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Grilled Sardines in vine leaves with Tomatoes, Peppers; Sebzeli Sardalya

Grilled (or chargrilled) sardines are very popular at home, especially in summer time. It is also common to grill the sardines wrapped in vine leaves – the tangy taste of vine leaves work well with the distinctive flavor of sardines (You can buy preserved vine leaves in jars in supermarkets or Middle Eastern / Mediterranean stores).

I like to grill sardines with cherry tomatoes and bell peppers; their juicy, sweet flavor complements the strong taste of sardines well. Make sure to serve the sardines with wedges of lemon to squeeze over and perhaps with some boiled new potatoes for a complete meal.

Baked Sardines in vine leaves, with tomatoes and peppers; firinda sebzeli sardalya

Baked Sardines in vine leaves, with tomatoes and peppers; firinda sebzeli sardalya

Serves 4 – 5
Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes

250gr/10oz sardines (12 pieces), scaled, gutted and washed
1 green, red or yellow bell pepper (or mixture), cut in half and sliced in long strips
10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved
Juice of 1/2 lemon
12 preserved vine leaves
30 ml/2tablespoon olive oil
5ml/1teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Wedges of lemon to serve
Handful of fresh dill, coarsely chopped to decorate

Heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté the bell peppers for 3-4 minutes. Toss the tomatoes into the pan and mix them well. Season with salt and pepper, and add the red pepper flakes. Combine well and turn the heat off.

Spread the vine leaves out on a flat surface and place a sardine on each leaf. Wrap each sardine loosely in the leaf like a cigar. Brush each leaf with a little olive oil and place seam side down.

Place the sardines on a baking tray. Spread the tomato and bell pepper mixture amongst the sardines. Squeeze half a lemon over the mixture.

Preheat the grill on a moderate heat. Place the tray under the grill for about 14 minutes, turning over every 2 minutes, until the vine leaves are charred. Once cooked, sprinkle the fresh dill all over and serve hot, with wedges of lemon by the side.

Afiyet Olsun,


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Baked Salmon with Onions, Red Peppers and Lemon – Soganli, Kirmizi Biberli Firinda Somon

Baked Salmon with onion, peppers and lemon

Baked Salmon with onion, peppers and lemon

Turkey is surrounded by the Aegean, Mediterranean and Black Sea and we get a good variety of fish. Generally, fish is bought very fresh, straight off the boats or from the fish markets. When it comes to cooking fish, Turks are purists and they don’t do much to it; you wouldn’t see any sauce around the fish served at home. Grilled fish is mostly served with a little dash of olive oil, grilled vegetables and fresh green salad with sliced red onions by the side. I love the simplicity of this baked salmon recipe, yet it is packed with flavor. The sweetness of the onions and red peppers go very well with the tangy lemon taste and their marriage works heavenly with the baked salmon.

Serves 2-4
Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 25-30 minutes

500gr/1 1/4lb salmon fillets
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 small pointy red pepper (or bell pepper), sliced
4 slices of lemon
30ml/2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

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

In a heavy pan, heat the olive oil. Stir in the onions and red peppers and cook until soft (for about 5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper and leave to cool.

Spread the foil (that is large enough to enclose all the fish) on a baking tray and place the salmon fillets on it. Spread the sautéed onions and red peppers on the fillets evenly. Place a slice of lemon on each fillet, season with salt and ground black pepper. Wrap the foil to make into a packet by pulling up the sides and pinching the edges tightly, leaving a little room for the steam to escape. Place the tray in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes (please refer to cooking instructions at the packaging as cooking time may vary with the size of the fish).

Once cooked, open up the packet, and serve the salmon hot with the onion, red pepper and lemon garnish. A green salad with lemon & olive oil dressing or steamed vegetables of your choice would go well with this dish.

Enjoy, Afiyet Olsun!


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Angus's Spaghetti Shrimp with Turkish Red Pepper Flakes infused Olive Oil – Angus'un Karidesli, Kirmizi Biberli Makarnasi

My husband Angus makes an incredible shrimp spaghetti using Turkish red pepper flakes and he kindly let me share his wonderful and easy to prepare recipe with you. He infuses the smoky Turkish red pepper flakes in olive oil, which adds an amazing flavor to the shrimps. I always, always look forward to his shrimp spaghetti!

If you can’t get hold of Turkish red pepper flakes (preferably Aleppo), substitute with hot chili flakes. Make it as fiery as you like!

Serves 2 generously

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

280 gr / 10 ounce spaghetti
225 gr / 1/2 lb raw king prawns, shelled
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
1 heaped teaspoon of Turkish red pepper flakes

Thinly shaved Pecorino Romano to serve

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.

Heat the olive oil in the pasta pan on a medium heat and add the red pepper flakes. Stir gently and let the red pepper flakes infuse to the olive oil for about 30 seconds (avoid cooking longer as the red pepper flakes go black and can burn quickly). Add the shrimps and stir fry for about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, combine the cooked spaghetti with the shrimps and mix well for a minute. Make sure all the spaghetti is well coated with the olive oil infused red pepper flakes and the shrimp.

Transfer the pasta to a warmed serving bowl and serve with shaved Pecorino Romano cheese over the top. A green leafy salad with a simple lemon dressing goes very well with this dish.

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