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Yoghurt and Walnut Cake – Yogurtlu Cevizli Kek

Turks love yoghurt and it appears in sweet and savory dishes regularly, thanks to our Nomadic past. This cake, rich in yoghurt and walnuts with no oil/butter, makes a healthy option too. There are many versions of this cake at home; some of which are soaked in syrup and served as dessert, accompanied by our thick clotted cream of Buffalos, kaymak. My version includes muscovado (or brown) sugar and wholemeal self raising flour. Addition of the orange marmalade brings a lovely moist texture. This light, wholesome cake goes very well with tea and coffee. Very popular with the children too!

Serves 6 – 8

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 45 – 50 minutes

3 eggs
230 gr / 8 oz / 1 cup Muscovado (or brown sugar)
115 gr / 4 oz self raising flour
400 gr / 14 oz plain (preferably) wholemilk yoghurt
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
60 gr / 2 oz walnuts, finely chopped

Desiccated coconut to garnish
Double cream or mascarpone cheese by the side – optional-

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

Grease a cake tin or a baking dish (8 in x 8 in or 20 cm x 20 cm) lightly with a little oil or butter.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar until light and creamy. Beat in the flour, then the yoghurt, lemon zest and the marmalade. Add the walnuts and mix well.

Spoon the mixture to the prepared dish and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Once cooled down, cut the cakes into squares, transfer into a serving dish and sprinkle with desiccated coconut. You can serve the cake with some double cream or mascarpone cheese by the side if you would like.

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The Bountiful Stroud Farmers Market, England

We went to the Stroud Farmers Market in southeast part of England today. Flowers in full bloom, thanks to the glorious weather we have had in April – making the most of the sunshine before it decides to go away!:)- And the Stroud Farmers Market is a sight to see – bountiful fruit and veg; the first strawberries, asparagus and many more proudly displayed, as well as great selection of olives, flowers, sausages, cheese and many more! We are definetely going back again – here are some photos!

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Baked courgette with chickpeas and minced/ground meat -Etli Nohutlu Kabak

This is a lovely, comforting meal that my mother used to cook for us almost weekly in Istanbul. It is very easy to make, delicious and healthy. I like to serve it with plain rice with a dollop of plain yoghurt by the side.  I usually make it ahead of time during the day and give a gentle reheat before we eat – knowing the dinner is ready in between the school run is a good feeling! This dish also freezes well.

You can add any seasonal vegetables to this dish, squash, celeriac, sweet potatoes, peas work well too. I add a can of cooked chickpeas here, which makes it more substantial and adds another layer of flavour and texture. Omit meat for the vegetarian option; you can use chopped mushroom here as a meat substitute.

I am passionate about healthy, delicious Turkish cuisine; signed copies of my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table is now 25 % off at this link and delivered worldwide, including the US, if you’re interested.

Serves 4 -6

450 gr/ 1 lb Courgette/Zucchini, sliced (if large, please cut length ways and slice)
250 gr / 9 oz ground lamb or beef
110 gr / 4 oz potatoes cut into bite size chunks

110 gr/ 4 oz carrots, cut into small chunks
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
15 ml/ 1 tablespoon tomato puree
400 gr/ 14oz chopped tomatoes in tomato juice (1 can/tin)

400 gr/14oz can of cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 tablespoons olive oil
8 fl oz / 1 cup water
Salt and ground pepper to taste
10ml/2 teaspoons Turkish pul biber / red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 200C/400F

Spread the sliced courgette, carrots and potatoes on a baking tray. Drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil, season with salt and pepper and combine well. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes. Then take the tray out and bring the oven temperature to 180C/350F.

Heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a heavy pan. Stir in the onions and sauté until transparent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the ground/minced meat and saute for further 3 minutes. Add the tomato puree, the chopped tomatoes in can and the water, mixing well. Cover and cook in medium heat for about 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked chickpeas and the red pepper flakes, pul biber giving a gentle stir. Season with salt and pepper and cook further 5 minutes over medium heat.

Place the par baked courgettes, carrots and potatoes on a baking dish. Stir in the meat sauce and gently combine well. Bake for further 25 – 30 minutes.

Serve warm with plain rice and a dollop of plain yoghurt by the side.

Afiyet Olsun,


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