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Medley of Mushrooms with Garlic and Roasted Peppers, in Olive Oil – Healthy Food can also be Wonderfully Delicious

"Wonderful time spent with great company. I have learnt lots, loved all the food & already planned to introduce some of these dishes over Christmas to my nearest & dearest. Thank you for a great Saturday."

Warm greetings to you all; or Merhaba, as we say in Turkish. We had a wonderful, fun packed Healthy Eating and Living Event last Saturday, with inspirational talks on healthy living -many thanks to Leonie from EatWright for her wonderful presentation and Turkish cookery demonstrations –many thanks to Eser too for her delicious gluten-free treats. Please check out my Turkish Cooking Classes Page  for more information and photos on this fun packed, delicious event.

 

Leonie’s wonderful fresh produce went down so well with the warm hummus with red pepper flakes infused olive oil.

We talked about making the right choices for healthy eating and living. Healthy food can also be wonderfully delicious; there is no need to sacrifice the taste. Seasonal fresh produce, grains, beans, fish, olive oil are not only very good for us but they are also packed with flavor.

 

Fragrant spices; a natural, delicious way to add flavor to any dish.

 How about spices? You can add such wonderful flavors in a natural, healthy way, through spices and herbs. For instance, it is the fragrant cumin that makes hummus, taste like hummus. Here is a short video of my hummus demonstration at our healthy event – first try; look forward to adding more videos in the future- my special thanks to Zeynep! –Hummus demonstration, by Ozlem’s Turkish Table

The simple yet utterly delicious Shepherd's Salad, Coban Salata complements any grilled meat and vegetables so well.

A sprinkle of dried mint would totally transform the taste of Cacik – cucumber& yoghurt dip or a handful of fresh parsley gives a lovely, refreshing flavor to this Shepherds Salad, Coban Salata. Talking about spices, please check out the inspirational Spice Trip program on Channel More4 in the UK; a great watch to understand the mysterious and wonderful world of spices.

Medley of sauteed mushrooms and roasted peppers in olive oil; healthy, delicious and easy.

This medley of mushrooms with roasted peppers has been a big hit at our class last Saturday. You can use a variety of mushrooms; portobello, chestnut, oyster or shitake mushrooms, all work very well. Garlic and mushrooms are made for each other and the meaty texture of mushrooms work so well with the juicy, roasted peppers. A squeeze of lemon over them with sprinkles of parsley; your healthy, delicious vegetarian treat is ready to be enjoyed- Afiyet Olsun!

Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi. One of the main staples in Southern Turkish Kitchen, including mine!:)

l flavored the roasted peppers with red pepper paste, biber salcasi; a spoonful this paste adds such a wonderful, rich flavor to any dish. You can get red pepper paste in Middle Eastern stores and Tulumba.com. How about having a go to make your own red pepper paste?  You can also use red pepper flakes instead for flavoring.

I hope all these ideas may inspire you to make good choices for healthy eating; after all, we are what we eat. How do you add flavor to your dishes? Please share with us; your ideas and comments are always very welcome.

Medley of Mushrooms with Garlic and Roasted Peppers, in Olive Oil

This delicious vegetarian course complements any grilled meat, fish or baked potatoes well as a main course. You can also serve it as a starter with some crusty bread by the side.

 Serves 4-6

Preparation time: 15-20 minutes                                    Cooking time: 45-50 minutes

350gr/12oz Portobello or chestnut mushrooms, gently cleaned with a damp cloth and sliced

350gr/12oz oyster or shitake mushrooms, gently cleaned with a damp cloth (please tear into pieces)

Green, red and yellow bell (or pointy) peppers – one each-, deseeded, cut in half and sliced lengthwise

4-6 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped

60ml/4 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 juice of lemon (or a little more if you like the tangy taste)

Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

½ tbsp. red pepper paste or 1 ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F

Coat the peppers with the olive oil and the seasoning and bake in the preheated oven until they start getting charred.

Place the sliced peppers in a baking tray and pour 2 tbsp olive oil over them. Season with salt and ground black pepper and coat the peppers with the olive oil and the seasoning. Bake in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes, or until they are getting charred.

Juicy, meaty mushrooms and garlic go so well together.

While the peppers are baking in the oven, cook the mushrooms. Heat the remaining olive oil in a shallow pan and add the mushrooms and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and cook a further 3-4 minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley, give a good mix and turn the heat off.

A little Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi, add a lot of flavor to the vegetables.

Once the peppers are baked, add the red pepper paste to them (or the red pepper flakes) and combine well.  Stir in the cooked mushrooms to the peppers and gently mix them well. Serve hot, with sprigs of parsley over the vegetables.

 Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

 

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Let’s have a go at Turkish Cuisine; Sultan’s Delight, Zucchini Fritters, Kunefe (Kadayifi); Easier than You Think!

“Thank you for the wonderful Turkish cooking class; I learned so much about the Turkish cuisine, and couldn’t believe how easy it is to cook delicious, healthy food”; this has been one of the comments at my recent Turkish cooking class. It is always a pleasure to see participants’ enjoying the class and realize how easy to make Turkish dishes, using fresh ingredients.

It is a pleasure and lots of fun sharing Turkish cuisine, recipes, traditions at the cookery classes

Well, I have a new Turkish cookery class coming up on Saturday, 20th October, and I wanted to share what we will be up to.  The classes are friendly, informal with step by step demonstration of the recipes, and packed with useful information on where to source ingredients,  substitution ( when needed) and on Turkish cuisine and culture. If you are in the area and would like to join us, please contact me. If not, I hope the recipes may still inspire you to have a go to treat yourself, family and friends; they are delicious and easier than you think! Here is our menu for the class:

Zucchini (Courgette) Fritters flavored with Feta and Dill – Mucver. This appetizer is a wonderful way to flavor the zucchini; dill and feta really goes well with the zucchini. An important tip here is to squeeze out any excess water of the grated zucchini with a paper/tea towel. This will prevent the fritters to get soggy.  You can enjoy mucver  warm or you can make it in advance, and serve as a cold meze. It is truly delicious with garlic infused yoghurt by the side.

Zucchini fritters are utterly delicious; garlicky yoghurt would complement them well.

Sultan’s Delight –  Ragout With Pureed Eggplant And Béchamel Sauce – Hunkar Begendi

Hunkar Begendi; delicious ragout on a bed of smoked eggplant puree; for a vegetarian option, you can serve the puree with grilled vegetables.

This Ottoman classic is served with smoky tasting eggplant with cheese in a béchamel sauce. When Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III, visited Topkapi Palace – Istanbul as a guest of the Sultan, she admired the puree so much that she sent her chef to Topkapi Palace to learn the technique. Once you’ve mastered the eggplant puree, it goes well with any grilled meat or vegetables.

Smoking the eggplants is an important step to make the Hunkar Begendi, Sultan's Delight.

Important tip; if you cook the eggplants on stove top or burner, you get a wonderful smoky flavor for the eggplants. As an alternative, you can also bake the eggplants in the oven – make sure to prick the eggplants before baking.

Hunkar Begendi is one of the landmarks of our cuisine and very popular at home. It is great for entertaining; looks very inviting and the marriage of the eggplant & béchamel sauce with the ragout is divine. For a vegetarian option, why not serving the puree with Fried Aubergine (Eggplant), Courgette (Zucchini) and Peppers with Tomato Sauce; Saksuka ? 

Kunefe – Kadayifi

Syrup soaked delicate pastry strands with cheese; kunefe is an ultimate treat.

This dessert is one of the signature dishes of my hometown, Antakya (please click here for more delicious recipes and photos from Antakya). I can still remember getting the freshly baked Tel Kadayif (pastry strands) from the local bakery, watching the delicate strands forming from the huge sieve. And I can still visualize my grandmother cooking Kunefe in her stone oven in her garden, and, we, her grandchildren excitedly waiting for any leftovers of the butter soaked pastry strands….glorious days .

Tel kadayif is a dough, pushed through a sieve to form delicate strands, which looks like vermicelli. In Antakya, there are specialty shops like this, making the fresh pastry strands for kunefe.

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 – mozzarella works well too. It can be baked in one big pan or smaller ones as individual portions.

Kunefe recipe will be in the blog shortly.

We will finish the class with the aromatic Turkish coffee, Turkish way. Always a wonderful experience.

Turkish coffee; delicious way to end a Turkish meal.

Have you ever made any of these dishes? Could I tempt you to have a go?:) I would be more than happy to help you along the way and answer your questions, just let me know. I bet yours will be more delicious than mine:)

My late grandmother's 450 year old stone house in Antakya; the house has been a very happy place to cook and enjoy delicious food, and an inspiration for us to keep the recipes, traditions alive.

Happy Cooking, Afiyet Olsun!

Ozlem

 

 

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