Saturday, June 30, 2012

Chocolate Making Testing #1

My long-procrastinated chocolates with dried strawberries. 
They look fabulous, don't they?
In psychology, procrastination refers to the act of replacing high-priority actions with tasks of lower priority, or doing something from which one derives enjoyment, and thus putting off important tasks to a later time. Based on this definition I can easily explain why I avoided making chocolate until last week although I've always wanted to be involved in chocolate making. Well, all that time I've been working on less important things and and deliberately looking for distractions because making home-made chocolate seemed to be the ultimate step in my cooking and baking adventures and I couldn't accurately tell how I would feel in the end. As it seemed so, I waited for a couple of years to take the first step and bought 100 grams of dark chocolate and some dried strawberries. 

After melting the chocolate in a bain-marie (over a hot-water bath), I used heart-shaped moulds to shape the melted-chocolate. I filled the moulds half way through and added the chopped dried strawberries and filled the rest. I kept them in the freezer for 45 minutes and then stored them in the fridge. Well now it's time to share a few tips with you on melting chocolate over a hot-water bath:
  • Make sure the chocolate is chopped into uniform pieces to ensure even melting. 
  • Avoid all contact with water! Make sure your bowls, workstation, and spatulas are completely dry. Chocolate will seize and become unworkable if it comes into contact with even a few droplets of water.
  • Melt the chocolate slowly over low heat. Chocolate is very delicate and can become lumpy or grainy if overheated.
  • Stir the chocolate frequently with a rubber spatula, once the outer edges start to melt.
  • Chocolate retains its shape when melted, so the only way to know if it is truly melted is to stir it. Do not rely on appearances alone.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Street Art in Belgrade

Street art is my thing. 

If I had millions, I would definitely give all away to street artists all over the world to buy new paints and other equipment. 

By Sainer from Etam Crew - On Urban Forms Foundation in Lodz, Poland

Well, this is the URL to a homepage with street art collections, videos around street art and the most beloved ones. You'll be amazed by the creativity of those street artists.

You know I have already shared my travel experience to Belgrade and here are a few photographs of the works by the street artists in that gorgeous capital. 

This one is my favourite.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Happy Little Chefs, Episode 2

Ladies and Gentlemen! 

It was the time for another "We're cooking!" workshop organised by Happy Little Chefs which means Milou and I welcomed some little chefs in our kitchen once again. We'd decided about the menu much earlier and so when they showed up we started immediately since we had been waiting for the girls pretty excitedly.

I loved it! 

Milou needed some help for sure because she's just 2 but even so she proved her cooking skills once again and the girls were just awesome. They followed the instructions as if they'd been cooking the same thing for years. After I posted the video on Facebook, some called us  the "quattro" since all our initials are M: 

Milou, the youngest chef; 
Miray, the nine-year-old chef'; 
Merve, the eleven-year-old chef and me;

Mehtap, the oldest chef of the quattro.

I think it's enough talk for the introduction to what we did in the workshop. Just take a look at the video below. It'll show you quite enough of how much fun we had while learning a lot and cooking awesome foods. 

Enjoy the video!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Easy Spinach Meal with Beef

I don't normally eat things if I do not like how they taste. Let's take spinach, for example. Unless it is salty enough, I find that a cup of cooked spinach on my plate can taste bitter and very unappealing. I think, this is the reason why Turkish people traditionally cook spinach with rice and serve it with full fat yogurt. I have found, however, a little more delightful remedy for this situation. Adding some pre-cooked beef transformed this easy meal into something both yummy and healthy. Here is the recipe. Enjoy it. 


1/2 kg spinach
1-2 medium onions, chopped finely
100-125 ml olive oil
150-200 grams beef, stewed in advance
50 grams rice, washed and drained
1+1/2 cups boiling water
salt and pepper


  • Prep the spinach:
    De-rib the spinach, wash well, and let the spinach drain on a kitchen towel (or some paper towels) for a few minutes, so that there’s no excess water on the leaves. Coarsely chop the spinach, and set aside.

    1. Heat vegetable oil in a saucepan. Add the onion, and saute for a few minutes. 
    2. Stir in the boiled beef pieces. 
    3. Add the spinach and stir for a few minutes until all the ingredients are mixed together.
    4. Add some salt and pepper. 
    5. Add the rice and stir in. 
    6. Pour in the boiling water and cook until the rice gets tender. 
    7. Remove from heat and set aside.
    8. Serve with full fat yogurt.