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Pasta – Makarna

Delicious Pasta with Caramelized Onions, Bell Peppers and Chilli Flakes

Some days are simple pasta days in our house. It is ready in no time, and you can still pack in a lot of flavor using only a few fresh ingredients. I have been recently making this pasta dish a lot; it is delicious, ready in less than 30 minutes and you feel good about eating and serving fresh, healthy food. (For instance, there are so many health benefits of onions, from helping to prevent common cold to heart disease.)  The sweetness of the onions and the bell pepper balance the tangy lemon juice and the little heat from the chilli flakes so well. This dish certainly saves the weekday supper for us; I hope you enjoy it too.

Serves 2-3

Preparation time: 15 minutes               Cooking time: 20 minutes

350gr/12oz penne pasta

I medium onion, cut in half and thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, deseeded, quartered and thinly sliced

Juice of 1 lemon

30ml/2 tablespoons olive oil

5-10ml/1-2tsp red pepper flakes/chilli flakes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Handful of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Grated parmesan or pecorino romano to serve

Sauteed onions and bell peppers work so well together

 Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and sauté the onions for about 5 minutes, until they soften. Add the bell peppers; give them a good mix and sauté for a further 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and the red pepper flakes/chilli flakes. Season with salt and black pepper, mix well. At that point, lower the heat and let the mixture gently keep on cooking for another 8 minutes; the bell peppers will soften and the onions will lightly caramelize eventually.

In the meantime,place the pasta in a saucepan of boiling water; add a little salt and a dash of olive oil. Stir occasionally and boil for just about 9 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, mix well. Once pasta is cooked, drain the water and mix the pasta with the sauce.

Celeriac with walnuts, nar, bell pepper pasta 018

Serve hot immediately,with chopped parsley and some grated pecorino or parmesan over the pasta, if you like.

Afiyet Olsun!

 

Wisley in Full Bloom

After a period of (much needed) rain, we welcomed the sunshine this weekend inEngland. And what a welcome; spring is in full bloom! Here are a couple of shots to share from the RHS Wisley Gardens in England.

 

I have been seeing this very beautiful blue flowered tree in front of our home, and now I know its name; Hippocrepis Emerus – very pretty.

I am reserving my spot on that bench, surrounded by beautiful flowers, what a way to chill out

It is the season for the Rhododendrons, they have been in full bloom and the colors are mesmerizing. This red one is Rhododendron “Markeeta’s Prize”

With these flowers, a happy belated Mother’s Day to all who celebrated yesterday.

Best wishes for a good week to you all,

Ozlem

 

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Pasta with eggplant (aubergine), garlic and tomato sauce – Patlicanli Makarna


Our family, especially the children love pasta and I like to try different sauces to make it exciting, delicious and that I can prepare ahead of time. Patlican (eggplant or aubergine) is an ingredient we use a lot in Turkish cooking, and its meaty, sweet flesh adds a wonderful flavor to the pasta. Eggplant has a lot of water content and the trick is to get all that moisture out before cooking, as shown in the recipe, so that they won’t go soggy.

You can prepare this sauce ahead of time and freeze any leftover sauce. It is a wonderful, comforting dish that may save that weekday supper!

Serves 2-3
Preparation time: 25 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes

350gr/12oz penne pasta (about 100gr per person is suggested)
1 medium eggplant (aubergine), diced into small chunks
4 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
400gr/14oz can of chopped tomatoes
30ml/2 tablespoons olive oil
10ml/2teaspoons dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Grated parmesan or pecorino romano to serve

Cut the eggplant in half lengthways and then dice each eggplant into bite size chunks. Spread them on a wide tray, sprinkle salt over and leave aside for 15 minutes. With using paper towel, squeeze excess water out of eggplants.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and lightly sauté the eggplant for 3-4 minutes. This will help eggplants to soften up and start bringing out their lovely sweet flesh. Stir in the garlic and sauté for another minute or two. Add the chopped tomatoes, give them a good mix and cook for a further two minutes. Season with salt and black pepper, add the oregano and mix well. Simmer for a few more minutes.

In the meantime, place the 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 (for penne), until “al dente”. Towards the end of the cooking, take 2 tablespoons of the pasta’s cooking liquid and add to the pasta sauce, mix well. Once pasta is cooked, drain the water and mix in the eggplant & tomato sauce.

Serve hot immediately, with some grated pecorino or parmesan over the pasta, if you like. Plain green salad with lemon and olive oil dressing goes well with the pasta.

Afiyet Olsun!

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Penne with Olives, Garlic, Tomatoes and Dill – Domatesli, Zeytinli Penne Makarna

As much as we love cooking, there is a challenge for all of us to produce healthy, delicious, and easy to prepare supper at the end of the day. This is even more challenging at weekdays, as we juggle the school run, work, daily chores. At times like these, I try to make the most of what I have in my fridge and kitchen and come out with something, hopefully a delicious bite to eat. At one of days like this, I opened my fridge and found some good olives (and we do eat a lot of olives), cherry tomatoes on the vine, garlic and dill. My family loves pasta and the combination of these made a wonderful, delicious pasta sauce, that you can prepare in no time (and even ahead of time), mediterranean way.

The ingredients might change depending on what I have at the moment – courgettes (zucchini), mushrooms, onions, some good pecorino cheese .. all would make a wonderful sauce and can save that weekday supper.

Serves 2-3
Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes

350gr/12oz penne pasta
4 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
10-12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
3oml/2tablespoons of fresh dill, coarsely chopped
90gr/3oz Turkish or Kalamata black and green olives, pitted and halved
30ml/2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Sprigs of fresh dill to serve
Grated parmesan or pecorino romano to serve

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and sauté the garlic for a minute or two. Add the cherry tomatoes and olives, give them a good mix and cook for a further two minutes. Check the seasoning (olives can be quite salty) and season with salt, if needed, and black pepper

In the meantime, place the 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 dill. Mix well. Once pasta is cooked, drain the water and mix the pasta with the sauce.

Serve hot immediately, with sprigs of dill over the pasta and some grated pecorino or parmesan over the pasta, if you like.

Afiyet Olsun!

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