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I teach Turkish cooking classes in England,Turkey & USA, hope you can join us!,
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Turkish cuisine provides healthy, hearty, delicious food for family and friends.
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Roasts and Kebaps

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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Sizzling Chicken Kebab and Roasted Vegetables on pide (pitta) bread

Have you ever had the wonderful sizzling kebabs in Turkey? There is a kebab house at every corner at home, and the smells, sights are always very inviting. Family and friends gather around Ocakbasi, to witness and enjoy Asci (Chef) preparing and grilling succulent meats, vegetables, making pide (pitta) bread for hours; a ritual I love and miss very much. So I thought to recreate this wonderful dish at home- and you would be pleased to know that it is very easy to tackle. You can prepare most of the stages 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 the day of your party – so the host gets to enjoy the company too! You can replace chicken with any other meat of your choice, or for a vegetarian option, mushrooms, eggplants, courgettes all work very well.

Chicken kebabs marinated in yoghurt, spices and olive oil; delicious with roasted vegetables on flat bread, pide, or pita bread

Chicken kebabs marinated in yoghurt, spices and olive oil; delicious with roasted vegetables on flat bread, pide, or pita bread

Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time: 40 minutes Cooking time: 45 – 50 minutes

2 eggplants (aubergine)
6-8 small bell peppers (green, orange, yellow or red) or 3 big ones, cut in chunks
3-4 tablespoons olive oil for roasting the vegetables
1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes – optional-
2 large naan breads or 4 small pitta breads cut into chunky stripes
225gr/8oz natural plain yoghurt
Handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped for garnish

For the tomato sauce:
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
400gr/14oz can of chopped tomatoes
30ml/2tablespoons olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

For marinating the chicken:
385gr/13 1/2oz chicken breast, cut in small chunks
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
30ml/2 tablespoon natural plain yoghurt
15ml/1 tablespoon olive oil
15ml/1 tablespoon tomato paste and 10ml/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
OR
15ml / 1 tablespoon red pepper paste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 180C/350 F

First marinate the chicken. In a large bowl, combine the chicken pieces with the marination ingredients listed above and mix well. Cover and keep in the fridge at least for 30 minutes. This marination adds a wonderful flavor to the chicken and make the chicken breast tenderer. You can also prepare this marination a day in advance and keep in the fridge, covered.

For the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic and onion and cook until they begin to color. Stir in the chopped tomotoes, mix well. Cook uncovered on medium to low heat for about 15-20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. You can prepare the tomato sauce a day in advance and keep in the fridge, covered.

On the day of your party, you can do the rest of the cooking. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the eggplants (aubergines) lengthways in stripes like a zebra. Slice the eggplants lengthways, about ½ inch thick. Then cut each slice into three parts. Sprinkle some salt over them and leave for about 15 minutes. Squeeze out their moisture with paper towel.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the marinated chicken breast. Sauté for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will give a nice brown coloring to the meat and seal the juices to keep them moist. Season with salt and black pepper and turn the heat off.

On a baking tray, spread the eggplant slices and the colorful peppers. Drizzle the olive oil over them and season with salt and black pepper (you can also sprinkle red pepper flakes over them for extra heat). Coat all the pieces with olive oil and seasoning and roast in the oven for about 30-35 minutes, until they are chargrilled around the edges.

At the same time of the vegetables roasting, place the chicken pieces and the marination sauce around them on a wide baking dish and roast for about 35 minutes, until they are chargrilled.

Just before serving, place the pitta or naan bread on a baking tray and warm them up for about 5-8 minutes. Take a wide serving dish and warm in the oven for a few minutes.

Now it is time to ensemble the kebab. Place the stripes of the warm pitta (or naan) bread on your serving dish as a flat base. Spoon the tomato sauce over the bread and spread. Arrange the chicken kebabs and the roasted vegetables over the tomato sauce. Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve hot, with dollops of the remaining sauce and yoghurt by the side.

Sizzling chicken kebabs with roasted vegetables; delicious with garlic yoghurt by the side.

Sizzling chicken kebabs with roasted vegetables; delicious with garlic yoghurt by the side.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem


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Turkish meatballs wrapped in eggplant (aubergine) slices – Patlican Dilimli Uskup Kofte

Turkish meatballs wrapped in eggplant slices.

Turkish meatballs wrapped in eggplant slices – Patlican Dilimli Uskup Kofte



How wonderful it is to be able to post recipes again; my laptop was broken and I couldn’t post for quite a while, sincere apologies for that. So lovely to share food and recipes again!

This is a very special dish that I make when I have a little extra time; it is very delicious and looks lovely, so it’s worth every effort. You can bake ahead of time and the leftovers can be frozen successfully. The succulent slices of eggplant around the meatballs are just heavenly. Served with plain rice and cucumber&yoghurt; dip, it makes a very special dinner to share.

Patlican, (eggplant or aubergine) is our national vegetable – it is actually fruit, as it has seeds- and one can argue we Turks have over 200 recipes featuring the beloved eggplant! They have high water content (and very low in fat), so the trick is to generously salt the eggplant slices and drain all the bitter juices before cooking, otherwise the eggplant gets soggy.

I hope you give this special dish a try sometime and could share with family and friends.

Serves 4-6
Preparation time: 50 minutes Cooking time: 40-45 minutes

For the meatballs:
450gr/1lb lean ground beef, lamb or mixture
1 medium onion, grated
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 medium eggs
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
5ml/1teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

3-4 medium eggplants
1 medium potato, skinned and sliced
Green or red pointy (or bell) peppers, coarsely sliced
1 onion, coarsely chopped
400gr/14oz can of chopped tomatoes
5m/1 teaspoon Turkish red pepper flakes (or chili flakes)
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
8fl oz/1 cup water

Preheat the oven to 180C/350 F

Sunflower or canola oil for shallow frying of eggplants

In order to make the meatballs, combine all the items in a large bowl and knead with your hands until all combined well. Grease a baking tray with a little olive oil (or sunflower oil). Take a walnut size of the meatball mixture and roll like an oval shape, carry on with making the meatballs until all the mixture is finished, and place them on the greased tray. Bake the meatballs for about 15-20 minutes, until they are partially cooked and firm enough to be wrapped with the eggplant slices.


Using a vegetable peeler, peel the eggplants (aubergines) lengthways in stripes like a zebra. Slice the eggplants lengthways, about ½ inch thick. Sprinkle some salt over them and leave for about 15 minutes. Squeeze out their moisture with paper towel. Then shallow fry them in the canola oil for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

On a board, put an eggplant slice and place one meatball the middle and roll like a cigar. Repeat with the rest of the eggplant slices. Place the eggplant&meatball; roll seamide down, in a baking tray.

Place the sliced potatoes, onions and peppers amongst the eggplant rolls in the tray. Add the canned tomatoes and water, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle the red pepper flakes. Bake the dish in the oven for about 35-40 minutes. Please check towards the end if more water is needed and add some to the baking tray.

Serve the eggplant &meatball; rolls and the vegetables hot with plain rice by the side. Cucumber, garlic and yoghurt (Cacik, under Mezes and Appetizers in this blog) meze also would complement this delicious dish well.

Afiyet Olsun!

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