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Baby Artichokes Poached in Olive Oil with Peas, Carrots and Almonds – Zeytinyagli Enginar

Vegetable Market in Istanbul – Sali Pazari, Istanbul

Turkish cuisine is very much based on using fresh, seasonal ingredients. A daily trip to Pazar, fresh fruit and vegetable market is a ritual, most Turks do daily at home. Rather than having a recipe in mind, we go to the Market, Pazar, to see which vegetables are seasonal and freshly available in the market and then decide what we will be cooking accordingly.

 Very inviting sweet and spicy peppers at the Cheam Market, England

I had one of these moments when we went to the Turkish Market in Cheam last week. It so wonderful to see great displays of different kinds of peppers (red pointy ones, slim long and spicy green peppers, small spicy peppers and small, less meaty green bell peppers which are great for stuffing), slim aubergines, vine tomatoes and.. baby artichokes.

Baby artichokes at Cheam Market; they are a real treat. Until ready to use, fresh artichokes should be treated like flowers and put in a jug of water.

I rarely can get baby artichokes at my local market, so seeing it was a real treat and the menu for that day is decided; poached baby artichokes in olive oil. We Turks love to poach especially the big, meaty globe artichokes in olive oil with vegetables, dressed with lemon juice and dill. This style of cooking in Turkish cuisine is called “vegetables cooked in olive oil”,  and we enjoy them at room temperature or cold. Dressed with olive oil and lemon juice,they are not only very healthy but a joy to eat during summer time and can be kept in fridge 2-3 days.

I adapted this recipe from one of my favourite cookery author Ghillie Basan’s Complete Book of Turkish Cooking Book. Ghillie added blanched almonds to hers, a brilliant idea for added texture and flavour, worked really well in mine too. This dish would be a wonderful starter, a light lunch or a side dish and you will be creating a healthy, delicious dish using a few fresh ingredients – I hope you can give it a go sometime.

Artichokes in olive oil, Em tennis, almond bulgur, lokum first p 015

Baby artichokes poached in olive oil with peas, carrots and almonds

Serves 4

Preparation time: 25 minutes              Cooking time: 30 minutes

4 large globe artichokes or 10-12 baby artichokes

1 small cooked carrot,diced

90gr/3oz fresh peas (or frozen if you can’t get fresh peas)

75gr/3oz blanched or flaked almonds

Juice of 1 lemon

30ml/2 tablespoons olive oil

5m/teaspoon granulated sugar

15ml/1 tablespoon fresh dill,chopped

Salt to taste

Wedges of lemon to serve

Cut off the stalks and pull off all the leaves of the artichokes

First let’s prepare the artichokes. Cut off the stalks and pull off all the leaves. Dig out the hairy choke from the middle with a spoon (you don’t need to do this stage with baby artichokes). Then cut away any hard bits with a sharp knife and trim into a neat cup shape. Rub the cups – called bottoms – with a mixture of lemon juice and a little salt to prevent them from coloring (tip: until ready to use, fresh artichokes should be treated like flowers and put in a jug of water).

Rub the artichoke cups with a mixture of lemon juice and a little salt to prevent them from colouring.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and stir in the artichokes in lemon sauce and the diced carrots. Pour 100ml/4fl oz/1/2cup water over the vegetables, combine well. Cover the pan and poach the vegetables gently for about 25 minutes. Then add the fresh or frozen peas, sugar and almonds, combine well. Cover again and continue to cook gently for another 5 minutes, until the artichokes are tender.

Toss in the dill, season with salt and turn off the heat. Leave to cool the artichokes in the pan.

Serve this delicious course at room temperature with wedges of lemon by the side.

Baby artichokes poached in olive oil; a refreshing, delicious and healthy course

You can enjoy this refreshing vegetable course as a starter or by the side of grilled meat, fish or pasta.

Afiyet Olsun!

Friendly lady at the bakery, filling us with delicious breads and pastries

And a few more photos to share from the Cheam Market; the bakery is always a big hit with fresh flat breads, sesame seeded pastries, ekmek, Turkish loaf of bread and many more.

Simit, sesame coated bread rings are a big part of Turkish breakfast

Simit is the quintessential Turkish food; these sesame-encrusted bread rings are the most popular snack at home, and they are easy to make too, here  is the recipe, if you’d like to have a go.

Wishing you all a good week ahead, filled with delicious food to share!



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Turkish Market in Cheam (England); Fresh Ingredients for Wonderful Feasts

My Turkish friend Ilgen kindly took us foodies to the Turkish market in Cheam, England (for the ones nearby the area, the address is: 565-567 London Road, SM3 9AG, North Cheam) and what a find. If you live abroad and look for local ingredients of your homeland, you know what I mean. And this market has it all; wonderful looking fresh produce, spices, Turkish cheese, olive, olive oil, red pepper paste, grains, freshly baked bread, pastries and many more!

Fresh produce at its best; artichokes, tomatoes and more

Look at these amazing artichokes! You can turn them into something very delicious with this Baby Artichokes Poached in Olive Oil with Broad Beans and Carrots recipe I posted earlier.


Cherry tomatoes, olives, garlic and handful of dill make a simple, delicious sauce

Turkish cuisine is based on using fresh ingredients bought daily. The Turks are purists in their culinary taste; their dishes bring out the flavor of the main ingredient rather than hiding it behind sauces. For instance, these cherry tomatoes would be divine in a simple sauce  of olive oil, crushed garlic and a few olives, as in this pasta recipe I posted earlier.

Penne with olives, garlic, cherry tomatoes and dill

Back to the Turkish market again. These are fresh, ripe hurma (a type of date); so sweet and juicy; peel, slice and eat as it is, simply brings back many childhood memories.

Divine, Juicy and Sunny Hurmas

How about these mouthwatering cherries, they are so inviting!

 And spices; we can’t do without them, a great, healthy way to add flavour to any dish. Sumac, red pepper flakes, ground black pepper, cumin, dried mint; all major spices in Turkish cuisine.

Tangy sumac, black pepper, cumin, red pepper flakes, mint; major spices in Turkish cuisine

Turkish flat and loaf of bread and Simit – sesame coated bread rings

Last but not least the bakery in the market; I felt I was in heaven. Smells simply guide you to the bakery and your eyes confirm that yes, this is heaven. Mouthwatering simits coated with sesame seeds (here is my version of simit, if you’d like to try), sweet and savory pastries, flat breads and more; a feast to the eye. The savory pastry with cheese filling, pogaca, was lovely. If you like to make this savory pastry using fillo pastry, here is my version.

Delicious sweet and savory pastries

Finally; the friendly baker who filled us with delicious goods. You can create many delicious, wonderful meals using only a few fresh ingredients. I hope the recipes can give you ideas and inspire. They are easy, healthy and can be ready in no time.


The friendly baker at the Turkish Market in Cheam

Happy Cooking, Afiyet Olsun!

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