Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Its all about fruits now in Azerbaijan...part II

Since its all about fruits now in Azerbaijan this also implies that season of "mürəbbə" is officially open. I have mentioned "mürəbbə" ealier on this blog here. It is a sweet preserve to be served with tea but its not a jam...this preserve is not jammed; fruits stay whole and "undamaged". Well prepared mürəbbə should keep the colour and flavour as much as possible and convey the special taste of THE fruit. Well my post is not really devoted to mürəbbə today. Those of you who is interested in Azeri cuisine please visit Farida's Cookbook here.

Yesterday I popped in to bazaar where I bought some fruits and took below photo. I only had my four year old son with me who is too young to help me with load and bargaining :).

I am all for equal rights and woman emancipation if you wish but I kind of still expect men to offer help to carry heavy bags and open the doors for ladies. Fortunately this is still the case in Azerbaijan (mostly:) and few women would get offended at extra attention they usually get. There is of course that fine border when being extra polite to women can become extra familiar and this is something to be handled...But...when I was offered help yesterday and my hesitant offer of tip was interpreted as offence and old man at parking said couple of kind wishes/praises in addition to thanking for the coins he received (his usual habit:) I kind of felt good and thought to myself that being a gentleman never harms and does not belittle any man or woman. In modern life when all rights and obligations have mixed up and men and women work shoulder to shoulder I am not sure if hierarchy etiquette allows men to stay gentlemen and women feminine. Well personally I hope that men would continue to be confident/strong enough to stay gentlemen and women confident/comfortable enough to stay feminine. These are the thoughts I wanted to share with you today...:) 

Be well :)


Friday, June 18, 2010

Maiden Tower (Qız Qalası) the landmark of Baku...

Has it ever happened to you that anywhere you travel you make sure to see all or most of the landmarks of the place, take photos and listen to historic facts...and realize at some point that you have spent much less time looking analyzing learning enjoying historic places of your own home city and country.
When we say Paris - Eiffel Tower comes in front of our eyes, we remember New York and recall Statue of Liberty, we talk about London and imagine Big Ben...most probably every city has the place, the landmark, the symbol that associates with it mostly...more people talk about it, more they mention it, more that symbol stays in the memories...becomes the city’s with it.
In Soviet times it used to be popular to spend vacations outside of Azerbaijan thus many Azeris knew much more about resorts of other Republics or Europe (for those who could travel) etc than Azerbaijan. Last ten years or so many Azeris started to kind of rediscover their country, its regions, history, geography, «treasures» that are here to explore, cherish and enjoy (this is my personal opinion:).
Baku's landmark is Qız Qalası - Maiden Tower. Hereby I want to start, continue, join, enforce the process of associating Qız Qalası (Maiden Tower) with Baku - Baku with Maiden Tower (Qız Qalası)...
Maiden Tower of XII century or possibly earlier is one of UNESCO's World Heritage places. It continues to be a theme for many scientific works and thoughts and is a distinct tower to enjoy beautiful views of old and modern Baku and Caspian. For those interested to know more about the tower here is the article on Maiden Tower.
I am posting a photo that I borrowed from above mentioned article with of view of Maiden Tower in 1860 but I also want to share with you the video devoted to International Art Festival “Qız Qalası” that took place in May this year and hosted artists from different countries who worked in the Old City inspired by views and architecture of Maiden Tower. Enjoy and remember to visit Maiden Tower next time you are in Baku :)


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Its all about fruits now in Azerbaijan...

I must have mentioned earlier that Azerbaijan is blessed to have nine climate zones out of available eleven...thus different regions are famous for having different fruits and vegetables that are particularly delicious and special. Traditionally each fruit/vegetable is expected to be available in a particular season of course...With development and modern life fruits and vegetables started to get imported from everywhere...and are available the whole year...At the same time there is more and more information about genetic engineering that is getting more advanced around the world...Older I grow, more I hear - less I want to buy a fruit that travelled from far away and continues to look perfect...buying strawberries from a near village gives me not only more taste but also more comfort; and eating that strawberry I hope that engineering in food products won't reach regions of Azerbaijan...

Well...fruit season started with strawberries and cherry plums here (not sure if cherry plums grow everywhere, it can be sweet and sour; we have a particularly delicious sort that is called peyvənd alça/alycha; the sort that has rich sour-sweet taste) and continues with sweet and sour cherries and apricots etc etc etc.

Wishing you a healthy and delicious summer! :))

Strawberries everywhere...
Cherry plums...
Closer look to cherry plums...