I think I was born on the wrong continent. While I love my Australian-ness for allowing me to not have to wear shoes for half of the year, I just ache to be a bit more...exotic.
Seriously though, how much cooler would I be if I had fiery Brazilian blood or sexy Spanish heritage or a beautiful Thai background?
Oooooh how excited I get at the thought of being Italian with a huge family that make passata together on a Sunday, and my god I wish I was blonde and beautifully composed like the Scandinavians, who get to eat smoked salmon and rye bread all day and ride around on bikes. Whenever I go to europe I spend an awkward amount of time time lusting after the French beauties, pondering how I can emulate their effortlessly stylish demeanor and wondering how the hell they eat croissants every morning and still look amazing. I've come to the conclusion that it's all in their DNA.
Lately I've been a bit obsessed with the idea of being Turkish. Mainly because I'm just a bit obsessed with the idea of going to Turkey.
In my head, the Turkish me has beautiful green eyes, a thick dark mane of wavy hair, and a ridiculously colourful wardrobe. And I live in a house overlooking the Turquoise Coast, full of intricate patterned tiles and huge throw rugs and cats (non-negotiable).
While it's easy to get caught up in aesthetics, what's the best part about these international fantasies? The food I would hypothetically eat.
Every day would be spent shopping in the huge bazaars and markets, flirting with the cute spice seller boys and sampling the local nut mans' dried figs and apricots. The afternoon hours would be whittled away by cooking with my make believe Turkish grandma, who is the local queen of baklava and who teaches me all of her culinary secrets.
Every morning would call for tiny shots of strong coffee and in the afternoons, cups of fresh mint tea.
I'd eat shwarma at least once a day. I'd have hummous with every meal.
And for dessert every night, a delicious looking man with perfect stubble would feed me frozen grapes and fan me.
Ha! A girl can dream.
In the meantime I make meals like this and pretend...
Sumac Grilled Salmon with Hummous
2 x 200g salmon fillets
2 tablespoon sumac
3 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons unhulled tahini paste
2 big, raw beetroots
4 roma tomatoes
Cut the tomatoes in half and place on a lined baking tray. Sprinkle with some oregano or any mixture of dried herbs, some salt and pepper and slow roast in a moderate oven for about 45 minutes to an hour. When soft and lightly charred, remove from oven and set aside. It would be tempting to skip this step but the roasted tomatoes make this meal, trust me.To make the hummous, drain the chickpeas and pour into a food processor. Add the cumin, lemon juice, tahini and a generous glug of olive oil and sea salt. Blend until a smooth consistency is formed. Taste for seasoning and dollop onto a serving platter.
Meanwhile, using your hands rub a bit of oil over the salmon fillets and sprinkle with salt, pepper and sumac. Cook on a pre-heated sauce pan for about 5 minutes each side until cooked to your preference. Set aside to cool slightly.
Now you can thinly slice the radish and the beetroot, either using a mandolin or a very sharp knife (I use a mandolin because you get wafer thin results). Tear the salmon fillets up, and place on the hummous, along with the sliced beetroot, radish and roasted tomatoes. Finish off with a final sprinkling of sumac and some fresh mint leaves. Serve with bread or a side salad or just as is.