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Archive for February, 2017

Recipe: Turkish Bread #travel #food

I adore Turkish bread and have done since I first tasted it, still warm from the oven during a trip to Turkey. Locals buy fresh bread every day, and the last time we were in Istanbul, it was fascinating watching the bread delivery. A man walked down the road shouting about his wares. A housewife lowered a basket with money from a second storey home, the man took his money, placed the bread inside the basket and the lady reeled up her fresh bread. Shopping made easy!

Selection of Bread Istanbul Turkey

We did a food tour in one of the Istanbul districts, and this is a photo of the shop window where we had a stop. Our first stop, I think, which is where we had breakfast.

In my quest to try new recipes this year, I came across this recipe in Annabel Langbein’s book Simple Pleasures for Turkish Bread. It can be made with a mixer, a breadmaker or by hand.

Turkish Bread

Bread before baking

Bread before baking

Bread Cooked

Cooked Bread

Ingredients:

1 2/3 cups lukewarm water

2 teaspoons dried yeast granules

1/2 teaspoon sugar

5 tablespoons greek yoghurt (room temperature)

4 1/2 cups flour – slightly more if making by hand.

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon flaky salt

Method:

1. Place the warm water in a large bowl, sprinkle over the yeast and stir in the sugar. Stand for around five minutes until the yeast is frothy.

2. Add the oil and yoghurt to the yeast mixture and combine.

3. Add the flour and salt and mix together until you have a soft and wet batter.

4. If you’re mixing by hand, which I was, add an extra half a cup of flour.

5. Lightly flour a board and knead the mixture between 20 – 30 times.

6. Return to bowl and cover. Leave to rise in a warm place until double in size – around two hours.

7. Preheat the oven to 190C. Once the dough has doubled, punch it down and divide into two. Use well-oiled hands and shape into two ovals about 2 cm thick.

8. Place on a lined tray and press out. Drizzle olive oil over the top and use your fingers to dimple the top. Sprinkle with cumin and salt.

9. Bake until puffed and golden for around 20 minutes.

Shelley’s Notes:

1. When I make the bread again, I’ll cook it for a few more minutes.

2. Hubby and I had sandwiches and also used the bread to dress up our hamburgers. It would also be perfect with soup, and Annabel Langbein suggested that it would make good crostinis.

Do you have a favorite bread?

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Fiordland, New Zealand #travel

Fiordland is the largest National Park in New Zealand and at 1.2 million hectares (3.1 million acres) is also one of the largest in the world. It is an area of wilderness that stretches from Martin’s Bay in the north of the South Island to Te Waewae Bay in the south, and from the lakes of Te Anau, Manapouri, Monowai and Hauroko. It contains 14 fiords, some of which reach up to 40 km inland.

The area is known for rain. It rains over 200 days each year, which makes the waterfalls spectacular. The heavy rainfall creates a permanent freshwater layer above the sea water within the fiords. The freshwater is stained by tannins that cut down the sunlight and restrict marine life to the top 40 meters of water depth.

Whales and dolphins frequent the area, along with little blue penguins and fur seals.

We cruised up the coast and visited Dusky Sound, Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound. The scenery is simply stunning, and my camera got a real workout.

Dusky Sound

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Entry to Milford Sound

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One of the many waterfalls that tumble down the steep sides of the fiords into the sea.

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As you can see from this photo, Milford is spectacular with tree-clad cliffs and waterfalls. Captain Cook and many of the early explorers sailed right past Milford Sound, not realizing the existence of the fiord.

There is one road in to Milford Sound. By car it takes about 2 –3 hours via Te Anau. The bus ride is about 4 – 5 hours. Access is available by plane or as we did on a cruise ship. Some people walk in via the famous Milford Track, which is a four-day walk.

If you’re ever in this part of the world, I highly recommend a visit.

Spider Cures and Superstitions

While doing some research for one of my books, I came across several superstitions regarding spiders. On the whole spiders are considered positive, and many people protected them from harm because they were considered lucky.

Here are a few superstitions:

1. If a spider is sighted during the evening, expect a letter in the morning.

2. If you kill a spider, it will rain the following day.

3. If you see a spider running toward you in the morning, misfortune will follow.

araneus diadematus

What I found slightly disturbing is that spiders were used to cure diseases such as ague, whooping cough and to treat bleeding.

The spiders were:

1. Swallowed as a medicine, disguised by jam or treacle. The spider was swallowed alive.

2. A type of pill was made enclosing the live spider in cobwebs and this was swallowed.

3. The spider was enclosed in a nut or a linen bag and worn around the neck until the spider died.

Not so good for the spider!

Spider webs were also used to bind wounds and stop bleeding. I’m not sure how well this works, but I think I’ll stick with plasters rather than experiment.

The use of spiders as medicine contradicts the idea that spiders were considered lucky.

An Orkney saying goes: If you wish to thrive, let the spider go alive.

While a Devon saying goes: Who kills a spider, bad luck betides her.

Where do you fall on the spider scale? Are they lucky or unlucky?

Source: The Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland

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How Do You Get Rid of a Stuck Song?

Earworm

You know how you get those catchy songs stuck in your head? You hear them once and suddenly you’re humming or singing the song? It becomes the song that will not go away!

These songs are called earworms.

And they’re really annoying. The more you think about them, the more they stick in your mind.

I was waiting for my toes to dry after a pedicure and came across this short snippet in Women’s Health, Australian edition, about how to get rid of earworms.

The answer: Chew gum.

Why does it work?

The motion of your jaw interrupts the earworm by distracting the part of the brain that is responsible for repetitive thinking, according to Dr. Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis, Director of the Music Cognition Lab at the University of Arkansas.

A second way to stomp on an earworm is to play another song and listen to it all the way through. Of course, you run the risk of catching another earworm!

Can you remember your last earworm?