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Turkish Mezze Night on May 30th, Stuffed Vine Leaves and More

Merhaba dear All,

Stuffed vine leaves, Sarma, will be at our Turkish Mezze feast at Nest Home and Cafe

I wanted to share my upcoming Turkish Cookery Events with you all. Also with this note, I wanted to share my stuffed vine leaves with aromatic rice, Sarma recipe at this link, which will feature at my Turkish Mezze Night at the lovely Nest Home and Cafe in Ripley, Surrey on Tuesday, May 30th. It is a special dish and always bring happy childhood memories. Making stuffed vine leaves has always been a family affair at my home; my dad would separate and prepare the leaves, my mother would prepare the filling and we all would gather around the table and help rolling the leaves! One of my childhood favorites, I couldn’t wait for the rolls to be cooked and ever eager to do a “taste check” from the pan, delicious memories. Hope you enjoy making stuffed vine leaves, sarma, with my recipe here.

Turkish Mezze Night; Sunshine on a Plate; Tuesday May 30th, 6.30 pm – 9 pm

Courgette fritters with feta and dill; Mucver will be a part of our Mezze Night

I am delighted to let you know that I will be hosting another delicious Turkish Mezze Night on Tuesday, May 30th at the lovely Nest Home and Cafe in Ripley, Surrey – England, from 6.30 pm to 9 pm.  Our first Mezze Night at Nest was magical and this one promises to be special too! I am very much looking forward to welcoming everyone and sharing the delights of my homeland at this special night.

We will be celebrating delicious spring flavors, plates of sunshine from my homeland; stuffed vine leaves with aromatic rice, smoked aubergine salad, courgette fritters with feta and dill, Turkish flat breads with vegetables and cheese topping, Pide and many more in the menu. We will also have Turkish wine, Turkish Coffee and Turkish Delight and my home made baklava with walnuts, back on popular demand! More than a meal,  I will be talking about Turkish Cuisine, along with stories and traditions from my homeland as well as giving information about each course served and preparation tips.

Peynirli pide, Turkish flat breads with cheese, spinach and pepper topping is at our Turkish Mezze Night

Menu :

Stuffed wine leaves with aromatic rice – Sarma

Courgette fritters with feta and dill, served with garlic yoghurt – Mucver

Hummus with red pepper flakes infused olive oil

Smoked aubergine salad with olive oil and mint sauce

Turkish flatbreads with cheese, spinach and peppers topping, Pide

Home made Baklava with walnuts

Turkish Wine

Turkish Coffee and Turkish Delights

Cost per person: 48 GBP (includes Turkish wine and Turkish coffee and all food served). Please email ozlem@ozlemsturkishtable.com for registration and payment.

Date : Tuesday, May 30th, 2017, 6.30 pm to 9 pm.

Place: Nest Home and Cafe  High St, Ripley, Woking GU23 6AQ  ( Free Parking at the Village Car Park off Rose Lane, as well as free parking on the Green next to the cricket pitch)

Participation for this Turkish Mezze Night is limited and this event is also promises to sell out quickly so early registration is recommended.

Hope you can join our magical Mezze Night, I am greatly looking forward to welcoming you and sharing this delightful evening of Turkish food, along with stories from my homeland.

Turkish Cookery Class, Saturday 8th April, 11:00am – 2:30pm

Divertimenti Cookery School, London

Pistachio lamb kebabs, baked cauliflower with feta and dill and more at our April 8th cookery class

Please join us to welcome the start of spring with a feast of delights from Ozlem’s Turkish Kitchen. Showcasing authentic, regional recipes from her homeland you will cook alongside Ozlem preparing a selection of seasonal springtime dishes from this colourful and aromatic cuisine as well as learn about and taste Turkish sparkling wine by Melissa Fine Brands. Recipes will include ‘Karnabahar Mucveri’ (Baked cauliflower with red onion, feta, dill and spring onions), ‘Fistikli Kebap’ (Pistachio and lamb kebabs on flatbreads with roasted veg), Potato, Pepper and Olive Bake’, ‘Yogurt Tatlisi’ (Yoghurt cake with zesty orange), Turkish Coffee.
For class details and booking, please visit Divertimenti Cookery School at this link.

My Turkish Cookery Book Survey

As some of you already know, I am in the midst of planning a Turkish Cookery Book which will focus on the healthy, easy to make, delicious recipes of my homeland, Turkey.

The book I am planning will be a collection of both recipes and my personal stories-  a tribute to my dear homeland –  with a special emphasis on the relatively unknown dishes of Southern Turkey, which will sit alongside some of the more traditional Turkish and Eastern Mediterranean classics.

I would be very grateful if you could fill in my survey with your honest, valuable feedback.  The survey will take less than a minute to complete and is completely anonymous. My sincere thanks to you all, who already filled in the survey with your very precious feedback, it is much appreciated.

Here’s the link to my Turkish Cookery Book Survey 

As a thank you, if you leave your name and email address at the end of the survey, you will be entitled to a 10% discount when the book is published. I would be more than happy to send you a signed copy!

My sincere thanks in advance, Cok Tesekkurlerimle,

 Ozlem
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Swiss chard stuffed with ground meat and rice – Kis Sarmasi

Stuffed winter greens or Swiss chard with ground meat, rice and herbs; Kis Sarmasi

Stuffed winter greens or Swiss chard with ground meat, rice and herbs; Kis Sarmasi

Any sight of large leaves gets me excited with the prospect of stuffing them. I grew up with my mother’s delicious stuffed vine leaves, yaprak sarma  and stuffed cabbage leaves, lahana sarmasi ,one of our favorite meals.  As a family affair, my father would prepare the leaves and mother and whoever around the table would o the stuffing. And of course, everyone would be very keen to do a “quality check” after cooking, just to make sure they’re cooked 🙂 Happy days.

Turkish people are very fond of stuffed vegetables or dolmas as we call in Turkish. Stuffed tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and eggplants are the year round favorites. Cabbage leaves are stuffed in winter and vine leaves and zucchini flowers herald a fresh option in spring time. The success of any great dolma, which literally means “stuffed”, relies heavily on getting the stuffing right. With a dollop of yoghurt or a slice of lemon aside, they are utterly delicious. For a vegetarian option, try this stuffed vine leaves with aromatic rice and herb filling; Zeytinyagli sarma; they are simply irresistible, with a wedge of lemon aside.

Stuffed winter greens or Swiss chard with ground meat and rice in hot pepper sauce - delicious

Stuffed winter greens or Swiss chard with ground meat and rice in hot pepper sauce

I got some wonderful leafy winter greens, (similar to Swiss chard, though with a slimmer stem) from my local market. Like cabbage leaves, they need to soften up first so that they can be stuffed. With a southern Turkish addition of  Turkish hot pepper paste sauce, biber salcasi (or a tomato based sauce) and garlic yoghurt aside, they were so delicious. You can use cabbage leaves or Swiss card here too. Please don’t worry about  making the perfect roll; as long as they’re not over filled, they stay intact and taste delicious. I hope you enjoy these delicious rolls, or sarmas, as much as we did.

Stuffed winter greens or Swiss chard with ground meat and rice – Kis Sarmasi
 
Serves: 4 -6
Ingredients
  • 2 bunches (about 400 gr) Winter greens with large leaves or Swiss Chard
  • For the filling:
  • 225gr/8oz/1 cup ground beef or ground lamb (ground turkey works well too)
  • 2 small or 1 large onion, grated
  • 110gr/4oz/1/2 cup long grain rice (or whole grain basmati rice for gluten-free option)
  • 45ml/3 tbsp. flat leaf (Italian) parsley, finely chopped
  • 15ml/1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon, 200 ml/ 1 cup (or little more) water and 15ml/1 tbsp. olive oil for cooking
  • Tomato/red pepper paste sauce:
  • 15 ml/ 1 tbsp. Turkish hot pepper paste or tomato paste (for milder taste)
  • 30ml/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 60ml/ 4 tbsp. water
  • Turkish red pepper flakes or chili flakes to sprinkle (optional)
  • Garlic yoghurt sauce:
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed in sea salt and finely chopped
  • 8 fl oz./1 cup natural plain yoghurt
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp. dried mint (optional)
Instructions
  1. Large leafy greens like Swiss chard is ideal for stuffing, making sarma.
  2. Bring a pan of water to boil. Cut the stalks of your winter greens (if you’re using Swiss chard, you may need to cut the stem and separate from the leaves).
  3. Refresh the wilted leaves in a bowl of cold water
  4. Place the fresh, trimmed leaves in to the boiling water until they wilt, for about 25-30 seconds. Drain and refresh the leaves in a bowl of cold water, this will help retain their color. Then drain the leaves and spread on a tray, ready for stuffing.
  5. Place the filling ingredients in a bowl and knead well.
  6. Grate the onion and put with the remaining filling ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and ground black pepper and bind them all with 1 tbsp. olive oil and knead well.
  7. Lay one of the leaves on a flat surface and place 1 tbsp. (depending on the size of the leaf, adjust a little less or more but avoid over filling) of the stuffing at near end of the leaf (towards you). Bring the top end of the leaf over the stuffing.
  8. Now fold in the sides and then roll into a tight log. Repeat with the remaining filling and leaves.
  9. Arrange the stuffed leaves, seam side down, in a wide, deep pan. Pack them quite tightly in circles, this will keep them intact. You may need to make more than one layer, depending on the size of the pan.
  10. Mix 200ml water with the juice of lemon and 1 tbsp. olive oil and pour over the stuffed leaves. This liquid should cover at least half way up the top layer; add some more water if you need to. Season with salt and place a wide flat plate over the rolls (so that they stay intact).
  11. Cover the pan and turn the heat to medium. Once it starts to bubble, cook over low heat for about 40 minutes, or until the filling is cooked and the rolls are tender.
  12. While the rolls (sarma,as we call in Turkish) are cooking, prepare the garlic yoghurt. Simply combine the chopped garlic with yoghurt and mix well. You can season with sea salt and ½ tsp. dried mint, if you like.
  13. For the hot pepper paste (or tomato paste) sauce; stir in 1 tbsp. Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi or tomato paste and 2 tbsp. olive oil in a small pan, over low heat. Stir and pour 4-5 tbsp. water, gently simmer for a minute. Season with salt and ground black pepper if you like; the sauce is ready.
  14. Drizzle the hot pepper paste sauce over the cooked rolls and sprinkle a little Turkish red pepper flakes (if you like) and serve hot, with garlic yoghurt aside.
Serves 4 -6

Preparation time: 40-45 minutes                    Cooking time: 45 minutes

2 bunches (about 400 gr) Winter greens with large leaves or Swiss Chard

For the filling:

225gr/8oz/1 cup ground beef or ground lamb (ground turkey works well too)

2 small or 1 large onion, grated

110gr/4oz/1/2 cup long grain rice (or whole grain basmati rice for gluten-free option)

45ml/3 tbsp. flat leaf (Italian) parsley, finely chopped

15ml/1 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Juice of 1 lemon, 200 ml/ 1 cup (or little more) water and 15ml/1 tbsp. olive oil for cooking

Tomato/red pepper paste sauce:

15 ml/ 1 tbsp. Turkish hot pepper paste or tomato paste (for milder taste)

30ml/2 tbsp. olive oil

60ml/ 4 tbsp. water

Turkish red pepper flakes or chili flakes to sprinkle (optional)

Garlic yoghurt sauce:

1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed in sea salt and finely chopped

8 fl oz./1 cup natural plain yoghurt

Salt to taste

½ tsp. dried mint (optional)

 

Large leafy greens like Swiss chard is ideal for stuffing, making sarma.

Large leafy greens like Swiss chard is ideal for stuffing, making sarma.

Bring a pan of water to boil. Cut the stalks of your winter greens (if you’re using Swiss chard, you may need to cut the stem and separate from the leaves).

Refresh the wilted leaves in a bowl of cold water

Refresh the wilted leaves in a bowl of cold water

Place the fresh, trimmed leaves in to the boiling water until they wilt, for about 25-30 seconds. Drain and refresh the leaves in a bowl of cold water, this will help retain their color. Then drain the leaves and spread on a tray, ready for stuffing.

Place the filling ingredients in a bowl and knead well.

Place the filling ingredients in a bowl and knead well.

Grate the onion and put with the remaining filling ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and ground black pepper and bind them all with 1 tbsp. olive oil and knead well.

Lay one of the leaves on a flat surface and place 1 tbsp. stuffing.

Lay one of the leaves on a flat surface and place 1 tbsp. stuffing.

Lay one of the leaves on a flat surface and place 1 tbsp. (depending on the size of the leaf, adjust a little less or more but avoid over filling) of the stuffing at near end of the leaf (towards you). Bring the top end of the leaf over the stuffing.

fold in the sides of the leaf

fold in the sides of the leaf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now fold in the sides and then roll into a tight log. Repeat with the remaining filling and leaves.

Then roll into a tight log.

Then roll into a tight log.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arrange the stuffed leaves, seam side down, in a wide, deep pan. Pack them quite tightly in circles, this will keep them intact. You may need to make more than one layer, depending on the size of the pan.

Place the stuffed leaves seam side down in a wide, deep pan.

Place the stuffed leaves seam side down in a wide, deep pan.

Mix 200ml water with the juice of lemon and 1 tbsp. olive oil and pour over the stuffed leaves. This liquid should cover at least half way up the top layer; add some more water if you need to. Season with salt and place the pan over a medium heat. Once it starts to bubble, place a wide flat plate over the rolls (so that they stay intact). Cover and cook over low heat for about 40 minutes, or until the filling is cooked and the rolls are tender.

Place a wide flat plate over the rolls (so that they stay intact).

Place a wide flat plate over the rolls (so that they stay intact).

While the rolls (sarma, as we call in Turkish) are cooking, prepare the garlic yoghurt. Simply combine the chopped garlic with yoghurt and mix well. You can season with sea salt and ½ tsp. dried mint, if you like.

For the hot pepper paste (or tomato paste) sauce; stir in 1 tbsp. Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi or tomato paste and 2 tbsp. olive oil in a small pan, over low heat. Stir and pour 4 tbsp. water, gently simmer for a minute. Season with salt and ground black pepper if you like; the sauce is ready.

Drizzle the hot pepper paste sauce over the cooked rolls and sprinkle a little Turkish red pepper flakes (if you like) and serve hot, with garlic yoghurt aside.

Stuffed winter leaves with ground meat and aromatic rice; Kis Sarmasi

Stuffed winter leaves with ground meat and aromatic rice; Kis Sarmasi

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Note: The stems or any broken leaves and a bit of left over filling can turn into a delicious meal. Simply chop the leaves and stems and sauté with some olive oil and garlic, adding the filling if any left over. You can add a few tomatoes in it or crack an egg; it would make a delicious bite.

 

 

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Rolled grape vine leaves with aromatic rice; Yaprak Sarma

Etli Sarma – Vine Leaves Stuffed with Ground Meat, Rice and Herbs

We made the etli sarma – stuffed vine leaves with meat and rice – with my mother when I was in Istanbul, it was a very special experience. Mother’s sarma (a version of dolma, done with grape vine leaves) is always the best and I was watching her with all my senses. This is a real treat; you can get together with friends and family and make it together and then enjoy it. I love it best when served with plain yoghurt and a little crusty bread to soak up wonderful juices.

You can also make the same sarma/dolma using green or red cabbage leaves.

Serves 4 -6
Preparation time – 15 minutes Cooking time – 40 minutes

30 grape vine leaves
350 gr/12 oz ground lamb or beef
2 small onions, finely chopped
115 gr/4 oz long grain rice, rinsed and drained
1 bunch fresh dill and flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
5 ml/ 1 teaspoon dried mint
45 ml/ 3 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and ground pepper to taste
8 fl oz/ 1 cup water to cook the stuffed vine leaves
90 ml (or more) / 6 tablespoon plain yoghurt to serve

Place the ground meat in a bowl and stir in the onions, rice, herbs and spices. Season, combine with 1 tablespoon olive oil and knead well.

Lay one of the vine leaves on a flat surface and spoon some filling in the middle of the leaf. Pull the leaf over the filling, fold in the sides, then roll into a tight log (try not to over fill, as the filling may ooze out). Arrange the vine leaves, seam side down, in a deep wide pan. Pack them tightly together, layer by layer.

Mix the remaining oil with 1 cup (8 fl oz) water, then pour over the vine leaves. The water should almost cover the top layer, so you may need to add more.

Place a heavy plate over the dolmas and put the pan on medium heat. Once it starts to bubble, lower the heat, cover and cook gently for about 40 minutes, until the rice and meat are cooked.

Serve hot, with a dollop of yoghurt and some crusty bread by the side.

Afiyet Olsun!



Aromatic rice for stuffing vegetables and vine leaves – Zeytinyagli Dolma Ici

Turkish people are very fond of stuffed vegetables – dolmas. Stuffed tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are the year round favorites, cabbage leaves are stuffed in winter and vine leaves and zucchini flowers herald a fresh option in springtime. The success of any great dolma, which literally means “stuffed”, relies heavily on getting the stuffing right and the generous use of onions is of utmost importance. This recipe is for the stuffing used in “zeytinyagli dolma” recipes, which are made with generous usage of olive oil and without meat. They are eaten cold as an entrée or meze and a wonderful vegetarian option.

Serves 4-6
Preparation time – 15 minutes Cooking time – 15 minutes

30 ml/ 2 tablespoons currants
8 fl. oz /1 cup long grain rice
2 fl oz / 1/4 cup olive oil
30 ml/ 2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 medium onions, finely chopped or grated
5 ml / 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 fl oz / 1 cup hot water
1 handful of freshly chopped parsley and dill
15 ml/ 1 tablespoon dried mint
Salt and sugar to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

Put the currants in hot water to allow them to swell, drain and put to one side.

Heat the oil in a deep pan and gently sauté the pine nuts until golden. Add the chopped onions and sauté until soft. Add the rice, currants and cinnamon, while stirring gently to ensure the rice grains are evenly coated. Add the hot water, salt and sugar, stir once and continue cooking for about 10 minutes or until the cooking liquid is absorbed and steam holes appear in the surface of the rice. It is important not to stir the rice during this time.

Remove from the heat, cover the top of the pan with a cloth, replace the lid and set aside to cool for 20 minutes.

Season with freshly ground black pepper. Add the herbs and combine gently with a wooden spoon. The rice stuffing is now ready to stuff into the vine leaves.

Grapevine leaves stuffed with aromatic rice – Preparation

Have a go at making these fantastic dolmas, it is really much easier than you think and you will certainly impress your guests.

Serves 4-6
Preparation time – 35 minutes Cooking time – 35 minutes

25 grapevine leaves
Aromatic rice stuffing (explained above)
30 ml/ 2 tablespoons olive oil
8 fl oz/ 1 cup hot water
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and sugar to taste
Sprigs of dill for garnish
Lemon wedges to serve

If you have fresh leaves, soften them in boiling salted water, drain and rinse under cold running water. If using the preserved variety, soak the leaves thoroughly in a few changes of water to remove the brine.
Cut away the stalks of the grapevine leaves. Place each leaf with the mat side facing you and one by one, place a walnut sized piece of rice stuffing at the base of each leaf. Fold the edges inwards over the stuffing and roll up to form a finger sized dolma. Pay attention not to stuff them too loose or too tight.
Line your pan with any discarded grapevine leaves. Arrange the dolmas in the pan seam side down and tightly side by side, creating layers. Whisk together the water, olive oil, lemon juice, sugar and salt and pour over the dolmas. Wet a circle of grease proof paper lightly and place over the dolmas. Place a heat proof dinner plate on top of this which fits easily and acts as a weight.
Cover and cook over a low heat for about 35 minutes or until the dolmas are tender. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Transfer to a serving plate, drizzle with a little olive oil and garnish elegantly with sprigs of dill. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over.

Note : It is important not to remove the cooked dolmas from the pan before they cooled down completely. Vegetables cooked in olive oil, “Zeytinyaglis”, are served cold. Traditionally, they are cooked a day in advance or in the morning, to allow the dolmas to rest.

Afiyet Olsun, 

Ozlem

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