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Tag Archives | Turkish coffee

Delights and Street food from Turkey and how to make them at home

Wholesome, delicious Turkish breakfast, my favorite meal of the day

Wholesome, delicious Turkish breakfast, my favorite meal of the day

Merhaba and greetings from Turkey; it has been wonderful to be back home, catching up with family, friends and enjoying this fascinating land. I wanted to share with you some photos from our trip with a special highlight on Turkish street food and breakfast we have been enjoying. I hope it inspires and you can give it a go at this delici0us, wholesome recipes. I embraced Turkish breakfast as soon as we arrived Istanbul. Eggs done different ways, Simit, sesame encrusted bread rings, flavorful olives, Turkish white cheese, specialty white cheese with herbs, Van’s Otlu Peynir, ripe juicy sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and savory pastry are all a part of our wonderful Turkish breakfast. This plate is from the wonderful Van Kahvalti Evi in Cihangir, Istanbul. The herbed cheese, Otlu Peynir is a special favorite. Here’s some ideas for you to recreate your own Turkish breakfast.

Cobbled streets of Cukurcuma antique market in Cihangir, Istanbul

Cobbled streets of Cukurcuma antique market in Cihangir, Istanbul

A gorgeous antique door at Cukurcuma market, how I wished to take it back home

A gorgeous antique door at Cukurcuma market, how I wished to take it back home

I love Cihangir area in Istanbul and thanks to dear Senior Dogs Abroad, I made a visit to the Cukurcuma antique and flea market to wander amongst beautiful old, antique furnishings; plates, cutlery being a special focus, I fell in love with this wonderful, ancient door, how I wished to take it back home.

A heavenly tray of Baklava in Istanbul

A heavenly tray of Baklava in Istanbul

This heavenly tray of baklava was the next thing attracted my attention. The real thing is much lighter and flaky than its versions abroad, hope you can enjoy baklava in Turkey. You can also make baklava at home; here’s my home made baklava with walnuts recipe, hope you enjoy it.

Full moon in Istanbul, by the Bosphorus

Full moon in Istanbul, by the Bosphorus

Delicious mezzes and company by the Bosphorus, Istanbul

Delicious mezzes and company by the Bosphorus, Istanbul

We were lucky to enjoy a beautiful full moon by the Bosphorus. We celebrated dear Mehmet’s, my brother-in-law’s birthday over delicious Turkish mezzes.

Wonderful to be back to Bodrum

Wonderful to be back to Bodrum

Freshly picked vegetables at the farmers market in Bodrum, Turkey

Freshly picked vegetables at the farmers market in Bodrum, Turkey

Cokelek Salata; crumbled white cheese or feta salad, flavored with cumin, red pepper flakes and olive oil

Cokelek Salata; crumbled white cheese or feta salad, flavored with cumin, red pepper flakes and olive oil

Turkish tea, cay - taste even more delicious by the sea side in Bodrum

Turkish tea, cay – taste even more delicious by the sea side in Bodrum

And now back to Bodrum; my parents have a time share home here that we and children long to come back. Life evolves around simple pleasures; an early morning swim, followed by a leisurely, long Turkish breakfast. Dad and the children pick up the fresh produce – tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers from Gulsum Baci’s garden and we make a lovely Cokelek Salata; crumbled feta salad with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, flavored with cumin and red pepper flakes. I am also in charge of making the Menemen; Turkish style scrambled eggs with tomato, onion, peppers and cheese. Sitting at the terrace, we all tuck in with flavorful, olives, more cheese and glasses of cay, Turkish tea to wash it all with the family – my idea of heaven, my favorite meal of the day.

Pogaca; Turkish savory pastries with cheese and parsley

Pogaca; Turkish savory pastry with cheese and herbs

Pogaca; Turkish savory pastry with cheese and herbs

Simit; Sesame encrusted bread rings

Simit; sesame encrusted bread rings

Simit; sesame encrusted bread rings

Mid day snack would be either this delicious, national favorite pogaca; savory pastry with cheese and herbs or Turkish sesame encrusted bread rings, Simit; children and we all love them and they dissappear quickly. Simit and pogaca are both widely available at bakeries, street stalls and pastanes, patisseries in Turkey.

Midye Dolma; Stuffed mussels with aromatic rice

Midye dolma; stuffed mussels with aromatic rice, pine nuts and currants

Midye dolma; stuffed mussels with aromatic rice, pine nuts and currants

And then comes Midye Dolma; these delicious stuffed mussels with aromatic rice, pine nuts and currants are a delightful street food in Turkey. You can find them in street stalls or at vendors selling by the beach side. Ali Usta, our regular midye dolma vendor turns up every afternoon near our beach at Turgut Reis, Bodrum with delicious midye dolmas. All you need is a squeeze of lemon over them, delicious! I did make stuffed mussels at home, they turned out really well. Cleaning the mussels can be a bit of a labor of love but well worth all the effort, here is my Stuffed mussels with aromatic rice, Midye Dolma recipe, if you’d like to give it a go.

Pide; Turkish oval flat breads with toppings

Peynirli Pide; Turkish oval flat breads with cheese, spinach and vegetables

Peynirli Pide; Turkish oval flat breads with cheese, spinach and vegetables

Turkish oval flat breads with various toppings, Pide, is another favorite street food in Turkey. Our favorite is Pide with cheese and vegetables as well as the Flat breads with ground meat and vegetable topping; Kiymali Pide. A favorite snack and street food both at the sea side and in the towns and cities.

Lahmacun; Turkish style thin pizza with ground meat and vegetables topping

Lahmacun, Turkish style thin pizza with ground meat and vegetables topping

Lahmacun, Turkish style thin pizza with ground meat and vegetables topping

Lahmacun, thin, small Turkish style pizza with ground meat, onions, tomato and parsley topping is also a hugely popular Turkish snack, street food. You can enjoy them at street vendors, kebab houses or lahmacun houses that would only sell this delicious treat. We would wrap lahmacun with slices of tomato, onions and parsley with a healthy squeeze of lemon juice over. Here’s my Lahmacun recipe if you’d like to make this delicious treat.

Gozleme; Anatolian flat breads with fillings

Gozleme; Anatolian flat breads with fillings

Gozleme; Anatolian flat breads with fillings

We Turks love these stuffed flat breads, gozleme. Turks were originated from Central Asia, where they drifted towards Anatolia gradually and made their home. They have been making these stuffed flat breads since then. Gozleme is a much loved Turkish street food and a special part of the delicious Turkish breakfast. These popular snacks are cooked quickly on a hot griddle and can be filled with various fillings. Some of my favorite fillings are mashed potatoes, cheese and parsley; spinach and cheese, and ground meat and onions. Here’s my Gozleme with spinach and cheese recipe, hope you enjoy it, afiyet olsun.

Turkish Coffee; Turk Kahvesi – More than a drink

Delightful Turkish Coffee, Turk Kahvesi

Delightful Turkish Coffee, Turk Kahvesi

Have you ever tried the deliciously frothy Turkish coffee? It is one of the most popular traditional drinks at home in Turkey and I love the whole ritual, the experience of it. As it is so widely available it is a part of Turkish street food for me. In Turkish, we have a saying “Bir fincan kahvenin kirk yil hatiri vardir” which means “The memory of a good cup of Turkish coffee lasts 40 years”. Turkish coffee is a drink of friendship; you are offered this traditional, aromatic drink wherever you go in Turkey; when visiting friends and family, in the shops, while waiting in the bank, in hairdressers.. We take time to pause and enjoy this special drink with a friend or family or sometimes simply reflect with every precious sip. A glass of water and Turkish Delights, Lokum by the side complete the Turkish coffee ritual. I shared this special cup with my mother while in Bodrum, it was very memorable. Here’s how to make Turkish coffee properly and its rituals, hope you enjoy yours.

Bodrum Castle, Turkey

Bodrum Castle, Turkey

I hope this post inspires you to create delicious, wholesome Turkish treats and visit this fascinating land sometime.

My best wishes from Turkey, Selamlar, Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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From Menemen to Izmir Kofte; delicious and easy Turkish meals when you are on the move

We have just moved in to our new home; very exciting yet also busy with packing and settling in. I gathered a few of my favorite recipes here that can be easily prepared, yet delicious and wholesome – I know I will be turning to them and knowing I have good food ready to enjoy & serve will give me peace of mind, at the end of a busy day. These dishes can also be prepared ahead of time or can be cooked all in one pot. I hope these also may inspire you for wholesome and easy meals; look forward to sharing new recipes from our new home soon!

Turkish scrambled egg with tomatoes, peppers, oninons and feta cheese, Menemen

Menemen; Turkish scrambled egg with tomatoes, peppers, onions and feta cheese.

Menemen; Turkish scrambled egg with tomatoes, peppers, onions and feta cheese.

What do you cook when you are loaded with boxes and busy unpacking? Well, this delicious scrambled egg and vegetables is packed with flavour, it is nutritious and gets ready in minutes. Menemen is one of my homeland’s favorite brunch item, and a great street food. There are many versions of it – garlic, onion, any choice of cheese, spinach would go well too. Served with nice crusty bread and a little garlic yoghurt by the side, this dish can make a wonderful light supper or a substantial lunch option.

Casserole of meatballs, peppers, onions and potato; Izmir Kofte

Izmir Kofte; Casserole of meatballs, onions, peppers and potato

Izmir Kofte; Casserole of meatballs, onions, peppers and potato

How about this melt-in-the mouth Izmir Kofte; Casserole of meatballs, peppers, onions and potato? This is a popular meatball and vegetable casserole (not only with the children but with the adults too!) that can either be cooked on the stove top or baked in the oven. It makes a complete and hearty main course served with plain white rice or a slice of crusty bread. Delicious, easy meal; you can add as much red pepper flakes as you would like for a spicier flavor.

 Zucchini fritters with feta, dill and green onions –  Mucver

Zucchini fritters with feta, spring onions and dill; Mucver; delicious

Zucchini fritters with feta, spring onions and dill; Mucver; delicious

Zucchini, kabak in Turkish, are very versatile, used in many dishes and their flowers are perfect for stuffing. This surprisingly easy and  wonderful vegetarian fritters, Mucver, are fantastic accompanied by garlic infused yoghurt or a leafy salad and crusty bread. You can enjoy them as a meze/appetizer for supper or light lunch dish. The bite size versions would be a great party / finger food too. They are also wonderful served next day as a cold snack. They are easy to make and delightful. Here is my Mucver recipe, if you’d like to give it a go.

Bulgur wheat pilaf with vegetables; Sebzeli Bulgur Pilavi

Bulgur pilaf with onions, peppers and tomatoes, Sebzeli Bulgur Pilavi

Bulgur pilaf with onions, peppers and tomatoes, Sebzeli Bulgur Pilavi

Often confused with cracked wheat, bulgur wheat is a grain made from cooked whole wheat berries, which have had the bran removed, and is then dried in the sun and crushed. As it has already been cooked, it requires little cooking to reconstitute itself. It is available coarsely and finely ground. For pilaf, the coarser type is used, to create a nutty and delicious dish, which is a meal in itself and served with yoghurt. Bulgur has been a major staple in many rural areas in Turkey; during the Ottoman Period, the rice was a very precious commodity that only the rich could afford. This made the bulgur a very popular option and healthy one too. It is reach in fiber and provides good source of protein.  I love this delicious and wholesome bulgur pilaf with vegetables; you get a complete, satisfying meal in no time. You can serve Cacik dip, yoghurt with cucumbers and dried mint as a side for a refreshing accompaniment.

Eggplants, green lentils and vegetables cooked in Olive Oil; Mercimekli Mualla

Aubergine with green lentils, aubergine onions and peppers; Mercimekli Mualla- such a delicious treat

Aubergine with green lentils, aubergine onions and peppers; Mercimekli Mualla- such a delicious treat

We have a whole section in Turkish cuisine called “Vegetables cooked in Olive Oil”, Zeytinyaglilar, where we cook vegetables in olive oil and serve them either cold or at room temperature. Once cooked, it is important for the dish to cool down in its pan and rest, allowing all the flavors to blend. Usually served with a wedge of lemon, this style of cooking is very healthy, tasty and refreshing. This traditional recipe, Patlicanli Mercimekli Mualla, is from Antakya, Southern part of Turkey, where my roots are from. The amazing flavors of green lentils, olive oil, eggplant and dried mint blend so well and take me back to Antakya immediately. Again, all-in-one-pot, delicious vegetarian meal you can prepare ahead of time.

Turkish beans salad with vegetables, olives, boiled egg in sumac dressing; Fasulye Piyazi

Bean salad with onions, tomatoes, olives and boiled eggs - Fasulye piyazl

Bean salad with onions, tomatoes, olives and boiled eggs – Fasulye piyazl

What do you cook when you have limited time? Well, this bean and vegetable salad, fasulye piyazi, can be ready in a flash, it is very delicious and healthy. At home, traditionally we serve fasulye piyazi with grilled meatballs, koftes. There are traditional restaurants, lokantas, at home that solely serve Turkish style meatballs, fasulye piyaz and pickled cucumber and peppers. This salad is also a great alternative for lunch, served with some nice crusty bread or in can be a part of a meze spread. I would happily have this salad with some nice bread aside for a light supper.

Baked dried apricots with walnuts – Cevizli kayisi tatlisi

Baked dried apricots with walnuts; delicious, easy and packed with goodness.

Baked dried apricots with walnuts; delicious, easy and packed with goodness.

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 and their naturally rich, wonderful flavor is icing on the cake. This delicious & easy baked dried apricots with walnuts dessert is great for sharing with friends and family or just indulging yourself.

Delicious, frothy Turkish Coffee – Turk Kahvesi; More than a Drink

Turkish Coffee, Turk Kahvesi; More than a Drink

Turkish Coffee, Turk Kahvesi; More than a Drink

For me, nothing more relaxing than taking a break with a  nice cup of Turkish coffee. Turkish coffee, Turk kahvesi is one of the most popular traditional drinks at home in Turkey and I love the whole ritual, the experience of it. In Turkish, we have a saying “Bir fincan kahvenin kirk yil hatiri vardir” which means “The memory of a good cup of Turkish coffee lasts 40 years”. Turkish coffee is a drink of friendship; you are offered this traditional, aromatic drink wherever you go in Turkey; when visiting friends and family, in the shops, while waiting in the bank, in hairdressers.. We take time to pause and enjoy this special drink with a friend or family or sometimes simply reflect with every precious sip. A glass of water and Turkish Delights, Lokum by the side complete the Turkish coffee ritual. And I always look forward to putting the feet up and enjoy a sip of Turkish coffee at then end of a busy day.

Afiyet Olsun!

Ozlem

 

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Delicious Turkish Festive Meals To Share; Mutlu Bayramlar!

Turkish Delights, Lokum galore! An integral part of the festivities in Turkey

Turkish Delights, Lokum galore! An integral part of the festivities in Turkey

Muslims around the world will be celebrating the Feast of Sacrifice, Kurban Bayrami or Eid al-Adha as of 24th September in 2015. I have many happy memories celebrating this special event with the family back in Turkey. This is the time family and friends get together to share their food and charity is at the top of the list. Food is shared with friends, family and contribution to charity and sharing the food with the poor and needy is what makes Kurban Bayrami special. Visiting family and friends is another highlight; we children  would wear our best frocks and visit the elderly to pay our respects (and spoilt with delicious sweets).

As always, food takes the center stage and here are some ideas for you to prepare your festive Kurban Bayrami or Eid al-Adha table. Most of the dishes here can be prepared ahead of time and makes it easy for entertaining for any festivity or gathering.

Soup of the Mountain Pastures with Yoghurt, Whole Grain Rice, Dried Mint and Paprika Flakes -Yayla Corbasi 

Delicious, wholesome yoghurt based soup, Yayla Corbasi

Delicious, wholesome yoghurt based soup, Yayla Corbasi

Soups, “Corba” in Turkish, form a very important part of Turkish diet; almost every dinner, especially in cooler months, start with a soup in Turkish households and Bayram table is no exception. This simple but delicious yoghurt based soup, Yayla Corbasi, originates back to Anatolia’s earliest settlers and nomadic herdsman. It is one of the most popular soups in Turkey, flavored with dried mint and paprika flakes and would make a perfect start to any festive meal.

Baked Icli Kofte – Oruk, Cevizli Biber- Walnut dip, red pepper paste dip, Patlicanli Eksileme- Roasted Eggplant Salad

My mother would start preparing for the Bayram feast from weeks well ahead of time. She would make the Oruk ,baked bulgur shells with walnuts & ground meat, even a month or so ago, as it can keep freezer very well. Cevizli Biber, the Walnut & red pepper paste dip  is one of my favorite mezes of all time; it is very easy to make and very, very more-ish, you just can’t stop eating it.. You can keep the dip covered in the fridge for 3-4 days and it gets better the next day! How about this Roasted Eggplant salad, Patlicanli Eksileme? This is a wonderful, refreshing salad can be served as part of a “mezze” – appetizer- or can accompany grilled meats and vegetables.

Spinach and Cheese Pie- Ispanakli, Peynirli Borek, a winner for all 

Spinach and Cheese Pie, Ispanakli, peynirli borek; a winner for all

Spinach and Cheese Pie, Ispanakli, peynirli borek; a winner for all

Boreks, Stuffed savory pastries has a special place in Turkish cuisine; they are an essential part of the festivities or gatherings. This wonderful spinach and cheese pie has to be one of the most deliciously pleasing and easy borek around. I use the filo pastry sheets for this recipe and it works well. If frozen, you need to defrost them overnight in the fridge and leave at room temperature about 2 hours before using. I combine the feta cheese with mozzarella in this recipe to make it moister. You can serve this pie as an appetizer; they are also delicious at afternoon tea time with cay, tea aside.

Imam Bayildi; Eggplants Cooked in Olive Oil with Onion, Garlic and Tomato

Imam Bayildi; Stuffed eggplants with onions, garlic and tomatoes; simply delicious

Imam Bayildi; Stuffed eggplants with onions, garlic and tomatoes; simply delicious

Imam Bayildi, Eggplants cooked in olive oil with vegetables, would also make a delicious, refreshing vegetarian course at the festive tables. The aubergines are gently poached in this dish with a generous mixture of onions, tomatoes and garlic. This dish is in the category of Vegetables cooked in olive oil, Zeytinyaglis in Turkish cuisine, where the vegetables are poached in olive oil and little water and served either cold or room temperature with a slice of lemon aside.

 A Festive DishMevlubi; Layers of Eggplants, Potatoes, Meat and Rice

A very festive dish, Mevlubi; layers of eggplant, potato and meat cooked with rice

A very festive dish, Mevlubi; layers of eggplant, potato and meat cooked with rice

Another signature dish from my mother’s table, Mevlubi; this special dish makes an appearance in every special occasion on my parent’s table and it is fit for festivities. I love that succulent meat, eggplant, potato all cooked together and their flavor enhance one another. As you can cook ahead of time, this wonderful all in one dish makes an impressive main course and you get to spend more time with your company. For maximum results, please cook on low heat, and let Mevlubi rest for minimum 30 minutes prior serving.

 Pistachio Lamb Kebabs on Flat Breads & Sauteed Carrots in Garlic Yoghurt 

 

Pistachio lamb kebabs  are easy to recreate in your home, delicious and look impressive. Children love them as well as the adults, so they are great for entertaining. Having pistachio nuts in kebabs is a Southern Turkish specialty; I love the rich nutty flavor the pistachios add to the kebabs. With flat breads as the base and roasted vegetables by the side, this succulent kebab is a real crowd pleaser, and can make any day special.

Yoghurt has a special place in Turkish cuisine; some of the finest yoghurt in the world is made in Turkey and is included in some way at most family meal times. This simple but very delicious Turkish mezze, Sauteed carrots in garlic yoghut is a favorite with us and complements these pistachio kebabs very well.

Festive Desserts

Baklava with Walnuts and Pistachios; Cevizli, Fistikli Baklava

 Homemade Baklava with walnuts and pistachios

Homemade Baklava with walnuts and pistachios

An Ottoman legacy, baklava is one of the greatest creations from the pastry chefs at the Topkapi Palace. Generally, baklava is enjoyed as a mid-morning sweet snack with a cup of Turkish coffee, or as a mid-afternoon treat with a glass of tea or after lunch or dinner and it is fit for festivities! The real thing shouldn’t be very sweet and heavy; on the contrary it should be light enough to tempt you to eat a small plateful. Hope you enjoy my version of  baklava which is a little less sweet and more fragrant. Using filo pastry sheets, making baklava is much easier than you think.

Kunefe – Kadayifi

Antakya's kunefe; kadayifi

Antakya’s kunefe; kadayifi, a very festive dessert

 This glorious syrup soaked, cheese filled pastry strands, Kunefe, is one of the signature dishes of my hometown, Antakya and a very festive dessert. Tel kadayif is a dough, pushed through a sieve to form delicate strands, which looks like vermicelli and when soaked in butter and baked, resembles golden shredded wheat. It is the basis for many desserts but this is the most impressive. The hot cheese should ooze out giving an interesting contrast to the syrup soaked, crunchy casing. Any unsalted cheese which melts easily can be used – fresh mozzarella works well. I also like to add a little clotted cream; my mother would add the wonderfully thick cream we get in Turkey, called Kaymak.  Kunefe can be baked in one big pan or smaller ones as individual portions.

Milk Pudding with Mastic Gum; Sakizli Muhallebi

Milk pudding with mastic gum; Sakizli Muhallebi, a light, fragrant pudding

Milk pudding with mastic gum; Sakizli Muhallebi, a light, fragrant pudding

How about this delicious, light and fragrant milk pudding with mastic gum for a sweet treat? In Turkey, mastic gum is used in milky desserts, ice cream (a very delicious experience). Originally liquid, mastic gum is sold as hard small translucent lumps and melted in hot milk while making dessert. Any berry or plum compote would also go well with this pudding. 

Turkish Coffee and Turkish Delight; they go well together

Turkish Coffee and Turkish Delight; they go so well together

As always, Turkish coffee and Turkish delight would be the perfect end for the festive gathering.

Mutlu Bayramlar to all celebrating. I hope these delicious food may inspire and be enjoyed during any festivities, gatherings with family and friends.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

 

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