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For food that you can’t categorize into one country

My new hobby!! Anyone for Crochet?

crochet

 

My new hobby – apart from cooking of course!! Anyone else into crochet?? 

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My go at Old El Paso – Vegetarian Enchiladas!!!

tortilla

 

With red kidney beans, courgettes, yellow bell peppers, red onions and mushrooms!!!

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Day 1 and 2: We had arrived in Cyprus! {Travel Log – Food Diary}

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Friday 11th January – 7.30pm Cyprus time – Larnaca Airport, Southern Cyprus

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a calm 4 hour trip from London Gatwick to Larnaca, Southern Cyprus, our journey had started within our group of four, our next mission was to find our pre-booked taxi to head to Lefke, Northern Cyprus. After collecting our luggage we headed towards the Taxi’s department outside only to find after half hour of waiting that our taxi man hadn’t arrived yet. Our first test on this journey!! This holiday to Cyprus wasn’t just going to be for the ‘holiday experience’ (or for the yummy food that awaited ahead of us) but also to treat it as a Spiritual Retreat, since we will be living fully in the Sufi/Islamic lifestyle with our routines and learning about ourselves and the blessings of sharing food.

 

So after waiting in the cold night and ringing the taxi man, turned out he completely forgotten about picking us up! And to get to Northern Cyprus in Lefke took an hour and a half, now you understand why we called this our first test on our spiritual journey in Cyprus. So we decided to get something to eat as we waited for the taxi man called Hajji Omer to arrive, which I might add, was an extra hour late then stated but we simply laughed it off, whether it was the jetlag of our system still being 2 hours behind then the Cyprus time or just the thrill of finally being on this beautiful Mediterranean Island.

 

 

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Lefke, Northern Cyprus – 11pm 

 

We had arrived! Albeit more of a delay then we expected but it started to sink in more. My sisterinlaw and I stayed at the free sister’s guesthouse, a place where ladies are welcomed to stay and enjoy the beautiful atmosphere as you meet other ladies from different parts of the world. While our husband’s stayed in the dergah (sufi centre/mosque).

We were kindly welcomed by two sisters (in Islam, all women are considered your sisters and men called your brothers, like a family – a very comforting feeling which I find in other cultures shared the same concept). One sister was from Manchester and the other all the way from Russia! After greeting each other with hugs and smiles, they showed us the shared rooms we can pick where there’s blankets, mattresses and pillows to choose from.

After settling in, the most quietly as we could as their were other’s sleeping in the same room, we reflected on how one moment you are in the busy life of the UK to the peaceful and beautiful Island of Cyprus and how thankful we were and contemplated on what was to come in these next 10 days!

 

 

 

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Saturday 12th January – 10am – Lefke, Sister’s Guesthouse

 

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Waking up to the beautiful sunshine of Lefke overlooking the sister’s guesthouse, a truly tranquil place. Meeting so many different sister’s at breakfast time, some flown in from Italy, Serbia, Germany, Russia, even Indonesia, it didn’t feel like we were in Cyprus at all, meeting so many wonderful people from different continents of the world sharing the same intention of spirituality and love.

 

Now onto the breakfast!! There is one lovely lady who run’s the free guesthouse, aunty Samia and her food is amazing!

 

 

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Today’s breakfast consisting of yogurt soup (on the topic of soup, soup is always served every morning before any meal – something which I will be taking into account when back home!) a yummy vegetarian oven bake dish (in the middle) consisting of potatoes, leeks, carrots and tomatoes topped with bay leaves. And a healthy porridge and fruit dish made by some other sister’s from Serbia (who had an amazing inspirational story – they CYCLED it to Cyprus!) Not forgetting one of my favorite dishes that got served nearly each day, red cabbage and beetroot salad (middle left) – a dish I will definitely be making myself – and of course sharing the recipe to my wonderful fans of TWC786. 

 

Did you know??

When eating bread with your meal it helps absorb nutrients from the food into your nerves!

 

With the breakfast meals, always accompanies the olives, the home-made range of jams which are made from the fruits in Cyprus, and a tahini and molasses mix (very yummy and molasses known to help the blood!). Also served every day with tea and toasted Turkish bread.

 

 

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Now that’s not what was only served during breakfast/brunch, the most delicious omelette made also with fresh leeks. I only had a quick chance to take a picture!

 

 

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Another meal I intend to try out myself and share the recipe!

Each breakfast, before it being served we all make a prayer on giving thanks to God for the meal and to bless Sheikh Nazim, he is a spiritual master that lives in Lefke, the one that owns the guesthouse and has opened it to people, the one that has brought everyone from around the world to unity and Divine Love.

And at the end of each meal, another prayer is added again to say thanks after eating the delicious food, I found it very beautiful to finish and start a meal with thanks…it makes you appreciate the food that has been given to you.

Tour of the guesthouse…

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Midday – Lefke

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After helping out with cleaning up after the yummy breakfast we went for a walk around Lefke – which then became a regular routine, a walk after midday – and in Lefke particularly  they are well known for their orange trees and January was the season that they are ready to use! So we had to try one of THESE…..

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Freshly squeezed Lefke Orange Juice!!!

No exaggeration intended, but by far it was the best orange juice I had tasted and only for 4 Turkish Lira – which comes to about £1.40 – I don’t think I paid that much for juice before, but it was definitely worth it and being so fresh, I would consider it a bargain! So that’s CAFE NATURAL you would want to look out for if your in Lefke! 

Day 3 will be up tomorrow with MORE yummy breakfast from the sister’s guesthouse,  fresh bread made directly from an outside mud oven, and Lahmacun!! Can’t come all the way to Cyprus and not have a traditional Turkish Pizza which I have tried many times in making myself!

Don’t forget I will posting each day’s experience up to Day 10 of our travels to Cyprus! Including videos!

(click the logo below to take you straight to my twitter, facebook or youtube account!)

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Categories: *My Travel Food Diary in Cyprus!*, Backpacking, Day 1 & 2, General, Northern Cyprus, Uncategorized, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Wandering Cook 786 is back from CYPRUS!!!

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***The Wandering Cook 786 is back from Cyprus!!!!!*** 
With lots to tell on the food, the country and more food! Next week, I will be blogging a diary on this website from Day 1 – Day 10 of my trip in the sunny island of Cyprus depicting the foods we ate, the places we visited and the blessings I have learnt about food in general ♥ AND then afterwards I will be trying to re-create the foods I had experienced in Cyprus sharing with you the recipes!!!
Lots to come from The Wandering Cook 786

xxx

Categories: Backpacking, Food on the go, General, Northern Cyprus, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grandmother’s Turkish Chickpea Rice Recipe!!!

 

Firstly I would like to give a BIG thank you to all my Facebook fans, a lot of people celebrate when they hit 500 or 100 likes on their Facebook page, because The Wandering Cook 786 is still new and growing immensely, we already reached 60 likes and makes me very happy! So for this recipe post, a Facebook fan asked how to make Turkish Chickpea rice. Even though I have eaten this countless times at my grandmothers house during the festive time of Eid, it always symbolizes festivals and family gatherings but I had never cooked it before! So asking how my grandmother actually makes her Turkish Chickpea rice and passing the recipe to me, I gave it a shot as well as to fulfill the request on showing how to make it.

(my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/thewanderingcook786)

 

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Prep time:  one full day for soaking

Cooking time: 35-45mins

 

 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup of basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup of chickpeas (not the tin version)
  • olive oil
  • hot water

 

Method: 

  • When cooking chickpea’s from the packet, you need to prepare them a day beforehand just by soaking them in water and leaving them overnight.
  • The next day the chickpeas will be double the size.
  • Now drain off the water that the chickpea’s were soaking in overnight and place the chickpea’s into a medium saucepan and cover with fresh water.
  • Put onto boil on high heat and boil until soft – approx 35-45 minutes making sure you remove the froth as it cooks.
  • Once soft, drain off the water again and set aside – you can always taste one to see if it’s soft enough.

 

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  • Now for the rice, I use 1cup of basmati rice to 1/2 cup of chickpea’s ration (1:0.5 ratio  – maths class memories come back to mind!).
  • Wash your rice and set aside.
  • NOTE: Make sure you have hot water in your kettle ready.
  • In a medium-large saucepan, heat up some olive oil.
  • Once warm, fry your rice for 1 minute continuously stirring to prevent sticking.
  • Next place your cooked chickpeas and stir into the rice.

 

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  • Now add in 2 cups of hot water from the kettle (2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice ratio, 2:1). 
  • Add in 1/4 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 tbsp. salt (preferably sea salt) and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon!

 

Steps1

 

 

 

  • Cook until all the water has been absorbed. I usually wait till the water is boiling, then reduce heat to medium and cover. As you notice the water absorbing and beginning to see the rice, start lowering the heat more until you see no more water left in the pot. Then turn the heat off and let the rice rest for 5-10 minutes with the cover still on so the steam still cooks the rice further.

 

 

Steps3

 

 

  • Once rice has rested, mix the rice and serve warm!

 

Steps4

 

Enjoy!!

xxx The Wandering Cook 786 xxx

 

 

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Categories: Festive Foods, General, Northern Cyprus, Passed down through family, Turkey, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year to all, hope it brings health & happiness.

Wishing you all a joyful and prosperous 2013!!!

xxx The Wandering Cook 786 xxx

 

My mother's New Years eve dinner with roast Turkey, potatoes, veg and gravy. Yum yum!!

My mother’s New Years eve dinner with roast Turkey, potatoes, veg and gravy. Yum yum!!

 

Categories: Festive Foods, General, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New recipes and travel plans for 2013! Including a trip to Cyprus to explore the Mediterranean cuisine – All on The Wandering Cook 786!!

***NEW RECIPES & TRAVELS FOR 2013***
Indonesian Chicken with coconut milk, Turkish rice with noodles, how to prepare Turkish coffee and authentic Turkish tea, Thai chicken curry, a range of Spanish foods, Lush desserts including chocolate gooey pudding and much much more! Including a trip to Cyprus to experience the Mediterranean cuisine, all on The Wandering Cook 786!

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Happy Christmas and Happy New Year

We would like to wish everyone happy holidays during this festive time!

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Yorkshire Trip

 

Hi all, I’m now back at home after a week’s trip to South Yorkshire to visit my in-laws. My motherinlaw’s cooking is one of the best authentic Pakistani foods I’ve eaten so after watching her in the kitchen viewing the ingredients she uses, I bought my own stack of ingredients while being there!!

 

 

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Ingredients: haldi (turmeric) powder, dhania (coriander) powder, cinnamon powder, black seeds, and gram flour.

One of my favourite side-dishes she made was Pakora’s – which gram flour is needed.

Pakoras are created by taking one or two ingredients such as onioneggplantpotatospinachplantain,paneercauliflowertomatochili pepper, or occasionally bread[2] or chicken and dipping them in a batter of gram flour and then deep-frying them. – Wikipedia

 

Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of the food (was too busy eating all of it!) but the variety was anything from chicken curry, egg curry, daal curry (lentils), chicken biryani, meat kofta with boiled eggs (which I would definitely like to try out!) and many more!

 

So for my next recipes there will be an asian twist to them as well as trying out some of my motherinlaw’s authentic Pakistani recipes! Yummy yum!

 

xxx The Wandering Cook 786 xxx

 

Categories: Backpacking, General, My own mix, Pakistan, Passed down through family, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our *NEW* Look for The Wandering Cook 786! What do you think??

After hours spent last night on taking pictures, learning in’s and out’s of Picasa 3 software to create my header, spending ages on choosing a theme to suit my blog, then another hour or so fiddling around with it.

Finally my blog has been updated and has a new organized and professional approach especially with a new header image depicting the recipes I have created so far.

Let’s have a quick look on how it looked before…

Even though I loved the background to this old theme, I felt I needed something to show exactly what my blog was about. The reason I like the previous background was due to the fact that the colours always reminded me of warm Mediterranean cuisine and culture. So using that incentive, I decided to create a colourful image header with my main aim to show that my recipes are inspired from around the world and even via my back packing travels. As for the background, I wanted a food image but a bright ingredient, so I chose orange lentils from my Turkish lentil soup.
I hope you all like it as much as I do! Let me know what you think, you might find there will be a few more tweaking as I go along!

Do you prefer the old layout or the new?

Please comment below your views as it will be MUCH appreciated!

Tweet me your answers also on @thewanderincook

Enjoy!

P.S As well as the lovely new layout, more lovely new recipes will be on it’s way………

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