Cornbread Comeback // Orientalisches Maisbrot-Sandwich

Oriental Cornbread Sandwich // Orientalisches Maisbrot-Sandwich // by Fructopia

Oriental Cornbread Sandwich // Orientalisches Maisbrot-Sandwich // by Fructopia

(Die Deutsche Version findet ihr wie immer im Anschluss an den englischen Text)

Is this really today’s date? Are we already this close to October? As for the summerlong silence on Fructopia, that could only mean one thing:

Faces held out towards the warming sun, legs dangling in the sparkling sea, endless nights on the terrace of a summer house located somewhere along the manifold azure blue coastal landscape of southern Turkey. A table bending under the weight of all the delicious mezze and fresh produce, brought forth by the fertile earth we are surrounded by. Standing nearby, a grill with delicate fish, bought off of a local fisherman on our way home from the beach. He shares a faint smile as a long day out on the sea comes to an end. Sun, wind and water have left their marks on his face, hinting at all the stories he could tell.

You are probably thinking, that I must have thoroughly been enjoying myself this summer. After all, every true „Istanbullu“ spends summer at their summer house, right?

Cut, rewind. Let’s start from scratch. But this time, let’s stick to the facts, okay? ;) 

Recipe after the jump. There is a German version too …

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Feeling Mallow // Grünes Wunder vom Wegesrand

Feeling Mallow // Grünes Wunder vom Wegesrand // by FructopiaFeeling Mallow // Grünes Wunder vom Wegesrand // by Fructopia

(Die Deutsche Version findet ihr wie immer im Anschluss an den englischen Text)
It may just be the season, but the whole blogosphere and Instagram community seems to be going crazy about smoothies and smoothie bowls at the moment. I’ve also been observing an increasing demand for smoothies low in fructose, which are just a little bit more challenging to make. I already introduced you to my own favourite smoothie recipe a while ago, but in general I keep on combining and testing whichever ingredients I manage to get my hands on. One of my favourite finds so far this year is marshmallow. Ok, not quite, but close. It’s actually the common mallow. Common mallow is this lovely little plant, which grows on the side of roads and hiking paths, which we usually don’t pay much attention to. Most people don’t even know that its leaves as well as flowers are edible and that both make wonderful additions to any salad. When added to soups, mallow acts as a thickening agent. Of course you can make some delicious tea with it too. But it is not just its taste that draws me to common mallow. In the end it’s all the more fun, when there are some additional health benefits involved, right? So what good can mallow do for you? First of all it is rich in Vitamin C and beneficial mucilage. The abundant mucilage soothes throat inflammations and coughs. It also has a slightly laxative effect. Not too shabby, don’t you think? What’s best is: Common mallow is free. When you are out on your next walk in an area that resembles nature you’ll probably start spotting it everywhere. Because it literally grows everywhere. That small patch of grass, the one that all the dogs in your neighborhood choose to pee on, does not count though. So grab your book for identifying local, wild flora, go out and collect some mallow for your salad and this smooth spring smoothie. Recipe after the jump. There is a German version too …

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Rainbow Salad With Herbs Galore // Regenbogensalat mit reichlich Kräutern

Rainbow Salad With Herbs Galore // Regenbogensalat mit reichlich Kräutern

Rainbow Salad With Herbs Galore // Regenbogensalat mit reichlich Kräutern

(Die Deutsche Version findet ihr wie immer im Anschluss an den englischen Text)
Spring arrived in Istanbul a few weeks ago and we are already heading full speed towards Summer. While in Southern Turkey the skin-warming sun lures people into the sea for the first time this year, in Istanbul we are celebrating the sun’s return by letting sweet and plump, bright red strawberries melt in our mouths. All the while the Spring showers, turning the Black Sea region into a bright green wonderland, are responsible for the abundance of delicate and rich greens on display at our weekly farmers market. Trying to refrain oneself from those treats would almost be an insult to this country’s fertility. Thus, happily volunteering to pay tribute, mint, parsley, dill, thyme, basil and other greens pile up in our kitchen every week. We’ve become quite creative in terms of putting the various herbs to use, though sometimes we just can’t keep up and the delicate little plants wither away. To use up all of the herbs in due time I came up with this little rainbow salad. Instead of the usual lettuce I put in bol bol (Turkish for plenty of) fresh herbs resulting in a feast for the eyes and fireworks for your taste buds. I wouldn’t even mind having this salad two days in a row. Recipe after the jump. There is a German version too …

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Devil’s Dung, certified fructose free // Teufelsdreck, garantiert fructosearm

Devil's Dung, certified fructose free // Teufelsdreck, garantiert fructosearmDevil's Dung, certified fructose free // Teufelsdreck, garantiert fructosearm

(Die Deutsche Version findet ihr wie immer im Anschluss an den englischen Text)

Last month I treated myself to a little something special. No, I didn’t visit any expensive restaurants, nor did I spend a day at a local Hamam (well actually, I did that too). I did however venture into the world of Ayurveda. Seriously? Ayurveda? Yes, seriously. At the end of the day everybody has their own idea of what a proper ‘treat’ should look like, right? And no, just to spoil the premature excitement and even though that would have been a nice treat as well, I didn’t spend 4 weeks at a yoga resort, meditating all day and sipping on one chai after another, as might be the common association when it comes to Ayurveda. (Note to self: Remember to travel to a distant place and meditate for four weeks someday). Anyway, my exploration into the field of Ayurveda was of course food related and came in form of an Ayurveda cooking class. It sounded interesting enough to make me get up very early on a Sunday morning and literally hop on a ferry to the Asian side of Istanbul.

The term Ayurveda translates to something like ‘wisdom of life’ and is known as a traditional Indian art of healing. Even though the Ayurveda teachings go way beyond just knowing how to nourish your body, that is the part I’ve been coming across quite often lately,which doesn’t come as a surprise. The teachings of Ayurveda seem to know it all, when it comes to calming down and healing a stressed stomach and an unbalanced digestion. And thus I embarked on a welcome excursion into an ancient knowledge promising to treat several unwelcome dietary symptoms. Who wouldn’t, right?

Needless to say, I was pretty excited about the upcoming class and looking forward to acquiring new insights and inspiring recipes, while happily munching on food all day long. My expectations were by far exceeded, thanks to Ulli, the very knowledgeable and kind Ayurveda expert and yoga therapist holding the class. In just four hours she introduced us to a broad palette of herbs and spices as well as to their individual and combined healing benefits. We also talked about sprouting and soaking and on how to make food easier on the stomach in general. Which might further emphasize why this class was invaluable to me. Even though I tend to choose my ingredients wisely when cooking at home, there are still some things that upset my tummy to a certain extent, though they shouldn’t according to so-called popular science. I’m sure that with Ulli’s advice I’ll soon be kicking some serious symptom butt. The best thing about the class though, was it’s simplicity. That’s what made the whole Ayurveda approach so appealing to me in the first place. Despite the many ingredients in use and the alternate approach to what most people dub a normal diet, it is highly applicable. Integrating certain ideas and ways of nourishing in my day to day food routine even felt easy and natural. After all, nobody’s asking you to turn into a fulltime Yogi, right? (I just wanted to make that clear in case this post was getting a bit too spiritual for you ;)

Such a long introduction and I still haven’t told you about the thing that got me most excited during the class, which was a malodorous, but promising ingredient by the distinct name of Asafoetida. Malodorous? You might ask. Well, a spice commonly known as devil’s dung does not necessarily provoke odorant thoughts of a beautiful flowery Spring meadow. Unless of course meadows full of dung are your thing. Asafoetida, aka devil’s dung or hing, has been a staple in medicinal history for centuries but is rarely found in most modern cuisines, except for maybe the Indian. But let me tell you why Asafoetida is of such interest to us FM’ers. I mean, who would voluntarily add something to a dish that smells of rotten eggs? Two words: Garlic & Onion. Seriously, I couldn’t believe my ears when hearing nor my tongue when tasting it. Sparingly used and when heated in some fat, Asafoetida loses its ‘sharp’ taste and releases subtle tastes of onion and garlic, without causing the painful symptoms and bloated stomach. In fact its effect is quite the contrary. It is known to calm the stomach and reduce flatulence. Would somebody responsible for causing this spice’s near passing into oblivion please raise their hand? It’s scandalous and I need someone to blame. More after the jump. There is a German version too …

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