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Potato, red onion, pepper and olive bake with cumin and chili flakes

Baked potatoes, peppers, red onion and olives with cumin and red pepper flakes

Baked potatoes, peppers, red onion and olives with cumin and  red pepper flakes

Merhaba to you all; this week, I would like to share this favorite easy, delicious all in one vegetarian course – Spiced potatoes, onions, pepper and olives baked in olive oil. Touch of warm, pungent cumin and spicy Turkish red pepper flakes add a lot of flavor to the vegetables here, especially to the humble potato, transforming their taste to a new level. The sweetness of peppers and red onions also give a lovely contrast to juicy, salty olives and complement one another really well. As always, it is all about using a few good, seasonal ingredients and you have a delicious, wholesome dish in hand in less than 1 hour.

Combine the spices and the seasoning with the vegetables and olives, giving them a good mix, before baking

Combine the spices and the seasoning with the vegetables and olives, giving them a good mix, before baking

You can serve this comforting, gluten-free course as a side to grills or as part of a mezze spread. It can be also be a delicious, light main course on its own with the Cacik dip of cucumber, yoghurt with dried mint and some crusty bread aside. You can also bake this dish ahead of time and give it a gentle reheat in the oven just before serving. Try to get good quality olives; Turkish, Italian, Spanish or Greek Kalamata olives all work well and really make a difference.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

5.0 from 1 reviews
Potato, red onion, pepper and olive bake with cumin and chili flakes
 
Hope you enjoy this delicious all in one vegetarian course - Spiced potatoes, onions, pepper and olives baked in olive oil. Touch of warm, pungent cumin and spicy red pepper flakes add a lot of flavor to the vegetables here, especially to the humble potato, transforming their taste to a new level. You can serve this lovely, gluten-free course as a side to grills or as part of a mezze spread.
Author:
Recipe type: Vegetables baked in olive oil with spices
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1kg / 2.2 lb. medium potatoes, quartered
  • 2 medium red onions, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 2 red bell pepper (or pointy pepper), deseeded, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 12- 14 good quality black olives, pitted and halved
  • 15 ml/ 3 tsp. ground cumin
  • 10 ml / 2 tsp. Turkish red pepper flakes or chili flakes (you can use more for a spicier taste)
  • 30 ml / 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 400 F
  2. Put the quartered potatoes in a large enough pan with plenty of cold water.
  3. Parboil or partially cook the potatoes for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a pan and stir in the sliced red onions and peppers. Sautee for 5 minutes, until they start to soften up, turn the heat off.
  5. Grease the baking tray with a good drizzle (about 2 tbsp.) of olive oil. Combine the parboiled potatoes, sautéed red onions, peppers and the pitted black olives in the tray. Include any remaining olive oil in the pan of the sautéed red onions and peppers to the baking tray.
  6. Stir in the ground cumin and red pepper flakes over the vegetables. Season with salt and ground black pepper.
  7. Using your hands, combine the spices and the seasoning with the vegetables and olives, giving them a good mix.
  8. Bake for 35 minutes at 200 C/ 400 F and serve hot.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table Cookery Classes at Central Market Cooking Schools, TX – USA,
February 2015 (in Houston, Austin, San Antonio)

From Hearty Red Lentil Soup to Baklava in Milky Syrup, Sutlu Nuriye; Delights of Turkish Cuisine Made Easy

Look forward to returning Central Market Cooking Schools to teach Turkish Cookery Classes in February, 2015

Look forward to returning Central Market Cooking Schools to teach Turkish Cookery Classes in February, 2015

I am delighted to be returning to Central Market Cooking Schools in Texas, US in February 2015 to teach some delicious, wholesome examples of Turkish Cuisine, focusing on Southern Turkish Cooking.

Below is the schedule for my Turkish cookery classes:

Monday, February 16th, 6.30 pm – Central Market Cooking School in San Antonio – TX
Wednesday, February 18th, 6.30 pm – Central Market Cooking School in Austin – TX
Friday, February 20th, 6.30 pm – Central Market Cooking School in Houston – TX

You can view more details on these classes here; signing up for the classes will be through Central Market Cooking School website, as of 1st January 2015– please save the dates and I hope you can join us!

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How to Make Homemade Pomegranate Molasses – Nar Eksisi

Homemade pomegranate molasses, Nar Eksisi

Homemade pomegranate molasses, Nar Eksisi

I adore the taste of rich, tangy pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi. It is an essential ingredient in Antakya and southern Turkish cuisine and widely used in Middle Eastern cooking. The concentrated flavor of pomegranates molasses adds so much goodness and flavor to salads, casseroles, dips and desserts.

Pomegranates freshly squeezed on a traditional hand held juicer, in Pergamum, Turkey

Pomegranates freshly squeezed on a traditional hand held juicer, in Pergamum, Turkey

In addition of its delicious and natural sweet and tangy taste, pomegranate is also very rich in nutrient, packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. I have lots of fond memories of drinking freshly squeezed pomegranates, nar suyu, during my travels in Turkey, like this glass we had while visiting Pergamum, during our culinary and cultural tours.

Bountiful, flavorful pomegranates, packed with goodness

Bountiful, flavorful pomegranates, packed with goodness

Pomegranates feature often especially in southern Turkish and Antakya cuisine. We use the thick & fragrant pomegranate molasses sauce, nar eksisi in Spicy Bulgur wheat salad, Kisir, a specialty in the southeast of Turkey, offered as a welcome to guests. This delicious sauce adds so much flavor to Gavurdagi Salad of tomatoes, onions and walnuts. We also like to “bathe” vegetables like peppers and zucchini or courgettes in pomegranate molasses, before stuffing them with aromatic rice and ground meat, as in this Stuffed peppers with bulgur, ground meat and pomegranate molasses. You can also serve pomegranate molasses and olive oil in a small bowl to accompany Potato and bulgur rolls, Patatesli, bulgurlu kofte; their flavor complement one another so beautifully.

Homemade pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi

Homemade pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi

I was very excited to get some big, juicy pomegranates at my Turkish food market in North Cheam, England and made my own pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi. It is worth while making your own, as it will be all natural and less sweet than the commercial ones; you will really taste the pomegranates and nothing else.

Squeezing the juice out of pomegranate seeds

Squeezing the juice out of pomegranate seeds

It is easy to make pomegranate molasses at home; the trickiest bit is getting the juice out of the pomegranate seeds. The way I do is to take out all the seeds, place a large bowl under the sink and squeeze the pomegranate seeds with your hands through a sieve over the bowl. Try to extract as much of the juice as you can. Or if you are lucky enough to get freshly squeezed pomegranate juice, you can use that too.

Homemade pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi, ready to use

Homemade pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi, ready to use

You can keep your home made pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi, covered in the fridge for at least two months. It will thicken more as it cools down and sets in the fridge, so good to bear in mind. Pomegranate molasses is in constant use in our kitchen from a simple salad dressing to adding flavors to the meals and worth the investment.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

5.0 from 3 reviews
How to Make Homemade Pomegranate Molasses - Nar Eksisi
 
I adore the taste of rich, tangy pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi. It is an essential ingredient in Antakya and southern Turkish cuisine and widely used in Middle Eastern cooking. The concentrated flavor of pomegranates molasses adds so much goodness and flavor to salads, casseroles, dips and desserts. Afiyet Olsun!
Author:
Recipe type: Sauces - Pomegranate Molasses
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Ingredients
  • 1058 ml /4 ½ cups / 2 ¼ lb. freshly squeezed pomegranates juice (out of 8 large pomegranates)
  • 26 gr / 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 15 ml/ 1 tbsp. lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Take out all the pomegranate seeds and save in a bowl.
  2. Place a large bowl and a sieve under the sink.
  3. Squeeze the pomegranate seeds with your hands through a sieve over the large bowl. Try to extract as much of the juice as you can. Discard the left over seeds.
  4. Pour in the freshly squeezed pomegranate juice in a heavy saucepan. Stir in the sugar.
  5. Bring the pan to a boil over medium to high heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  6. Add the lemon juice, mix and reduce the heat to medium to low, just enough for simmering.
  7. Simmer for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes; the juice will get thicken and reduce to ¾ cups.
  8. Turn the heat off and let the pomegranate molasses cool. It will thicken more as it cools down.
  9. Once cool, pour into a glass jar with an airtight lid on.
  10. Store in the fridge up to 2 months.
  11. Makes ¾ cup / 177 ml/ 6 fl oz. pomegranate molasses
 

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Turkish vegetarian rose ravioli with filo pastry; Mantarli Gul Manti

Turkish vegetarian rose ravioli with filo pastry; mushrooms make a delicious filling.

Turkish vegetarian rose ravioli with filo pastry; mushrooms make a delicious filling.

The traditional manti, Turkish dumplings or ravioli, was a central dish in the 15th century Ottoman cuisine. A very popular dish, it was cooked in imperial kitchens and was eaten by Sultan Mehmet II almost daily. This version of manti, traditionally made with “yufka”, the fresh pastry sheets, is a popular one at home and was a big hit at our Turkish cookery class last Saturday. These mantis are also named as “Sosyete Mantisi” or Gul Manti / Gul Boregi, as they look like the shape of rose.

Baked Turkish rose ravioli with filo pastry and mushroom filling; Mantarli Gul Manti or Gul Boregi

Baked Turkish rose ravioli with filo pastry and mushroom filling; Mantarli Gul Manti or Gul Boregi

Gul Manti is traditionally made with ground meat and onion filling. We made a vegetarian version during our class, using chestnut mushrooms, onions, garlic and tomato; it proved to be a delicious vegetarian filling and we all enjoyed it.

Spread 1 ½  tablespoon of the mushroom mixture in a line the middle of the filo pastry.

Spread 1 ½ tablespoon of the mushroom mixture in a line the middle of the filo pastry.

Roll the pastry like a cigar. Seal the ends of the pastry with a little water.

Roll the pastry like a cigar. Seal the ends of the pastry with a little water.

Then, starting from one end, roll the cigar shape into a rose shape.

Then, starting from one end, roll the cigar shape into a rose shape.

Seal the ends of the pastry well with a little water.

Seal the ends of the pastry well with a little water.

Rose ravioli, gul manti, may seem a little awkward to make but they look so attractive that the extra effort is worthwhile. Please bear in mind that filo pastry dries out quickly and may become difficult to work with. To prevent this, keep the pastry sheets under a damp dish towel and only take out one at a time. Above is a step by step photo of how to fold and bend the filo pastry into the rose shape. If the pastry breaks as you fold/bend, please don’t worry. Keep a bowl of water by your side and seal all the broken parts with water and patch with a little pastry. It will all work just fine at the end.

Baked Turkish rose ravioli with mushrooms, gul manti; we served bulgur and potato patties aside at our Turkish cookery class

Baked Turkish rose ravioli with mushrooms, gul manti; we served bulgur and potato patties aside at our Turkish cookery class

With the garlicky yoghurt and red pepper flakes infused olive oil drizzled over, these rose raviolis with mushroom filling make an impressive, delicious course. We served them with bulgur and potato patties, bulgurlu, patatesli kofte with pomegranate molasses aside, they complemented each other well.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Turkish vegetarian rose ravioli with filo pastry; Mantarli Gul Manti
 
With the garlicky yoghurt and red pepper flakes infused olive oil drizzled over, these vegetarian Turkish rose raviolis (or Gul Manti / Gul Boregi) with mushroom filling make an impressive, delicious course. Filo pastry is used here, please follow the instructions so that they won't get dried. Afiyet Olsun!
Author:
Recipe type: Savory Pastries
Cuisine: Turkish cuisine
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  • 260 gr / 9 oz. filo pastry sheets, thawed
  • 225 gr / 8 oz. chestnut mushrooms, cleaned and chopped finely
  • 1 onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 small to medium tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 bunch or ½ cup Italian flat leaf parsley, freshly chopped
  • 30 ml/ 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and freshly grounded black pepper
  • 4 fl oz. / ½ cup vegetable stock
  • For garlic yoghurt:
  • 260 gr / 9 oz. natural plain yoghurt, brought to room temp.
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed with salt
  • For red pepper infused sauce:
  • 30 ml/ 2 tbsp. butter or olive oil
  • 5-10 ml/ 1-2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Dried mint to sprinkle over to finish the rose ravioli
  • Small bowl of cold water aside to shape and seal the rose ravioli
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F / 180 C
  2. For best results, thaw the frozen filo pastry in the fridge overnight and bring it to the room temperature30 minutes before using. That enables the filo thaw completely. If it is fresh as in the UK, you only need to bring the filo to the room temperature 30 minutes before using.
  3. Bring the yoghurt to room temperature by taking out the fridge and set aside in a warm spot in the kitchen.
  4. Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel and chop finely.
  5. Sauté the chopped onions with some olive oil for a couple of minutes, until soft.
  6. Add the mushrooms and the garlic, cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened and most of the liquid is evaporated. Stir in the tomatoes and gently cook for another 3 – 5 minutes, until most of the juice is evaporated.
  7. Season with salt and pepper, add the parsley and mix well. Set aside to cool.
  8. Grease a baking tray with 1 tbsp. olive oil.
  9. On a dry surface, place the filo pastry sheets on top of one another and cut in half horizontally to form rectangles. Place damp paper towel over them to keep moist. Have a bowl of water near you.
  10. Take out two rectangular filo pastry sheets on a dry surface (cover the rest of the filo pastry with damp towel).
  11. Spread 1 ½ tablespoon of the mushroom mixture in a line the middle and roll like a cigar. Seal the ends of the pastry with a little water.
  12. Then, starting from one end, roll the cigar shape into a rose shape sealing the end again with a little water. Make sure you seal all the openings/cracks with a little water. If any bigger cracks appear, you can patch it with a little pastry, sealing with water again, it works.
  13. Brush the gul manti with a little olive oil and place them on a greased tray. Repeat this with all rectangles.
  14. Bake in the oven for about 20 – 25 minutes or until golden.
  15. Take the gul manti out of the oven once they are golden brown. Then place a dessert spoonful of stock on each hot manti and put in the oven for another 5 minutes to soak up the stock. The finished rose mantis should be nice and crispy outside and moist inside.
  16. For the garlic yoghurt; whisk together the yoghurt and the crushed garlic in a bowl until smooth and creamy.
  17. For the red pepper infused sauce; melt the butter (or gently heat the olive oil) in a small pan. Add the red pepper flakes and mix well.
  18. Place the hot rose ravioli (gul manti) on a serving dish. Pour the garlic yoghurt over it first then dribble the peppery sauce over the garlic yoghurt.
  19. Finish the dish by sprinkling dried mint over it and serve immediately.
Notes
1) Filo pastry dries out very quickly and becomes unworkable. To prevent this, keep the pastry sheets under a damp dish towel or paper tpwel and only take out one at a time. Any leftover pastry can be rolled up, sealed in a freezer bag and kept in the freezer.
2) You can freeze the baked gul mantis, rose ravioli. They can be successfully reheated on a greased tray (at 350 F /180C for about 15 minutes)

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