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Get a taste of the Mediterranean in Forres and help raise funds for St Leonard's Church roof

By Garry McCartney

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Wendy Robertson, Medine Duff and Eddie Duff serve and prepare food for the Mediterranean pop-up cafe...Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Wendy Robertson, Medine Duff and Eddie Duff serve and prepare food for the Mediterranean pop-up cafe...Picture: Becky Saunderson..

A TURKISH woman who settled in the area 11 years ago is raising money for a local church.

Forres mum, Medine Duff (51), who runs a popular weekly pop-up café, is donating all of the profits she makes from Thursday's event to the St Leonard's roof appeal, as a thank you for hosting her business.

Medine said: "I am grateful for what St Leonard's Church has given me and I would like to give something back.

"My parents always told me 'don't compromise honour and quality, and be respectful where you earn your bread money - if you do this you won't ever regret it.' I am trying to heed their advice."

Medine met husband and business partner, Eddie, in Istanbul in 2000 where she was an economics journalist and he was an English teacher. They married in 2002 and have two children; Iona (17) and Eren (15), both students at Forres Academy.

Medine hopes to return to the profession she trained for one day but, for now, enjoys putting to use the skills she learned growing up at home.

She said: "My mother and grandmothers were great cooks. I watched them a lot and when I was a child I helped with my mother's cooking.

"With this experience I decided to start Café Medine five years ago. I hire a stall at farmers' markets or book a place at summer and winter events to sell my vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free food."

She added: "The first year it was hard to sell because people didn't know my food but my customers supported me and came back with friends. I also do outside catering at events like weddings or parties. Last February, I started the pop-up at St Leonard's Church Hall.

"From the beginning, lovely people of all different ages have been involved. They are not just customers, they are my friends."

Wendy Robertson has enjoyed working at Café Medine since it started at St Leonard's.

She said: "I clean at St Leonard's Church and I met Medine and Eddie the first time they arrived to do their pop-up. I was surprised to see long queues in the hall for food so I offered a hand and have been part of the team since.

"Medine is such a kind, warm-hearted, generous and hard working person who provides the freshest food. I like feeling that I'm a part of an enterprise that is enabling people to meet, share food and have a lovely time out."

Wendy explained that, as the café only serves for two hours, the menu has to be simple.

She said: " Medine always offers a big pot of thick and nutritious soup served with warstel bread. She has three mains: a Mediterranean wrap; a Falafel wrap; and cook's special, a plate filled with things like bulger wheat, homemade tzsakik and varieties of salad. It's a huge plateful so there are tubs to put leftovers in to take home."

Borek - a feta cheese slice in filo pastry - is always served. There is also baklava - a syrup-soaked pastry with nuts - and a coconut and semolina set pudding.

Café Medina is on at St Leonard's Church Hall every Thursday from 11.30am-2pm. Call 07523004901 or email cafemedine@hotmail.com for more information.

Please donate to the St Leonard's Church roof appeal here:https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/forres-st-leonards-church-roof-appeal

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