Recipes    

Turkish cuisine provides healthy, hearty, delicious food for family and friends.
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Cookery Classes

I teach Turkish cooking classes in England,Turkey & USA, hope you can join us!,
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Turkish Cooking Classes

Fresh, Delicious and Fun Cooking; Turkish Food Made Easy

I guess the teaching bug instilled in me, while watching my mum teaching and then while I was doing my degree on English Language and Literature at the University of Marmara, Istanbul (anyone from Marmara University? 🙂 I used to teach English language privately to secondary school pupils. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to make a little difference to their learning and infuse love of languages to the children.

Turkish cooking classes are a wonderful opportunity to learn about Turkish cuisine, culture and delicious recipes

I have been living abroad now almost 10 years (gosh, that is a revelation, haven’t realized that up to this very moment!!). For the last 6 years or so, I have been doing another, a very delicious kind of teaching, Turkish cooking. One of the best parts of living abroad for me has been realization and appreciation of the richness of my homeland, and a desperate need to share all wonderful things Turkey offers. (A very special thanks here to the Central Market Cooking School in Austin,Texas, for believing in me and giving me the chance to teach Turkish cooking, a real turning point).
Tahta Saray Ocakbasi Kebab House in Istanbul; it is a joy to indulge in those amazing kebabs, though we love our vegetables and salads too

Now living in England, it is a joy to carry on the classes. Many folks still think Turkish cuisine is based on mostly kebabs, and they are pleasantly surprised to see the many wonderful vegetable courses, like vegetables cooked in olive oil, refreshing salads and mezes we have too.

A vibrant fruit stall at the Sali Pazari (Tuesday Market), in Levent, Istanbul

A special aspect of the cooking classes is a chance to talk about the freshness of ingredients and importance of seasonality in Turkish cuisine. In Turkey food is bought fresh daily, and each meal of the day would be taken into account, with as much attention paid to breakfast, lunch and dinner. As well as having a balance of nutrients, the food should also be appealing to the eye, and of course tasty. Turkish cuisine is healthy and nutritious and the Turks are purist in their culinary taste; their dishes bring out the flavor of the main ingredient rather than hiding it behind sauces.

Another aspect of the class worth noting is a chance for the folks to “taste” Turkish hospitality and culture. Today in Turkey food and mealtimes is still the hub of everyday life. Always time is taken to share meals with family members or friends, to relax and enjoy conversation. Everyone wishes each other “afiyet olsun”, literally meaning “may you be healthy.” This is followed by a tribute to the creator of the meal, “elinize saglik”, meaning “health to your hands”. Guests are always received with the highest cordial hospitality and it is believed that no one should ever leave a Turkish table without feeling satisfied and happy! And I must say, the classes are such a special time for me to connect with home, and I am grateful for these  moments, I so look forward to them!:)

A genuine Turkish hospitality by Sultan Sofrasi, Antakya; they showered us with wonderful regional delicacies

Well, my next Turkish cooking class on Saturday, June 16th is almost sold out -many thanks to all the folks signed up!- There are only few spots left; if you are in the area and would like to join in, do please let me know. You will be showered with Turkish hospitality, delicious food blended with history and stories from my homeland.

If you can’t, here are some of the courses and recipe links from the class menu, for you to have a go at home. They are so easy to make, healthy, delicious and fun to share:

Spinach and Cheese fillo pastry – Ispanakli, peynirli borek (a wonderful appetizer, great for healthy lunches too; freezes very well)

Spinach and cheese fillo pastry; so easy to make and very delicious

Baked Turkish meatballs with summer vegetables (a real crowd pleaser one pot dish, freezes well too) – Firinda Sebzeli Izmir Kofte

Baked Turkish meatballs with peppers, tomatoes and potatoes

Yoghurt and cucumber dip with dried mint A wonderful accompaniment to any grilled meat, roasted vegetables and casseroles. It is also a great party food, for dipping veg like carrots.

Turkish Coffee – Our ultimate, fragrant coffee, a great experience. A little sip of Turkish coffee is enough to transport you to that quaint café in Turkey!

The wonderful Turkish Coffee

I do hope you enjoy the recipes and have a chance to go at them sometime. I would love to hear your experience with Turkish food (or your travels inTurkey), so please drop a line if you can.

Afiyet Olsun!

And Here Comes the Awards; One Lovely Blog and Versatile Blogger

Peri’s Spice Ladle has again been very kind to nominate Ozlem’s Turkish Table with Versatile Blogger and One Lovely Blog Awards. Thank you very much Peri! Peri’s Spice Ladle is a wonderful gateway to the fascinating India and Indian cuisine, I look forward to her posts every week. Please check out this great blog.

 

The Rules of Acceptance:

  • Thank the person who gave you this award
  • Include a link to their blog
  • Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
  • Nominate those bloggers for the Awards
  • Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.
  • In the same post, include this set of rules.
  • Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs.

I’d like to nominate the following blogs (some of which I am delighted to discover recently) for the Versatile Blogger Award and One Lovely Blog Award, I very much enjoy reading their posts, travels, recipes, photos…Please check them out :

Turkish Travel Blog

 As Strong As Soup

Nadia Swindell Photography

 Back to Bodrum

A Seasonal Cook in Turkey

Create Amazing Meals

Cuisine de Provence

Inside A British Mum’s Kitchen

Anissas

Istanbul Eats

My Italian Kitchen

My Turkish Joys

Turkey’s For Life

Turquoise Diaries

 Adventures in Ankara

Tuesday Recipe

I wouldn’t like to bore you about 7 interesting things about me again, though here is the link if you’d like to refresh your memory 🙂 One more thing I forgot to add on about myself in that list is that, my love for music. I was a (proud!) radio DJ in the late 1990s in Istanbul (can you believe??) The private radio stations just started by then, and I was thrilled to have a chance to host two radio programs for Kent FM with my dear friend, uber music guru Eralp (great memories, Eralp!!:) We did Friday Night Fever Show on Friday nights and Golden Oldies on Sunday morning, happy days!!

 

 

 

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Spice Up Your Dinners – Easy, Delicious, Healthy Dishes for Entertaining

Our Turkish cooking class; learning about the red pepper paste and spices

What makes the food we eat memorable? Sure, there is the taste element, smell, presentation of the food; they all contribute greatly for making the food special. In Turkish culture, there is also the so important “sharing” element; we think even simple food tastes better when shared with family and friends. My grandmother used to put extra two plates at our dinner table, as someone would always just turn up and join our dinner table, happy days. Hospitality, generosity is a big part of Turkish culture.

Dried aubergines (eggplants); they are wonderful when stuffed with aromatic rice filling

It was a great pleasure to share Turkish food and culture yesterday, at my Turkish cooking class, with wonderful, enthusiastic foodies. We cooked and enjoyed some easy, delicious Turkish food together, and here I wanted share a few good ideas with you to recreate these delicious, easy dinners at home.

Sizzling chicken kebabs and roasted vegetables, with lambs lettuce & yoghurt salad by the side

For example, take this Sizzling chicken kebabs over pitta bread with roasted vegetables. You can prepare many stages of this dish like marinating the chicken and preparing the tomato based sauce ahead of time, which makes the dish a great choice for entertaining. The kebab looks impressive, tastes wonderful and you can ensemble the final dish at the day of your party – so the host gets to enjoy the company too! You can replace the chicken with any other meat of your choice, or for a vegetarian option, mushrooms, eggplants, courgettes all work very well.

How about serving this refreshing lambs lettuce, yoghurt and dried mint salad by the side of the kebabs? That’s what we did at the class, and this yoghurt based salad complemented the spicy kebabs really well. The salad is so easy to make, and also makes a wonderful and healthy lunch alternative too.

Baked dried apricots with walnuts stuffing; delicious with a dollop of vanilla ice cream by the side.

Last but not least, we finished the class with this delicious baked dried apricots dessert with nuts, served with vanilla ice cream, you can view the recipe below.

I hope all these dishes could inspire you to create something delicious to share. To view more photos from the cooking class (many thanks to dear Tina for the wonderful photos!) and check out my next Turkish cooking class on Saturday, June 16th please visit this cooking class page.

Dried Apricots stuffed with walnuts –Cevizli Kayisi Tatlisi

One of Turkey’s most prolific fruits is the apricot. Because of their abundance, some of the yearly harvest is allowed to dry in the hot summer sun in order to be enjoyed all year round. Malatya, a city in southeast Turkey, is particularly famous for excellent dried apricots which are exported throughout the world. Apricots are great snacks; they are packed with fiber, antioxidants as well as their naturally rich flavor. This easy dessert is great for parties, sharing with friends or family or just indulging yourself.

Dried apricots are packed with flavour; a very healthy snack alternative

Serves 4-6

Preparation time – 10 minutes                       Cooking time – 25 minutes

225 gr / 8 oz dried Turkish apricots

3 fl oz / 1/3 cup water

30ml/2 tablespoons butter

30ml/2 tablespoons sugar

For the filling:

75 gr /1/2 cup crushed walnuts

50 gr / 1/4 cup sugar

Crushed pistachio nuts for garnish

Vanilla ice cream to serve

Preheat oven to 180 C/ 350 F

Soak the dried apricots in warm water for 10-15 minutes (Prepacked dried apricots tend to be softer, if that’s the case, please skip this stage). Then drain the water.

Crushed walnuts and sugar

Split open the apricots and stuff each apricot with a spoonful of crushed walnut and sugar mixture and close it up. Slightly grease a baking tray with oil and place the apricots on it. Pour the water over the tray. Place a little butter on the top of each stuffed apricot. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over the apricots and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

Split open the dried apricots and stuff with walnuts & sugar mixture

Arrange them in a serving dish and sprinkle over some crushed pistachio nuts. This light dessert goes well with some vanilla ice cream or clotted cream.

Afiyet Olsun!

 

And here comes the Awards

Ozlem’s Turkish Table received the Sunshine award; many thanks for this lovely, uplifting award Peri’s Spice Ladle; I very much enjoy your delicious and educational posts on Indian cuisine.

The rules of the award:

• Place award picture, link to and thank the person who nominated you.
• Answer the ten questions posed to you.
• Pass on the award to 10 or more bloggers.

The 10 questions and their answers:

Favorite color: Pastel colors, especially green.

            Favorite animal: Giraffes; absolutely adore them; hope to see them up close!

           Favorite number: 5

          Favorite non-alcoholic drink:Turkish coffee, especially enjoyed with friends and family.

          Facebook or Twitter: Enjoy them both, perhaps slightly more to Facebook

         My passion: Food and travel; shared with family and friends.

         Getting or giving presents:  Love giving; (and look forward to receiving, when I can! :

         Favorite pattern: Turkish tiles; they tell stories of thousands of years

         Favorite day of the week: Saturday – the weekend!

        Favorite flower: Alliums, I absolutely love them.

Here is the chance to acknowledge some of my favorite blogs. I would like to nominate the below bloggers to the Sunshine Award; they bring sunshine and smile on my face with their wonderful posts, articles and photos. I’d appreciate if you can take a moment to visit them:

Turkey’s For Life

My Turkish Joys

My Italian Kitchen

Foods of  Turkey

Back to Bodrum

October Farm

Nadia Swindell Photography -non-food blog, check out Nadia’s wonderful photography

Kalofagas – Wonderful Greek food & Beyond

And before I sign off; many thanks to Cuisine de Provence  for the lovely Liebster Blog Award.

I am delighted to pass this award to Peri’s Spice Ladle; your recipes inspire and posts teach me so much about Indian cuisine, thank you!

 

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Flavoring with Spices & Inspirations from my Turkish Cooking Class (Stuffed Eggplants, Baklava and more!)


We had a delightful day of cooking and sharing Turkish food last Saturday. Wonderful, enthusiastic participants joined my Turkish cooking class in Surrey (for the folks in Texas; I so look forward to coming back to teach at Central Market Cooking School, hope soon!), and we had a day of Turkish feast 🙂 It was so wonderful to share Turkish cuisine, traditions, history, and I was humbled, delighted to get such positive feedback.

Here we are, dear friend Sadaf and I, dressed with dried eggplants and peppers (we dry them at home, to use when they are not in season. They are wonderful when stuffed and baked), just before the class 🙂

I have been getting a lot of questions on spices; their usage and where to get them. It is wonderful to see folks interested in spices and wanting to learn more. Spices are very important in Turkish cuisine, as we add wonderful flavors to the dishes through the artful use of spices, and very healthy too.

During the cooking class, we used cumin, red pepper flakes and mint; three spices that we use at Turkish cooking often.  Take cumin; its pungent aroma lingers  and it is warm and slightly sweet. Combined with chickpeas and tahini, cumin is the spice that makes hummus taste like hummus. Urfa or Aleppo chillies are dark red or purple-black and come from southeastern Turkey, where my roots are from. They are very exciting to work with and my favorite chili pepper. They are simultaneously bitter like coffee or chocolate and sweet like molasses, and they lend a wonderful, deep, smoky aroma to sauces. Its heat is moderate but meaningful. I use Urfa chilies in tomato based sauces, on grilled vegetables and marinated meats. Mint is a very common herb used in Turkish cooking. We like to mix it with cubed cucumbers, yoghurt and water for a refreshing accompaniment, “Cacik”, served with meat courses. It is also commonly used in salads, lemonades and stuffed grapevine leaves. Mint pairs very well with lamb too.

Malatya Pazari, my favorite spice shop in Spice Market, Istanbul

Middle eastern or specialty food stores should carry these spices, also Central Market and Whole Foods Market as well as Waitrose and Sainsbury’s in England carry a good selection. You can also get good quality spices on line through Kalustyans and Tulumba

During the class we had a go with the sweet Turkish treat, baklava. It is very easy to make with fillo pastry sheets and you can adjust how much butter and syrup you put on. My version is less sweet and more fragrant with the addition of lemon juice, it is a lovely treat, if you’d like to have a go.

Buttered layers of fillo sheets with walnuts, ready to go to the oven

Karniyarik; Stuffed eggplants with ground meat and vegetables

And here is karniyarik; stuffed eggplant with ground meat and vegetables we prepared; eggplant is our national vegetable (actually fruit, as it has seeds in it) and the flesh become wonderfully meaty and sweet once cooked. There are a few tricks to it; you need to salt the eggplant halves (salt will help the moisture come out of the eggplant) and drain all the bitter juices. Served with plain rice and yoghurt by the side, Karniyarik, stuffed eggplants is a wonderful treat.

Wonderful, enthusiastic participants of the Turkish Cooking Class

Sadaf and Nadia, who were in the class said they already made the hummus, got the red pepper paste and bulgur for the bulgur wheat salad and Nadia already made the baklava using the fillo pastry sheets. So wonderful to see the recipes come alive and enjoyed, no better compliment; many thank yous, ladies!:)

I hope the photos and recipes inspire you to have a go too; please let me know if you have any questions, I would be very happy to help.

Afiyet Olsun!

 

 

 

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