AZ Cookbook in AZ Magazine - With Steve Hollier

Steve Hollier Photo

Photo by Steve Hollier: Absheron National Park.

A couple of months ago I received an email from Steve Hollier, new editor of AZ Magazine in Baku. He was asking if I would like to run my own food column in the magazine. I who always thinks I can handle more than I really can, didn’t think much before saying Yes. So, our collaboration began. We exchanged ideas via emails and we became friends. We looked forward to the first for both of us – Steve for the first issue under his editorial direction, I for the first official AZ Cookbook column.

Steve came across as a nice, honest, and polite person. He knew I was busy with a zillion other things, so to make my life easier, he suggested we only use recipes and picture from the blog in the beginning, polishing them as needed. About a week ago, the magazine was published. Steve emailed me with the news and I emailed him back thanking him. Then we exchanged more emails discussing the recipe for my next column. In his last email to me he was asking if it was ok to edit the chicken recipe we agreed on a bit. I wrote him back a few days later early in the morning, before my work hours, apologizing for my delay and saying I will email him with more details after my work hours. I was expecting his reply in the evening.

But it didn’t go as I expected. I received a message from a friend who said Steve was no  more…Steve died from a heart attack around the time I emailed him my last message. This came as a shock and I am still deeply saddened. I have never met Steve in real life but I had a feeling he was a wonderful person and looked forward to meeting him on my next trip to Baku. Steve made Baku his new home and he will be laid to rest in the city, where, as his wife Sandra wrote in her email to me, “he had so much fun…”

I promised Steve I would post the link to the first AZ Cookbook column on my facebook page and I did. Here it is in case you missed it. Steve, thank you for the opportunity…

I would like to invite you to visit Steve’s wonderful blog about Azerbaijan, the land of fire as it is known and as he called it there. You will enjoy tons of interesting articles about Steve’s travels, encounters and more, most accompanied with captivating photographs from the country he loved dearly…


Apple Butter

Apple Butter

Apple Butter

Our recent trip to the apple orchard with my daughter’s Girl Scout troop was a lot of fun. Just like last time we were there, there were not too many apples left to pick from trees any more, there were, however, a lot of apples of all sorts already bagged and inviting us, apple-hungry city dwellers, to buy them in truckloads. We ended up buying 4 huge bags which is not that bad – 1 bag per person. We’ve been enjoying them as is ever since and I’ve also been putting them to good culinary uses.

For example, one day I made apple butter. Apple butter is really what we would call apple jam in Azerbaijan, but it is perhaps a bit denser than jam and buttery. But don’t be fooled by the name – there is NO BUTTER in the recipe! It’s just the silky buttery texture of the jam that gave the name to it.

You can find tons of recipes for apple butter on the Internet and in numerous cookbooks. Mine is the amalgamation of a dozen recipes that I have tweaked and refined to suit my needs. For instance, I do not discard of the apple peel and core and make them into apple cider instead of making apple cider from apples, and off they go in the pan with peeled apples to cook together.

Try this recipe. Make apple butter.  Slather it onto a slice of warm toast in the morning, afternoon or evening, and enjoy. Viva apples!

Apples in a Bucket

Apples of all colors floating in a huge bucket of water in the apple orchard – to be pressed into delicious apple cider.

Apples in a Bucket

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