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Gluten-free recipes

Yoghurt with Dried Apricots, Walnuts, Pomegranates Seeds and Honey & More Ideas for a Delicious Brunch – Turkish Style

Yoghurt with dried apricots, walnuts, pomegranate seeds and blueberries; healthy, delicious, refreshing start for your day. 

Dried apricots, figs, prunes and raisins; not only very nutritious but also very delicious.

I wanted to share a delicious, healthy and refreshing breakfast that we like to do in my family; yoghurt with dried apricots, walnuts, pomegranate seeds and berries, drizzled with honey. This delicious treat is also suitable for gluten-free diet.

Back home in Istanbul, my parents still start a day with a few walnuts and dried fruit like apricots and prunes. Walnuts are power food; they are so rich in antioxidants that a small amount is more than enough. Just a handful of walnuts per day will help reduce the chances of heart disease, and other cardiovascular-related issues. Some of the best apricots are produced in Malatya, Turkey and the excess produce is being dried to be enjoyed all year around. Dried apricots and prunes are excellent sources of several important nutrients, including fiber, potassium and antioxidant carotenoids. Dried apricots and walnuts also pair very well, try the caramelized apricots stuffed with walnuts as a dessert; a delicious and nutritious treat. 

I have been eating this delicious yoghurt with dried and fresh fruits as a breakfast a lot recently; very refreshing and make you feel good. Yoghurt, another nutritious food that boosts your immune system, features a lot in Turkish cuisine. We use yoghurt in mezzes and appetizers, in soups, in marinating meat and many more.

I love the marriage of creamy yoghurt with the crunchy walnuts and juicy & zesty apricots, berries and pomegranates seeds. It is very easy to make and hopefully it will jump start your day!

This yoghurt with dried fruit, berries and walnuts is also suitable for gluten-free diet.

Serves 2

225 gr/8 oz/1 cup plain natural yoghurt

45 – 60 ml/ 3 – 4 tbsp walnuts, chopped

30 ml/ 2 tbsp dried apricots, chopped

30 ml/ 2 tbsp blueberries (or a berry of your choice)

30 ml / 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds

15-30ml/ 1-2 tbsp natural honey

Place the yoghurt in a bowl and simply stir in the walnuts, dried apricot, berries and pomegranate seeds, give a gentle mix. Drizzle the honey over and sprinkle extra few pomegranate seeds or berries if you like.

Afiyet Olsun!

 

Plain yoghurt, cheese, olives, oats and grains are also a part of Turkish breakfast.

We Turks love a good brunch especially at the weekends and to welcome the New Year; here are some of my favorite Turkish brunch treats, if you would like to indulge later in the day:

Sliced tomatoes and cucumbers. eggs with Turkish dried beef sausage, sucuk, variety of cheese, sesame seeded bread rings, simit, honey with Turkish thivk cream, kaymak – a heavenly brunch to welcome the new year!

Eggs with Turkish dried beef sausages – Sucuklu Yumurta-

Sucuklu yumurta - Turkish dried beef sausages with egg; so irresistable.

This is for me the center piece of the Turkish breakfasts/brunches. The spicy Turkish sausage, sucuk, goes so well with the runny egg. This with a crusty bread and a glass of cay – Turkish tea – by the side, would be my ultimate brunch 🙂

Scrambled eggs with tomatoes, peppers, spring (green) onions and feta cheese – Menemen

Scrambled eggs with tomatoes, peppers, onion and feta cheese, a delicious vegetarian breakfast.

 If you rather like a vegetarian option for your eggs; this scrambled eggs with tomatoes, peppers, onions and feta cheese would just fit the bill; delicious, juicy and healthy.

 Fillo pastry rolls, stuffed with mashed potato, cheese and parsley – Patatesli, Peynirli Borek

Fillo pastry rolls with cheese, parsley and mashed potato; a winner with children, as well as adults!

Fillo pastry rolls with cheese, parsley and mashed potato; a winner with children, as well as adults!

No Turkish brunch is complete without boreks – paper thin pastry, yufka, stuffed with cheese and vegetables. If you can’t find yufka, fillo sheets work well. This recipe also makes use of any left over vegetable like potatoes, delicious.

Olive salad with onions, tomatoes and pomegranate molasses – Zeytin Ufeleme

Olives with tomatoes, onion, parsely flavoured with olive oil and pomegranate molasses, a delicious treat from Antakya, Antioch.

This delicious olive salad hails from Antakya, Southern part of Turkey, where my roots are from. Olives are deliciously flavoured with onions, tomatoes, olive oil and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses. Wonderful for brunch, as well as an appetizer.

Sesame encrusted bread rings – Simit

Simit, sesame encrusted bread rings must be the most popular street food in Turkey.

Simit is indeed the quintessential Turkish food; these sesame-encrusted bread rings must be the most popular snack and street food at home. Most folks in Turkey have simit for breakfast with a cup of cay (tea), sliced cucumber, tomatoes and feta cheese. Simit has a wonderful crust and softer inside, and easy to make at home.

 Cay – Turkish tea

A glass of cay, Turkish tea by the Bosphorus is the ultimate treat for me ; )

Well, Turkish tea, cay, goes down very well to accompany all above! Especially if you are by the Bosphorus, Istanbul, you may loose track of  how many glasses of cay you consumed : )

 

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Turkish Yoghurt Soup with rice, mint and red pepper flakes; Yayla Corbasi

Delicious, ready to eat soups, casseroles, rice and meat courses at the Fehmi Esnaf Lokantasi, Kadikoy- Istanbul – “slowly cooked fast food”, that we Turks love to indulge.

Soups, -“Corba” in Turkish-, form a very important part of Turkish diet; almost every dinner, especially in cooler months, start with soup in Turkish households. In rural Anatolia, it is very common for this yoghurt soup or the hearty red lentil soup to be eaten as breakfast, for a substantial meal, throughout the year. You see soup stalls in every town, village and city in Turkey.

Yayla corbasi; yoghurt with rice soup, flavoured with dried mint and red pepper flakes

This simple but delicious yoghurt based soup, Yayla Corbasi, originates back to Anatolia’s earliest settlers and nomadic herdsman, and it is one of the most popular soups in Turkey, flavored with dried mint and paprika flakes. Traditionally long grain white rice and butter is used in the recipe, here in this version, I used whole grain basmati rice and used olive oil and butter half and half during our class recently. For gluten-free version, please use gluten and wheat free plain white flour blend.

Yayla Corbasi, ready to eat!

Yayla Corbasi is another good example of how you can add flavor through spices. The mild, plain taste of yoghurt is magically transformed with the red pepper flakes and dried mint infused butter/olive oil, to a different, delicious and refreshing level. I hope you can give it a go sometime.

Fancy more soup? How about Ezo Gelin Corbasi – Daughter-in-law’s spicy lentils and bulgur soup with quinoa or this Tomato and vegetables soup with orzo – Sebzeli seriye corbasi ? They are ready in a short time and can certainly warm you up.

Serves 4-6

Preparation time: 10 minutes               Cooking time: 40 minutes

1.2 litres/2pints/5 cups water (you can also use vegetable stock or for non-vegetarian version, meat/chicken stock if you’d like)

150gr/6oz/1 cup whole grain basmati rice, rinsed

30ml/2 tbsp. olive oil

500gr/1 ¼ lb./2 ¼  cups plain, thick and creamy yoghurt (brand Fage works well)

15ml/1 tbsp. plain flour (for gluten-free version, please use gluten and wheat free plain white flour blend)

2 egg yolk

15 ml/1 tbsp. dried mint

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

For the dried mint & paprika flakes sauce:

30ml/2 tbsp unsalted butter (you can use olive oil instead of butter, if you prefer)

½ tbsp paprika flakes – you can use more for a spicier flavor!-

½ tbsp dried mint

Whole grain basmati rice worked well in the yoghurt soup. Gluten and wheat free plain white flour blend replaced the plain flour really well too.

Bring the water to the boil in a heavy saucepan and add the rice. Stir well and simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the rice is tender and has released its starch to thicken the soup. Remove from the heat.

The flour and egg yolks stabilize the yoghurt and keep it from curdling.

Meanwhile in a bowl, combine the yoghurt, flour, egg yolk and beat until smooth (the flour and egg yolks stabilize the yoghurt and keep it from curdling). From the pan, take a cupful of hot stock and whisk it into the mixture. Return the thickened egg mixture to the soup pan, stir in the dried mint and season with salt and ground black pepper. Stir well and simmer gently for another 10 minutes, or until the soup has a creamy consistency.

Dried mint adds a wonderful, refreshing flavor to this yoghurt based soup, Yayla Corbasi.

To make the dried mint and paprika flakes sauce, melt the butter gently in a separate pan on a low heat. Stir in the dried mint and paprika flakes, stir and cook on a very low heat (so that the spices don’t burn) for about 30 seconds, until the spices start to sizzle. Whisk this sauce into the soup.

This dried mint and red pepper flakes infused sauce will transform the taste of our yoghurt based sauce; you can use olive oil instead of butter, if you like.

Serve hot with a sprinkle of extra paprika flakes for a spicier flavor, if you like.

Yayla Corbasi; yoghurt soup with whole grain rice, dried mint and red pepper flakes, ready!

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Note: If you can’t get strained yoghurt, you can make it yourself. Here is Ghillie Basan’s tip for making strained yoghurt: Line a sieve (strainer) with a piece of muslin and spoon creamy, natural yoghurt into it. Allow the excess liquid to drip through the muslin, then transfer the yoghurt from the sieve to a bowl.

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Gluten-free and Delicious; Pasta with anchovies, garlic, capers and parsley, in tomato sauce

A typical Pazar -Market - in Istanbul; healthy and delicious foods like beans seeds and nuts in their natural, unprocessed form have a big part in Turkish cuisine.

My good friend Gillian needed to switch to a gluten-free diet recently and thanks to her, I have been learning a lot more about gluten-free products and how they can help with those suffering from coeliac disease (or celiac disease as known in North America) and auto-immune conditions. Good news is that she is feeling much better and moreover, finding exciting ways to incorporate gluten-free ingredients to her diet. BBC Food has some wonderful information challenges on gluten-free diet, gluten-free ingredients and substitutions as well as wonderful recipes to spice up gluten-free ingredients, if you would like to check out.

Gluten-free pasta; a blend of corn flour and rice flour

A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). Though it is nice to know that many healthy and delicious foods like beans, seeds, nuts in their natural, unprocessed form, fresh eggs, fresh meats, fish and poultry (not breaded, batter-coated or marinated), fruits and vegetables and most dairy products are naturally gluten-free.

Having coastline to the Aegean, Mediterranean and Black Sea, Turkey has wonderful variety of fish

Turkish cuisine is based on using fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables, plenty of fish, nuts and legumes. I am delighted to see that most ingredients we use in Turkish cuisine are gluten-free and suitable for those in need of delicious gluten-free recipes. Try our wonderful Appetizers and Mezzes, like this wonderful warm hummus with red pepper paste infused olive oil, or vegetables cooked in olive oil like this Artichokes cooked in olive oil with peas,carrots and almonds, for exciting ways to enjoy gluten- free diet.

Mercimekli Mualla - Lentils, aubergine, onion, garlic and peppers cooked in olive oil; a delicious gluten-free dish

Mercimekli Mualla - Lentils, aubergine, onion, garlic and peppers cooked in olive oil; a delicious gluten-free dish

How about lentils? They are an integral part of Turkish cuisine and their protein packed nutrition add to a healthful diet. For a delicious, gluten-free treat, try this Mercimekli Mualla, eggplant, tomato & green lentils cooked in olive oil. This tasty, versatile dish can be a wonderful side to grilled meat and fish or a meal on its own.

As for the grains; couscous, bulgur wheat and semolina are not gluten-free, and we use especially bulgur quiet a lot in Turkish cuisine. However, you can use quinoa, in the place of couscous or bulgur wheat for salads and side dishes. Try making my spicy bulgur wheat salad with vegetables,kisir, with quinoa, for a delicious, gluten-free alternative.

Delicious Coconut-flavored Tilapia Fish and Potatoes Curry by Peri's Spice Ladle

Indian cuisine is also a great source for delicious and easy gluten-free recipes. Please also check out the wonderful blog Peri’s Spice Ladle; Peri has a delicious Coconut flavored tilapia fish and potato curry this week, so worth trying.

Here is a delicious and easy gluten-free pasta recipe, inspired by my friend Gillian’s wonderful sauce to go with it. It was my first time trying gluten-free pasta (a blend of corn flour and rice flour); we were impressed by it and the sauce of anchovies, capers, garlic and tomato gave it a really nice punchy flavor. I like to add a tablespoon of capers for extra zing, if you like the flavor too. My husband didn’t realize it was gluten-free pasta until I mentioned at the end! 🙂

Hope this recipe and other Turkish recipes here in this blog may help you to enjoy a gluten-free diet.

Gluten-free and Delicious; Pasta with anchovies, garlic, capers and parsley, in tomato sauce

Gluten-free pasta with anchovies, capers, tomatoes and garlic in tomato sauce

Serves 2

Preparation time: 10 minutes                           Cooking time: 15 minutes

250gr gluten-free pasta (or enough for 2 people)

30gr/ 1 canned anchovy fillets in olive oil – coarsely chopped

1tbsp capers, rinsed

3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped

14oz/1 can of Italian whole or cherry tomatoes, crushed in your hand (this works really well in the sauce, but if you rather prefer to use chopped tomatoes, that works too)

15ml/1tbsp olive oil

Handful of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and sauté the garlic for a minute or two. Add the crushed tomatoes in can (along with about 2 tbsp of water to get all the juices in the can) to the pan; give them a good mix and cook for a further two minutes. Stir in the capers and anchovies, combine well. Season with salt (if needed; as anchovies and capers are already quite salty) and black pepper and simmer on low heat for about 5-8 minutes.

Anchovies and capers go well with garlic and tomatoes in the sauce

While the sauce is simmering, place the gluten-free pasta in a saucepan of boiling water, add a little salt and a dash of olive oil. Stir occasionally and boil for about 10 minutes, until “al dente”. Towards the end of the cooking, take 2 tablespoons of the pasta’s cooking liquid and add to the pasta sauce, along with the parsley, mix well. Once pasta is cooked, drain the water and mix the pasta with the sauce.

Afiyet Olsun (means in Turkish; “may you be happy and healthy with the food you eat”),

Ozlem

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