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Fascinating Turkey

Delights and Street food from Turkey and how to make them at home

Wholesome, delicious Turkish breakfast, my favorite meal of the day

Wholesome, delicious Turkish breakfast, my favorite meal of the day

Merhaba and greetings from Turkey; it has been wonderful to be back home, catching up with family, friends and enjoying this fascinating land. I wanted to share with you some photos from our trip with a special highlight on Turkish street food and breakfast we have been enjoying. I hope it inspires and you can give it a go at this delici0us, wholesome recipes. I embraced Turkish breakfast as soon as we arrived Istanbul. Eggs done different ways, Simit, sesame encrusted bread rings, flavorful olives, Turkish white cheese, specialty white cheese with herbs, Van’s Otlu Peynir, ripe juicy sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and savory pastry are all a part of our wonderful Turkish breakfast. This plate is from the wonderful Van Kahvalti Evi in Cihangir, Istanbul. The herbed cheese, Otlu Peynir is a special favorite. Here’s some ideas for you to recreate your own Turkish breakfast.

Cobbled streets of Cukurcuma antique market in Cihangir, Istanbul

Cobbled streets of Cukurcuma antique market in Cihangir, Istanbul

A gorgeous antique door at Cukurcuma market, how I wished to take it back home

A gorgeous antique door at Cukurcuma market, how I wished to take it back home

I love Cihangir area in Istanbul and thanks to dear Senior Dogs Abroad, I made a visit to the Cukurcuma antique and flea market to wander amongst beautiful old, antique furnishings; plates, cutlery being a special focus, I fell in love with this wonderful, ancient door, how I wished to take it back home.

A heavenly tray of Baklava in Istanbul

A heavenly tray of Baklava in Istanbul

This heavenly tray of baklava was the next thing attracted my attention. The real thing is much lighter and flaky than its versions abroad, hope you can enjoy baklava in Turkey. You can also make baklava at home; here’s my home made baklava with walnuts recipe, hope you enjoy it.

Full moon in Istanbul, by the Bosphorus

Full moon in Istanbul, by the Bosphorus

Delicious mezzes and company by the Bosphorus, Istanbul

Delicious mezzes and company by the Bosphorus, Istanbul

We were lucky to enjoy a beautiful full moon by the Bosphorus. We celebrated dear Mehmet’s, my brother-in-law’s birthday over delicious Turkish mezzes.

Wonderful to be back to Bodrum

Wonderful to be back to Bodrum

Freshly picked vegetables at the farmers market in Bodrum, Turkey

Freshly picked vegetables at the farmers market in Bodrum, Turkey

Cokelek Salata; crumbled white cheese or feta salad, flavored with cumin, red pepper flakes and olive oil

Cokelek Salata; crumbled white cheese or feta salad, flavored with cumin, red pepper flakes and olive oil

Turkish tea, cay - taste even more delicious by the sea side in Bodrum

Turkish tea, cay – taste even more delicious by the sea side in Bodrum

And now back to Bodrum; my parents have a time share home here that we and children long to come back. Life evolves around simple pleasures; an early morning swim, followed by a leisurely, long Turkish breakfast. Dad and the children pick up the fresh produce – tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers from Gulsum Baci’s garden and we make a lovely Cokelek Salata; crumbled feta salad with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, flavored with cumin and red pepper flakes. I am also in charge of making the Menemen; Turkish style scrambled eggs with tomato, onion, peppers and cheese. Sitting at the terrace, we all tuck in with flavorful, olives, more cheese and glasses of cay, Turkish tea to wash it all with the family – my idea of heaven, my favorite meal of the day.

Pogaca; Turkish savory pastries with cheese and parsley

Pogaca; Turkish savory pastry with cheese and herbs

Pogaca; Turkish savory pastry with cheese and herbs

Simit; Sesame encrusted bread rings

Simit; sesame encrusted bread rings

Simit; sesame encrusted bread rings

Mid day snack would be either this delicious, national favorite pogaca; savory pastry with cheese and herbs or Turkish sesame encrusted bread rings, Simit; children and we all love them and they dissappear quickly. Simit and pogaca are both widely available at bakeries, street stalls and pastanes, patisseries in Turkey.

Midye Dolma; Stuffed mussels with aromatic rice

Midye dolma; stuffed mussels with aromatic rice, pine nuts and currants

Midye dolma; stuffed mussels with aromatic rice, pine nuts and currants

And then comes Midye Dolma; these delicious stuffed mussels with aromatic rice, pine nuts and currants are a delightful street food in Turkey. You can find them in street stalls or at vendors selling by the beach side. Ali Usta, our regular midye dolma vendor turns up every afternoon near our beach at Turgut Reis, Bodrum with delicious midye dolmas. All you need is a squeeze of lemon over them, delicious! I did make stuffed mussels at home, they turned out really well. Cleaning the mussels can be a bit of a labor of love but well worth all the effort, here is my Stuffed mussels with aromatic rice, Midye Dolma recipe, if you’d like to give it a go.

Pide; Turkish oval flat breads with toppings

Peynirli Pide; Turkish oval flat breads with cheese, spinach and vegetables

Peynirli Pide; Turkish oval flat breads with cheese, spinach and vegetables

Turkish oval flat breads with various toppings, Pide, is another favorite street food in Turkey. Our favorite is Pide with cheese and vegetables as well as the Flat breads with ground meat and vegetable topping; Kiymali Pide. A favorite snack and street food both at the sea side and in the towns and cities.

Lahmacun; Turkish style thin pizza with ground meat and vegetables topping

Lahmacun, Turkish style thin pizza with ground meat and vegetables topping

Lahmacun, Turkish style thin pizza with ground meat and vegetables topping

Lahmacun, thin, small Turkish style pizza with ground meat, onions, tomato and parsley topping is also a hugely popular Turkish snack, street food. You can enjoy them at street vendors, kebab houses or lahmacun houses that would only sell this delicious treat. We would wrap lahmacun with slices of tomato, onions and parsley with a healthy squeeze of lemon juice over. Here’s my Lahmacun recipe if you’d like to make this delicious treat.

Gozleme; Anatolian flat breads with fillings

Gozleme; Anatolian flat breads with fillings

Gozleme; Anatolian flat breads with fillings

We Turks love these stuffed flat breads, gozleme. Turks were originated from Central Asia, where they drifted towards Anatolia gradually and made their home. They have been making these stuffed flat breads since then. Gozleme is a much loved Turkish street food and a special part of the delicious Turkish breakfast. These popular snacks are cooked quickly on a hot griddle and can be filled with various fillings. Some of my favorite fillings are mashed potatoes, cheese and parsley; spinach and cheese, and ground meat and onions. Here’s my Gozleme with spinach and cheese recipe, hope you enjoy it, afiyet olsun.

Turkish Coffee; Turk Kahvesi – More than a drink

Delightful Turkish Coffee, Turk Kahvesi

Delightful Turkish Coffee, Turk Kahvesi

Have you ever tried the deliciously frothy Turkish coffee? It is one of the most popular traditional drinks at home in Turkey and I love the whole ritual, the experience of it. As it is so widely available it is a part of Turkish street food for me. In Turkish, we have a saying “Bir fincan kahvenin kirk yil hatiri vardir” which means “The memory of a good cup of Turkish coffee lasts 40 years”. Turkish coffee is a drink of friendship; you are offered this traditional, aromatic drink wherever you go in Turkey; when visiting friends and family, in the shops, while waiting in the bank, in hairdressers.. We take time to pause and enjoy this special drink with a friend or family or sometimes simply reflect with every precious sip. A glass of water and Turkish Delights, Lokum by the side complete the Turkish coffee ritual. I shared this special cup with my mother while in Bodrum, it was very memorable. Here’s how to make Turkish coffee properly and its rituals, hope you enjoy yours.

Bodrum Castle, Turkey

Bodrum Castle, Turkey

I hope this post inspires you to create delicious, wholesome Turkish treats and visit this fascinating land sometime.

My best wishes from Turkey, Selamlar, Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Magical Istanbul and Cappadocia Tour, October 25-30th; Special Offer

Fascinating Turkey; Magical Istanbul and Captivating Cappadocia, Land of Fairy Chimneys, Tour Brochure
Sunday October 25th through Friday October 30st, 2015SPECIAL OFFER!

Ozlem1

“We feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to see Istanbul and Turkey with you. You made it a uniquely personal and an unforgettable experience.”

The Spice Market, Misir Carsisi, Istanbl - feast to all senses.

The Spice Market, Misir Carsisi, Istanbul – feast to all senses.

Please join us at our tailor made tour to explore my homeland, fascinating Turkey together. I am delighted to host this exciting tour, covering off the beaten track sights, experiencing foodie heaven markets in Istanbul, private boat tour along the Bosphorus, Whirling dervish shows, exploring old and new parts of Istanbul to give you a real feel of this fascinating city. And food, the glorious Turkish food; starting from my favorite meal of the day Turkish breakfast, every meal will be authentic and memorable. You will also enjoy and discover authentic Turkish cuisine with our Turkish cookery classes and learn how to make this wonderful cuisine. Cappadocia Region, the land of fairy chimneys will be a special highlight. Exploring Goreme Underground City, optional hot air balloon tour over the fairy chimneys, visiting a local Turkish Ceramic Art Shop to learn how the world famous tiles and ceramics made and watch masters working, visiting traditional Cappadocian home to experience local cuisine and many more – all to look forward to. We will be staying at charming, boutique hotels with warm Turkish hospitality for 5 nights.

Special Offer: 1,850 USD or 1,200 GBP (per person sharing in double room)

Single Supplement: 410 USD or 265 GBP

Fascinating Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

Fascinating Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

Tour Includes:
Accommodation (bed and breakfast) for 5 nights in boutique hotels, All museum entrances,
All internal flights in Turkey, VIP minibus ground transportation for 16 people, Welcome dinner and Farewell Dinner, 2 Turkish cookery classes, learning 2 different regional cuisines (Istanbul and Cappadocia for Anatolian cuisine), All airport transfers, All guide services, Private Bosphorus boat tour in Istanbul and cocktails.

Not included in the tour:
Your international return flight to Istanbul and Visa (if needed), personal expenses, extra drinks and mini bar at the hotels, drinks at meals. Single supplement if requested. Whirling dervish show and Turkish folk night, optional air balloon in Cappadocia, lunches and 2 dinners in Cappadocia. Gratuities for our guide and driver would also be most appreciated.

Turkish Breakfast, delicious, healthy; a feast to all senses

Turkish Breakfast, delicious, healthy, irresistable; a feast to all senses

We will be enjoying the famous Turkish hospitality and learning how to make the delicious Turkish cuisine

We will be enjoying the famous Turkish hospitality and learning how to make the delicious Turkish cuisine

This bespoke culinary and cultural tour to Turkey is limited to 12 participants only and early booking is essential to guarantee spaces and availability for the desired hotels and internal flights. If you would like to join us to explore this fascinating land from a local’s perspective, please Contact me and kindly fill in the Fascinating Turkey 2015; Registration Form. I would also very much appreciate if you can kindly share this brochure with your family or friends that could be interested – this trip could be a wonderful, memorable present to someone, a trip of a lifetime.

Topkapi Palace by the Bosphorus, Istanbul

The delightful Bosphorus Boat tour is amongst the highlights of the 2015 Fascinating Turkey Tour.

Fascinating Turkey 2015; Culinary & Cultural Tour Brochure; October 25th – October 30st, 2015

ITINERARY

October 25th, Sunday: Arrival to Istanbul Ataturk International Airport (your arrival time is important to shape the activities of that day), transfer from the airport and check in to our charming Hotel Armada at the heart of Old Istanbul, Sultanahmet. Orientation tour in Sultanahmet, Old Istanbul. You may like to indulge in the famous Turkish Bath at the superb Kilic Ali Pasa Hamami. Private boat cruise along the Bosphorus to enjoy the beauty of Istanbul stretching to two continents. Welcome Dinner at the atmospheric Armada Hotel Terrace to enjoy delicious Turkish mezzes and kebabs overlooking the beautiful Old Istanbul and the Sea of Marmara.

October 26th, Monday: Leave hotel at 9 am after our delicious Turkish style breakfast and start exploring the fascinating Istanbul. We visit the Blue Mosque, famous for its turquoise Iznik tiles and frescoes. We will then continue to the breathtaking Hagia Sophia, a pioneer of architecture and the largest church in the world prior to St. Peter’s in Rome. After visiting the atmospheric Basilica Cistern, we will head to Nakkas Textile & Rugs to see their extensive collections on beautiful Turkish rugs (and experience how world famous Turkish carpets are made, while having lunch), tile, ceramics, print & calligraphy collection. Next stop is the magnificent Spice Market, to learn about and stock up on spices, Turkish delight, Turkish coffee and more. After all that festivity, we will take you to the New Town, Galata, Pera and Beyoglu area to introduce a different, another vibrant part of the city with its markets, passages, shops, mosques and sights. In the evening at 6.30 pm, we have a hands on Turkish cookery class where we learn to cook a delicious 4 course Turkish meal together and enjoy at the end.

October 27th, Tuesday: Check out from Hotel Armada and transfer to the airport to fly to Kayseri, Cappadocia region, land of fairy chimneys. Check in to our charming, beautifully decorated Peri Masali Cave Hotel with its rooms craved through hundreds of years and delicately restored with stones. Orientation tour and lunch to follow. Then visit to Goreme Underground City and Goreme Open Air Museum. Dine at local restaurant and learn about local regional cuisine during our meal.

October 28th, Wednesday: Scrumptious Turkish breakfast at our hotel to enjoy regional delicacies. Optional hot air balloon tour in the early morning, starting at 5 am (extra). At 9.30am visit a local Turkish Ceramic Art Shop to learn how the world famous tiles and ceramics made and watch masters working. Then we will visit a traditional Cappadocian home and will be treated to a special local Turkish cookery class by the village ladies who will teach the local cuisine of Cappadocia as well as other delicacies. Our day will end around 4 pm, giving you a chance to rest in your hotel or enjoy a Turkish Bath. Evening dinner with optional special Turkish Night to enjoy Folkloric Dances from various regions and live music with refreshments.

October 29th, Thursday: Early morning check out and transfer to the airport to fly to Istanbul and check in to Hotel Armada. Free time; perhaps a visit to Grand Bazaar for last minute souvenirs, we will gladly accompany you for this trip. As an alternative, visit the foodie heaven Kadikoy Market in the Asian side and lunch at Ciya Restaurant, famous with fine example of regional Turkish cuisine. Farewell Dinner at the Khorosani Restaurant.

October 30th, Friday: Check out from our hotel and transfer to the Ataturk International Airport for the return flight.

I have been organizing and hosting bespoke Culinary and Cultural Tours to Turkey for 8 years, aiming to show my homeland from a local’s perspective. This is the land I belong and love; a special land packed with history, traditions, beautiful landscape, fabulous Turkish food and wonderful, friendly locals. I would be delighted to explore my homeland with you and show this amazing country from a local’s perspective.

Stunning fairy chimneys at Cappadocia, over the hot air baloon; photo credit National Geographic

Stunning fairy chimneys at Cappadocia, over the hot air baloon; photo credit National Geographic

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, I look forward to hearing from you and hope to have a chance to explore my homeland together.

My best wishes for happy travels to you all, Iyi Yolculuklar,

Ozlem

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My Fascinating Turkey 2015 Tours; Can’t wait to get on road again

Ephesus - Izmir, Turkey

Ephesus – Izmir, Turkey

I have recently watched this wonderful video on the beautiful Izmir region; Ephesus, the turquoise Aegean Sea, inviting Turkish food, friendly locals to welcome you; video said “life is worth exploration; so much to experience, see, taste…” How very true. This has been the basis of my culinary and cultural tours to Turkey; a fascinating land with warm people, so worth exploring.

Fascinating Istanbul, Turkey

Fascinating Istanbul, Turkey

Sultanahmet Koftecisi, Istanbul - a fine example of Turkish hospitality

Sultanahmet Koftecisi, Istanbul – a fine example of Turkish hospitality

I have been organizing and hosting small scale Culinary and Cultural Tours to Turkey for 8 years, aiming to show my homeland from a local’s perspective. This is the land I belong and love; a special land packed with history, traditions, beautiful landscape, fabulous Turkish food and wonderful, friendly locals.

Fragrant Turkish spices galore at the Spice Market, Istanbul

Fragrant Turkish spices galore at the Spice Market, Istanbul

Turkish Breakfast, delicious, healthy; a feast to all senses

Turkish Breakfast, delicious, healthy; a feast to all senses

Here, I am delighted to present you my 2 upcoming Fascinating Turkey Culinary & Cultural Tours to Turkey. First one from Saturday, May 23rd 2015 through Saturday, May 30th 2015, second one from Saturday, October 24th through Saturday 31st October 2015. We have a very exciting itinerary, covering off the beaten track sights, experiencing foodie heaven markets like the Kadikoy Market in Istanbul, private boat tour along the Bosphorus, Whirling dervish shows, exploring old and new parts of Istanbul to give you a real feel of this fascinating city. And food, the glorious Turkish food; starting from my favorite meal of the day Turkish breakfast, every meal will be authentic and memorable. We will learn all about Turkish spices, Turkish coffee, Turkish Delight and stock up the finest examples of them at the Spice Market, Istanbul.

Bountiful seasonal produce at Besiktas Pazari, Istanbul

Bountiful seasonal produce at Besiktas Pazari, Istanbul

Locals making Gozleme, Turkish flatbreads with fillings

Locals making Gozleme, Turkish flatbreads with fillings

During our tour, we will have 3 Turkish cooking classes to explore regional cuisines – in Istanbul, Cappadocia and at the charming village Sirince, to learn about the hearty Anatolian cuisine and the Aegean cuisine, using region’s wonderful olive oil and fresh produce. In Cappadocia, we will be treated to a special local Turkish cookery class by the village ladies in a traditional Cappadocian home, an experience I greatly look forward to.

Stunning fairy chimneys at Cappadocia, over the hot air baloon; photo credit National Geographic

Stunning fairy chimneys at Cappadocia, over the hot air baloon; photo credit National Geographic

Cappadocia Region, the land of fairy chimneys will be a special highlight. Exploring Goreme Underground City, optional Hot air balloon over the fairy chimneys, visiting a local Turkish Ceramic Art Shop to learn how the world famous tiles and ceramics made and watch masters working and many more – all to look forward to.

Cooking delicious Aegean flavors at our Turkish cooking class in Sirince, Turkey

Cooking delicious Aegean flavors at our Turkish cooking class in Sirince, Turkey

And then beautiful Izmir region to follow; charming Sirince Village for our hands on Turkish cookery class, learn about the delicious and healthy Aegean cuisine; visits to the fascinating, ancient Greco –Roman city, Ephesus and Virgin Mary’s house.

Here is my Fascinating Turkey 2015; Culinary & Cultural Tour Brochure with the Registration Form. The tour is limited to 15 participants only and the registration started. Please kindly Contact me if you have any questions or would like to sign up for our tour.

Beautiful Pergamum, Bergama - Turkey, with spring blossoms - Turkey

Beautiful Pergamum, Bergama – Turkey, with spring blossoms – Turkey

The Willie Nelson song sums it all up for me –“On the road again; just can’t wait to get on the road again!” I really can’t wait and I hope you can join us too.

Happy travels, Iyi Yolculuklar,

Ozlem

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