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Turkish Breakfast

Cheese and Potato filled filo rolls; Peynirli, Patatesli Borek

Filo rolls with feta and potato, peynirli, patatesli borek

Filo rolls with feta and potato, peynirli, patatesli borek

It is thought that the Ottoman Palace kitchens devised these tasty treats in order to tempt the precious little princes. The cigar shaped version with cheese and herb mixture is very popular at home for a snack, appetizer or as part of the Turkish breakfast. I had some left over cooked potato and added to the cheese and parsley mixture, the result was delicious – they disappeared very quickly, very popular with children as well as adults. Worth giving a go!

As with most savory Turkish filled pastries, this borek freeze very well once cooked too.

Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 25 minutes

260 gr / 9 oz phyllo (filo) pastry sheets, thawed
110 gr / 4 oz potato, cooked
100 gr/ 3 1/2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
100 gr/ 3 1/2 oz shredded mozzarella
2 eggs (one for the filling, one for brushing the boreks)
1 bunch / 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
15 ml / 1 tablespoon olive oil
15 ml / 1 tablespoon whole milk
Nigella and sesame seeds to decorate the boreks (before baking)

Bowl of water to seal the filo rolls

Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F / Gas 4

Mash together the cheese (feta and mozzarella), 1 egg, cooked potato, parsley and the milk to form a smooth paste. Season with salt and pepper. However, if the feta cheese is already salty, you may wish not to add salt.

Lay the filo sheets in front of you and cut to form elongated rectangles. Keep the pastry covered with a damp cloth as you are working. This will help to avoid it getting too dry or less manageable.

Lay one strip of filo and place a tablespoon of the filling along one of the short ends (take care not to overfill as the filling may ooze out while cooking). Fold over the pastry from each side to seal in the mixture and then roll up like a cigar. Wet the end with water to seal. Continue, keeping the finished ones covered with a damp cloth as you work. Refrigerate until required.

Mix the olive oil and the other egg in a bowl. Grease the tray with a little olive oil. Brush the pastries with olive oil and egg mixture. Sprinkle nigella and sesame seeds over the pastries and bake until they are golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Serve hot as part of a meze spread.

Afiyet Olsun,


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Vegetables and Spicy Sausages with Eggs; Sebzeli, Sucuklu Yumurta

We Turks love big breakfasts at the weekends; the long, leisurely breakfast in a way announces the arrival of the weekend. In Istanbul, friends and family rush to the cafes by the Bosphorus, with the newspapers under their arms. And the breakfast table is a feast; freshly baked breads, simit (round shaped specialty bread/pastry with sesame seeds, delicious!), feta cheese, olives, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, pastries, honey, jams, eggs cooked with cheese or vegetables and many more. You would be served Turkish tea, as well as freshly squeezed juices. With the beautiful Bosphorus – the water strait that goes thru Istanbul- by your side, no wonder everyone is happy to extend and turn it to long continuous brunch – I truly miss this!

Sucuk is one of the ingredients I crave, as it is very much used at our weekend breakfasts. Turkish sausage, sucuk, is horseshoe shaped, made of beef and spiced with cumin and red pepper flakes. Middle Eastern shops and delis carry them (And I was delighted to hear there is a Middle Eastern shop in Swindon). You can substitute with any Italian, Spanish or Greek spicy sausage if not available. This recipe has many variations; spinach, spring (green) onions, green bell peppers all marry wonderfully with egg too.

I do hope this recipe may bring a little Turkish feast to your weekend; afiyet olsun,


Serves 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes

4 medium eggs
1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
3 spring (green) onions, finely sliced
3 medium ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
115 gr/ 4 oz (Turkish) spicy sausage, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fresh, crusty bread to serve

Heat the oil in a shallow pan and stir in the onion. Cook for a couple of minutes until softened. Add the sausages and the spring (green) onions, cook for another couple of minutes on medium heat. Stir in the tomatoes, the water and let it cook gently on low heat (the little water will help the sausages to keep their moisture and prevent dryness). Make four hollows in the vegetable mixture and drop in the eggs. Cook them uncovered until the whites are firm but the yolks remain soft.

Season the mixture with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle a little red pepper flakes and ground cumin over the eggs. Serve immediately with fresh, crusty bread.

Afiyet Olsun!

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