Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Saving the World With a Sweet Soup - עשוראא

It is believed that Noah, on his cruise to save the living, cooked Ashura with the left ingredients in the ship: wheat, sugar, rice, chick peas, beans, nuts, dried fruits.. A mixture that could be brought together after any disaster on my beautiful fruitful land of Anatolia.
For the rememberance, every year, there is a fixed Ashura day where the pudding like dessert is cooked and shared with neighbours, friends and family  around here. The date is the 26,27th of December according to the Greagorian calendar and according to the lunar muslim calendar, on the 10th day of Muharrem, hence the name Ashura which means 10th in arabic. I like the armenian meaning of the name which is the "sweet soup".
This is my Jo's favorite sweet in Turkey and thus I have put the hebrew name in the title as a personalized gift.
And am sharing the recipe as promised to Jo !

Last year I cooked Ashura for the first time when I first moved in to my flat for the sweet traditional thought that "Ashura brings wealth to home" with its big variety of ingredients, every basic ingredient in your home. Do not worry if you dont have nuts or dreid fruits, try substitutes.

The recipe I am sharing is a modified version from my favorite traditional cook Umit Usta's Agiz Tadiyla book that I strongly recommend. You will need:
wheat, 2 cups
rice, 1 cup
chickpeas, 1 cup if dried, if cooked almost 3 cups
beans, 1 cup if dried, 3 if cooked
sugar, 5 cups
wheat starch, 1/3rd cup
milk(to whiten), 3 cups
hazelnuts, 1 cup
walnuts, 2 cups
dried figs, 10 of them
dried apricots, 10 of them(could be related to the date 10th of muharrem :)
dried raisins, 1/3 cup
almonds, 1/2 cup ( I put more)
cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon
cloves, 5 of them
butter, 1 Tablespoon
rosewater (optional) , 1/3 cup ..or any aroma like vanilla with its own amount

I love the making, with sweet memories of my first cooking times guide Umit Usta's serials on tv.

Messages: to Jo- come to pick yours up which is the one in the white bowl, I will keep it for 3 more days for you in the fridge. to Ali- Yours is the pink one behind Jo's, thank you for sharing your home with crazy&drunk strangers. To Serkan&Inci: the biggest one on the first row thanks for this lovely presence in my home this year. to Oguz- for being so tolerant and giving to me.

The Making:
DON'T GIVE UP STIRRING the soup all the time..
1-Soak nuts and almonda from the night before toIf the beans and chickpeas are dried ones, soak them from the night before(for about 8 hours or so), then change the water and cook them separately.
2- If you will use cooked beans and chickpeas, soak the wheat from the night before, cook it well without changing the soaking water(it contains a natural starch that you will need).
3- When the wheat is cooked , add the cooked beans and chickpeas and bring to a simmer. then add gradually the sugar. If the sugar is added all in once this will thoughen your beans.
4- Miix the starch with the amount of milk and add it to the soup.The soup must be a dense one but feel free to add some extra water or milk if the cooking water of the wheat has not been enough for all.
5- Add the rose water or your aroma of pğreference. 5- Add all the nuts and dried fruits and spices giving them enough time to the taste wthin the boiling mixture.
6- Last ingredient: add butter.
7- Put them in your designated containers for your very precious neighbours and friends..Share!

And save the world.. Once more..

Monday, 21 December 2009

The Longest Night

Yesterday night was very cold and rainy. After the concert we had a small chat with our winter tea with friends, then we went to sleep, one on the sofa, the other in my bed with the cats, sis on the other bed.
H fell asleep with Cikolata while we were watching Pink Martini's new DVD. As Thomas was very loud on asking everyone to play with him, I had to hug and caress him to calm him down and let him go to sleep.
But then.. I could not sleep, I was squeezed in the bed between two cats and H, so moved down.

Then.. I realised.. the sounds.. the sounds of my precious ones sleeping in the darkness of the night. Hayreddin  snoaring on the sofa downstairs, H's breathing and sleeping like a baby, Cikolata's warmth in bed and Thomas big space, 1/3rd of mine.
I fell asleep contemplating them in the darkness of the night and hearing them all.
In my home. In the longest night.
So has been the winter solstice of 2009. So peaceful and happy.
And I felt just like the star in the song of Pink Martini

I wish a falling star could fall forever
And sparkle through the clouds and stormy weather
And in the darkness of the night
The star would shine a glimmering light
And hover above our love

My biggest lesson in 2009, when you have a home, you'll do whatever you can to keep it. And it will surely be worth..

Monday, 14 December 2009

My WishList 2010

So this is sincerely my wishlist that may make you laugh.
Why don't you make one? I have just realized that I need less things than I thought. Which made me so thankful for all that I live with.
So my next list will be for the things that I am thankful to have.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Something I learned from Jo

I remember the first day I met Jo, it was a very serious icy IT meeting that I was late for. She was no-rection face and giving short cold answers. Then I went my way during the meeting and she smiled at me. Thast was it.. She has been another kiner surprise friendship in my life and I love her presence in my life.And her blog on her own japanese garden of course. I am so proud of what she does now. She is changing her carrier. She decided to study gardening and give a less space to our IT world.

Jo is very practical and my inspiration for reading, sewing and knitting. I like the way she is. A tomboy that has such delicate feminine tastes. A kinder surprise as I mentioned and a resourceful person.

So this is what I do for the books I can not afford to buy the hardcover version.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Dunya is One..!

I met my next door neighbour F on a very hot August afternoon, where after work, I hurried home to catch up with the moving guys. So that was the day where I was officially moving. A very hot busy day where I heard a young pregnant woman screaming on the phone to the plumber(a dodgy guy that left the job undone and was asking for more money). That was F, pregnant of Dunya.
So I invited her in and offered her a glass of water and tried to calm her down while the moving guys were carrying my wardrobe upstairs and my exboyfriend was watching them over.
A very hot busy day.. A special day to me.
Today, 1st of December 2009 is the day where Dunya is one year old. His first birthday.
That means a lot to me so I publish here my favorite photo of him taken a few weeks ago when they popped in for a morning coffee.
You can see why he is my mother's favorite.
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