry sauce has thickened
  6. Add cooked and cut tripe into curry mix. Allow to cook so the tripe absorbs all the flavours of the curry.
  7. Lastly add the vinegar to add some tang.
  8. Serve with white rice.
Notes
  1. I used curry leaves here but you can also use bay leaves. It's more traditional to use bay leaves but I didn't have any. I also prefer curry leaves so if bay leaves are more your thing, please use that.
From My Fingertips http://www.frommyfingertips.com/

Do you eat offal? If yes, which parts do you eat and which parts do you say no to? Talk to me in the comments below.

Delectable dark chocolate and mixed nut brownies

When the craving for chocolate hits, you have to do something about it. Yolo, and all that as the kids say.

Better yet, score brownie points with your friends, colleagues, kids, parents, or anyone you want to butter up, really.

These brownies are made with dark chocolate – doctors or scientists or someone said it was good for your heart – so you don’t have to feel too guilty about having one or two or 3 pieces of these.

Brownies

The added texture of the bashed up mixed nuts and cranberries make it extra decadent. I bashed the nuts by pounding a rolling pin over it. These are so good for you they help you release frustrations and even get you to tone your arms. Really it’s a win all round.

You can have it as is or make it a touch sweeter by drizzling ganache and more cranberries like I do. I made my ganache using a hazelnut milk chocolate. The ganache topping takes it to that other place – the one Bono sings about in Beautiful Day.

Note: The batter should be thick; you shouldn’t be able to pour it as this brownie has a fudgy texture – softer than a cookie but not light like a cake.

It’s pretty easy to make. Here’s the recipe.

Fudgy dark chocolate brownies
A delectable chocolate brownie that will satisfy your chocolate craving.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 250g dark chocolate
  2. 125g butter
  3. 4 eggs
  4. 250ml sugar
  5. 250ml cake flour
  6. 5ml baking powder
  7. 60ml cocoa powder
  8. 60ml chopped nuts
  9. 60ml cranberries (+ more for topping)
Ganache
  1. 200g slab of whole nut chocolate
  2. Enough cream for a spreadable ganache. Around 50-60ml
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180.
  2. Melt chocolate and butter over a double boiler or in microwave.
  3. While chocolate and butter mix is cooling, beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. The volume should increase.
  4. Add chocolate mix into egg and sugar mix and beat until well combined.
  5. Sift in flour, baking powder, and cocoa and use the mixer to bring all the ingredients together.
  6. The mixture should be thick and fudgy.
  7. Stir in chopped nuts.
  8. Bake for 25 min.
  9. Allow to cool before drizzling with melted chocolate and topping with cranberries.
Ganache
  1. Melt chocolate and cream together in microwave for 15 seconds at a time until chocolate melts.
  2. Stir together until ganache forms.
  3. Spread over brownies and top with extra cranberries.
From My Fingertips http://www.frommyfingertips.com/
Try it and let me know what you think.

 

Tomato Tart

When I was busy with a pie order I rolled one too many lids for the the top of it. I decided to make a tomato tart rather than put the pastry back in the freezer – where I will likely forget about it.

Tomato Tart

Tomatoes are what I had on hand and I didn’t want to have to cook any kind of filling. So not only is it delicious but it’s very quick and easy to put together with very little to wash up at the end.

All you need is pastry (I used my mom’s homemade butter puff pastry but you can totally use shop-bought – I sound so Ina Garten, don’t I?), tomatoes, cream cheese, mozzarella, and chilli flakes.

My recipe is a guide but you can absolutely add or take any of the above ingredients. Cook for your own palate, I always say.

Another great thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t cost a lot, but tastes luxurious.

Tomato Tart
A quick and easy savoury tart to impress your dinner companions.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 sheet of puff pastry
  2. 2 ripe tomatoes
  3. 3 tablespoons cream cheese
  4. 3 tablespoons grated white cheddar cheese
  5. salt
  6. chilli flakes
  7. Olive oil to drizzle
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Roll pastry and cut into a circle.
  3. Score a centimetre around the edge and use a fork to poke the middle so it doesn't puff up. The edge that you scored and didn't poke will puff up though.
  4. Spreak cream cheese on middle part of pastry, followed by grated cheese.
  5. Top with sliced tomatoes, salt, chilli flakes and drizzle with olive oil.
  6. The edge of the pastry can be crimped if you like or be left as it.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes or until pasty is crisp and golden and tomatoes are softened.
From My Fingertips http://www.frommyfingertips.com/
Try it and let me know what you think.

xo

 

A throwback to childhood treats

We’re a melting pot of backgrounds and cultures in South Africa and even though we’ve been a democratic nation for over 20 years, there is a still a lot we need to learn about the things we didn’t have in common growing up.

A while ago, a discussion in the office came up about “bompies”. Many of my white colleagues had no idea what this plastic bag of juice was and we had some fun explaining it to them. It turns out they’d had it but call it “icies”.

All this got me thinking: What other foods/treats that were part of your childhood?

I can only speak about things I grew up surrounded by in my community. Our school tuck shop sold what we called “50 cent chips” – essentially a cheaper version of Nik Naks in flavours like beef and chicken, usually over-dyed to the point that your fingers would be stained red for two days after eating it.

 

After months of searching, my life is complete again😍😆 #labambabeef #basicallymywholechildhood

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Here’s a list of eatables (mostly not healthy but hey we grew up kind of fine-ish) we were exposed to growing up.

Bompies and bunnylicks:

What was a hot, summer’s day without an icy cold plastic sachet of water flavoured with bright syrup? Sure, these sacks of sugary liquid may have been available to other kids, but did they have these names for it?

 

When the cravings call, and @ismaiel_isaacs pulls through.🍏 🐊🐢🐍🐦🐉🐸🐛🍎🍏 #bompies 🍏🍏🍏

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Penny polony:

These are not your regular slices of pink processed meat. They’re meant to be eaten warm, sometimes with atchaar as a condiment. There are some butcheries that still sell it but they don’t cost a penny like they did in my parents’ day. The name just stuck. It’s pure artery clogging comfort food that you won’t find easily. Do yourself a favour and don’t question what goes into it or you’ll not ever enjoy it again. There is a butchery in Walmer Estate, Cape Town that makes them on a Wednesday and people often stop there after work to get a parcel of them.

 

#worsies #pennypolony #abassies #walmerestate #wednesdayspecial

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Gatti’s ice-creams

Surf Joy, Jelly Jolly, Chocolina (oh how my grandmother loved this), granadilla suckers, and more were favourite summer time treats that most corner shops in many neighbourhoods sold. At many Cape Malay Muslim weddings back before everyone became fancy, people got served bowls of soft serve from Gatti’s that would be eaten with a tiny wooden spoon.

 

Pregnancy craving. My husband goes out everyday to buy me atleast 5 of these. #suckers #icecream #gattisicecream

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Chappies bubblegum

Not only were you able to exercise your jaw and make big bubbles, you also got an education. Part of the fun of having chappies is the “Did you know” section on the inside of the wrapper. Chappies was the Wikipedia of the ’90’s child. BONUS: It’s still available today!

 

Did you know? Before Google we had Chappies #chappiesbubblegum 😂

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Cigarette sweets

They probably don’t make these anymore out of fear it encourages smoking, but in the 1990s smoking was a thing and kids pretend-smoked by buying boxes of chocolate-cigarettes. Can I just say, my friends and I, ate these candies and we are non-smokers today.

Hello Panda

These were really popular among my friends in primary. I can’t say I took it at all. They’re not as widely available anymore but I found them in an Indonesia supermarket when I was there two years ago and brought them back for my friends.

Bashews cooldrink

There used to be a truck that drove up our road with crates of bottled cooldrink in the back. We’d keep the bottles from the previous week and swap it out for a crate of other bottles. These were days when people actually reused and recycled. It would be nice to go back to this system rather that buying drinks out of plastic bottles that will become landfill at the end of the day. My favourites (back when I was a kid and drank sugary, fizzy drinks) were the cocopina and the iron brew flavours.

Honourable mentions: Rascals, Penguin biscuits, Milky Bar Buttons, Ripple Chox, Chomp, NikNaks, Jelly Tots, and Smarties.

Tell me about the childhood treats you grew up eating? I’d love to hear from you.