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Turkish cuisine provides healthy, hearty, delicious food for family and friends.
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Cakes and Desserts

Semolina sponge cake with syrupy orange slices; Portakalli Revani and New Online Turkish Cooking Class!

We Turks love Revani, our deliciously moist semolina sponge cake in light syrup – a popular recipe from my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table and at my cookery classes too. Recently, I came across a lovely Olive oil clementine upside down cake by Martha cooks @marthacollison, where she added clementine slices to her cake. This inspired me to have a go for my version, using semolina and orange slices.

There are many versions of Revani and traditionally when made with orange, often the zest of orange and in some cases, orange juice is used in the recipe in Turkey. With my version here, I used thinly sliced oranges cooked in syrup, as well as the fresh orange juice in the cake batter. Grainy semolina and ground almond gave a light, moist texture to the cake and the syrupy orange slices over the top of the cake made it impressive enough to serve your guests, with a citrusy, refreshing taste.  I used a mixture of demerara and regular white sugar in the syrup. I like demerara’s crunchy taste and texture, and the darker colour demerara gives; you can use regular white sugar instead for the whole amount. Please to use freshly squeezed orange juice in the syrup, as it does make a difference.

This lovely, light and so easy to make Semolina cake with zesty orange slices, Portakalli Revani, can be a wonderful addition to your festive table, or to make any day special. Serve with Turkish thick (or regular) clotted cream, kaymak, crème fraiche or strained plain yoghurt,  warm or at room temperature. This cake will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container.

Semolina sponge cake with syrupy orange slices – Portakalli Revani
 
This lovely, light and so easy to make semolina cake with zesty orange slices, Portakalli Revani, can be a wonderful addition to your festive table, or to make any day special. Serve with Turkish thick (or regular) clotted cream, kaymak, crème fraiche or strained plain yoghurt, warm or at room temperature. This cake will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
Author:
Recipe type: Desserts and cakes
Cuisine: Turkish cuisine
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 150g /5 ¼oz coarse semolina
  • 30g / 1oz ground almond
  • 170g / 6oz sugar
  • 5ml / 1tsp baking powder
  • 3 medium free range eggs, beaten
  • 225g / 8oz plain whole milk yoghurt
  • 60ml / 4tbsp light olive oil
  • For the syrup:
  • 1 medium orange, thinly sliced into round discs (skin on)
  • 100g/ 3 ½ oz demerara sugar
  • 150g/ 5 ¼ oz white sugar
  • 85ml/ 3fl oz freshly squeezed orange juice (from 1 large orange)
  • 285ml / 10fl oz water
  • Ground pistachio nuts or desiccated coconut to serve (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C / 350F
  2. Grease a 20cm round cake thin with a little olive oil and line with baking parchment.
  3. Make the syrup first. Squeeze the juice of one large orange and pour it through a sieve to get rid of the pulp. Combine the demerara sugar, regular sugar, orange juice and water in a medium to large pan. Stir and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved. Then add the orange slices and simmer gently for 30 minutes, until the orange slices softened.
  4. Use a slotted spoon to gently remove the slices and arrange them side by side in the prepared cake tin. Reserve the syrup and cool aside. You can prepare the syrup with the orange slices this way a day ahead of time.
  5. Beat the eggs and combine with the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat and combine well for a few minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Then add the olive oil, yoghurt, semolina, ground almond and the baking powder and beat well. Combine well until you have a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake in the pre-heated oven for about 30-35 minutes, until the cake is golden brown. To check; insert a toothpick into the centre of the cake, if it comes out clean, that means the cake is cooked. If not, bake for another 3-5 minutes.
  6. Using a large spoon, drizzle the cooled syrup all over the hot semolina cake. Let the cake absorb the syrup and cool down for 10 minutes in the tin. Then carefully turn the cake out on a large flat circle serving plate. Gently remove the baking parchment to reveal the glossy top with glazed orange slices.
  7. Slice and enjoy warm or cold (I love mine warm), sprinkled with ground pistachios or desiccated coconut over if you like.Turkish thick (or regular) clotted cream, kaymak, crème fraiche or plain strained yoghurt goes well by the side. This cake keeps well for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
  8. Afiyet Olsun.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book and Apron as Foodie Gifts!

It’s the gift giving season; Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book could make a lovely gift to a foodie, you can order a signed copy here, it is delivered worldwide including the US.

We are also delighted to offer you this special Ozlem’s Turkish Table apron, just in time for the holiday gift giving season. It is special to my heart, as it is made in Turkey, with my hometown Antakya’s celebrated daphne leaves in the hand embroidered design – this lovely apron could also make a wonderful gift for; you can get yours at this link. Delivered worldwide including the US.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table online cookery class

 – Healthy Turkish food made easy –

Date : Saturday January 16th 2021

Time: 5.30pm – 7pm (GMT)

Cost: 30 GBP per person

Stuffed aubergines/eggplants – Karniyarik; a delicious main from Ozlem’s Turkish Table

Please join our small size online cookery class, where together we will make the Turkish classic, Stuffed aubegine/eggplant with minced/ground meat and vegetables, Karniyarik, as well as its vegan version with a filling of green lentils, tomatoes, onions in it, Mercimekli Karniyarik. We will also make the Cucumber and yoghurt, Cacik dip and finish off with Rice pilaf with pinenuts, currants and herbs, Ic Pilav. It will be a complete meal and you will get plenty of ahead of time preparation tips, ideas for substitution and with stories from my homeland.

The class would also make a wonderful gift for a foodie.

To join the class, please make your payment of 30 GBP here at the link below:


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My very best wishes to you all for the festive season and the New Year, in good health and happiness. Many thanks for joining me to enjoy and share my homeland’s delicious, wholesome Turkish cuisine.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

 

 

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Turkish Baked Rice Pudding! Ozlem Turkish Table Apron, TRT Interview and Online Classes

Turkish Baked Rice Pudding – Firin Sutlac

Milk based desserts have a special place in Turkish cuisine, like this Turkish Baked Rice Pudding, or Firin Sutlac, as we call in Turkish. We enjoy this comforting dessert, not only at the end of meals, but also as a day time treat. There are Pastanes, Patisseries, and  Muhallebici, Pudding Shops in Turkey, that serve this milk based dessert as well as other sweet treats. I have fond memories of stopping by our local muhallebici, pudding shop, to have enjoy our Firin Sutlac, with a glass of cay aside, with family and friends in Turkey.

Here’s my recreation of our creamy, comforting Firin Sutlac; it is a big hit with my family and friends,  I hope you enjoy it too. It  is lighter than you think, there is no butter in it and also gluten-free. Please use whole milk for a deliciously creamy taste, if you can. Traditional Turkish rice puddings are made with regular white granulated sugar but I used demerara sugar, as it is our preferred sugar in our home– hence my rice pudding is more golden in colour and less sweet than the regular Firin Sutlac. Even though Firin Sutlac is enjoyed cold in Turkey, I must say we love it warm. We also like to add crushed nuts and dried freeze berries on top; you can sprinkle ground cinnamon when serving too. My children like to have fresh berries with their Baked rice pudding; very tempting to have it for breakfast this way too!

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Turkish Baked Rice pudding, Firin Sutlac
 
Here’s my recreation of our creamy, comforting Turkish Rice Pudding, Firin Sutlac; it is a big hit with my family and friends, I hope you enjoy it too. It is lighter than you think, there is no butter in it and also gluten-free. Please use whole milk for a deliciously creamy taste, if you can. Traditional Turkish rice puddings are made with regular white granulated sugar but I used demerara sugar, as it is our preferred sugar in our home– hence my rice pudding is more golden in colour and less sweet than the regular Firin Sutlac. Even though Firin Sutlac is enjoyed cold in Turkey, I must say we love it warm. We also like to add crushed nuts and dried freeze berries on top; you can sprinkle ground cinnamon when serving too. My children like to have fresh berries with their Baked rice pudding; very tempting to have it for breakfast this way too!
Author:
Recipe type: Milk Pudding
Cuisine: Turkish cuisine
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 125g / 4⅜ oz short grain rice, rinsed
  • 450ml / 16fl oz whole milk (to cook the rice at the beginning)
  • 900ml / 32fl oz whole milk (to combine with the cooked rice and rest of ingredients)
  • 200g/ 7oz demerara sugar (you can use regular white granulated sugar, if preferred)
  • 5ml / 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 45ml/ 3tbsp cornstarch
  • 80ml/ 3fl oz whole milk (to mix with the cornstarch)
  • Crushed pistachios, walnuts and/or dried berries to decorate (optional)
  • Ground cinnamon to decorate (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200 C / 400 F
  2. Combine the rinsed short grain rice and 450ml / 16fl oz whole milk, in a medium to large heavy pot. Stir and bring to boil over medium to low heat. Once it starts bubbling, turn the heat to low, cover and cook about 20 minutes, until all the moisture is absorbed. Make sure to check and stir occasionally so the rice won’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Now add 900ml / 32fl oz whole milk to the cooked rice, stir and bring to a simmer, cooking over low to medium heat.
  4. Stir in the vanilla extract and sugar, combine well.
  5. Mix the cornstarch with 80ml/ 3fl oz whole milk in a small bowl, making sure the starch blends with the milk and form a smooth paste. Add this to the rice mixture.
  6. Combine and simmer over low to medium heat, with constant stirring, for about 25 minutes. You will notice the sauce has thickened. Turn the heat off.
  7. Pour the rice pudding into oven proof individual ramekin pots, taking care not to overfill until the top as the pudding tends to rise while baking. Place the pots on large baking dish or tray. Fill the baking tray half way with water, to provide moisture for the rice pudding.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven (200 C/ 400 F) for about 25 minutes or until the tops have a nice brown coating. Please check half way and towards the end to make sure the browning is good for your taste (and every oven is different, so it is good to keep an eye on it especially towards the end.
  9. Carefully take out the rice pudding, Firin Sutlac, from the tray. We enjoy ours warm, sprinkled with crushed pistachio, walnuts and dried freeze strawberries. You can also sprinkle cinnamon on top. If you prefer the traditional way, cool them at room temperature and refrigerate 2 -3 hours and serve cold.
  10. Afiyet Olsun.

New! Ozlem Turkish Table Apron on Sale and Special Offer

I am absolutely delighted to share with you that we designed this special Ozlem’s Turkish Table apron, just in time for the holiday gift giving season. It is special to my heart, as it is made in Turkey, with my hometown Antakya’s celebrated daphne leaves in the hand embroidered design – this lovely apron would make a wonderful gift for the festive season, you can get yours at this link. Delivered worldwide including the US.
We also have a special offer for Ozlem’s Turkish Table readersfor a limited time, to  you can get a  signed copy of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book bundled with this apron at a special price of £27.99. This special offer ends on 21th November 2020, if you like to get yours here is the link. Delivered worldwide including the US.
Signed hard back copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book are also 25 % Off, via GB Publishing, as a little gift from us to you, can be ordered at this link and delivered worldwide. I hope it helps bring many memorable Turkish feasts to your table.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table Interview with TRT Radio 1 (Turkish National Radio 1)

It’s been an honor to be interviewed by the Turkish National Radio, TRT Radyo 1, at the Gunebakan Program today, talking about Turkish cuisine abroad. A special moment for me, talking in Turkish, at my homeland’s national radio channel. As we talked during the interview, our  recipes are  valuable means to share our thousands years of our culinary heritage with the world and pass on to the next generations. Also living abroad, I well know how precious our food is to connect us to our homeland, our memories and bring our stories to life. It is such a privilege to share my homeland Turkey’s amazing culinary heritage, traditions, recipes, hospitality, through these precious opportunities and my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland. My sincere thanks goes to GB Publishing and Pinar Foods UK for helping me spread the word on wholesome, delicious Turkish cuisine.
Here is the link to our interview with TRT Radio 1, I hope you enjoy it:

 I am absolutely delighted  to be teaching another  joint live cookery class with dear friend, author and passionate food blogger, Peri Avari  owner of the wonderful blog Peri’s Spice Ladle on Friday, November 20th, 9 am PT (5 pm UK) .We will be teaching festive dishes with Turkish favorites and global Indian specialties for your holiday servings, including the popular Filo Triangles with vegetarian fillings, Muska Boregi. Our menu includes:

    • Muska Boregi, vegetarian savory filo triangles, ideal appetizer for holiday meals.

    • Nar eksili, cevizli salata, watercress salad with sumac, onions, walnuts and pomegranate molasses, adds freshness to your celebration servings.

    • Aloo Gobi Casserole, a festive baked twist on a popular Indian favorite made with potatoes, cauliflower and a topping of Panko breadcrumbs.

    • Pine-nut Coconut Basmati Rice, bring in a touch of Indian ethnicity with a simple side of nutty rice.

    • During the class, we will give recipe tips, ideas for variations, ahead of time prepping and of course share stories from our homelands. Do hope you can join us at this special class to make the home cooking more festive. Here is the registation link for our online cookery class on November 20th; it is open worldwide.

    • Please also check my cookery class page for new classes and events coming up, including my Turkish Meze Feast Online Cooking Class on Dec 5th, with Milk Street Cooking School.
    • I wish you all a wonderful holiday season, in good health and happiness, Afiyet Olsun,

    • Ozlem

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Baklava, Revani, Kunefe and More; Desserts for the End of Ramadan

The end of Ramadan is celebrated with a three-day Ramazan Bayrami or Seker Bayrami in Turkey (also named Eid al-Fitr in the Islamic World, Festival of Fast-Breaking), starting 24 May 2020.

The Blue Mosque Istanbul; a special place to visit during and end of Ramadan

The Blue Mosque, Istanbul; a special place to visit during and end of Ramadan

Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection, improvement, charity, as well as increased devotion and worship.  Ramadan is also a wonderful opportunity to give back to the community, share what you have and visit one another.  With the Covid 19, unfortunately visiting one another will be a virtual one for most of us; still the food we prepare and share with friends, neighbours even by the door and give back to charities will be special.

Baklava, is one of the ultimate treats of end of Ramadan gatherings

Baklava, is one of the ultimate treats of end of Ramadan gatherings

 Below are some of the special desserts being prepared for Ramazan Bayrami in our family. I hope they may inspire to recreate for your family too.

Desserts play an important role in Turkish culture and are the center piece at religious festivals, weddings and family celebrations. My cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland is packed with delicious dessert recipes from Baklava to Kadayifi, fruit based desserts  to Turkish Delight – Lokum and more. Signed copies now 30 % OFF at this link, and delivered worldwide including US.

Ramazan Bayraminiz kutlu olsun, Eid Mubarak to all celebrating and best wishes,

Ozlem

Baklava with Walnuts and Pistachios 

Home made baklava; delicious, easy and lighter

Home made baklava; delicious, easy and lighter

An Ottoman legacy, baklava is regarded as 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. Baklava is also one of the favorite desserts marking the end of Ramadan. 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. Here is my home made baklava recipe; my version is lighter and fragrant with lemon, hope you enjoy it.  How to make Baklava is also now on Ozlem’s Turkish Table You Tube channel below.

Gullac

Delicious and light Gullac dessert is ideal for warm summer days.

Delicious and light Gullac dessert is ideal for warm summer days.

One of our favorite dessert for this time of the year is the traditional dessert, Gullac. This lovely, light dessert is prepared with Gullac wafers which is made with corn starch and wheat flour. You can find Gullac wafers at specialty or Middle Eastern stores, or at Turkish online shops.

Güllaç dessert contains walnuts or almonds between the layers which are soaked in milk. It is a light and wonderful dessert for warm summer days. You can decorate Gullac with pomegranate seeds in winter or dried fruits like apricots in summer; crushed pistachios are also wonderful over gullac. Here is my Gullac recipe.

Kunefe; Kadayifi; a very festive dessert

Kunefe, Kadayifi - a glorious dessert that would make any day special.

Kunefe, Kadayifi – a glorious dessert that would make any day special.

This glorious syrup soaked, cheese filled pastry strands, Kunefe, Kadayifi, is one of the signature dishes of my hometown, Antakya and it appears on our table in almost every special occasion.

The Master at work in Long Market, Antakya. The dough is pushed through a sieve to form delicate strands, called Tel Kadayif.

The Master at work in Long Market, Antakya. The dough is pushed through a sieve to form delicate strands, called Tel Kadayif.

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 and it instantly makes any day special. Here is my Kunefe recipe, if you’d like to give it a go.

Revani; Semolina Sponge Cake with Syrup

Revani; a deliciously moist semolina sponge cake in syrup

Revani; a deliciously moist semolina sponge cake in syrup

Revani has been a popular dessert with us Turks since the Ottoman Period; it is believed that the name Revani is given when the Ottomans conquered the city of Yerevan in today’s Armenia. Revani has many versions and been enjoyed in various cuisines especially in the Eastern Mediterranean countries, as well as in Turkey. I have seen the addition of rose water, orange flower water and orange zest to Revani, all sounds delicious. We love semolina’s grainy, nutty texture, the goodness from yoghurt and the refreshing lemony flavor in Revani. Here’s my Revani recipe; it is lighter but still packed with a lot of flavor.

Here is also my Revani YouTube video – Afiyet Olsun.

Kaymakli Ekmek Kadayifi; Turkish Bread Pudding in Syrup

Ekmek Kadayifi; Turkish bread pudding soaked in syrup

Ekmek Kadayifi; Turkish bread pudding soaked in syrup

Ekmek Kadayifi, a specialty from Antakya, is a delicious and very popular dessert in Turkey, made with the special (dehydrated) bread soaked in syrup. Topped with the thick Turkish clotted cream, kaymak, it is a heavenly and a very satisfying dessert. Unfortunately it is difficult get this dehydrated bread abroad. Middle Eastern shops, Turkish shops and online Turkish stores may carry them, worth checking. I have also seen crumpets being used as an alternative to this dehydrated bread abroad. If using crumpets, you’ll need to adjust the syrup quantity. Here is my Ekmek Kadayifi recipe.

 Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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