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Summer of Love

22 Jun

So the desert climate is here, all we have to do now is search and decide where to spend our holidays!
My bags are in the middle of my room, still empty and ready to go, since the beginning of may, because I L-O-V-E summer and I get happy and hyper like a little kid when it comes to travelling.
Well for me, there has to be a place which is beautiful and still on a budget.
Last summer I was visiting the beautiful virgin coast of south Albania and spend 10 days in 10 places, visited 15 different beaches within a budget of  around 350 Euros. Amazing, right?
We stayed at “Carcani hotel” in Dhermi. A 3 starts Hotel,clean,secured,with own private virgin beach. We Paid 60 euro BB, for 4 persons,for a sea view room. Amazing!!!!

So I think that Albania will be the destination for this summer as well, because there are still left some marvelous places to see.
I have to mention that we ate every night at coastal restaurants, fresh fish,pasta,and traditional cuisine. The Restaurants offer Italian kitchen, traditional Albanian, and International.
There is something for everybody. We took the route from northern Albania and saw each coastline city till the southern Albania ( borders with Greece – Igumentiza ). So the places we saw were: Vlore,Dhermi,Drymades,Havana Beach, ,Jale,Himare,Orikum,Coco Bongo,Qepare,Pasqyra,Porto Palermo, Sarande,Pema e thate, Ksamil, Butrint etc.
Here some pictures from my own library (photos were taken via iphone 3gs) and some other pictures from a facebook fan page of Albania. Which I suggest you should visit for more pictures of lovely Albania.
Here we go 🙂

Food 🙂

Baked shrimps in a traditional dish with 4 cheeses

I had this in a restaurant in Dhermi and was delicious for around 3.50 Euro

Baby shrimps

I had this in Ksamil Island for about 5 euro, the plate was huge enough for two people.

Homemade Bruschetti

Homemade Bruschetti with tomato,green pepper,onions,cheese and garlic for around 3 Euro.

Linguina Dateri

Linguina with frutti di mare and fresh mussels for 3 Euro.

Tres Leches Cake

My favorite dessert. A moist cake with 3 types of milk and topped with caramel cream. A very common cake in Albania, It is simply the best.

Salad

A salad from the salad bar. You can make your own salad from the salad bar for about 5 euro a huge plate.

Grilled Chicken

Half grilled chicken with rice and french fries for 5 euro
The chicken is fresh from the nearest village.

Fish

I don’t know how is it called in English but in Albanian they call it “Koc”.
It is a fresh wild sea fish caught in the morning. For around 5 euro.

In Northern Albania there are five stars resorts which offer everything you heart desires, but I still prefer the adventure and the wild  virgin beaches of Southern Albania. There are few years left,when those places will be full of expensive resorts and the natural beauty will be ruined. So If you want to experience the crystal clear green/blue sea with clean and beautiful beaches the time is now. Not to mention the budget friendly prices until the Arabian investor arrive (they already bought some places) and then the prices will equal Bora Bora 😛
Have you ever thought of visiting Albania?

Strangers

16 Jun

Strangers

Do you remember the time when we were strangers?

I went away and felt the shadow,

of your smell stalking at my back.

I didn’t sleep that night u know?

Eyes wide open,

couldn’t close them.

And since that night,

no other night was the same.

We are no strangers,

I know you for years now,

I felt your lips close to mine,

felt your body entering mine,

Becoming one.

And when it is one

It can’t be two again,

It would be two broken halves,

But not us.

It all felt good,

U touched my soul

and lift me up

up above the skies,

a perpetual explosion

like a supernova shine.

Don’t think we belong together.

neither feel we should be apart

I am mad as a sane idea,

In a mad mens mind.

To have u and lose you

at the same time.

Hooked on a feeling,

that I cannot describe.

My sanity as little left of it

forces me to let go,

my madness wants you more and more

you are like a part of it.

I ain’t mad when you are not around,

and all I need is to be mad.

We’re sitting here

and u hold my hand,

Whispering words ,

I don’t understand.

Like a stranger, Again.

Pastry! Pastry! Pastry! Pita! Pita! Pita!

15 Jun

Theese photos are from my trip to Bosnia and Hercegovina! If you haven’t heard of it before you have probably heard of it from the new movie directed by Angelina Jolie “In the Land of Blood and Honey”
This time I was in Tuzla, but this summer I will be visiting the capital city Sarajevo. And probably I will write a post about it.

And as I always think, the best way to explore a city and to find its soul is by the food the city serves! So here is what the City of Tuzla serves.

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Tuzlanski Ćevapi can be found on every corner in the city. And everywhere they tasted differently. My favorite place was called “Limenka” and the above picture is taken there.

They are usually served of 5-10 pieces on a plate or in a flatbread (lepinje or somun), often with chopped onions, sour cream, kajmak, ajvar, cottage cheese, minced red pepper and salt. Serb ćevapčići are made of either beef, lamb or pork or mixed. Bosnian ćevapi are made from two types of minced beef meat, hand mixed and formed with a funnel, while formed ćevapi are grilled.
D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S

Next!

Pastry! Pastry! Pastry! Pita! Pita! Pita!

Pastry everywhere! But they value the most, the pastry they make at home!
Burek – a meat-filled flaky pastry, traditionally rolled in a spiral and cut into sections for serving. The same dish filled with cottage cheese is called sirnica, one with spinach and cheese zeljanica, and one with potatoes krompiruša. All these varieties are generically referred to as PITA (Bosnian for “pie”).

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Burek, or a phyllo dough pastry, has got such a vital importance for the national diet in Bosnia and Herzegovina that its making and eating is institutionalized through the specialty joints called buregdzinica.

So this are the two main dishes I could see and eat everywhere!
Maybe I will try something new, on my next trip to Sarajevo!
Ahh if you live or have been in Sarajevo, can you give me some tips so I can best enjoy the town?

Ps: I have returned home with a big big belly! Maybe my tummy got bigger but it was full of love from delicious food 🙂

Istanbul mon amour!

15 Jun

Last time I was in Istanbul was  in the year 2003! Ahh that city fills my heart with joy and excitement.
The city is a mixture of cultures, starting from Byzantine and Ottoman architecture to the Roman one.

Every time I think of Istanbul I think of tea, pastries, music, Turkish delight (Bakllava) and Gözleme.

Istanbul by night

That place is a home place to the very rich and the very poor, but when it comes to Turkish cuisine there is something that can satisfy everybody. And Gözleme is eaten by Everybody.

Turkish Sofra

Turkish Sofra

Me and my family were hooked on  Gözleme ! Oh my sweet Lord.

Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and for the filling? Well, you name it! Anything that makes you happy!
I was craving  that food for years after I tried it for the first time. I have had it a few more times, for vacations in few other places in Turkey but not so long ago, we finally got the original recipe so we can prepare it at home! Yay, at my very own home! So now whenever I crave for it, well I just have to roll up my sleeves and start making it.

Here is how it looks like:

Gözleme

Gözleme

It makes you start eating from the screen right? 🙂

Here is the magic behind it.
For the dough:
1 cup flour

1/2 spring water

1 tablespoon salt

Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Slowly add water while kneading it. Then put the dough in a floured space and continue to knead about 10-15 minutes until it is kneaded well and the dough is soft. Cover the dough with kitchen towel and let it rest for 15-20 minutes. Divide the dough in four pieces. Roll each piece in a diameter of 25 cm or of the same size your cooking pan is. Spread your favorite filling equally in the middle of the dough and fold the dough in half ( hint: from a circular shape to a half circle shape ). Press the edges with a fork to seal the dough.
Heat a non stick pan , in medium heat. Place the dough on the pan and wait around 2-3 minutes ( it depends ) or until brown dots appear in the dough. Flip the dough on the other side and do the same.

Brush with melted butter immediately and serve warm, or cold , or medium, or whatever! They are tasty anytime 🙂

Some famous fillings are:

Spinach and Feta Cheese

Spinach and Feta and Minced meat

Spinach and Feta and Egg

Seafood

Egg

Minced Meat

Cheese

Potatoes

Mushrooms

They are delicious and they always grasp attention when I prepare them. I am so famous with family and friends, because they all have memories from vacations in Turkey, visits to family, and they are so happy to being able to awaken those moments at home.
I am sooo looking forward to my next visit of  Istanbul, to discover something new.

I suggest you have a Turkish tea and delight for dessert. Enjoy 🙂

Turkish Tea and Turkish Delight

Have you ever had Gözleme? Or visited Istanbul?