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Pasta – Makarna

Delicious, Sun kissed Inspirations from Kalkan; Pasta with peppers, chili, garlic and tomatoes, in olive oil

We have had some wonderful food while in Kalkan at the south coast of Turkey, featuring region’s sun kissed fresh produce; tomatoes have been at their peak, and the peppers tasted out of this world – no need to mention the region’s divine olive oil; I could dip my bread to it all day!

Sun kissed south coast of Turkey is always so inviting

We had this simple yet very delicious pasta at the Villa Mahal’s café, and I recreated at home in England; it is packed with goodness and so easy too, ready within 30 minutes. The sweetness of tomatoes and peppers work so well with the chili pepper and tangy lemon juice- a handful of capers also work really well in this sauce.  Even though it wasn’t Kalkan’s lovingly grown tomatoes, still tasted wonderful, with children asking for another serving; sunshine on a plate.

Pasta with peppers, chili, garlic in olive oil, so delicious

Pasta with peppers, chili, garlic, tomatoes in olive oil, so delicious

For the ultimate Turkish experience, you can serve the pasta with Ayran, refreshing Turkish drink with yoghurt or Cacik dip with cucumber and yoghurt by the side. The tangy and hard Turkish kasar cheese goes very well, grated over the pasta; if you can’t get kasar, you can replace it with a tangy cheddar or Pecorino Romano.

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

I am passionate about healthy, delicious Turkish cuisine and aimed to showcase this wonderful cuisine with stories from my homeland at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland. It has over 90 authentic Turkish recipes and regional specialties from my hometown, Antakya. Signed copies are available to order at this link, for a limited period, if you’d like to get a copy.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 25 minutes                     Cooking time: 15 – 20 minutes

500gr pasta (spaghetti or penne works well) – or enough for 4 –

Red, orange, yellow (or green) pointy or bell peppers, deseeded and finely chopped

1-2 chili peppers, deseeded and finely chopped

4-6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

4 medium ripe tomatoes, finely chopped – please keep all the wonderful juice!-

Juice of ½ lemon

5ml/1 tsp. brown sugar

60ml/3 tbsp. olive oil

10ml/2 tsp. oregano

5ml/1 tsp. red pepper flakes – optional-

Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Grated hard and tangy Turkish kasar  (tangy cheddar) or  Pecorino Romano to serve

Ripe tomatoes, juicy peppers, garlic; fresh ingredients for a healthy, delicious sauce

Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan and stir in the peppers, chili pepper and garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the pan and combine well. Stir in the lemon juice, brown sugar and red pepper flakes, if using. Season with salt and ground black pepper, mix well.  Leave to cook on a moderate heat for about 8 minutes. Once cooked, stir in the oregano to the sauce and check the seasoning.

Tomatoes, peppers, chili and the garlic work so well together

Boil the water for the pasta in a separate heavy pan, while the sauce is cooking. Cook the spaghetti in plenty of lightly salted boiling water until a minute before it is al dente (please refer to the cooking time on the pasta’s packaging). Drain the water and set aside the pasta in the colander.

Stir in the pasta to the pan where the sauce is cooked; make sure to coat all the pasta with the sauce (if you like, you can drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the pasta).

Make sure to stir in the cooked pasta to the pan you cooked the sauce in, to mop up all the juices

Serve hot with grated tangy kasar (cheddar) or  pecorino cheese over the pasta. Steamed vegetables or cacik dip complement the pasta well; ayran drink would be a refreshing accompaniment to the pasta too.

Sunset in Kalkan; mesmerising

Sunset in Kalkan; mesmerising

Afiyet Olsun!

Ozlem

 

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Delicious Pasta with Caramelized Onions, Bell Peppers and Chilli Flakes

Some days are simple pasta days in our house. It is ready in no time, and you can still pack in a lot of flavor using only a few fresh ingredients. I have been recently making this pasta dish a lot; it is delicious, ready in less than 30 minutes and you feel good about eating and serving fresh, healthy food. (For instance, there are so many health benefits of onions, from helping to prevent common cold to heart disease.)  The sweetness of the onions and the bell pepper balance the tangy lemon juice and the little heat from the chilli flakes so well. This dish certainly saves the weekday supper for us; I hope you enjoy it too.

Serves 2-3

Preparation time: 15 minutes               Cooking time: 20 minutes

350gr/12oz penne pasta

I medium onion, cut in half and thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, deseeded, quartered and thinly sliced

Juice of 1 lemon

30ml/2 tablespoons olive oil

5-10ml/1-2tsp red pepper flakes/chilli flakes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Handful of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Grated parmesan or pecorino romano to serve

Sauteed onions and bell peppers work so well together

 Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and sauté the onions for about 5 minutes, until they soften. Add the bell peppers; give them a good mix and sauté for a further 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and the red pepper flakes/chilli flakes. Season with salt and black pepper, mix well. At that point, lower the heat and let the mixture gently keep on cooking for another 8 minutes; the bell peppers will soften and the onions will lightly caramelize eventually.

In the meantime,place the pasta in a saucepan of boiling water; add a little salt and a dash of olive oil. Stir occasionally and boil for just about 9 minutes,until “al dente”. Towards the end of the cooking, take 2 tablespoons of the pasta’s cooking liquid and add to the pasta sauce, mix well. Once pasta is cooked, drain the water and mix the pasta with the sauce.

Celeriac with walnuts, nar, bell pepper pasta 018

Serve hot immediately,with chopped parsley and some grated pecorino or parmesan over the pasta, if you like.

Afiyet Olsun!

 

Wisley in Full Bloom

After a period of (much needed) rain, we welcomed the sunshine this weekend inEngland. And what a welcome; spring is in full bloom! Here are a couple of shots to share from the RHS Wisley Gardens in England.

 

I have been seeing this very beautiful blue flowered tree in front of our home, and now I know its name; Hippocrepis Emerus – very pretty.

I am reserving my spot on that bench, surrounded by beautiful flowers, what a way to chill out

It is the season for the Rhododendrons, they have been in full bloom and the colors are mesmerizing. This red one is Rhododendron “Markeeta’s Prize”

With these flowers, a happy belated Mother’s Day to all who celebrated yesterday.

Best wishes for a good week to you all,

Ozlem

 

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Pasta with eggplant (aubergine), garlic and tomato sauce – Patlicanli Makarna


Our family, especially the children love pasta and I like to try different sauces to make it exciting, delicious and that I can prepare ahead of time. Patlican (eggplant or aubergine) is an ingredient we use a lot in Turkish cooking, and its meaty, sweet flesh adds a wonderful flavor to the pasta. Eggplant has a lot of water content and the trick is to get all that moisture out before cooking, as shown in the recipe, so that they won’t go soggy.

You can prepare this sauce ahead of time and freeze any leftover sauce. It is a wonderful, comforting dish that may save that weekday supper!

Serves 2-3
Preparation time: 25 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes

350gr/12oz penne pasta (about 100gr per person is suggested)
1 medium eggplant (aubergine), diced into small chunks
4 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
400gr/14oz can of chopped tomatoes
30ml/2 tablespoons olive oil
10ml/2teaspoons dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Grated parmesan or pecorino romano to serve

Cut the eggplant in half lengthways and then dice each eggplant into bite size chunks. Spread them on a wide tray, sprinkle salt over and leave aside for 15 minutes. With using paper towel, squeeze excess water out of eggplants.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and lightly sauté the eggplant for 3-4 minutes. This will help eggplants to soften up and start bringing out their lovely sweet flesh. Stir in the garlic and sauté for another minute or two. Add the chopped tomatoes, give them a good mix and cook for a further two minutes. Season with salt and black pepper, add the oregano and mix well. Simmer for a few more minutes.

In the meantime, place the pasta in a saucepan of boiling water, add a little salt and a dash of olive oil. Stir occasionally and boil for about 10 minutes (for penne), until “al dente”. Towards the end of the cooking, take 2 tablespoons of the pasta’s cooking liquid and add to the pasta sauce, mix well. Once pasta is cooked, drain the water and mix in the eggplant & tomato sauce.

Serve hot immediately, with some grated pecorino or parmesan over the pasta, if you like. Plain green salad with lemon and olive oil dressing goes well with the pasta.

Afiyet Olsun!

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