Turkish cuisine provides healthy, hearty, delicious food for family and friends.
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Cookery Classes

I teach Turkish cooking classes in England,Turkey & USA, hope you can join us!,
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Turkish Cooking Classes

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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Flavoring with Spices & Inspirations from my Turkish Cooking Class (Stuffed Eggplants, Baklava and more!)

We had a delightful day of cooking and sharing Turkish food last Saturday. Wonderful, enthusiastic participants joined my Turkish cooking class in Surrey (for the folks in Texas; I so look forward to coming back to teach at Central Market Cooking School, hope soon!), and we had a day of Turkish feast 🙂 It was so wonderful to share Turkish cuisine, traditions, history, and I was humbled, delighted to get such positive feedback.

Here we are, dear friend Sadaf and I, dressed with dried eggplants and peppers (we dry them at home, to use when they are not in season. They are wonderful when stuffed and baked), just before the class 🙂

I have been getting a lot of questions on spices; their usage and where to get them. It is wonderful to see folks interested in spices and wanting to learn more. Spices are very important in Turkish cuisine, as we add wonderful flavors to the dishes through the artful use of spices, and very healthy too.

During the cooking class, we used cumin, red pepper flakes and mint; three spices that we use at Turkish cooking often.  Take cumin; its pungent aroma lingers  and it is warm and slightly sweet. Combined with chickpeas and tahini, cumin is the spice that makes hummus taste like hummus. Urfa or Aleppo chillies are dark red or purple-black and come from southeastern Turkey, where my roots are from. They are very exciting to work with and my favorite chili pepper. They are simultaneously bitter like coffee or chocolate and sweet like molasses, and they lend a wonderful, deep, smoky aroma to sauces. Its heat is moderate but meaningful. I use Urfa chilies in tomato based sauces, on grilled vegetables and marinated meats. Mint is a very common herb used in Turkish cooking. We like to mix it with cubed cucumbers, yoghurt and water for a refreshing accompaniment, “Cacik”, served with meat courses. It is also commonly used in salads, lemonades and stuffed grapevine leaves. Mint pairs very well with lamb too.

Malatya Pazari, my favorite spice shop in Spice Market, Istanbul

Middle eastern or specialty food stores should carry these spices, also Central Market and Whole Foods Market as well as Waitrose and Sainsbury’s in England carry a good selection. You can also get good quality spices on line through Kalustyans and Tulumba

During the class we had a go with the sweet Turkish treat, baklava. It is very easy to make with fillo pastry sheets and you can adjust how much butter and syrup you put on. My version is less sweet and more fragrant with the addition of lemon juice, it is a lovely treat, if you’d like to have a go.

Buttered layers of fillo sheets with walnuts, ready to go to the oven

Karniyarik; Stuffed eggplants with ground meat and vegetables

And here is karniyarik; stuffed eggplant with ground meat and vegetables we prepared; eggplant is our national vegetable (actually fruit, as it has seeds in it) and the flesh become wonderfully meaty and sweet once cooked. There are a few tricks to it; you need to salt the eggplant halves (salt will help the moisture come out of the eggplant) and drain all the bitter juices. Served with plain rice and yoghurt by the side, Karniyarik, stuffed eggplants is a wonderful treat.

Wonderful, enthusiastic participants of the Turkish Cooking Class

Sadaf and Nadia, who were in the class said they already made the hummus, got the red pepper paste and bulgur for the bulgur wheat salad and Nadia already made the baklava using the fillo pastry sheets. So wonderful to see the recipes come alive and enjoyed, no better compliment; many thank yous, ladies!:)

I hope the photos and recipes inspire you to have a go too; please let me know if you have any questions, I would be very happy to help.

Afiyet Olsun!




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Break the winter blues and join us for a fun Turkish Cooking Class!

I am delighted to share with you that I will be restarting my Turkish cooking classes soon. I am very passionate about my homeland’s cuisine and taught Turkish cooking classes in the US over 5 years (privately and thru Central Market Cooking Schools in Austin, San Antonio and Houston); they have all been received very well so far. Turkish cuisine is healthy, delicious, and easy to prepare.  I have two classes scheduled in Surrey, England; on Saturday, 25th February, from 10 am to 12 noon, and on Sunday, 11th March, from 2.30pm-4.30pm at Oatlands Village Hall. It would be a great pleasure to have your company 🙂

We have a wonderful menu lined up; Warm homemade hummus with olive oil&red pepper flakes, served with pita breadBulgur wheat salad with vegetables, olive oil and pomegranate molasses, served over lettuce leaf;   Stuffed aubergine with ground meat, onion and tomato sauce (I can also do a vegetarian version of this if requested ahead of time); diced cucumber and yoghurt dip with dried mint

We will end the class with home made  Baklava! (much lighter and delicious than the commercial ones; you also won’t believe how easy it is to make them!)

The details of the Turkish cooking classes are available at my blog, under Cooking Classes.If you can’t join us, all these recipes are available at my blog,  just a click away! Hope you give them a go sometime.

Happy Cooking!

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