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Tag Archives | oregano

Delicious, Sun kissed Inspirations from Kalkan; Pasta with peppers, chili, garlic and tomatoes, in olive oil

We have had some wonderful food while in Kalkan at the south coast of Turkey, featuring region’s sun kissed fresh produce; tomatoes have been at their peak, and the peppers tasted out of this world – no need to mention the region’s divine olive oil; I could dip my bread to it all day!

Sun kissed south coast of Turkey is always so inviting

We had this simple yet very delicious pasta at Mahal’s café, and I recreated at home in England; it is packed with goodness and so easy too, ready within 30 minutes. The sweetness of tomatoes and peppers work so well with the chili pepper and tangy lemon juice- a handful of capers also work really well in this sauce.  Even though it wasn’t Kalkan’s lovingly grown tomatoes, still tasted wonderful, with children asking for another serving; sunshine on a plate.

Pasta with peppers, chili, garlic in olive oil, so delicious

Pasta with peppers, chili, garlic, tomatoes in olive oil, so delicious

For the ultimate Turkish experience, you can serve the pasta with Ayran, refreshing Turkish drink with yoghurt or Cacik dip with cucumber and yoghurt by the side. The tangy and hard Turkish kasar cheese goes very well, grated over the pasta; if you can’t get kasar, you can replace it with a tangy cheddar or Pecorino Romano.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 25 minutes                     Cooking time: 15 – 20 minutes

500gr pasta (spaghetti or penne works well) – or enough for 4 –

Red, orange, yellow (or green) pointy or bell peppers, deseeded and finely chopped

1-2 chili peppers, deseeded and finely chopped

4-6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

4 medium ripe tomatoes, finely chopped – please keep all the wonderful juice!-

Juice of ½ lemon

5ml/1 tsp. brown sugar

60ml/3 tbsp. olive oil

10ml/2 tsp. oregano

5ml/1 tsp. red pepper flakes – optional-

Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Grated hard and tangy Turkish kasar  (tangy cheddar) or  Pecorino Romano to serve

Ripe tomatoes, juicy peppers, garlic; fresh ingredients for a healthy, delicious sauce

Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan and stir in the peppers, chili pepper and garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the pan and combine well. Stir in the lemon juice, brown sugar and red pepper flakes, if using. Season with salt and ground black pepper, mix well.  Leave to cook on a moderate heat for about 8 minutes. Once cooked, stir in the oregano to the sauce and check the seasoning.

Tomatoes, peppers, chili and the garlic work so well together

Boil the water for the pasta in a separate heavy pan, while the sauce is cooking. Cook the spaghetti in plenty of lightly salted boiling water until a minute before it is al dente (please refer to the cooking time on the pasta’s packaging). Drain the water and set aside the pasta in the colander.

Stir in the pasta to the pan where the sauce is cooked; make sure to coat all the pasta with the sauce (if you like, you can drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the pasta).

Make sure to stir in the cooked pasta to the pan you cooked the sauce in, to mop up all the juices

Serve hot with grated tangy kasar (cheddar) or  pecorino cheese over the pasta. Steamed vegetables or cacik dip complement the pasta well; ayran drink would be a refreshing accompaniment to the pasta too.

Sunset in Kalkan; mesmerising

Sunset in Kalkan; mesmerising

Afiyet Olsun!

Ozlem

 

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Pastry triangles with leeks, onions & cheese – and more delicious brunch ideas

Fresh and dried fruits are amongst the breakfast spread in Turkey

Life evolves around food in Turkey, and it all starts with breakfast. Our traditional breakfast includes fresh and dried fruit, wonderful olives, feta and cheddar cheese, eggs done in different ways, pastries and many more. We also like to have sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, as well as dried fruits and nuts with yoghurt and honey. In rural parts of Anatolia, this hearty lentil soup may well be the main event for breakfast. Although now, with the modern pace of life we mostly turn to cereal boxes during the weekdays, it is at the weekends that we indulge ourselves to a delicious brunch, Turkish style.

Olives, dried fruit, nuts, grains and honey are also a part of Turkish brunch

My sister and family have been visiting us during the Easter break, and we enjoyed one of these delicious brunch moments. Here is the part of the brunch spread we had and I wanted to share. This delicious pastry with leeks, onions and cheese (you can omit cheese if preferred) is very easy to make and the sweetness of onions and leeks really work well with a touch of heat from the red pepper flakes. I like to add some grated mozzarella cheese to the mixture; for a stronger flavor you may enjoy adding strong cheddar cheese or some grated parmesan. I used ready rolled short crust pastry; you may also use ready puff pastry.

Pastry triangles with leeks, onions and cheese

There are more ideas in this post for a delicious brunch or lunch. They all tempt us at home to gather around the table, slow down and enjoy a delicious bite together – I very much hope you enjoy yours too.

Serves 6 – 8

Preparation time: 20 minutes               Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

1 large or 2 medium leeks, finely sliced

1 medium onion, finely chopped

400gr/14oz short crust pastry *, ready rolled

125gr/4oz grated mozzarella (or a cheese of your choice)

5ml/1tsp red pepper flakes (or more if you like!)

10ml/1tbsp olive oil

1 egg, beaten

10ml/1tbsp nigella seeds

* Thawing the pastry: If the ready pastry is frozen, take it out 2 hours before using to bring it to the room temperature. If the pastry is in the fridge, it needs to stay at the room temperature for 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F

 

Sauted onions and leeks with red pepper flakes

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and sauté leeks and onions for about 8 minutes, until they soften. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle the red pepper flakes. Mix well and set aside to cool.

Once cool, add the grated cheese to the mixture and combine well.

Place a spoonful of the mixture in the middle of the pastry squares

Fold over the pastry to form triangles and press the edges firmly to seal.

Place the triangle pastries in the greased baking tray. Brush the pastries with the egg mixture and sprinkle the nigella seeds over them. Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until they turn golden brown.

Baked leek, cheese and onion pastry triangles

This pastry is delicious as a hot snack and goes down very well with this refreshing crumbled feta cheese with tomatoes, cucumbers and spring onion salad.

Crumbled feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers and spring onion salad with olive oil dressing

No Turkish brunch is complete without eggs, and how would you like yours? Here is the ever popular fried eggs with Turkish spicy sausages, sucuk (made of dried cured beef with garlic, cumin and red pepper flakes).

Ultimate Turkish breakfast; eggs with spicy Turkish sausages, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, sesame coated pastry rings, simit and Turkish tea - cay

If you rather prefer a vegetarian version, here is the Turkish style delicious and healthy eggs with spinach and onion.

I hope all these inspire you to knock up something delicious for brunch next time.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

MarkeTurk; Online Turkish Supermarket

 I have just come across another wonderful source to get Turkish ingredients in the UK. MarkeTurk, the online Turkish Supermarket, is an excellent source to get extensive Turkish ingredients including spices, legumes, red pepper paste, dairy products, pastries, fruit and vegetable and many more.

They offer a quality and reliable service; if you place your order before 4pm you get your shopping delivered to your door step the same day at the time slot you choose.

If ordering from the US, the Turkish online store Tulumba.com offers a great variety of  Turkish ingredients and food items.

 

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Bulgur Wheat Pilaf with Sautéed Mushrooms, Peas and Tomatoes – Mantarli, Bezelyeli Bulgur Pilavi

We consume a good amount of bulgur wheat in Turkish cuisine – in the form of salads, soups and pilaf rice – and I am always on the look out for spicing up bulgur. Packed with fiber and vitamins and low on fat, bulgur is a very healthy option and can be very delicious too. This time I experimented bulgur with sautéed mushrooms; the meaty, juicy flavor of mushrooms worked really well with bulgur. If you can add a few more vegetables into the mix and grate some parmesan (or any hard cheese you prefer) over, this dish could be a wonderfully satisfying, easy and delicious supper. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Bulgur wheat pilaf with sauteed mushrooms and vegetables; wholesome and delicious.

Bulgur wheat pilaf with sauteed mushrooms and vegetables; wholesome and delicious.

Serves 4- 6
Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

4 garlic gloves, crushed and finely chopped
3 large Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and coarsely chopped
3 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
45gr/1/2 cup frozen peas
350 gr/12 oz bulgur wheat, rinsed and drained
600gr/1 pint/2 1/2 cups hot water
30ml/2 tablespoons olive oil – and an extra drizzle for the bulgur

A squeeze of lemon

5ml/1 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Grated parmesan (or any hard cheese you prefer) to serve

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy pan. Stir in garlic and chopped mushrooms, and season with salt generously (mushrooms and garlic go very well and the salt helps the water to come out of mushrooms). Sauté for 2-3 minutes until mushrooms soften and start to loosen up. Add the dried oregano and a squeeze of lemon and mix well. Turn the heat off, leaving it a side.


On a separate pot, drizzle a little olive oil and add the bulgur and chopped tomatoes, tossing thoroughly over low heat. Add the hot water, season with salt and ground pepper. Stir to combine thoroughly. Bring to boil for 1-2 minutes, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 8 minutes. At this time stir in the frozen peas to bulgur mixture and stir to combine. Then cover and simmer for a further 3-4 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed. Turn off the heat and add the sautéed mushrooms into the mixture and combine well. Cover the pan with a paper towel and press the lid on top. Leave to steam for a further 10 minutes.

Bulgur wheat pilaf with mushrooms and vegetables - ready for your enjoyment

Bulgur wheat pilaf with mushrooms and vegetables – ready for your enjoyment

Serve the bulgur pilaf with some grated parmesan over the top. You can serve some steamed vegetables by the side if you would like too.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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