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From Pistachio Lamb Kebabs to Baklava; Our Turkish Feast in Austin, Texas

Greetings from Austin, Texas!

Getting the eggplants for our Turkish cooking class at Central Market - Austin; love the fresh produce there.

Getting the eggplants for our Turkish cooking class at Central Market – Austin; love the fresh produce there.

We had a delightful and full class of Turkish food lovers at my Turkish cooking class at the Central Market Cooking School, Austin, Texas. It was a very special time to reconnect with dear foodies who used to come to my classes there, as well as meeting new Turkish food lovers, I am grateful to be able to return to this wonderful cooking school and their company.

CM Chef Cindy and others kindly helped feed 40 Turkish food lovers at the class

CM Chef Cindy and others kindly helped feed 40 Turkish food lovers at the class

We had 40 -full class!- Turkish food lovers at the class and a small army of CM Chefs; Cindy, Giovanni and Kelly helped us get the our Turkish feast ready.

Talking about dried eggplants; we use them a lot especially in Southern Turkish cuisine

Talking about dried eggplants; we use them a lot especially in Southern Turkish cuisine

Turkish Cuisine is based on seasonality and we use a lot of fresh, seasonal produce. When a vegetable or fruit is not in season (like peppers, aubergines, okra etc) we dry them to use when they are not in season. Here we have been talking about dried eggplants and different recipes to use them in (stuffed dried eggplants are especially delicious).

Talking about Turkish culinary history and regional cuisines in Turkey during our class
Talking about Turkish culinary history and regional cuisines in Turkey during our class

Turks were Nomads who used to live a tribal life in Central Asia prior settling in today’s Turkey, and in those days, their diet was based on meat and dairy. Many folks found learning about the Turkish culinary history quite fascinating.

Here I would like to share our menu at my Turkish Cookery Class with Central Market, showcasing flavorful  Southern Turkish Cuisine. All these recipes are designed for you to be able to recreate easily at your home. I hope you can get to try and enjoy them :

Walnut, Olive Oil and Red Pepper Paste  Dip; Cevizli Biber

Cevizli Biber; Walnut and red pepper paste dip with olive oil.

Cevizli Biber; Walnut and red pepper paste dip with olive oil.

This 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 them. It is one of my mother’s recipes from her historic hometown Antakya (Antioch) and whenever I make it, I feel like I am home.

Prerparing the Walnut & Red Pepper Paste dip, Cevizli Biber, for the Class

Prerparing the Walnut & Red Pepper Paste dip, Cevizli Biber, for the Class

Tahini bread or pita bread would go really well with this delicious dip/spread. You can keep the dip covered in the fridge for 3-4 days. Middle Eastern stores or specialty stores usually carry the red pepper paste, so as Turkish online supermarket, Tulumba.com in the US.  If you like to make your own hot red pepper paste, here is my recipe.  Click here for the Walnut and red pepper paste with olive oil dip recipe.

Smoked eggplant salad with garlic yoghurt and mint – Patlicanli Yogurtlama

Smoked eggplant salad with garlic yoghurt and dried mint; Patlicanli Yogurtlama

Smoked eggplant salad with garlic yoghurt and dried mint; Patlicanli Yogurtlama

This is a lovely refreshing smoked eggplant salad again  from southern Turkey, Antakya, this time with garlic yoghurt and mint. It goes very well with grilled meats, or just with some nice crusty bread as an appetizer. This salad or mezze is perfect for hot summer days and can be kept in fridge for a couple of days. Here is the smoked eggplant with garlic and yoghurt recipe.

Lamb Kebabs with Pistachios on Flat Bread in Cherry & Tomato Sauce 

Pistachio lamb kebabs in cherry & tomato sauce; delicious treats for all

Pistachio lamb kebabs in cherry & tomato sauce; delicious treats for all

 

Making the pistachio lamb  kebabs with CM Chef Giovanni at Central Market Cooking School in Austin

Making the pistachio lamb kebabs with CM Chef Giovanni at Central Market Cooking School in Austin

These pistachio lamb kebabs in cherry and tomato sauce 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. They kebabs are wonderful when chargrilled in summer time, but equally delicious grilled or baked in the oven. 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. Here is my recipe for the pistachio lamb kebabs.

Baklava with Pistachios and Walnuts – Fistikli ve Cevizli Baklava 

Home made baklava with walnuts and pistachios

Home made 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. There is no bad time for a good piece of baklava! 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. Making baklava at home is surprisingly easier than you think; and I like the fact that you can adjust the sweetness of the syrup to your taste. Here is my baklava recipe, if you’d like to have a go.

Deliciously Frothy Turkish Coffee,Turk Kahvesi – More Than a Drink

Delicious frothy, aromatic Turkish Coffee, Turk Kahvesi

Delicious frothy, aromatic Turkish Coffee, Turk Kahvesi

 

Making Turkish coffee for 40 participants at the class; we had a small production line!:)

Making Turkish coffee for 40 participants at the class; we had a small production line!:)

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. 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 by the side complete the Turkish coffee ritual. Here is step by step instructions for how to make Turkish coffee at home.

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As always, it is the people what makes a place special. I was very grateful to have the company of dear friends, Turkish food lovers and enthusiasts at the class. Thank you all for your company and making me feel at home!

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John, Nancy, and Ozlem 8_2_2013

I hope these recipes and photos may inspire to have a go and try these delicious, easy recipes. Let me know if you have any questions, it is always good to hear from you and I would be delighted to help out.

Afiyet Olsun!

Ozlem

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22 Responses to From Pistachio Lamb Kebabs to Baklava; Our Turkish Feast in Austin, Texas

  1. jaz August 5, 2013 at 12:31 am #

    you are such an inspiration to me! this was such a wonderful post. i want to make everything. i want to live in a 500 year old home! when i was a little girl, i made my own phyllo. i read about it in a book and had to have some for myself. there was nowhere to buy it back then so i made my own. people thought i was crazy until they tasted it. to this day, though store bought is so much easier, i miss the ritual!

    • Ozlem Warren August 5, 2013 at 3:01 am #

      so kind of you Jaz, you are an inspiration to me too, with your wonderful garden, cooking for the shelter and giving back to the community all the time! thank you for your very kind note : )

  2. Peri's Spice Ladle August 5, 2013 at 3:57 am #

    Dear Ozlem, how wonderful to read about your time back in Austin at the CM cooking school! What a treat this must have been for you:) and the food look delicious! So glad we could meet up last weekend talking about old memories as we created new ones! Much love, Peri.

    • Ozlem Warren August 5, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

      It was so precious to see you and family Peri, I know you just returned from India, thank you so much for coming to our way 🙂 Now looking forward to the next one, hope soon! xx ozlem

  3. senior dogs abroad August 5, 2013 at 5:50 am #

    [Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: Server IP]
    Özlem, We missed you while you were in Austin but you made it up with this powerhouse of wonderful recipes! I’ve already put them on the desktop to be tried in the future. You and the class attendees all look so happy in the photos and no wonder with all of that terrific food.

    • Ozlem Warren August 5, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

      Dear Jolee and Mark, lovely to hear from you; apologies about silence from my end, as we have been visiting friends, traveling and catching up big time, a very precious time to spend with friends. The class was wonderful, such a welcoming crowd, I was grateful to be able to teach and connect with them. Gald you liked the recipes 🙂 Cok sevgiler, ozlem

  4. Barbara August 5, 2013 at 7:34 am #

    Your pics make me so hungry and nostalgic for proper Turkish food. Seems you had a great time in Austin – everything looks wonderful!

    • Ozlem Warren August 5, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

      Thanks Barbara, it is wonderful to be back, the folks we miss most, so enjoying visiting them a lot : )

  5. Alan August 5, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    . . you drew me in with this one – normally just wander by anything with a recipe – you really do have the knack for delighting the non-foodie types. Those pistchio lamb kebap is a feast for the eyes – I’m drooling!

    • Ozlem Warren August 5, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

      Thanks so much Alan, very kind of you – I am sorry I am way behind catching up with you all. Having a wonderful time in the US, will be in touch soon!

  6. BacktoBodrum August 5, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    [Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: Server IP]
    Ozlem you really should be knighted by the Turkish government for your services promoting Turkish Culture.

    • Ozlem Warren August 6, 2013 at 3:36 am #

      Cok sagol Annie, I think we can all do our bit; it would be so wonderful to extend these kind of events, a huge, positive promotion for Turkey. Thank you for your kind words : )

  7. April Ozbilgin August 5, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

    Everything looks so delicious! Sure hate that I missed it!

    • Ozlem Warren August 6, 2013 at 3:34 am #

      Sorry to miss you too April, I feel there will be another time we may hopefully meet up, insallah 🙂 cok selamlar, Ozlem

  8. Phil in the Kitchen August 5, 2013 at 11:23 pm #

    That’s a very fine menu and very good, fresh produce too by the look of it. I’m pleased to hear that everything went well with the class.

    • Ozlem Warren August 6, 2013 at 3:33 am #

      Greetings from Austin, Phil; it was a wonderful class and CM is a fine place; the fresh produce is amazing – I thought of you when I saw the fresh figs!

  9. Claudia August 8, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

    [Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: Server IP]
    Oh Özlem, this is a fabulous post. You make it all seem so totally delicious and makeable! Good for you! Lucky people! I salute you, well done!

    • Ozlem Warren August 10, 2013 at 3:56 am #

      Merhaba Claudia, thank you so much, very kind of you – they’ve been such an incredible audience and it’s a pleasure to teach and share; my food always on the practical side, I am so glad it looks from your side that it is doable, that’s great news! Cok selamlar and Mutlu Bayramlar! Ozlem xx

  10. Tracy Lee Karner August 9, 2013 at 10:29 pm #

    Everything looks and sounds delicious. Am happy I stumbled on your site. My husband is an old-school American chef (traditional, in other words) who loves eating ethnic cuisines but rarely thinks to cook them. It’s a great gift when I can prepare delicious food for him that he wouldn’t normally prepare for himself, and he’s SO appreciative when I do. I can hardly wait to try out some of your recipes on him.

    • Ozlem Warren August 10, 2013 at 3:41 am #

      Dear Tracy, thank you for your kind comment; very glad that you will have a go at the recipes; they are easy and wonderful to share. I greatly hope you and your husband enjoy it 🙂 my best wishes, Ozlem

  11. Ilke August 11, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    Lucky students! :)) Glad you’ll are having great time…Everything looks delicious!

    • Ozlem Warren August 12, 2013 at 3:36 am #

      Merhabalar sevgili Ilke, cok tesekkurler 🙂 We are having a wonderful time!:) xx ozlem

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