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Turkish cuisine provides healthy, hearty, delicious food for family and friends.
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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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10 Responses to Spice Up Your Dinners – Easy, Delicious, Healthy Dishes for Entertaining

  1. Peri April 23, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    Congratulations on the awards, Ozlem! So very very deserved, your blog is wonderful and your food absolutely delicious:)

    And the cooking class looks like fun. The chicken kebabs with the roasted vegetables are mouthwatering and the apricots stuffed with walnuts are super cool and simple for an app or even dessert. Do you think I can use dates instead of apricots? would it be too sweet? I love those and always have them on hand.

    And a quick question – what does the word ‘cevizli’ mean, Ozlem? I see it in a lot of recipes including my favorite ‘red pepper dip’ and keep forgetting to ask:)

    • Ozlem April 24, 2012 at 9:35 am #

      My dear Peri, feels great to be on this foodie adventure together, many thanks for your kind words.
      Re the dessert, yes you can use dates, I bet they will be delicious. They are sweeter than apricots, so perhaps no need for extra sugar or a tiny little bit brown sugar? If you like the tanginess like I do, a little dash of lemon juice may be good too to balance? Just an idea. Look forward to seeing this in your blog 🙂

      Ceviz means walnuts in Turkish, and we do eat a lot of walnuts!
      Cooking class was a lot of fun, so hope we can get together and cook soon,

      • Peri April 27, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

        Thanks for the explanations, Ozlem. Walnuts make sense, I love them and that explains why I love Turkish food so much:)

        I must try the dates angle with your recipe, will tell you how it turns out.

        And Thank you for the Liebster Award and your wonderful words on my blog. We have a mutual love for each other’s food:)

        • Ozlem April 28, 2012 at 9:07 am #

          You are very welcome Peri : ) Look forward to the stuffed dates at your blog!

  2. Peter April 23, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

    Ozlem, I’m a fan of simple yet flavourful dishes and these apricots fit into that category as well. Natural sweeteners and more healthy desserts. Thank as well for your kind mention in the awards!

    • Ozlem April 24, 2012 at 9:31 am #

      Kalimeras Peter,
      You are very welcome, I truly enjoy your blog, simple yet utterly flavorful dishes; our cuisine have so much in common, and I think it’s brilliant. Look forward to more of your posts!

  3. Oznur April 24, 2012 at 6:30 am #

    It looks amazing! I would really want to be there to learn how to prepare these delicious and inspiring wonderful foods. I sure will go for trying myself sometime soon. Very much looking forward to your upcoming recipres & activities.

    • Ozlem April 24, 2012 at 9:29 am #

      Oznur’cum; this means the world to me, cok cok tesekkurler : )

  4. Alida April 24, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    Thank you so much for this award! It is very much appreciated.
    I am really impressed by your cookery classes. Your food looks so interesting and very inventive. Well done!

    • Ozlem April 24, 2012 at 9:36 am #

      Ciao Alida,
      You are very welcome, I love your recipes and they always inspire me. Cooking together is a lot of fun and very satisfiying, I hope we can do that sometime. Many thanks for your kind words!

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