Posts Tagged With: food diary

Samarqand, Uzbekistan – hotel review, landmarks, market and restaurant food review

Categories: *Backpacking Trip: Uzbekistan 2015*, Backpacking | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PLOV!! – Uzbekistan National Meal

Today we had finally tried the Uzbekistan national meal of Plov in Samarqand, Uzbekistan. Costing only 12,000 Uzbek SOM each (just under $3), this delicious meal consisted of flavoured oily rice with cuts of meat and sweet carrots chopped into cubes. This was much more delicious then yesterday’s meal of ‘lagman’ the Uyghur noodles.

The restaurant was a small cafe on the side of the road recommended by our guide.

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Categories: *Backpacking Trip: Uzbekistan 2015*, Backpacking | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day One – Tashkent, Uzbekistan

So we have finally arrived to Tashkent, Uzbekistan (well done to those that guessed correctly from the previous post!)

We stayed at a quiet backstreet hostel called Topchan Hostel.

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We spent our first day touring round the old Tashkent and visited old Islamic monuments. For lunch, we went to a restaurant that specialised in old Uyghur noodles which was delicious!

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Mixed with bell peppers, onions, tomatoes and other veg with soft tender meat in a tomato broth, with the famous noodles hiding underneath – which were completely handmade!
This was just opposite the mosque and museum that has the old Quran of Usmaan, approx 3-4minute walk away.

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After a long walk, the jetlagged feeling came back (as well as some travellers blisters) we decided to get a take away and headed back to the hostel.
We got a dish called Dolma, an authentic dish of rice and minced meat wrapped in vine leaves – a meal I was familiar with by my Turkish heritage.

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Thoughts of Tashkent – when we first arrived I had thought it would be like Kuala Lumpur where I didn’t enjoy the city- but it had a relaxing atmosphere amongst the busy traffic, only struggle is not a lot of people know English! But with the friendly Uzbek people, sign language and a few words here and there, does the job!

Categories: *Backpacking Trip: Uzbekistan 2015*, Backpacking | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 9: Last day in Cyprus!{Travel Log – Food Diary} the rescue chickens story…

Saturday 19th – Sunday 20th January – Last few days in Lefke…

Our journey on the beautiful Island of Cyprus was approaching it’s end with just our last day left, we started to feel upset already with the thought of leaving the wonderful people that we had met in the sister’s guesthouse, the sister’s from Italy, Russia, Manchester, Serbia and Indonesia and the peaceful atmosphere, the 5 times a day prayer routines, the dhikr circles, the delicious food that was always so filled with blessings, our teacher sheikh Nazim and…on the last day we found out it was snowing heavily in the UK, so another thing to miss was the beautiful sunshine in Cyprus as we were nearing our days the weather became more and more sunny reaching 20 degrees Celsius in January months. We knew it was going to be difficult to adjust to the climate back in the UK – and really it was!

So on our last day, aunty Samia made a very delicious breakfast with the usual home-made jams and molasses and fresh toasted bread, but this time with a big pot full of fresh free range eggs from the farm and tasty holloumi cheese!

Story of the rescue chickens

In Cyprus, our teacher Sheikh Nazim, found out that someone had a few hundred chickens that the owners didn’t want anymore. Because they were very skinny and hardly any meat, they were burying them alive under a large heap of soil. Once Sheikh Nazim found out about what they were doing, he took all their chickens off them and placed them onto his fields with the rest of his animals (goats, sheep…etc). Now they run around happily on the fields looking all healthy and chirping ecstatically  This story was told to us, while aunty Samia served us the breakfast made by eggs from those very chickens…

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And it was delicious!!! Blessings of the food at the guesthouse.

I would most likely be trying out this meal – recipe included 🙂

As a second surprise, was aunty Samia’s version of bread and butter pudding. Don’t let the image fool you, it was not burnt but tasted absolutely delicious! The bread was soaked in milk, eggs and sugar and topped with home-made jam and placed in the oven.

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You can also make this topped with banana’s and apples also!

It was time to end our journey in Cyprus, with teary eyes and heavy hearts we departed from Larnaca Airport back to London Gatwick to meet with the snow that was waiting for us in the UK. Goodbye Cyprus, you will be missed, even though it was an amazing trip also being on my homeland as my parents are from Cyprus, discovering the foods from my heritage and the holy sites around the small Island, it was definitely a spiritual and awakening experience where I will be taking back with me the love and warmth of the sister’s guesthouse, the teachings of our teacher Sheikh Nazim with the blessings of food and how not to waste, how to be a good person – through your work, your heart and doings, Cyprus I will be back again, God Willing.

To all my fans, I hope you enjoyed this Travel Log – Food Diary as much as I have enjoyed my experience in Cyprus and hope that you all have also gained something from the travel log and also not to forget I will be trying out many of the meals that I had in Cyprus and sharing with you the recipes!

This was my first Travel Log – Food Diary but as the name suggests ( The Wandering Cook 786) we intend to travel more, so this is not my last Travel Log – Food Diary, more to come from TWC786!

Thank you for reading 🙂

xxx The Wandering Cook 786 xxx

Where else to find The Wandering Cook 786…

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Categories: Backpacking, Day 9 - Last day, Northern Cyprus, Top 5 favourite meals, Uncategorized, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 5 & 6: in Cyprus! {Travel Log – Food Diary} Butter beans dish, lamb kofte kebab and a mountain view over Lefke!

Tuesday 15th January – Sister’s Guesthouse, Lefke

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Today’s breakfast comprised of a mixture of variations with a similar rainbow salad as yesterday but this time in 3 separate serving dishes, one for the parsley salad, another a red cabbage and beetroot and this time one comprises of small cauliflower with white cabbage, all soaked in generous amounts of vinegar, olive oil and sea salt.

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The soup today was vegetable brother soup with pumpkins, fried onions and noodles!

I never ate pumpkin before, simple as we never cooked it. But having it in soup, was pleasantly surprising!

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Next up, was a cheesy pasta bake topped off with grater holloumi (helim – in Turkish) cheese, served with a variation of all the different salads. A nice treat that reminded me of back home as I tend to bake this pasta dish a few times!

4pm – Restaurant, Lefke

This time after our aftrnoon walk, we decided to get something to eat! Searching round Lefke, there isn’t much of restaurants as it’s a small village but we came across one tucked away along a hill full of other shops and supermarkets – I had forgotten the name! It had 1 table outside and a couple more inside so you can imagine how small the restaurant/cafe was, but we did have 2 guests with us, a couple of cats decided to join us in our meal – oh yeah, forgetting to mention in Cyprus you do see a lot of cats around, I will be uploading a video soon of all the wonderful cats around Cyprus!

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Yummy Lamb kofte wrap!! Made freshly on a hot grill with fresh Cyprus salad.

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Wednesday 16th January  – Lefke

Today at the guesthouse as there was more and more people coming to stay, I could only get a quick capture of today’s breakfast as it was keeping warm on the stove.

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Even though it was just the one photo for breakfast, this was the highlight of all the meals. I never tried this dish before and was really taken to it with its freshness and filling aspect, it gave me inspiration to do a meat-free month back in the UK with all the different variations of vegetarian meals and this one tops it off also!

This delicious meal was made by cooking butter beans until soft and drenching them with Cyprus olive oil, adding freshly cut parsley and finely chopped tomatoes on top with an extra drizzle of olive oil and seasoning. A simple dish but very appetizing!

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(if not noticed yet, but at the guesthouse and dergah, you use the same plate that you had your soup in for the rest of all the meals – with the amount of guests they cater for and all for free, I don’t blame them for not supplying different plates for each meal, plus that’s extra washing then!)

2pm-4pm – mountain walk across Lefke

After breakfast and prayers, we decided to tackle the mountain climb and head up to the mountains where a little hut/dergah has been made with the perfect view over the sea and mountains of Cyprus.

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I was just glad I had my Converse trainers to aid me in the walk up!

During our walk up, we had to cross over a river and walk on a bridge over the dam while enjoying beautiful views of Lefke’s coast. Here are some pictures of our trek up!

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local bee hives!!

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view of the sea while walking up

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nearly there!

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We had made it!!

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After arriving at the top and taking a break inside the beautiful wooden hut, I had to take a video before we leave to capture the beauty of the views! Sometimes photographs can’t depict how beautiful a view is without seeing it in real life, so hopefully this video helps in coming closer to showing the beautiful surroundings…

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just click on the image above to view the video or simple copy and paste the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKXM5S5ahLs

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   Days 7 & 8 will be up tomorrow with more delicious salads from the guesthouse and also a trip round Northern Cyprus visiting all the holy places including a yummy tomato and noodle soup!

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Categories: Backpacking, Day 5 & 6, Northern Cyprus, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 4: in Cyprus! Vegetarian Day {Travel Log – Food Diary} Rainbow Salad, Yogurt soup, Chickpea dish and simit halva!

Monday 14th January 2013 – 10.30am Sister’s Guesthouse

 

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Woke up to a bright and sunny day with the smell of fresh food being prepared downstairs. Day 4 at the guesthouse, we were beginning to get into the routine of things. 10.30am breakfast, 11am clean up and tidy, 12:10pm the call to prayer was called, 1pm walk to the dergah for prayers then with all our other days after prayers taking a walk around the village and back in time for dinner and to catch a glimpse of the sheikh (teacher).

This morning breakfast comprised of the biggest salad bowl I’ve seen filled with colorful fresh veg. It had shredded white cabbage, red cabbage, beetroot (which has become my new favorite vegetable!), fresh parsley and lots of olive oil, apple vinegar and salt to finish it off.

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                    Toasted bread with chickpeas and garbanzo beans in a yogurt & tahini mix/hummous

Breakfast wasn’t just about the wonderful salad, but this amazing dish which is another one which I will definitely be trying out! Not only was this dish tasty but such a brilliant way of using up old bread or bread that has been left out and hardened. Underneath this delicious meal, had a layer of old bread that had been toasted, with a layer of cooked chick peas and garbanzo beans covered in a mix of tahini, yogurt, lemon, garlic, seasoning and broth of the beans and chick peas (note: I will be providing a full recipe and tutorial of this meal next month!)

It was my first time trying this dish, but something I have brought home to inspire myself to create also and a very yummy vegetarian dish also!

 

Photographs of our daily walk around Lefke…

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beautiful historic buildings

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palm trees!

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local fresh veg market

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something I always wanted to build, a cob oven, perfect for Lahmacun!

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and a new fascination with old doors!

6pm – Dergah (Sufi Centre) – Dinner

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Tonight’s dinner we had food served by the dergah where the sheikh lives, the food is free and welcomed by anyone to come and join the dinner service. For tonight, we had very yummy Yogurt soup for starters with again, without wasting bread, toasted bread cubes.

Yogurt soup is a mixture of well..yogurt and rice with drint mint, it is a very tasty soup – again I will be trying out my own yogurt soup! – with recipes.

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Did you know??

If you have a pinch of salt before and after each meal, it helps your

stomach defend itself again diseases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Next meal was my mother’s specialty which we have back home, runner beans in tomato sauce and Bulgar with vermicelli noodles! A very close competition with the dergah and my mother’s meal but another yummy vegetarian meal.

 

 

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After blogging about my mother’s specility, we then got served..my father’s favourite dessert! Even though being miles away from my home in the UK, I had both my parents favorite foods right in front of me reminding me of them.

This is known as Simit Halva, it’s very much like the halva you prefer with flour and butter, but done with Semolina – very yummy! And the perfect end to our meal and day.

 

 

 

Tomorrow will be Day 5 & 6 in Cyprus!! With cheesy pasta bake, butter beans salad, lamb kofte kebab and a mountain trek – perfect way to view Cyprus from high up!

Don’t forget you can also find The Wandering Cook 786 on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube!

(click the logo to take you straight there)

 

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Categories: Day 4, Northern Cyprus, Uncategorized, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

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