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Slowing down in Bodrum, chasing the waves and local treats

Greetings from Bodrum – Bodrum’dan merhaba; we have been at Turgutreis in Bodrum for a few days. It feels so good to slow down and chase the waves.. Here are what we’ve been up to and some local treats. Most of them can be easily made at home, hope they inspire or bring a smile.

Beautiful pots and flowers of Turgutreis, Bodrum

Beautiful pots and flowers of Turgutreis, Bodrum

We are staying at my parents’ time share home in Turgutreis; Bodrum in general is a very popular holiday destination, though it is good to see Turgutreis still retains the village feel at places. My dad gets his daily egg and freshly picked tomatoes, peppers and aubergine at the nearby farm, from Fatma Teyze. And what a delightful commute walking at the beach for 15 minutes to get the fresh eggs..

Sevgi Baci's delicious gozlemes, Turgutreis - Bodrum

Sevgi Baci’s delicious gozlemes, Turgutreis – Bodrum

We can’t get enough of Sevgi Baci’s made to order Gozlemes, Anatolian flat breads with fillings; this time it is cheese and potato.

Kabak cicegi dolmasi; stuffed zucchini, courgette flowers with aromatic rice and onion

Kabak cicegi dolmasi; stuffed zucchini, courgette flowers with aromatic rice and onion

Have you ever tried stuffed courgette/zucchini flowers? It is a delicacy especially  in the Aegean region in Turkey; courgette flowers are stuffed with aromatic rice with herbs and onions, cooked and served with a slice of lemon, so fragrant and delicious.

Stuffed grapevine leaves with aromatic rice; Zeytinyagli Sarma

Stuffed grapevine leaves with aromatic rice; Zeytinyagli Sarma

Stuffed vine leaves with aromatic rice and onions filling, Zeytinyagli Sarma is another delicious mezzes we have been having; served with a slice of lemon, it’s such a delicious, refreshing treat. Here’s my recipe if you’d like to have a go.

Children queuing for stuffed mussels, Midye Dolma in Turgutreis, Bodrum

Children queuing for stuffed mussels, Midye Dolma in Turgutreis, Bodrum

Since the weather is warm, Zeytinyaglis, that is vegetables cooked in olive oil as well as sea food are to go food items. I loved seeing stuffed mussels with aromatic rice, served at the beach in Turgutreis. Also delighted to see the kids (including my children) queuing for them!:) Mussels here are stuffed in their shell with cooked rice & grated onion with spices; red pepper flakes and a hit of cinnamon. All you need is a squeeze of lemon and the whole plateful disappears within minutes.

Midye dolma; Stuffed Mussels

Midye dolma; Stuffed Mussels

Karpuz, peynir, ekmek; coolwatermelon, Turkish white cheese (try Ezine peyniri, if you can) and freshly baked bread.. This is a traditional and a very refreshing lunch or snack at home, especially in hot days and we have been enjoying our fair share. A delicious, refreshing and healthy lunch alternative.

Cool water melon, feta cheese and freshly baked bread - Karpuz, peynir, ekmek make a delicious, refreshing lunch

Cool water melon, feta cheese and freshly baked bread – Karpuz, peynir, ekmek make a delicious, refreshing lunch

How about eggs cooked with ripe tomatoes, green peppers, onions? Scrambled or left as a whole, they make such a delicious start for the day for Turkish breakfast. Here is my recipe for the scrambled egg with vegetables, Menemen.

Eggs with tomatoes, peppers and onion

Eggs with tomatoes, peppers and onion

Our local eatery in Avta – Turgutreis is wonderful. Kevser Teyze and Ismail Usta prepares freshly cooked casseroles, tencere yemekleri daily, using the local produce. We look forward to their food everyday!

Kevser teyze's freshly prepared casseroles

Kevser teyze’s freshly prepared casseroles

Karniyarik, Stuffed eggplants with ground meat and vegetables, dolma, stuffed peppers, kuru fasulye, Turkish bean stew with onions, tomatoes, peppers (also with meat if you like), okra with onions, peppers, tomatoes (also with meat as an option) all freshly made. It is so good to see these local eateries around and well worth hunting for them.

Delicious okra cooked with onions, peppers, tomatoes, with or without meat

Delicious okra cooked with onions, peppers, tomatoes, chickpeas with or without meat

We also made it to the beautiful Gumusluk. There is a wonderful art scene in Gumusluk, loved all the handmade art, crafts, pottery and tiles.

Hand made tiles and crafts in Gumusluk

Hand made tiles and crafts in Gumusluk

Gumusluk Unlu Mamulleri has been an amazing discovery; this wonderful bakery makes delicious boreks, pastries, simit and boreks; we got all these from them and enjoyed with cay by the harbor. Their rolled spinach pie, ispanakli borek was especially delightful.

Ispanakli kol boregi, Gumusluk Unlu Mamulleri

Ispanakli kol boregi, Gumusluk Unlu Mamulleri

Sunset is beautiful at Gumusluk and the walk to the Tavsan Adasi, we will be back.

Sunset at Gumusluk and the walk to the Tavsan Adasi

Sunset at Gumusluk and the walk to the Tavsan Adasi

These delicious lokmas; little dough balls soaked in syrup, are another specialty here; they have a light batter and you feel like you can eat the whole bowl!

Delicious lokma dessert of the Aegean

Delicious lokma dessert of the Aegean

How about the zucchini fritters with feta and dill, mucver? It is in abundance at the moment, and these delicious fritters are a real treat with a dollop of yoghurt aside.

Zucchini fritters with feta, onions and dill; Mucver

Zucchini fritters with feta, onions and dill; Mucver

One of the real treats of our Bodrum stay has been to have a chance to meet up with Alan and J of the wonderful blog Archers of Okcular. A keen nature lover, Alan’s blog inspires me a lot, as well as the wonderful projects they do, such as their Okcular Book Project. The sale of Alan’s brilliant Okcular Guide Book provides funds for the environmental and community projects in their Okcular village near Dalyan, as well as to the Okcular Primary School. It has been so wonderful to meet Alan and J in person; we chatted, ate, drank teas and coffees with my parents, who proved that language is no barrier! Happy days and thanks to them for coming over to see us.

A very memorable meet up with Alan and J of Archers of Okcular

A very memorable meet up with Alan and J of Archers of Okcular

Here is another delicious local treat we enjoyed, Sandal Sefasi, from Bodrum. This reminded me of the stuffed eggplants with ground meat, onions and tomatoes, Karniyarik – with a twist. This time halved eggplants are stuffed with cubed chunks of meat in onion and tomato sauce, topped with cheddar cheese, a slice of tomato and pepper, delicious!

Sansal Sefasi; stuffed eggplants with cubes of meat in tomato and onion sauce, topped with cheddar cheese

Sansal Sefasi; stuffed eggplants with cubes of meat in tomato and onion sauce, topped with cheddar cheese

Time to sign off to tend the children, eager to jump into the sea.

Gumusluk, Bodrum; with beautiful, crystal clear sea

Gumusluk, Bodrum; with beautiful, crystal clear sea

Until next time, Bodrum’dan Selamlar,

Ozlem

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Baked Turkish mini meatballs, koftes in pepper and tomato sauce

We Turks love our koftes, Turkish homemade meatballs. A childhood favorite, they get ready in almost no time and the delicious aroma greets you as soon as you are in the kitchen.

Mini Turkish meatballs, koftes; a delicious appetizer or a main course with rice aside.

Mini Turkish meatballs, koftes; a delicious appetizer or a main course with rice aside.

I recently made these baked mini koftes, meatballs for a friend, who follows a gluten free diet. They were delicious and moist in pepper and tomato sauce, also healthy, as being baked. You can serve them as a mezze, starter or bigger portions can make a lovely main course with some rice and steamed vegetables aside. Cacik dip of cucumber and yoghurt would complement these mini koftes very well too.

Baked mini koftes in pepper and tomato sauce.

Baked mini koftes in pepper and tomato sauce.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Baked Turkish mini meatballs, koftes in pepper and tomato sauce
 
These delicious Turkish mini meatballs, koftes are a real crowd pleaser. The pepper and tomato sauce make them moister; they are also gluten-free and healthy, as they are baked.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizers, Mezzes
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 225gr/ 8oz ground beef
  • 225gr/8oz ground lamb
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 400 gr/14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
  • 30 ml/ 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 fl oz./1 cup water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Small bowl of water with a drizzle of olive oil aside to shape the koftes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C/ 350 F
  2. In a large bowl, combine the grated onions, eggs and parsley and knead well. That will help soften the onions and blend the ingredients homogeneously.
  3. Stir in the ground meat, season with salt (about 1 – 2 tsp.) and ground black pepper to your taste. Knead for a good 3-5 minutes with your hands, until the mixture becomes elastic and mixed well.
  4. Cover this ground meat mixture with a cling film and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and stir in the garlic and bell peppers. Sauté for 5 minutes, while stirring often.
  6. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and 8 fl oz./ 1 cup of water. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir, cover and simmer on medium to low heat for 10 minutes. Then turn the heat off.
  7. Take out the ground meat mixture from the fridge to shape meatballs. Have a small bowl of water with a drizzle of olive oil near you.
  8. Wet your hands and take a small walnut size of the meat mixture and roll into a ball. Place the meatballs in a baking tray ready cook side by side and continue until all the meat mixture is shaped into mini koftes, meatballs.
  9. Bake the mini koftes in the pre heated oven (180 C / 350 F) for 25 minutes, they will start to get a nice golden brown coating.
  10. Transfer the baked mini koftes in a large baking dish and pour in the pepper and tomato sauce around them, giving a gentle mix.
  11. Bake the mini koftes in tomato and pepper sauce for a further 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken, the flavors blend in and meatballs will have a wonderful coating.
  12. Serve hot with plain rice and Cacik dip of cucumber, yoghurt and mint if you like.
 

 

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Greetings from Istanbul! Sights, people and food, glorious food

The Bosphorus bridge, Kiz Kulesi - the Maiden tower and the glorious Bosphorus

The Bosphorus bridge, Kiz Kulesi – the Maiden tower and the glorious Bosphorus

Istanbul’dan merhaba! Home, sweet home; I think the more I age, home, my roots calls me even more eagerly, it is wonderful to be back home. Here are a few snap shots of what we have been up to.

It’s been only a few days since we’ve been here and we managed to fit in a lot of family visits and said “Mutlu Bayramlar.” I especially enjoyed having a chance to visit the elderly with the children, hearing their stories to them, such precious moments to savour. Istanbul is the place to be during the Bayram holiday as most folks left for holidays. So wonderful to be able to enjoy the city minus the traffic.

Cay, peynirli borek and pogaca; a very warm welcome home

Cay, peynirli borek and pogaca; a very warm welcome home

Cay, peynirli borek, Turkish tray bake pastry with cheese and parsley and pogaca made a very warm welcome home.

Turkish mezzes and vegetables cooked in olive oil

Turkish mezzes and vegetables cooked in olive oil

One of the things I very much long is enjoying a vast array of freshly prepared mezzes and enjoying them along the Bosphorus. With a beautiful breeze and friends and family nearby, it is heavenly.

Enjoying a glass of cay and Turkish breakfast at Rumelihisari, Istanbul

Enjoying a glass of cay and Turkish breakfast with dear friends at Rumelihisari, Istanbul

I was grateful that a few dear friends were still in Istanbul during Bayram and we enjoyed a long, leisurely Turkish breakfast and multiple glasses of cay at Rumelihisari, Sade Kahve.

Sigara boregi, ciborek, freshly squeezed orange juice and many more; Turkish breakfast

Sigara boregi, ciborek, freshly squeezed orange juice and many more; Turkish breakfast

Gozlemes, Anatolian flat breads with fillings are made at the oval sac oven in front of you, with an infectious smile. Impossible to pass on.

Ciborek with a smile

Ciborek with a smile

Gozleme; Anatolian flatbreads with fillings

Gozleme; Anatolian flat breads with fillings

And we’re off again; this time taking the ferry, vapur, to visit our dear, elderly aunt with the children. I love traveling with the traditional ferries, vapur; it is nostalgic, offers spectacular views and a wonderful way to be a part of the local life. The ferry itself promises a lot of fun and excitement to us all. Children loved looking at to the sights with the ferry’s telescope – only 1 TL -

The traditional ferries, vapur, is an ideal way to cross the Bosphorus

The traditional ferries, vapur, is an ideal way to cross the Bosphorus

My son trying the telescope at the ferry

My son trying the telescope at the ferry

Of course, one can also have a delightful glass of cay and Simit, sesame encrusted bread rings to nibble while on the ferry – again, served with a wonderful smile.

Simit and a glass of cay at the ferry, vapur - one of my favorite rituals

Simit and a glass of cay at the ferry, vapur – one of my favorite rituals

Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace, over the Bosphorus

Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace, over the Bosphorus

Once in Kadikoy, we decided we need more Simit; so popped in the local bakery to get some more, along with some white cheese, beyaz peynir and tomatoes for the afternoon tea at our Meskure Hala, our dear aunt.

Freshly baked Simit at the local bakery, firin

Freshly baked Simit at the local bakery, firin

The following day started with a visit to Besiktas; I love Besiktas Carsisi; it’s market, small scale shops, fish monger and endless eatries. It has a village feel where folks greet one another, get their daily bread from the bakery, firin, the Turkish coffee and nuts from the local kuruyemisci; the list goes on and on. I got lost for words at Simit Molasi Cafe – Sigara Boregi; pastry rolls with cheese and parsley for us. And more simit, if one desires more.

Sigara boregi, cheese rolls with filo pastry and Simit, sesame encrusted Turkish bread rings galore at Simit Molasi, Besiktas

Sigara boregi, cheese rolls with filo pastry and Simit, sesame encrusted Turkish bread rings galore at Simit Molasi, Besiktas

Next stop is Ortakoy;  lovely to see the restoration at the Ortakoy Mosque is compiled – looks fascinating.

Ortakoy Mosque, Istanbul

Ortakoy Mosque, Istanbul

If you’re after a really good quality Turkish delight, have a look at Yeni Ugur Helvacisi in Ortakoy; I loved their new Turkish delight with pomegranates, they are packed with flavor. If you fancy making your own Turkish Delight, here is my home made Turkish Delight recipe.

Freshly ground Turkish coffee at Meraklilar Kuruyemiscisi, Ortakoy - Istanbul

Freshly ground Turkish coffee at Meraklilar Kuruyemiscisi, Ortakoy – Istanbul

Last stop, freshly ground Turkish coffee at Meraklilar Kuruyemiscisi, Ortakoy; smells heavenly. Hope you enjoy yours, Turkish coffee really is more than a drink – afiyet olsun!

 A delightful visit to Burgazada, Burgaz Island

It’s our last day in Istanbul before we depart for Bodrum and we took the ferry to Burgazada, one of the Princes’ islands  near to Istanbul. Children got very excited with the prospect of getting on the ferry again and riding bicycle in the Island. We had a special purpose of this visit too, as we arranged to meet up with dear Mark and Jolee from the wonderful blog Senior Dogs Abroad. Mark and Jolee live in Istanbul and blog about the life in Turkey as well as world affairs, they’re a pleasure to follow, a delightful company.

Charming horse carriages at Burgazada

Charming horse carriages at Burgazada

No vehicles are allowed in the island except the horse carriages and bicycles, which makes the islands even more inviting; a breath of fresh air.

Friday is the Market day, Pazar in Burgazada and I am grateful that the Senior Dogs kindly guided us to the right direction! Fresh, breathtaking produce galore; one can easily spend a day there, just wonderful.

Market day in Burgazada; fresh produce in abundance

Market day in Burgazada; fresh produce in abundance

Sivri biber, green pointy peppers and eggplant, patlican at Burgazada.

Sivri biber, green pointy peppers and eggplant, patlican at Burgazada.

Preserved vine leaves, ready for stuffing, so inviting – presented with a wonderful smile.

Vine leaves, sold at Burgazada, ready for stuffing

Vine leaves, sold at Burgazada, ready for stuffing

Time to say farewell and see you soon, many thanks to Mark and Jolee for having us at Burgazada!

Visiting dear friends at Burgazada

Visiting dear friends at Burgazada

With best wishes to all; hope to be in touch from Bodrum!

Ozlem

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