Cookery Classes

I teach Turkish cooking classes in England,Turkey & USA, hope you can join us!,
Find Out More


Turkish cuisine provides healthy, hearty, delicious food for family and friends.
Find out more

Tag Archives | Aubergine

Kreativ Blogger Award

I have been very much flattered for the Kreativ Blogger Award nomination by one of my favorite blogs, Peri’s Spice Ladle; thank you very much Peri, your blog is truly inspirational for me and I have been very much touched by this special honor : )

So, in accordance with the “Rules of Conduct” for bloggers who win this award, I will now do the following:

  1.  Thank the blogger who gave me the award and provide a link (as above).
  2.  List 7 interesting things about myself that my readers might find interesting.
  3.  Nominate 7 other bloggers, provide links, and let them know.

Here are 7 interesting things about myself:

  1. Share food. One of the biggest pleasures of life for me is to share a delicious bite with family and friends – in Turkish we say “food tastes better when shared;” and I very much believe that. I am thankful to my parents for teaching us the value of good food and importance of sharing; which I hope to pass on through my blog.
  2. Teaching. I always loved food but the teaching part came much later in my life. Central Market Cooking School in Austin, Texas believed in me and gave me the chance and confidence to have a go on teaching Turkish cooking classes with them in 2006. Since then, I taught Turkish cooking classes with Central Market Cooking School in Austin, San Antonio and Houston for over 5 years. This has been such a milestone in my life, I can never thank them and all the wonderful foodie folks in Texas enough to help me find what I truly love – thank you !! I can’t wait to come back toTexas to teach more, hopefully in 2013!!
  3. Istanbul.. I am very passionate about my homeland, Turkey, and I am very much in love with the fascinating city of Istanbul. I have been lucky enough to live in Istanbul over 15 years; it is one of those places you feel alive 24 hours. It’s old but not tired, ancient yet alive; a vibrant, breathtaking, cosmopolitan city. One of my favorite parts of Istanbul is the Bosphorus strait (river) that flows through the city; a stroll and a glass of tea by the Bosphorus may just make the perfect day.

    Boats by the Bosphorus, Istanbul

    4. Travel. When I was a little girl, I always had a little bag (of my few favorite toys and a piece of clothing) ready by the door. I always loved going to places and visiting, and whenever a visitor to our home would say “Wouldn’t be nice to have Ozlem around to us?” I would wear my most charming smile and grab my bag to go – and truly hope they meant what they say! : )- I absolutely love traveling, seeing places old and new, and still have a bag ready to go, anytime.

    5. Patlican (Aubergine/Eggplant). Between us, my nickname, given by my husband is patlican (aubergine or eggplant in English). Patlican, eggplant, is our national vegetable (actually fruit, as it has seeds in it). I cooked Angus, my then boyfriend, now husband, my first Turkish dinner, the stuffed eggplant, Karniyarik,  about 15 years ago. He loved the dish and more than that, the name of it so much that he decided to call me “Patlican” or as short Patli! Though a little strange it sounds when we go back home, I thought it’s very cute and love it : )

    6.  Pilates & smelling the flowers. When I am not thinking of food, family or traveling, I would love to do pilates. A wonderful exercise for body and soul and a great reason to pause. The same way, I find being outdoors in the nature very uplifting, especially at the moment, when the earth is waking up, great excuse to be out and about and smell the flowers!

    7. Last but not least, importance of my family. My husband and our two beautiful children; my most precious treasures in the world. I am ever grateful for their unconditional love, support and the positive energy they give, a reason to smile every day 🙂

    The 7 blogs I am nominating for this award are:

    1. A Seasonal Cook in Turkey. Claudia is a fantastic foodie, who lives inIstanbul and writes about wonderful seasonal produce in Turkey and Turkish & International recipes. She also shares wonderful eateries and markets from Turkey, which I always look forward to. We are determined to meet up next time I am inIstanbul!!

    2. Cuisine de Provence. Barbara’s wonderful blog of Provence cuisine is always inspiring and delicious. One of the joys of  blogging is to meet wonderful bloggers like Barbara to share love of food. I have my eyes on her wonderful cooking classes Provencal style in Provence,  a dream to work in progress!

    3.  Tuesday Recipe by Tori Richie. I have been grateful to be connected toSan Francisco based award winning  cook/author/teacher Tori (thank you Gillian for this!). Her recipes are delicious, simple, and inspirational; I turn to them very often.

    4. Café Fernando.  Café Fernando’s Turkish food blogger Cenk  is a serious foodie, novice photographer, seasoned home baker and a shameless chocoholic from Istanbul, Turkey. His multiple award winning photography and recipes are truly amazing, so proud of him!

    5. As Strong As Soup. I really like Phil’s straight forward and easy to cook at home recipes. Try his Carbonade Flamande; just what I fancy at the end of a long day.

    6.  La Tavola Marche. American expats Jason and Ashley’s wonderful blog is all about local seasonal Italian recipes, organic gardening, food festivals & markets, day trips in LeMarche,Tuscany, Umbria & beyond. This blog takes me to the wonderful Italian countryside and the recipes are delightful.

    7. Istanbul Eats is a serious eater’s guide to Istanbul, aiming to bring you into the best undiscovered local eateries you might not always find on your own, and they do it so well, a great source of information, well worth checking out.

    I hope you enjoy strolling through these wonderful sites.





Continue Reading

Sizzling Chicken Kebab and Roasted Vegetables on pide (pitta) bread

Have you ever had the wonderful sizzling kebabs in Turkey? There is a kebab house at every corner at home, and the smells, sights are always very inviting. Family and friends gather around Ocakbasi, to witness and enjoy Asci (Chef) preparing and grilling succulent meats, vegetables, making pide (pitta) bread for hours; a ritual I love and miss very much. So I thought to recreate this wonderful dish at home- and you would be pleased to know that it is very easy to tackle. You can prepare most of the stages 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 the day of your party – so the host gets to enjoy the company too! You can replace chicken with any other meat of your choice, or for a vegetarian option, mushrooms, eggplants, courgettes all work very well.

Chicken kebabs marinated in yoghurt, spices and olive oil; delicious with roasted vegetables on flat bread, pide, or pita bread

Chicken kebabs marinated in yoghurt, spices and olive oil; delicious with roasted vegetables on flat bread, pide, or pita bread

Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time: 40 minutes Cooking time: 45 – 50 minutes

2 eggplants (aubergine)
6-8 small bell peppers (green, orange, yellow or red) or 3 big ones, cut in chunks
3-4 tablespoons olive oil for roasting the vegetables
1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes – optional-
2 large naan breads or 4 small pitta breads cut into chunky stripes
225gr/8oz natural plain yoghurt
Handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped for garnish

For the tomato sauce:
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
400gr/14oz can of chopped tomatoes
30ml/2tablespoons olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

For marinating the chicken:
385gr/13 1/2oz chicken breast, cut in small chunks
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
30ml/2 tablespoon natural plain yoghurt
15ml/1 tablespoon olive oil
15ml/1 tablespoon tomato paste and 10ml/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
15ml / 1 tablespoon red pepper paste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 180C/350 F

First marinate the chicken. In a large bowl, combine the chicken pieces with the marination ingredients listed above and mix well. Cover and keep in the fridge at least for 30 minutes. This marination adds a wonderful flavor to the chicken and make the chicken breast tenderer. You can also prepare this marination a day in advance and keep in the fridge, covered.

For the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic and onion and cook until they begin to color. Stir in the chopped tomotoes, mix well. Cook uncovered on medium to low heat for about 15-20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. You can prepare the tomato sauce a day in advance and keep in the fridge, covered.

On the day of your party, you can do the rest of the cooking. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the eggplants (aubergines) lengthways in stripes like a zebra. Slice the eggplants lengthways, about ½ inch thick. Then cut each slice into three parts. Sprinkle some salt over them and leave for about 15 minutes. Squeeze out their moisture with paper towel.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the marinated chicken breast. Sauté for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will give a nice brown coloring to the meat and seal the juices to keep them moist. Season with salt and black pepper and turn the heat off.

On a baking tray, spread the eggplant slices and the colorful peppers. Drizzle the olive oil over them and season with salt and black pepper (you can also sprinkle red pepper flakes over them for extra heat). Coat all the pieces with olive oil and seasoning and roast in the oven for about 30-35 minutes, until they are chargrilled around the edges.

At the same time of the vegetables roasting, place the chicken pieces and the marination sauce around them on a wide baking dish and roast for about 35 minutes, until they are chargrilled.

Just before serving, place the pitta or naan bread on a baking tray and warm them up for about 5-8 minutes. Take a wide serving dish and warm in the oven for a few minutes.

Now it is time to ensemble the kebab. Place the stripes of the warm pitta (or naan) bread on your serving dish as a flat base. Spoon the tomato sauce over the bread and spread. Arrange the chicken kebabs and the roasted vegetables over the tomato sauce. Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve hot, with dollops of the remaining sauce and yoghurt by the side.

Sizzling chicken kebabs with roasted vegetables; delicious with garlic yoghurt by the side.

Sizzling chicken kebabs with roasted vegetables; delicious with garlic yoghurt by the side.

Afiyet Olsun,


Continue Reading

Turkish meatballs wrapped in eggplant (aubergine) slices – Patlican Dilimli Uskup Kofte

Turkish meatballs wrapped in eggplant slices.

Turkish meatballs wrapped in eggplant slices – Patlican Dilimli Uskup Kofte

How wonderful it is to be able to post recipes again; my laptop was broken and I couldn’t post for quite a while, sincere apologies for that. So lovely to share food and recipes again!

This is a very special dish that I make when I have a little extra time; it is very delicious and looks lovely, so it’s worth every effort. You can bake ahead of time and the leftovers can be frozen successfully. The succulent slices of eggplant around the meatballs are just heavenly. Served with plain rice and cucumber&yoghurt; dip, it makes a very special dinner to share.

Patlican, (eggplant or aubergine) is our national vegetable – it is actually fruit, as it has seeds- and one can argue we Turks have over 200 recipes featuring the beloved eggplant! They have high water content (and very low in fat), so the trick is to generously salt the eggplant slices and drain all the bitter juices before cooking, otherwise the eggplant gets soggy.

I hope you give this special dish a try sometime and could share with family and friends.

Serves 4-6
Preparation time: 50 minutes Cooking time: 40-45 minutes

For the meatballs:
450gr/1lb lean ground beef, lamb or mixture
1 medium onion, grated
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 medium eggs
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
5ml/1teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

3-4 medium eggplants
1 medium potato, skinned and sliced
Green or red pointy (or bell) peppers, coarsely sliced
1 onion, coarsely chopped
400gr/14oz can of chopped tomatoes
5m/1 teaspoon Turkish red pepper flakes (or chili flakes)
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
8fl oz/1 cup water

Preheat the oven to 180C/350 F

Sunflower or canola oil for shallow frying of eggplants

In order to make the meatballs, combine all the items in a large bowl and knead with your hands until all combined well. Grease a baking tray with a little olive oil (or sunflower oil). Take a walnut size of the meatball mixture and roll like an oval shape, carry on with making the meatballs until all the mixture is finished, and place them on the greased tray. Bake the meatballs for about 15-20 minutes, until they are partially cooked and firm enough to be wrapped with the eggplant slices.

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the eggplants (aubergines) lengthways in stripes like a zebra. Slice the eggplants lengthways, about ½ inch thick. Sprinkle some salt over them and leave for about 15 minutes. Squeeze out their moisture with paper towel. Then shallow fry them in the canola oil for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

On a board, put an eggplant slice and place one meatball the middle and roll like a cigar. Repeat with the rest of the eggplant slices. Place the eggplant&meatball; roll seamide down, in a baking tray.

Place the sliced potatoes, onions and peppers amongst the eggplant rolls in the tray. Add the canned tomatoes and water, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle the red pepper flakes. Bake the dish in the oven for about 35-40 minutes. Please check towards the end if more water is needed and add some to the baking tray.

Serve the eggplant &meatball; rolls and the vegetables hot with plain rice by the side. Cucumber, garlic and yoghurt (Cacik, under Mezes and Appetizers in this blog) meze also would complement this delicious dish well.

Afiyet Olsun!

Continue Reading