Saturday, November 27, 2010

Season of olives...II...

Unfortunately due to time constraints (hate this argument by the way) I am not able to write about all seasonal fruits and vegetables in Azerbaijan but at least I have to mention the ones which my family is passionate about...meaning if saffron is my father’s passion then olives are passion of my father-in-law.

This year when I was helping to gather the harvest (not that I am a perfect tree climber but challenged myself as the best ones are of course at the very top) and was thinking what I am going to write about olives a thought came to my mind...Olive tree is not the best looking tree to my opinion...I was thinking that as if the tree is trying to get attention by not its looks but by its beautiful olives...(against the proverb that people meet others by their appearance not by their content if you know what I mean) also part of the tree that receives more sunshine offers bigger juicer olives...just like people longing for warm words trees also look for better and warmer sunshine...interesting...harvest always amazes me as a miracle of nature and makes me philosophical you see :) thus sharing with you...This year harvest was very good too and actually my father-in-law already prepared them for us and not only to enjoy and benefit. Grateful to him...and nature of course...

My earlier post on olives can be found here.

best ones at the top all very colourful and pretty best ones
shiny...aren't they beautiful... dropped the bucket when taking another photo, decided to photo this too before gathering olives back to the bucket :)


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Art of cooking (if I may say :)...

Some readers might get shocked that many older people in Sheki continue to think that lamb is the healthiest meat and that the most delicious meals are prepared using melted butter. Let my granny rest in peace but she and her sisters would never have a second opinion about the above…

In the age when eating less is becoming more and more popular what you eat and how you eat meaning what goes well with what is very important in Azerbaijan…

Spoiled with numerous kinds of fresh and delicious fruits, vegetables and other, backed up by rich traditions and culture, prepared with kind hands and warm hearts of our grannies and mothers Azerbaijan can boast to have one of the best cuisines in the world…and yes, I am making this statement confidently.

Just as one example…Sheki has plov or (ash as we call it in Sheki) for each season (rice prepared in a way that I can’t really describe…rice that you can “hear” from far away thanks to saffron and magic used during preparation).

Today my post is devoted to a good friend Farida Sadikhova Buyuran who not only cherishes and appreciates Azeri cuisine but what is even more important conveys it to a wider audience via her colorful and wonderful website, AZ Cookbook – Food from Azerbaijan & Beyond, and soon to be published in USA cookbook. I respect passion she puts into her work and perfectionism and seriousness with which she approaches this task. I am sure her sunny and happy personality will shine through her book as it does now when we visit her website. I wish her good luck with publishing her book and many exciting projects in the future. Sending her our support from Baku I hope that she will get the same support in USA and everywhere else her book reaches. I have put the link to her website on this post but you can also find the link on the right side of this blog. Good luck to you, Farida!! The book will be a success I am sure.

Met via blogging we met in person in summer when Farida was visiting Azerbaijan.
First I wanted to edit the photo so that you could see only Farida and I but then I left the picture as it is :)

Sooo many things to talk about :)

What do I treat Farida to? No let me be honest here...what do I ask my mom to prepare for us? (I did the cake though :) Let's go traditional...let's have dolma (stuffed grape leaves). Dolma goes well with yogurt, melon or cucumber (go for Sheki white cucumber:) and summer salad.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Qurban Bayrami (Eid al-Adha) in Azerbaijan...

Azerbaijan is celebrating Qurban Bayrami (Eid al-Adha) this week. Most of people will be back to business only on Thursday this week.

Weather is very generous to us this week as well. Sun is shining brightly in many regions of the country. Leaves of the trees and waters of the Caspian shine so brightly.
Many families are spending their days together and enjoying the weather and each other's company.

Today many people also remember to be generous and share. Everyone who can afford slaughters sheep and shares meat with relatives, friends and most importantly with those in need.

We all pray and hope for peace and prosperity and thank for health, beauty, love, each other and for everything actually.

Sending you best wishes and lots of sun shine from Azerbaijan via below pictures, courtesy of good friend and talented photographer Tagi Jafarov.


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Flag Day in Azerbaijan...

Always got amazed how flag is cherished in Turkey and the U.S. Maybe in other countries too of course...
Azeri flag was raised for the first time in 1918 when Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan was announced. Republic lasted for two years only. Since 1920 and until 80s the idea that Azerbaijan can't survive independently was slowly and surely sown into the minds and mentality of the nation...notions like pride and love for land, country, anthem, flag, language, each other were not only unpopular but almost forbidden...will never forget how I travelled to Turkey and saw flags on so many balconies and proud slogans everywhere in the city...I thought to myself «Wow, they are not shy to be patriotic and praise their country so proudly and openly»...travelled to the U.S. and saw how every child no matter where he/she comes from sings the anthem of their new country...pride for the country is taught from childhood...Fortunately nowadays more and more Azeris realize how lucky they are or we are to be from the country which is so rich in many ways be it natural resources, be it culture...and that we are the human resource of this country and the question is not «what Azerbaijan did for me?» but more «what I did for Azerbaijan?»...
Long live Azerbaijan! Long live its three color flag!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Season of crocus (saffron)...II

Now...its not only season of pomegranate but also saffron in Azerbaijan these days...This is one of the most popular subjects in our household too since my father has a big passion for saffron and as you know passions of parents create at minimum interest in their children too. Thanks to him who is never tired of spreading the knowledge accompanied with bulbs of saffron of course almost all our relatives and not only grow saffron in their gardens. He grows saffron in Baku and Sheki for pleasure and health and each season we all get fascinated with this the most gentle in looks and the most powerful in essence gift of nature.
Enough of words...let me share with you some photos. First I want to show you the photo that I took in my uncle’s garden in Sheki...this photo was taken sometime in September when there were no saffron flowers yet but even getting ready for its flowers it already looked beautiful...(see green at the background...)
I am thanking my cousin, Fatima Giyasli, who sent me below photos from Sheki...taken in the same garden...when saffron got ready and when they started picking it day by day...flower by flower...

everything is perfect about saffron...

picking flower by flower...

stamen by stamen...

Enjoy the season :)