I am sitting alone in my apartment. It is February 12th, 2016, 23:05. It is just a regular winter night. A Friday night. Last year this day was a Thursday night. And it was a night when I was feeling very happy, completely unaware of what was about to come. That moment, that feeling I had was real, although, it wasn’t.
Celeriac. One of my favourite vegetables. When I was a kid I was one of the pickiest little brats in the whole world possibly. But I always ate the strangest things without any problem, like okra, or eggplant or celeriac. I say strange things because in my family only me and my mother would eat those vegetables, the others would always find something to hate about them. With celeriac, it was the smell. But for me, celeriac’s smell is the best part of it!
As I grow older, I feel closer to Black Sea than Istanbul, even though I lived in Istanbul for most of my life. It is the people, the stories, the food and the nature that affect me. Most of my father’s family live in Sinop, my real home by the Black Sea coast, and my childhood is filled with stories about Circassians, Laz people and Georgians; I am half Circassian through my father, and I always loved those stories. So it felt only natural and familiar when I prepared this dish from Georgian cuisine today; Georgia, our next door neighbour. I ate this dish only once more than a decade ago in Istanbul when a Georgian friend made it for me. This one is a very “expat” version, as I cannot find the real cheese that should be used with it, but I tried to get as close as possible to the real thing. We can at least think that it is a delicious inspiration from Georgian cuisine if not 100% real thing!