Cookery Classes

I teach Turkish cooking classes in England,Turkey & USA, hope you can join us!,
Find Out More

Recipes    

Turkish cuisine provides healthy, hearty, delicious food for family and friends.
Find out more

Fascinating Turkey

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

Continue Reading

Chicken Soup with Vegetables in lemon & egg sauce – Terbiyeli, Sebzeli Tavuk Corbasi

Chicken and vegetables soup in lemon & egg sauce; Terbiyeli Sebzeli Tavuk Corbasi

Chicken and vegetables soup in lemon & egg sauce; Terbiyeli Sebzeli Tavuk Corbasi

Cold winter days call for a warming meal; this delicious chicken and vegetables soup is ideal to turn  the left over bits of vegetables and cooked meat (you can meat omit for a vegetarian option) into a hearty, delicious soup. With nice crusty bread aside, this chunky soup makes a complete meal for us (and just the thing if you have a cold). Soups, Corba as we call in Turkish, have a special place in Turkish cuisine and the meals mostly start with a soup. In Anatolia, it is very common to have soup to start the day, especially in winter.

There is a special technique used in this soup; lemon juice is beaten with egg yolks to thicken the sauce and add a delicious sort of tangy flavor. This method is called “terbiyeli” in Turkish cuisine and it requires a staged tempering of the egg sauce into the hot liquid, so that the soup won’t curdle.

I have used parsnips, celery, carrots, red onion here; you can also use potatoes, regular onion or any other vegetables you like and needs finishing. I hope you enjoy this delicious, nutritious, warming soup.

Healthy, delicious chicken soup with vegetables in lemon & egg sauce

Healthy, delicious chicken soup with vegetables in lemon & egg sauce

Serves 4 – 6

Preparation time: 15-20 minutes                                     Cooking time: 30 minutes

225 gr/8 oz./1 cup cooked (left over) chicken meat, cut in small chunks (you can omit this for a vegetarian option)

75gr/3oz/scant ½ cup long grain rice (plain or basmati, if you prefer), rinsed

1 large red onion, quartered and chopped

3 celery stick, trimmed and coarsely chopped

3 medium carrots, coarsely chopped

3 parsnips, peeled and cut in small chunks

Handful of fresh flat leaf (Italian) parsley

30 ml/2 tbsp. olive oil

2 lt/ 3 ½ pints/8 cups hot chicken stock (or vegetarian stock, or water)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Lemon & egg sauce:

2 egg yolks, beaten

Juice of 1 lemon

To serve:

Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle when serving (optional)

Turkish red pepper flakes (pul biber) or chili flakes and a wedge of lemon to serve

Crusty bread to serve

Heat the olive oil in a deep heavy pan and stir in the onion, sauté for a few minutes. When the onion begins to color slightly, toss in the celery, carrot and parsnip. Stir and cook for a further 2 minutes. Then add the rinsed rice, giving a good stir. Pour in the hot stock or water and the cooked chicken pieces (if you are using), combine well. Season with salt and freshly grounded black pepper to your taste. Cover and cook over medium to low heat for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked though still have a bite to them.

 Gently pour in a ladle of the hot soup to the egg mixture and blend well.

Gently pour in a ladle of the hot soup to the egg mixture and blend well.

Afterwards, in a small bowl, thoroughly blend the egg yolks with the lemon juice. Gently pour in a ladle of the hot soup to the egg mixture for tempering and blend well. Then slowly pour this egg mixture into the simmering pan; stir constantly so that the eggs don’t curdle. Add the chopped parsley and cook the soup very gently on low heat for 3-5 minutes. Do not allow the soup to boil, or it may curdle. Check the seasoning and turn the heat off.

Warming chicken and vegetables soup in lemon & egg sauce.

Warming chicken and vegetables soup in lemon & egg sauce.

Ladle the soup into individual serving bowls. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over and sprinkle red pepper flakes, pul biber over, if you like. Serve hot with some crusty bread and a wedge of lemon aside.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

 

Ozlem’s Turkish Table at the Turkish Chefs of the World, “Dunyanin Turk Sefleri” TV program aired on TRT Turk  TV Channel

Click to view on YouTube.

I was delighted to take part in Dunyanin Turk Sefleri, “Turkish Chefs of the World” TV program on TRT Turk TV Channel.

I was delighted to be involved in the Turkish Chefs of the World, “Dunyanin Turk Sefleri” TV program aired on Turkish National TV, TRT Turk channel (aired over 70 countries) a few weeks ago. The program was shot in major gastronomic centers like New York, Berlin, Tokyo, Vienna, Paris and London, exploring world cuisines and the presence of Turkish cuisine around the world. I was involved in their London program; the presenter and Milliyet food author Mr. Sureyya Uzmez and I talked about the vibrant London food scene and the growing presence of Turkish cuisine abroad. I delightfully mentioned the increasing global interest for the healthy, delicious Turkish cuisine and my admiration for your enthusiasm, dear readers, to learn and tackle many aspects of Turkish cuisine, from baklava to Simit, karniyarik to Turkish Delight and more. The interview is in Turkish but I thought you may still enjoy viewing, here is the YouTube link for the program (my part starts as of 2.30 minutes onwards). Hope you enjoy it!

Continue Reading

Turkish Coffee,Turk Kahvesi – More Than a Drink

Enjoying a delicious sip of Turkish Coffee at the Archeological Museum, Istanbul

Enjoying a delicious sip of Turkish Coffee at the Archeological Museum, Istanbul

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. 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 by the side complete the Turkish coffee ritual.

Deliciously frothy Turkish Coffee; Turk Kahvesi

Deliciously frothy Turkish Coffee; Turk Kahvesi

Turkish coffee is made from 100 % Arabica beans that have to be toasted to the point and ground to a very fine powder. When properly made, a delicious foam forms at the top, which is essential to any Turkish coffee. My mother loves her daily Turkish coffee but needs to limit with one a day. If she is ordering in a Café, she charmingly asks the waiter for a “guzel kopuklu kahve lutfen” which means  “Turkish coffee with a nice foam at the top please”; that is her treat for the day and she thoroughly enjoys that one cup with a smile on her face.

Turkish coffee ritual; a glass of water and Turkish delights accompanies Turk Kahvesi

Turkish coffee ritual; a glass of water and Turkish delights accompany Turk Kahvesi

Although Turkish coffee was first cultivated at the southern edge of the Arab peninsula, it was via the Ottoman Empire that the fame of coffee spread to Europe. Within just a few years of its introduction to Europe, hundreds of coffee houses sprung up in Istanbul alone, and coffee drinking became such an important part of daily and ceremonial life that the Sultan’s coffee set was carried during royal processions; every wealthy household had a servant whose sole task was to prepare coffee and under the laws the failure of a husband to provide his wife with coffee was grounds for divorce (so they say)!

Reading the Turkish coffee cup; a childhood past time

Reading the Turkish coffee cup; an innocent childhood  fun

When I was a little child, my mother used to make us very milky Turkish coffee – so we could join in the ritual with them :). And just for the fun of it, once in a while we used to turn our coffee cup upside down to its saucer after finishing, in search of our fortune. My mother would always see the happiest things inside the cup; if there is “a bird” in the cup, that is good news, if there are “narrow lines”, there is a travel on the horizon; if there are “horses” in the cup, that is good fortune. Nothing ever bad appeared in our cups and we loved listening to mum and this innocent fun with giggles.

When we stopped for a break while visiting Ephesus last April, I reminisced this childhood memory and I ordered my Turkish coffee. After drinking, I turned my coffee cup upside down to its saucer, eager to see what waits for me. And to my surprise, I did spot a horse in the cup (can you see it?), with a smile on my face. I am now looking forward to this fortune!:)

Though not the traditional way, a little hot milk may also be added to Turkish coffee in some parts of Turkey; like Turkey’s For Life experienced in Van; you may enjoy this version if you like it less strong. Please also check out A Seasonal Cook in Turkey for delicious Turkish coffee experiences in Istanbul.

A very aromatic Menengic Coffee

A very aromatic Menengic Coffee

How about Menengic Coffee? This aromatic Southern Turkish Specialty features Menengic, known commonly as terebinth and turpentine tree, is a species of Pistacia, and wildly grown in Southern Turkey, part of the national flora. Cooked with milk, you can certainly get the wonderful pistachio taste, a unique experience.

How to Make Turkish Coffee

Here is how to make proper Turkish coffee; I hope you can get to try this special drink sometime, if not already;  Turkish coffee really is more than a drink for us.

Cezve; long handled pot is an essential equipment to make Turkish coffee.

Cezve; long handled pot is an essential equipment to make Turkish coffee.

To make Turkish coffee, you need the right equipment: a special long handled pot called “cezve” and small coffee cups called “fincan”. The size of the pot is significant. It must hold almost double the amount of the water used to have adequate “room” on the top for the foam to rise.

Turkish coffee set; all ingredients that you need!

Turkish coffee set; all ingredients that you need!

There are different sizes of “cezve”, the long handled pot, depending on the number of persons for whom you wish to make Turkish coffee. A well-made coffee must have froth on the top and you cannot have a good result if you prepare the coffee for 2 persons on a pot for 4.

Stir in s heaped teaspoon of Turkish coffee to the pot.

Stir in a heaped teaspoon of Turkish coffee to the pot.

Into your “cezve”, put one coffee cup of water for each person, 1 heaped teaspoon of coffee and 1 rounded teaspoon or less of sugar. Traditionally, the amount of sugar should be known beforehand, i.e. “az sekerli” (with little sugar), “orta sekerli” (medium), or “sekersiz” (with no sugar). Skip the sugar if preferred. Stir well, put over very low heat and bring slowly to boil.

As the froth forms on top, remove and divide the froth into the cups.

As the froth forms on top, remove and divide the froth into the cups.

As it gently start to boil, the froth forms on top and rise. Just before it overflows, remove and divide the froth into the cups. Then bring to boil again and divide the rest out to the cups. Your Turkish coffee is ready.

Deliciously frothy Turkish Coffee; Turk Kahvesi, afiyet olsun!

Deliciously frothy Turkish Coffee; Turk Kahvesi, afiyet olsun!

Turkish Delight, lokum traditionally accompanies the Turkish coffee and it is a perfect fit. You can also make your own Turkish Delight if you like, here is my Turkish Delight recipe.

Afiyet Olsun; I hope you enjoy your Turkish coffee,

Ozlem

 

Continue Reading