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A special visit to Istanbul and Turkish Festive Meal Ideas

Merhaba dear All,

Showing my mother, Gulcin, the final proofs of my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from my Homeland

I had a flying but a very special visit back home, to Istanbul last week; mainly to spend some quality time with my parents and family, every minute of it was precious. The trip coincided with finalising my cookery book coming up, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland. I had a chance to show the final print outs to my parents, it was a special and emotional moment for us all.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table Cookery Book; Contents Page

Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, final proofs!

This special book has been a legacy of my parents, who instilled in us the love of good food, passion for sharing with others and love for our Turkish cuisine. It was a special and proud moment to show them the fruits of our labor; I am over the moon that they loved the book!:) The book pays special tribute to my southern Turkish roots, with my family history, family photos and recipes and really is beautifully made with gorgeous photography by Sian Irvine Food Photography– you will love the vividness of the colors, market photos, beautifully shot photos of each recipes and showcasing thousands of years of culinary heritage of Turkish cuisine. A warm, lovingly made book, also a love letter to my homeland, I can not wait to share with you all.

A still life image from my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, by Sian Irvine

My book is on pre-order now and it could make a lovely gift to a food lover. You can pre-order  here with 10% off pre-order discount only for this period; please enter the promo code Pre-Order Special before the check out at this link, to apply for 10% discount. Pre-orders will be shipped worldwide (including Turkey) in March, prior the general release of the book in April 2018. It’s a lovingly made, special book and I truly hope you enjoy it and it brings happy memories of my beautiful homeland, Turkey.

Festive Turkish Meal Ideas:

One of the feedback you readers kindly gave for my book has been to include Menu Suggestions in the book. And I kept my promise and included a variety of menus in the book, to help with meal planning; such as Traditional Menu, Vegetarian Menu, Gluten-Free Menu, Mezze based menu, Southern Turkish themed menu, Kebab based menu etc. Inspired by this, I thought to share some  Turkish meal ideas with recipes and their beautiful images from my upcoming book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland,  so you can enjoy with family and friends over the festive season, I hope it inspires to you all.

Ezo Gelin Corba; Spicy lentil and bulgur soup; image from my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table

We Turks always start our meal with soup, corba, traditionally and I can’t think of a better soup than Ezo Gelin Corbasi, Spicy bulgur and lentil soup to warm us all. So easy to make and dried mint and red pepper flakes flavor this soup so beautifully; you can make a big batch and freeze left overs, one of our firm favourites.

Assortment of boreks, savory pastries with filo, from my book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table

Boreks, savory pastries with fillings are a huge favorite in our home – children love them as well as adults. How about an assortment of boreks for the festive season, like in this image from my cookery book? Traybake Spinach and cheese filo pastry, Ispanakli Borek, Traybake filo pastry with ground/minced meat, Kiymali Borek or filo triangles with cheese and spinach or parsley, Muska boregi, would all be great crowd pleasers.

Potato and bulgur patties with pomegranate molasses, from my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table

I will definitely be making these scrumptious Potato and Bulgur Patties, served with pomegranate molasses, during the festive season. They are so easy to make and absolutely delicious; pungent cumin and red pepper flakes flavor these patties beautifully – you can serve as a side to your mains; they are absolutely lovely when dipped in to pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi – a delicious southern Turkish specialty.

Stuffed aubergines/eggplants – Karniyarik; a delicious main from Ozlem’s Turkish Table

Aubegine/eggplant is king of vegetables at home and Karniyarik, stuffed aubergine/eggplant with minced meat and vegetables always makes an appearance in our festive tables. You can also make Split aubergines/eggplants with vegetables filling, Imam Bayildi, if you prefer the vegetarian option – love them both.

Baked dried apricots with walnuts, from Ozlem’s Turkish Table

There can be quite rich food and indulgence during the festive period and I opt for fruity desserts most of the time. This baked dried apricots with walnuts fits the bill perfectly; healthy, light, easy to make and great for entertaining – also gluten-free.

Turkish coffee, Turk kahvesi, from Ozlem’s Turkish Table

Turkish coffee, Turk kahvesi is a special drink for us – it really is a more than a drink with all its rituals and it is the perfect end to a special meal. Here’s how to make the perfect Turkish coffee.

I truly hope these would give you some ideas to enjoy with family and friends over the festive season. My very best wishes to you all for the festive season and the New Year. It’s been such a pleasure to share delicious Turkish cuisine with you all and more to come in 2018!

Afiyet Olsun,


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10 Responses to A special visit to Istanbul and Turkish Festive Meal Ideas

  1. Phil in the Kitchen December 18, 2017 at 11:13 pm #

    The book is looking great and I’m really looking forward to seeing the finished article. I might not have much time to cook over the next few weeks but, if I do, then the Potato and Bulgur Patties will be high on my list. They’re delicious and I haven’t made them for a while.

    • Ozlem Warren December 19, 2017 at 9:43 am #

      Thank you for your kind note Phil, my very best wishes to you for the festive season – I love the potato and bulgur patties too – definitely in our menu to enjoy with family and friends : ) Best wishes, Ozlem

  2. Turkey's For Life December 19, 2017 at 6:47 am #

    Sure the book will be great when it comes out, Özlem and lovely you got to spend some quality time with your family in Istanbul. They must be really proud. 🙂 We’re already busy in the kitchen for Christmas. Have a lovely one with your family and friends. 🙂
    Julia and Barry

    • Ozlem Warren December 19, 2017 at 9:41 am #

      Merhaba dear Julia and Barry, many thanks for your kind note; it was a special visit to Istanbul, so lovely the book got thumbs up by my parents: ) Enjoy Fethiye at this special time of the year, my best wishes for the festive season and so look forward to seeing you all in Fethiye in 2018!:) Sevgilerimle, Ozlem xx

  3. Mark and Jolee December 20, 2017 at 5:35 am #


    We love the photo of you and your mom – super! Also, the photos in the book are fantastic – brilliant colors make everything so appetizing. Congratulations to you and your photographer. We’re so sorry we didn’t get to see you this visit, but for sure the next time. Öptük, M and J

    • Ozlem Warren December 20, 2017 at 9:49 am #

      Sevgili Mark’cigim, Jolee’cigim, always so lovely to get your note, cok tesekkur ederim : ) I was so sorry to miss you too, it was such a flying visit. A very special moment seeing my parents and sharing the book : ) So glad you liked to photos- the colors and images are really stunning, i think you will really enjoy the images along with the recipes at my cookery book. Sending festive greetings, cok sevgilerimle, Ozlem xx

  4. Alan December 20, 2017 at 2:49 pm #

    good to see you and mum with big smiles. Have a great time with your family and friends back in your second home. I look forward to your blog post when we cook chicken in a tin in the garden at our cabin next year.

    • Ozlem Warren December 21, 2017 at 10:27 am #

      Merhaba dear Alan, many thanks for your kind note – I so look forward to seeing you both in 2018 and what a joy it would be cook and enjoy in your heavenly cabin and garden : ) My best wishes to you and J for the festive season and Mutlu Yillar, cok sevgilerimle, Ozlem xx

  5. BacktoBodrum December 23, 2017 at 6:27 pm #

    The photos are divine. 2018 is going to be your year, Have a very Happy Christmas in France. Love Annie

    • Ozlem Warren December 30, 2017 at 3:46 pm #

      Merhaba dear Annie, thank you so much for your kind note – it will be a special year with the book; a lot of love and care went to it, so look forward to sharing with you all – and coming to Bodrum with the book – and recuperation in Bodrum afterwards : ) My best wishes for 2018, cok sevgilerimle, Ozlem xx

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