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Bulgur balls in aubergine and tomato sauce and Ozlem’s Turkish Table news

Merhaba Dear All,

Ozlem’s Turkish Table book signing in Houston, USA

It has been a very special few months teaching Turkish cookery and signing copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book around the world. The photo above is taken during a special book signing event organised by my dear friend Hande in Houston, along with some great Turkish wine tasting.

Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book has been very popular for the festive season. Signed copies are still available at this link, if you’d like to give to a foodie or Turkish food lover.

The following photos are from my Turkish cookery class tour with the Central Market Cooking Schools in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio in November. It has been so very special to return Central Market Cooking Schools with my cookery book and meet over 140 Turkish food lovers at our classes. My sincere thanks to everyone for their amazing interest and my special thanks to Pinar UK for their support for my cookery book and Turkish cuisine abroad.

A special moment of enjoying a glass of cay with dear my mother, Gulcin in Istanbul

My Turkish cuisine presentation for the H3A Society in Bodrum – Turkey

I was in Turkey end October and had a wonderful opportunity to present Turkish cuisine to the H3A Society in Bodrum, book signing, gave a southern Turkish cookery class with the Foodrum Culinary Park and a Supper Club with Cooking Classes Bodrum at the Karnas Vineyards. It’s been a busy but magical few days in Bodrum; many thanks to all joined us and supported the events. My very sincere thanks especially goes to dear Annie Onursan, owner of the wonderful Back to Bodrum Blog, for her help with the events and being a fantastic host – I really can’t wait to return to Bodrum. Turkey trip was also a precious time to visit my dear parents and a good catch up over a few glasses of Turkish cay and wonderful Turkish food.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table at Daily Sabah newspaper, October 2018

I was also honored to have this wonderful interview at the national newspaper in Turkey, Sabah Daily; talking about Turkish cuisine, my culinary journey, you can read the Sabah Daily article at this link.

Brooklands radio interview

We also had a delightful interview with the Brooklands Radio in the UK in November, talking about Turkish cuisine abroad, some festive recipe ideas, the diverse, multicultural Antakya cuisine (and what to do with the fascinating dried aubergines!). Here is the podcast link for our interview, if you’d like to listen.

Bulgur balls with aubergine/eggplant, tomato, dried mint saucePatlicanli Eksi Ai

Bulgur balls with aubergine/eggplant, tomato, dried mint sauce – Patlicanli Eksi Aṣi

I have been asked for this recipe for quite a while and thought it may be a lovely addition for a special, festive meal. It is from my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table and it is a speciality from Antakya. Dried mint adds a fresh flavour and the pomegranate molasses complete the finishing touch in this southern Turkish delight. The meaty-like aubergines/eggplants melt in the mouth in this dish and complement the bulgur balls well.  You can omit the minced/ground beef for a vegetarian version. Hope you enjoy my recipe, Afiyet Olsun.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Bulgur balls in aubergine & tomato sauce - Patlicanli Eksi Asi
 
This is a speciality from Antakya and I make it often for special occasions, using good quality can of tomatoes. Dried mint adds a fresh flavour and the tangy pomegranate molasses complete the finishing touch. The meaty-like aubergines/eggplants melt in the mouth in this dish and complement the bulgur balls well. Omit the minced/ground beef for a vegetarian version
Author:
Cuisine: Turkish cuisine
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 medium aubergines/eggplants
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 cans of 400g/14oz good quality plum tomatoes
  • 10ml/2 teaspoons red pepper paste, biber salcasi
  • 15ml/1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 15ml/1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • 45ml/3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 900ml/1½ pints water
  • 10ml/2 teaspoons dried mint
  • 5ml/1 teaspoon Turkish red pepper flakes or chili flakes
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • For the bulgur dough:
  • 110g/4oz fine bulgur, koftelik bulgur (if you can only get coarse bulgur, you can pulse it a few times in a food processor to make it fine)
  • 90ml/3fl oz warm water to wet the bulgur
  • 120ml/4fl oz warm water to knead the bulgur
  • 40g/1½oz coarse semolina
  • 30ml/2 tablespoons warm water for semolina
  • 60g/2oz extra lean (double grind) minced/ground beef
  • 15ml/1 tablespoon red pepper paste, biber salcasi
  • 5ml/1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 5ml/1 teaspoon Turkish red pepper flakes or chili flakes
  • Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. First make the bulgur balls. Place the fine bulgur in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the red pepper paste, cumin, salt and red pepper flakes and mix them all well. Then pour the 90ml/3fl oz warm water all over it. Using your hands, give the mixture a good mix and let it absorb the water for 10 minutes. In the meantime, place the semolina in a separate bowl and stir in the 30ml/2 tablespoons warm water. Knead and turn the semolina mixture into a soft dough. Semolina is important here as it helps to bind the bulgur dough.
  2. Have the 120ml/4fl oz warm water bowl next to you and start kneading the bulgur mixture for about 5 minutes. Wet your hands continuously while kneading. Stir in the semolina dough and knead together for another 5 minutes. Add the meat and knead for 10 minutes, until you get a smooth dough.
  3. Have a bowl of cold water aside to shape the small round bulgur balls. Wet your hands and take a large cherry size bulgur dough into your palm and shape it like a small ball. Place the bulgur balls side-by-side on a tray and continue until you finish all the bulgur dough.
  4. Quarter the aubergines then slice each piece diagonally in 3cm/about 1in chunks. Lay them on a tray and season with salt. Leave for about 15 minutes. Drain the excess moisture by squeezing them with a paper towel.
  5. Place the plum tomatoes into a food processor and process until you achieve a coarse purée.
  6. In a deep, heavy pan, pour in the olive oil and stir in the aubergines/eggplants. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, until they have a nice golden colour. Place the sautéed aubergines/eggplants on a wide plate over a paper towel to get rid of the excess oil. Stir in the garlic and the onions and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
  7. Pour in the puréed tomato, tomato paste, red pepper paste and the water to the pan. Stir in the aubergines/eggplants, season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Combine well gently. Cover and cook on a medium heat for 15 minutes.
  8. Then carefully drop the bulgur balls into the pan and combine well. Cover and cook on a low heat for another 25 minutes.
  9. Stir in the pomegranate molasses, dried mint and red pepper flakes, combine well. Turn the heat off and serve warm with pide bread or crusty bread aside.

Upcoming Events

Ozlem’s Turkish Table – Turkish cuisine talk and book signing: LOOSE MUSE – London’s Premiere Women’s Writers Night  on December 12th  at  The Sun Pub, 21 Drury Lane (on the corner of Betterton Street), London WC2B 5RH – 8.00 p.m. – doors open from 7.30 pm.  £6.00/£5.00 concessions. I will be giving a talk on Turkish cuisine and sign my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table,  and serving Turkish delights to everyone. We would be delighted to have you with us.

Loose Muse features this month:

Ozlem Warren – author, Turkish culinary expert, and owner of the Turkish recipe blog and the cookery book Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland. Ozlem is passionate about her Turkish homeland’s delicious and vibrant cuisine, and has participated in many prestigious events including the London Book Fair, and this year’s International Edinburgh Book Festival to promote Turkish cuisine and culture.  She will be sharing with Loose Muse her debut book, ‘Ozlem’s Turkish Table’, a Turkish cook/recipe book with a difference…perfect for alternative Christmas fare.

Healthy Turkish Feast Supper Club, Friday January 18th,

Aromas Artisan Cafe, Weybridge

Our healthy Turkish feast at Aromas on Friday, January 18th

Please join us for a scrumptious healthy Turkish feast with Ozlem’s Turkish Table on Friday, January 18th evening at the lovely Aroma’s Artisan Café in Weybridge. Ozlem & Aromas Team will be preparing a feast of recipes from Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, as below.

-Hearty Bulgur and Lentil Soup – Ezo Gelin Corbasi

-Courgette fritters with feta, dill, onions – Mucver

-Bulgur and potato patties with cumin and pomegranate molasses sauce – Bulgurlu, patatesli kofte

-Shepherd’s salad with sumac – Sumakli Coban Salatasi

-Baked aubergine kebab with yoghurt and spices marinated chicken – Patlicanli kebap (Vegetarian version available too, if given ahead of time notice)

– Semolina sponge cake with pomegranate seeds – Revani

– Turkish coffee

We are also very happy to support Elmbridge Rentstart charity with our supper club as a percentage of all proceeds will be donated to this wonderful local charity, which supports local people who are homeless and help them move on with their lives. This wonderful supper club may also be a lovely gift for a foodie for the holiday season too.

Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book will also be available on the night.

Participation is limited; if you’d like to join us, please kindly book your spot with at this Eventbrite link:

https://ozlemturkishtable.eventbrite.co.uk

Look forward to welcoming you with Turkish hospitality!

One of Sian Irvine Photography’s wonderful still life shots for Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book

Wishing you all a wonderful festive season in good health, happiness, delicious Turkish food shared with family and friends. My sincere thanks for all your support and company, enjoying and sharing Turkish cuisine.

With my best wishes and Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Ozlem’s Turkish Table on Radio – Aubergine, lentils in olive oil

Merhaba dear all,

Ozlem’s Turkish Table; Recipes from My Homeland – available for pre-order now

My sincere thanks first of all for your most kind interest and comments for my upcoming Turkish cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland. Publishing a book is a labor of love and your warm feedback has been so greatly appreciated.

I wanted to inform you that you can now pre-order my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland at this link, not only with Paypal (direct or debit/credit card via Paypal) but also directly with your Debit or Credit Card , as well as Paying Offline, with a Bank transfer, to the account specified at this link.  If paying Offline, please kindly include the Ref: GBPShop-your last name. I hope the Offline payment option would be useful especially to all who can’t use Paypal or credit cards, as in Turkey.  Also Please kindly enter the promo code Pre-Order Special when it says “Enter a promo code” on the left side of your shopping cart to get your 10% discount.

Pre-orders will have the first priority of distribution worldwide in early March, prior the release of the book in April 2018.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table – Brooklands Radio Interview:

Ozlem’s Turkish Table on Brooklands Radio!

I had the pleasure to go on air at the Brooklands Radio in Surrey with dear Jill Bennet – being a music lover and an amateur radio DJ in my younger years in Istanbul, it was very exciting to be in the studio again!- We had a lovely chat on wholesome, delicious Turkish cuisine and on my upcoming Turkish cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table. My book is a special tribute to especially to my southern Turkish roots and my home town Antakya – Hatay, who recently became a UNESCO World City of Gastronomy, a title that Hatay so rightly deserves. It was wonderful to chat about this magical land and its scrumptious cuisine.  Here’s the podcast of our interview, if you would like to listen to it.

What I have been cooking lately..

Aubergines, lentils and peppers cooked in olive oil, Mercimekli Mualla, from my upcoming cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland

Mercimekli Mualla, aubergines, lentils and peppers cooked in olive oil, which is also at my upcoming cookery book, has been a huge hit at my cookery book introduction and pre-order event last week. A delicious specialty from Antakya, this lovely dish ticks many boxes being vegan and gluten-free too. Dried mint and olive oil flavour the green lentils and aubergine/eggplant beautifully. Here’s my recipe link for Mercimekli Mualla, I hope you enjoy it.

My best wishes for the Holiday Season and Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Bended Eggplant Kebabs with Meatballs; Patlicanli Beli Bukuk

Bended eggplant kebab with meatballs; Patlicanli beli bukuk kebap; utterly delicious

Bended eggplant kebab with meatballs; Patlicanli beli bukuk kebap; utterly delicious

Our national favorite Patlican, or aubergine or eggplants are appearing in the markets more now; I love its deliciously sweet, meaty flesh in mezzes, salads, casseroles, even in boreks, savory pastries. This recipe, bended eggplant slices with meatballs or Patlicanli beli bukuk, or Boynu bukuk as we call it, is a childhood favorite. Marriage of the delicate eggplant flesh with meatballs, baked in a delicious tomato sauce with peppers is simply heavenly. All you need is some crusty bread or rice aside and you are all set with a scrumptious, complete meal.

Lightly brown the eggplant slices for 2-3 minutes in a heavy pan or bake in the oven.

Lightly brown the eggplant slices for 2-3 minutes in a heavy pan or bake in the oven.

You need slim and long purple eggplants for this recipe, as they are first quartered lengthways and then each quarter are cut into deep splits (keeping the skin intact). Once the slices are shallow fried (or baked in the oven, if you prefer), they will soften and bend. If you are in Turkey, you can get those really slim and long eggplants, patlican, which won’t need cutting lengthways; you can just cut deep splits side ways and prepare the recipe.

Gently bend the sautéed eggplant slices and insert the meatballs at the splits, gently push the meatballs in.

Gently bend the sautéed eggplant slices and insert the meatballs at the splits, gently push the meatballs in.

We then insert small meatballs, koftes to these slits, which will naturally bend the eggplants and hence comes the name; Patlicanli Beli Bukuk or Patlicanli Boynu Bukuk Kebab (Bended Eggplant Kebab). It may sound a little tricky to do, but it really is not; you will get the hang of it in a few tries. The meatballs cocooned around the eggplants cook deliciously in the juicy sauce with peppers and tomato sauce.

Baked bended eggplant slices with meatballs - Patlicanli beli bukuk

Baked bended eggplant slices with meatballs – Patlicanli beli bukuk

I hope you enjoy one of our favorite kebabs with patlican, eggplant. Cacik dip with yoghurt, cucumbers and dried mint would be delicious aside, so as this wholesome bulgur pilaf with almonds. I use biber salcasi, Turkish red pepper paste  to flavor the sauce and it adds a delicious heat, if you like it too. If not, you can replace it with tomato paste.

Bended eggplant slices with meatballs; Patlicanli Beli Bukuk Kebab

Bended eggplant slices with meatballs; Patlicanli Beli Bukuk Kebab

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

5.0 from 2 reviews
Bended Eggplant Kebabs with Meatballs; Patlicanli Beli Bukuk
 
I hope you enjoy this childhood favorite; Bended Eggplant Slices with Meatballs; Patlicanli Beli Bukuk. It is a delicious, moist kebab that you can prepare ahead of time. Marriage of the delicate eggplant flesh with meatballs, baked in a delicious tomato sauce with peppers is heavenly; an impressive dish, great for entertaining.
Author:
Recipe type: Turkish casseroles with eggplants and meatballs
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 4 long purple eggplants/aubergines
  • 2 bell or pointy peppers (green, red or yellow), deseeded, quartered and cut in chunky slices
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • Light olive oil or canola oil to shallow fry the eggplants
  • 4 – 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 15 ml / 1 tbsp. Turkish red pepper paste, Biber salcasi or tomato paste
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp. water to dilute pepper paste or tomato paste
  • 400 gr/14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
  • 30ml/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 16 fl oz. / 2 cups of water
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • Kofte/Meatball ingredients:
  • 400 gr/14 oz. ground beef, lamb or mixture
  • 1 onion, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 slice of slate bread (white or brown), soaked in a bowl of water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F
  2. Cut the stalk of the eggplants and slice in half lengthways. Then cut each slice again in lengthways, you will get 4 long quarters per eggplant.
  3. Then cut each eggplant quarter into 3 -4 deep splits (keeping the skin intact), depending on the length of the eggplant.
  4. Sprinkle salt over the flesh side of the eggplants and leave them aside for 15 minutes. Salt will help the moisture and the bitter juices come out of the eggplants. Dry the eggplants with kitchen towel thoroughly afterwards.
  5. To prepare the meatballs, soak the stale bread slice in a small bowl of water then squeeze dry. In a large bowl, combine all the kofte, meatball ingredients except the meat and knead well. That will help soften the onions and blend the ingredients homogenously. Stir in the ground meat, season with salt (about 1 - 2 tsp.) and ground black pepper to your taste. Knead for a good 3-5 minutes with your hands, until the mixture becomes elastic and mixed well. Cover this mixture with a cling film and rest in the fridge for 15 minutes (or a little more, if you can).
  6. While the meatball mixture is resting, prepare the eggplant quarters. Pour in 2 tbsp. light olive oil or canola oil in a heavy pan and lightly brown the eggplant slices for 2-3 minutes. You may need to top up with light olive oil if you’re shallow frying (Alternatively, you can bake the eggplant quarters in the preheated oven at 200 C, for 20 – 25 minutes. Make sure the tray and the eggplants are greased with olive oil before baking). Place the sautéed eggplant quarters on a large tray and set aside.
  7. Shape the meatball mixture into walnut sized meatballs. Gently bend the sautéed eggplant slices and insert the meatballs at the splits, gently push the meatballs in. You will insert 3-4 meatballs into each eggplant slice.
  8. Carry on until all the meatballs are inserted into the splits of the eggplants. If you have any meatballs left over, you can place them in the middle of the bended eggplants with meatballs or you can place them around the tray.
  9. Place the eggplants with meatballs in a baking tray.
  10. Spread the chopped onions, garlic and peppers around and stir in 2 tbsp. olive oil over these vegetables and gently mix with your hands.
  11. Pour in the chopped tomatoes around the tray.
  12. Dilute 1 tbsp. pepper paste, biber salcasi or tomato paste, with 4 tbsp. water in a small bowl. Pour in this mixture over the tray too.
  13. Stir in 16 fl oz. / 2 cups of water over the tray and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Combine well.
  14. Bake, uncovered for 40 – 45 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked and meatballs and vegetables start to brown. About 25 minutes into baking, check if more water needed in the tray. If so add another ½ cup of water, it is delicious to have some juice in this tray bake.
  15. Gently take out the squared eggplant slices with meatballs, using a large spatula. Serve hot with Cacik dip of cucumbers with yoghurt by the side. Plain rice or bulgur pilaf with almonds (recipe available in my blog) also goes well with this eggplant & meatball kebab.
 

 

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