It’s been pretty quiet around here the past couple of weeks. But don’t be fooled. Behind the scenes there was some serious tinkering and thinking going on. Why? Because Istanbul worries us. The city is nervous, its air is hot and sticky and our mood is low. Not feeling safesetting foot in the subway anymore is one thing, but seeing the frustration with this country’s government written all over our friends’ faces is another thing.
These days, Istanbul is changing right in front of our eyes. Rapidly. And we literally feel the growing pains. There is this thick layer of heat, bluster and political outrage covering the city. And it has become increasingly difficult to maintain our initial euphoria, to keep our love for this unique city alive. The way out is out.
It’s a wrap. We’ve come to a decision and already gave notice to leave our flat. Three weeks left until we turn our backs on Istanbul, for now. A kneejerk reaction? Maybe. But an important one.
To see where our journey might lead us next, we recently spent five days down south. During this short period of time, we encountered a country, that’s hard to spot in Istanbul nowadays. With our hearts wide open and brimming faces we walked through Izmir, Alacati, Ephesus and Şirince and immediately knew, that we need more of this! That’s why we’re planning to move a few latitudes further south to the other borders of Turkey!
But where to? If only we knew.
And for how long? Who knows! :)
Exciting times lay ahead! New smells, herbs, dishes! Maybe even some travel-related posts? Given that’s of any interest to you of course! I’ll keep it delicious and most importantly simple as there won’t be room for bulky kitchen appliances in my luggage. There are no fully functioning ones left anyways. But the oriental influences are sure to stay, where would they go after all?
That being said, let’s celebrate the season of new beginnings with a quick breakfast recipe straight from the sultan’s kitchen. In Turkish culture breakfast and eggs go together like Bircher and muesli: Inseparable twins, always a winner and easy to prepare. Just add silky yogurt and tangy olive oil and you’ll be rewarded with a rust-coloured bowl of Çilbir! (pronounced “chill bill”, but with an “r” at the end). Çilbir is a runny and silky poached egg, mingling with thick greek/turkish yogurt and a hint of garlic and paprika. I call it heaven! Traditionally it’s served for breakfast with a full loaf of fresh bread. Garlic infused oil for breakfast might sound intimidating. In fact it’s so tender you’ll never again want to eat anything else!
Only one slight problem left: How on earth do people prepare those perfectly poached eggs you see on Instagram all the time? I’ve watched numerous YouTube videos, read articles, whirled, added vinegar and tried all the different stages of simmering, but still failed miserably. The one and only piece of advice I seemingly made sure not to follow: Use uber fresh eggs! Like “popped out a few minutes ago” fresh eggs. I do buy my eggs from the weekly farmer’s market, but apparently they aren’t fresh enough. And seeing as we don’t have a cackling chicken running around in our house yet, I gave up on the idea of make perfectly poached eggs at home. Instead I became the biggest fan of the ‘5-minute egg Çilbir’. Lucky for us, this sure comes close to the delicious original!
Are you going to try this? Do you have any tips for a perfectly poached egg?
Recipe: Çılbır or Sultan’s Eggs – Poached egg with yogurt and garlic-infused oil (fructose free, gluten free)
Make sure to use thick greek yogurt with high fat content for this recipe. The yogurt makes all the difference. In Turkish it is called “süzme yoğurt“, meaning strained yogurt. In the end greek-style yogurt is just that, strained yogurt! You can even recreate it at home: Simply add yogurt to a cheese cloth, tie it into a bundle and hang it over the sink or a bowl. Let sit for a couple of hours and you’ll be rewarded with silky and thick yogurt (See here for detailed instructions). Yay! Because garlic is water- but not oil-soluble, garlic-infused oil contains small amounts to no fructose at all. It is usually tolerated quite well by people suffering from fructose malabsorption. Yay! Yay!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
1 large organic egg
1 Tbsp garlic-infused olive oil, store-bought (e.g. this one) or homemade
1 pinch chili flakes
1/8 tsp dried paprika powder
150 grams (approx. 1 cup) greek style yogurt (use lactose free if necessary)
1 pinch of sea salt
Serve with: Fresh spelt bread, warm corn tortilla or pita bread, fresh sprouts and veggies
Add the egg to a pot of simmering water and cook for 5 minutes. It should still be runny inside. In a small saucepan or pan, slowly heat garlic-infused oil, chili flakes and paprika powder. Take off from heat and allow to infuse until the egg is ready. Add the yogurt to a small bowl, peel the egg and place on top of the yogurt. Pour infused oil over the egg and sprinkle with sea salt. Serve immediately and enjoy with bread and veggies of your choice.