Cookery Classes

I teach Turkish cooking classes in England,Turkey & USA, hope you can join us!,
Find Out More

Recipes    

Turkish cuisine provides healthy, hearty, delicious food for family and friends.
Find out more

Ozlem’s Turkish Table Cookery Book

Revani; A deliciously moist, Semolina Cake in Syrup

Revani; deliciously moist semolina sponge cake in syrup; this lighter version is still packed with flavor.

Revani; deliciously moist semolina sponge cake in syrup; this lighter version is still packed with a lot of flavor.

My 9 year old son asked if we may bake anneanne’s (grandma’s) Revani semolina cake the other day and our heart was set. We don’t enjoy overly sweet desserts and this delicious, moist semolina sponge cake in lighter syrup has been a favorite with us. We love semolina’s grainy, nutty texture, the goodness from yoghurt and the refreshing lemony flavor in revani. I also used mild olive oil here and worked really well; lighter but still packed with a lot of flavor.

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.

My daughter's revani in cupcake; turned out wonderful!:)

My daughter’s revani cupcake; turned out wonderful!:)

Make sure to prepare the syrup ahead of time and that it is completely cool before pouring over the semolina cake, otherwise the cake gets soggy. Traditionally it is baked in a baking dish but my 6 year old daughter also wanted to make a few Revani cupcakes and they turned up rather wonderful!:) If you would like to bake revani as cupcakes, make sure to grease each cupcake shell with olive oil and not to overfill. If you are using paper cupcake shells, I suggest you to have 2 paper shells stacked together to provide a firm base, so that the batter won’t spill.

In Turkey, we like to decorate Revani with ground pistachio and desiccated coconut.  I hope you can give this delicious, moist revani a try, it makes any day special.

 

My cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland, is a special tribute to my roots, going back to Antakya. I hoped to showcase delicious, authentic regional recipes, especially from southern Turkey and Antakya, including this fragrant, delicious Revani. More than a cookery book, it has personal stories from my homeland, along with beautiful photography; Signed copies are  NOW 25 % OFF available to order at this link, if you’d like to copy, it is delivered worldwide, including US and Canada. We hope this helps enjoying healthy, delicious Turkish recipes during lockdown; it can also make a lovely gift for a foodie.

Also, here is my Revani YouTube video, hope you enjoy it:

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Serves 6 – 8

Preparation time: 15-20 minutes

Cooking time: 25-30 minutes for the cake and 15 minutes for the syrup

165 gr/ 6oz / 1 cup coarse semolina

200gr/7oz/1 cup sugar

45ml/3 tbsp. plain flour

5ml/1 tsp. baking powder

225gr/8oz/1 cup plain (whole milk) yoghurt

3 medium eggs

60ml/ 4 tbsp. light olive oil

10ml/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Zest of 1 lemon and Juice of ½ lemon

For the syrup:

300gr/10.5oz/1 ½ cup sugar

375ml/12 fl. oz. / 1 ½ cup water

Juice of ½ lemon

Ground pistachio nuts and desiccated coconut to serve

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4

First make the syrup, as it needs to cool down. Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan (at a medium heat). Stir and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to low and let the syrup simmer for about 10 minutes, uncovered. Add the lemon juice, mix well and simmer for another 3 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the syrup cool down while you make the semolina cake.

Grease a square or rectangular baking dish (mine was 20 cm x 27 cm – about 8”x 10”) with 2 tbsp. olive oil. First beat the eggs and the sugar in a large mixing bowl briskly for a few minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Then add the remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil, yoghurt, semolina, flour, the baking powder and beat well.  Stir in the vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix well until you have a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the greased baking dish and bake in the preheated oven for about 25 – 30 minutes, until the cake is golden brown. To check; insert a toothpick to the center of the cake, if it comes out clean, that means the cake is cooked. If not, bake for another 3-5 minutes.

Using a large spoon, drizzle the cooled syrup all over the semolina cake. Let the cake absorb the syrup and cool down. Once cool, cut the revani in square or diamond shapes; you can serve revani with ground pistachio and desiccated coconut over the top like we do in Turkey.

Revani; semolina sponge cake in syrup, delicious.

Revani; semolina sponge cake in syrup, delicious.

Revani gets even better the next day and keeps well, covered, for a good few days. In Turkey, we enjoy revani with Turkish coffee  or Cay, Turkish tea by the side.

A very memorable Turkish tea, cay, I recently enjoyed at the Sofra Restaurant, Covent Garden - London

A very memorable Turkish tea, cay, I recently enjoyed at the Sofra Restaurant, Covent Garden – London

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Dunyanin Turk Sefleri, “Turkish Chefs of the World” TV program coming up at TRT Turk – with a little part from Ozlem’s Turkish Table 🙂

Delighted to have a small part at the Turkish Chefs of the World TV program; here with Milliyet food writer Sureyya Uzmez and TRT Producer Ahmet Sabuncu

Delighted to have a small part at the Turkish Chefs of the World, “Dunyanin Turk Sefleri” TV program for TRT Turk; here with Milliyet food writer Sureyya Uzmez and TRT Producer        Ahmet Sabuncu

I was delighted to have a small yet delightful part at the Culinary TV program being shot for the Turkish TRT Turk channel, in London’s Covent Garden last weekend. TRT Turk is the Cultural – News channel of Turkey’s national TV channel, TRT, aired over 70 countries. The name of the program is Dunyanin Turk Sefleri, “Turkish Chefs of the World”, being shot in many European cities like in Vienna, Hamburg, London as well as in Japan, and more series will include shots in New York too. During the program, Milliyet Daily food writer Mr. Sureyya Uzmez aims to explore the world cuisines and the presence of Turkish cuisine within those countries. They kindly included an interview with me too at London’s Covent Garden about Turkish cuisine. We talked about the rise of natural, healthy eating globally how the Turkish cuisine fits the bill well with the emphasis on seasonality, fresh produce and artful use of spices. I also mentioned the growing interest for Turkish cuisine, thanks to you wonderful readers, and your enthusiasm to even tackle Turkish landmarks like Turkish Delight, Lokum, Simit – the sesame encrusted bread rings – , Gozleme; Anatolian stuffed flat breads and more. The program is scheduled to go on air later October – exciting times, stay tuned!:)

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Broad beans dip with dill and red peppers; Kirmizi Biberli Fava

Bountiful, seasonal produce at the Farmer's Market, Pazar, in Istanbul; of one my favorite places to visit as soon as I am at home.

Bountiful, seasonal produce at the Farmers’ Market, Pazar, in Istanbul; of one my favorite places to visit as soon as I am at home.

I love this time of the year when all the fresh produce is at its best. Farmers’ Markets or Pazar, as we call it in Turkish, are packed with ripe juicy tomatoes (why not enjoy tomatoes in this Gavurdagi Salad of ripe tomatoes, walnuts with pomegranate molasses dressing), slim gorgeous aubergines /eggplants (try Imam Bayildi, eggplants cooked in olive oil with vegetables; a delicious and refreshing vegetarian course you can prepare ahead of time), watermelon, peppers and many more. Turkish cuisine is based on using fresh, seasonal produce and seeing these is a paradise on a plate for me.

Fresh broad beans; I love their earthy, delicious flavour

Fresh broad beans; I love their earthy, delicious flavour

 I was delighted to find fresh broad beans or fava beans in my local farmers market a few weeks ago. Fresh broad beans are available from late spring until about end of August. Broad beans were a staple food in ancient times and they are common in many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines today. They are very high in protein and fiber and naturally low in fat and cholesterol. I love their unique, earthy flavor, especially in this popular mezze in Turkey; Fava, Pureed broad beans with dill, lemon juice and olive oil. Traditionally, we use dried broad beans for this puree; this time I used fresh broad beans and it worked really well.

Broad beans puree with dill and sauteed peppers in olive oil; a delicious dip

Broad beans puree with dill and sauteed peppers in olive oil; a scrumptious dip

I especially loved the bright sweetness of the fresh broad beans in this appetizer. Blended with dill, olive oil and lemon juice, it turned out to be a delicious, earthy dip. It has a consistency of a thick hummus and is delightful on toasted bread or crackers. I served this dip with sautéed strips of red peppers in red pepper flakes (pul biber) infused olive oil; the sweetness of the peppers and the touch of spice from the red pepper flakes worked so well with the earthy flavor of the broad beans. As you can prepare ahead of time, it makes a lovely entertaining dish. This broad beans puree keeps very well in the fridge for a good few days.

Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, available to order at this link

Turkish cuisine is based on seasonal produce and offers a wide range of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free choices, very healthy and delicious too. I aimed to showcase our healthy Turkish cuisine with over 90 delicious, authentic dishes at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland; Signed copies available to order at this link, if you’d like. Please note that this recipe is not included at my current cookery book.

Serves 2 – 4

200 gr/ 7 oz./1  ¾   cups fresh broad beans, shelled (or a generous 1 cup dried broad beans)

1 small potato, cut in chunky cubes

1 small onion, roughly chopped

30 ml/ 2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill

5ml/ 1 tsp. brown sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

30ml/ 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

To serve:

1 small red bell (or pointy) pepper, deseeded and cut into thin stripes

30ml/2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill

30ml/ 2 tbsp. olive oil

5ml/1 tsp. Turkish red pepper flakes (pul biber)

fresh broad beans, onions and potatoes work well in this delicious dip

Fresh broad beans, onions and potatoes work well in this delicious dip

If you are using dried broad beans, place the beans in a bowl of water and soak overnight or for at least 4-6 for six hours. Drain beans and then cook them in boiling water with the potatoes and onions. Simmer for about 40-45 minutes, until tender. Once cooked, drain the water and set aside to cool.

If you are using fresh broad beans, blanch the shelled beans in boiling water for about a minute, then grasp them by the furrowed ends and slip them out of their skins.

In a small saucepan, add these broad beans, potatoes and onions, cook over medium heat until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Pulse the cooked beans and vegetables with dill in a food processor to form a purée consistency.

Pulse the cooked beans and vegetables with dill in a food processor to form a purée consistency.

Pulse the cooked beans and vegetables with dill in a food processor to form a purée consistency. Remove from the food processor into a bowl and stir in olive oil, sugar and lemon juice. Season with salt and ground black pepper to your taste.

Broad beans and vegetables puree; chill and set in the fridge.

Broad beans and vegetables puree; chill and set in the fridge.

Just before serving, gentlyheat the olive oil in a pan and stir in the Turkish red pepper flakes. Add the stripes of red bell peppers, combine and cook for a few minutes. The red pepper flakes will infuse to the olive oil and turn into a lovely red color. Stir in the fresh dill and turn the heat off.

Once the broad beans puree is set in the fridge, unmold, turn the puree over on a serving dish. Drizzle the sautéed peppers and the olive oil over and around the pureed broad beans dip. You can enjoy this delicious dip with toasted bread or crackers aside.

Broad beans puree with dill and sauteed peppers in olive oil; a delicious dip

Broad beans puree with dill and sauteed peppers in olive oil; a delicious dip, great for entertaining.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Tips for buying fresh fava (broad beans):

  • When purchasing fresh fava beans (or broad beans), look for bright green pods that are free of yellow patches. Large beans are starchy and firm, while smaller ones are sweeter and tenderer.
  • If you are buying shelled beans, make sure they are tender and have a smooth surface.
  • To store shelled fava beans, spread them out in a single layer and cover them loosely with plastic wrap for up to three days.

 

 

Continue Reading

Gozleme; Anatolian Flat breads stuffed with Spinach and Cheese

“Can we learn how to make gozleme (Anatolian stuffed flat breads) at the next class?” asked one of my regular Turkish cooking class  participants, few months ago. I greatly enjoy their requests, enthusiasm to learn more and have a go at them; that’s all I could hope for from the classes. “Sure, why not!” was reply; I was excited and my heart was set on tackling the much loved gozleme, Turkish flat breads with stuffing, the proper way. During my recent visit to Turkey, I got myself a proper non-stick oval gozleme pan to have a go at these delicious treats.

Local ladies preparing Gozleme at Hanimeli Restaurant, near Sirince - Turkey

Local ladies preparing Gozleme at Hanimeli Restaurant, near Sirince – Turkey

Having said that, the prospect of preparing Gozleme from scratch; preparing the dough and opening, stretching the dough as thin as sheets of paper was a little daunting at first. I call myself a cook more than a baker and greatly admire local ladies making it so effortlessly at home, in Turkey. Could I tackle it, I wondered. Thank goodness the sheer excitement of having a go at gozleme weighed much higher and I am so glad I tried. The sheets stretched beautifully and gozleme tasted heavenly. I owe a big thank you to David for the inspiration and that precious request!

Gozleme is traditionally prepared on giant non-stick round pan

Gozleme is traditionally prepared on giant non-stick round pan

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. And they go down very well with a glass of cay, Turkish tea or ayran, traditional Turkish yoghurt drink.

My Ispanakli & Peynirli Gozleme - Anatolian Flat breads with cheese, onion and spinach, indeed easier than you think!

My Ispanakli & Peynirli Gozleme – Anatolian Flat breads with cheese, onion and spinach, indeed easier than you think!

In the filling in this recipe I added a little Turkish red pepper paste, biber salcasi to the filling for a spicier version; it flavored the spinach and onion really well. If you would like a milder taste, simply omit the red pepper paste (or the pepper flakes).

Here is also my YouTube video link for How to make Home Style Gozleme:

Gozleme, Pide and savoury pastry recipes are also included in my Gourmand award winner cookery book Ozlem’s Turkish Table, signed copies of  Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland, now 25 % OFF available to order at this link. It is delivered worldwide, including the US and Canada.

Makes about 5 Gozleme

1lb./ 16 oz. / 3 cups plain flour

8g / 1 sachet instant dried yeast

Pinch of salt

45 ml/ 3 tbsp. olive oil

30 ml / 2 tbsp. plain natural yoghurt (preferably whole milk)

260 ml/ 9 fl. oz. / 1/5 cups warm water (150 ml/ 5 fl. oz. warm water to be mixed with the yeast)

For the filling:

200gr/7 oz. baby spinach leaves

1 onion, finely chopped
5ml/1 teaspoon Turkish red pepper flakes or 2 tsp. Turkish red pepper paste (optional)
230gr/8oz feta cheese

15ml/1 tbsp. olive oil

Non-stick pan or griddle to cook the Gozleme

Combine about 150 ml/ 5 fl. oz. warm water, yeast and salt in a small bowl, stir and cover. Stand in a warm place for 5 minutes or until bubbles form on the surface.

Divide the gozleme dough into balls, cover with a damp cloth and leave them to rest for 30 minutes,

Divide the gozleme dough into balls, cover with a damp cloth and leave them to rest for 30 minutes.

Sift the flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast, water & salt mixture, olive oil, yoghurt and the remaining warm water (about 110 ml/ 4 fl. oz./ ½ cup) . Using your hand, draw in the flour from the sides and work the mixture into a dough. Knead thoroughly to form a soft dough. Divide the dough into 5  pieces, knead them and roll into balls. Place the balls on a floured surface, cover with a damp cloth and leave them to rest for about 30 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size.

Knead the onions, spinach, olive oil and if you are using, red pepper paste first with your hands; that will soften the onions and blend the flavors well.

Knead the onions, spinach, olive oil and if you are using, red pepper paste first with your hands; that will soften the onions and blend the flavors well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Stir in the feta cheese to the spinach mixture and combine well.

Stir in the feta cheese to the spinach mixture and combine well.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Chop the washed spinach leaves roughly. Knead the onions, spinach, olive oil and if you are using, red pepper paste (or red pepper flakes) with your hands for a few minute or so – that will soften the onions and blend the flavors well -. Stir in the feta cheese and combine well.

Roll the gozleme dough with a rolling pin until you achieve a thin sheet of a flat round.

Roll the gozleme dough with a rolling pin until you achieve a thin sheet of a flat round.

 On a lightly floured surface, roll out each of the balls of the dough with a rolling pin into thin, flat rounds, about 40cm/16in diameter. Sprinkle a little flour as you roll the dough so that the dough won’t stick. Roll until you achieve a thin sheet of a flat round.

Fold the left and right sides of the dough in a way for the edges to meet in the middle and spread the filling in the middle.

Fold the left and right sides of the dough in a way for the edges to meet in the middle and spread the filling in the middle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then fold the top and bottom edges over the filling, making sure all the filling is safely covered.

Then fold the top and bottom edges over the filling, making sure all the filling is safely covered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fold the left and right sides of the dough in a way for the edges to meet in the middle.  Spread about 2 ½ tablespoon filling into the middle part of this flat sheet. Then fold the top and bottom edges over the filling, making sure all the filling is safely covered. Press edges together well to seal. Repeat the same procedure for the rest of the dough balls.

Brush one side of the gozleme with a little olive oil and place on the pan to cook for about 2 -3 minutes, or until golden brown.

Brush one side of the gozleme with a little olive oil and place on the pan to cook for about 2 -3 minutes, or until golden brown.

Heat a griddle or a non-stick pan, and brush one side of the gozleme with a little olive oil and place on the pan to cook for about 2 -3 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush the uncooked side with a little olive oil and then flip it over. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, until golden brown.

Cook the gozleme for about 2 -3 minutes on a non-stick pan, or until golden brown.

Cook the gozleme for about 2 -3 minutes on a non-stick pan, or until golden brown.

Brush both cooked sides of gozleme with a little olive oil -this will keep the gozleme moist. Cook the rest of the gozleme the same way.

My Ispanakli & Peynirli Gozleme - Anatolian Flat breads with cheese, onion and spinach, indeed easier than you think!

My Ispanakli & Peynirli Gozleme – Turkish Flat breads with cheese, onion and spinach stuffing; they are indeed easier than you think!

You can either roll the Gozleme to serve, or you can cut in halves or quarters. Ayran Turkish yoghurt drink or  Turkish tea, cay would go really well next to Gozleme.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

 

Continue Reading