More Turkey photos continue…When I’m travelling, I don’t mind waking up at 3-4am (thanks to a jet lag) and making myself tea and coffee (just because I cannot decide which one I want) and flipping through a hotel magazine until the sun comes up. Then I head down to have the most important meal of the day, breakfast, that always has yogurt and olives in Turkey. Everything is so fresh.
We had a tea time up on the hills where you can see Istanbul city. On first impression Istanbul is always busy and bustling, though the views from up here are undeniably peaceful and beautiful. Cool school kids sitting together and having a casual chat looked so relaxed and cute. One of the guys kept looking towards my camera and me pretending not taking a photo of them. Ah..awkward!
Vegan lunch full of fresh herbs and vegetables, just the way I like it.
You should try this champagne and pomegranate juice. Cheers!
Divine dinner tasting plates. They look amazing as well as flavourful. A lot of vegan dishes, yes! Char grilled capsicum stuffed with rice, dolma, mushroom stuffed with goat cheese and beetroot chip, sushi roll filled with peas, hummus, chickpea salad. My taste buds were in heaven. The great thing was chefs constantly checking if everyone was happy with the food they cook and just being passionate about serving modern Turkish food. I was so well looked after since they also gave me recommendations for vegan/vegetarian options.
Before visiting Istanbul, all I knew about Turkish cuisine was kebab, hummus, Turkish delight and dolma. It is much more than that. My experience with Turkish food was incredible. Fresh ingredients, a delicate balance of flavours, fragrant spices, beautiful black tea, my favorite sweets – lokum Turkish delight! Turkish wine was surprisingly good, too. These is no way you will leave hungry in this city.
It is always nice to explore a new city for more than what’s written about it on internet or paper. Istanbul was full of energy, beautiful architecture, friendly locals, clean streets, crazy traffic (quite chaotic on the roads and violent drivers) and delicious food. I cannot wait to return.
This is not a food related post but I thought I will share some of the photos from Jeju Island a couple of years back and show you what this beautiful island offers. Jeju is the southernmost and largest island in South Korea, created 2 million years ago by volcanic eruptions. It has beautiful national parks, waterfalls, beaches, caves and museums. Being an island, there is a variety of fresh seafood, seaweed, mushrooms and tropical citrus fruits. Plenty of delicacies! It is a popular destination for both Koreans and westerners to have a nice getaway since it takes only a couple of hours from Seoul.
I’ve always been more for mountains than for ocean. Entrance to the national park had a sign saying “stress-free zone”. I literally felt stress-free, all freshened up and clear in my mind after walking through the forest. Stunning! When we stopped over green tea farm in the afternoon, I was in awe. Peaceful green field won my heart immediately and organic green tea tasted so divine.
Now, food is very important part of the trip and I was not disappointed. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day in Korea. We eat like a king in the morning. This is abalone porridge served with little side dishes. This island is where you want to be if you are a fan of seafood. I assure you that you will delight your taste buds with fabulous Jeju cuisine and never feel hungry while travelling.
It is hard to pick just one favorite Korean meal for me but this is definitely on top of the list. A bowl of rice, seaweed soup, grilled fish, kimchi and namul (cooked vegetables with sesame dressing). So nutritious and delicious! I will be happy to have that every morning, please.
We discovered this “Sea & Blue” cafe when we were driving along the coast line. The owner was so friendly and had a bit of story to share. He made a drip coffee for us and explained step by step how to brew a good coffee. It tasted so good and I loved his smile 🙂
What a fantastic trip it was! We hired a car and drove around the island for 4 days, but if you are really into walking, there is about 200km of connecting walking paths (13 routes), called “Olle” which was inspired by the famous Pilgrim’s trail in Spain and made on Jeju island in 2007. It takes you to unique and hidden forests, mountains, beaches and places with beautiful landscapes. Sounds amazing? One of my besties has done a few times already and highly recommended if you want to feel surrounded by nature and tranquility. It is a good opportunity, too, to meet other travellers and locals. I would love to do “Olle” and climb up Halla mountain next time when I visit there.
One of my besties lives in NYC. She moved out to NY a few years back to become a physio and seek for a better lifestyle. The move to a foreign country must have been hard as I’ve done it 10 years ago and I totally understand what she has been going through. Well I would love to be with her as a companion when she needs me though NY is so far far far away from Australia. Thankfully she met a great guy who takes a good care of her and they are happily married. I visited her last May spring time over there and enjoyed wandering through the very heart of the city, enjoying some cheesy sightseeing, exploring little streets and devouring delicious foods. One of the things I miss most is, of course without doubt, New York bagels. You cannot beat fluffy dark pumpernickel bagel smothered with a thick generous amount of cream cheese accompanied by a black coffee. We accidentally found this awesome place called Zucker. If you happen to visit NYC, please check out this place. It is so ridiculously good. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I visit my dear friend and NYC again next year. So I’m making a open sandwich, great for breakfast or lunch. Easy to assemble though flavour combination works so well – pumpernickel, goat cheese, beetroot and balsamic. Delicious! This is how I treat myself to beat post-NYC blues 🙂 Please look for my previous post if you are wondering how to make bagels at home here.
Ingredients (single serve)
1 pumpernickel slice
50g goat cheese
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
a drizzle of balsamic glaze
pepper to taste
green salad to serve
Grate beetroot and mix with balsamic vinegar. Set aside. To assemble, place pumpernickel slice on a plate, spread goat cheese and top with beetroot. Drizzle balsamic glaze and season with pepper. Serve with green salad on the side.
What a magical city – Paris! I just loved strolling around the romantic streets, indulging myself in beautiful French wine and food which was more than enough to satisfy my demanding taste buds. I didn’t quite get Paris syndrome after holiday (Yes, it is real. It is a transient psychological disorder encountered by some individuals visiting or vacationing in Paris or elsewhere in Western Europe), though I do miss this place so much.This is what I like about Paris – the romantic streets, bridges, chic Parisian style (red lipstick, scarf around the neck, no-makeup-makeup and cigarette), full of history and modern at the same time, creamy colour buildings, gorgeous boulangeries every other streets, the art of pastry… After a long walk, about 25km pretty much non-stop, we were absolutely exhausted by the late afternoon and were already heading to the hotel without even realising it. As a result and me wanting to have a nice shower, wrap myself in bathrobe and have my feet up, we spent that evening on the bed with French wine and nibbles which were picked up at the Mono Prix next door. Red wine, lots of cheese, crackers, black olives, nuts – what else do you need? I must admit it was surprisingly a memorable and comforting dining experience 🙂Very last meal in Paris was escargots and grilled goat cheese on toast for entree. Main was divine – Provence style braised squid with quinoa and duck breast with honey and raspberry sauce. We were wowed by presentation and then seduced by the flavour.What an incredible holiday in France. It was sad to leave when I was just getting close to perfecting “Bonjour” and “Merci”. I hope we will meet again soon.