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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.

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; pumpkin recipes, book fair, cookery class

Merhaba dear All,

Beautiful still life from Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book coming up, by Sian Irvine Photography

Exciting times ahead, as we are almost there to start the pre-order for my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland, as of early November, please stay tuned! With a special tribute to my southern Turkish roots and family stories, this book has been lovingly written and prepared with beautiful images by Sian Irvine Photography, I really can’t wait to share with you all.

Here are a few special events coming up as well as delicious autumn/fall flavours, showcasing pumpkin and squash, I hope you enjoy it:

Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland is at Riverhouse Barn Book Fair, October 28th

One of the still life shots with my family photos, from my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland, coming up. Image credit: Sian Irvine Photography

I am delighted to be participating the Riverhouse Barn Book Fair in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England on Saturday, October 28th at 12 noon with GB Publishing. Together with other authors, I will be introducing my upcoming cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland and introducing southern Turkish cuisine, my roots, Antakya- Antioch, with Turkish delights for everyone! Hope you can join us for a wonderful literary themed weekend.

A Turkish Festive Table cookery class with Ozlem Warren, Divertimenti Cookery School – London, Hands On Masterclass – Saturday, December 2nd

Radish salad with tahini sauce, image credit: Sian Irvine photography

Antakya’s traybake kebab, tepsi kebabi, will be a part of our cookery class on Dec. 2nd at Divertimenti cookery school. Image credit: Sian Irvine Photography

Please join us on Saturday, December 2nd, from 11 am to 2.30 pm for a festive class, as I will be sharing Southern Turkish specialties from my upcoming cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland. With a tribute to my roots, you will prepare authentic Southern Turkish flavours as you cook alongside with us. Recipes include ‘Tahini Bread Rolls with Sesame Seeds’, ‘Muhammara’ (Walnut and red pepper paste dip), ‘Leafy Greens with Peppers, Pine nuts and Aleppo Pepper Flakes’, ‘Radish Salad with Tahini Sauce’, ‘Tepsi Kebabi’ (Traybake kebab with roasted vegetables), ‘Kunefe – Kadayifi’ (Pastry strands with melted cheese in light syrup) and Turkish coffee.

Price : £115

Participation is limited, please kindly book through Divertimenti Cookery School at this link

Leafy greens with pine nuts, pepper and onions, a delicious course at our Dec. 2nd cookery class, at Divertimenti

What I have been cooking lately…

Candied pumpkin dessert with walnuts, southern Turkish Style – Cevizli Kabak Tatlisi

Candied pumpkin dessert with walnuts; Cevizli Kabak Tatlisi

We all have pumpkins in our minds at this time of the year; I love its natural sweetness and comforting, luscious flavor. This scrumptious candied pumpkin dessert is popular in Turkey and it is so very easy to make. Pumpkin is baked here in its very own juice with sugar and the result is an exquisite dessert with the full flavor of pumpkin, also fancy enough to share with family and friends.

This lovely light dessert, Kabak Tatlisi, is wonderful served with crushed walnuts. In Turkey, it is also served with our thick clotted cream, kaymak. If you can’t get kaymak, clotted cream also complements this dessert well. Here’s the link to my candied pumpkin dessert with walnuts, Cevizli Kabak Tatlisi.

Bulgur meatballs with squash and chickpeas, in yoghurt and mint sauce

Bulgur meatballs with squash and chickpeas in yoghurt and dried mint sauce

Stews with yoghurt has a special place in southern Turkish cuisine. I recently re-created Gaziantep’s Stew with bulgur meatballs, in yoghurt and mint sauce – Yogurtlu, bulgurlu kofte -. The traditional recipe also has lamb in it, in my version I omitted the extra meat and added the seasonal squash to  the dish.  The chickpeas worked really well in the stew too; not only very healthy, but brought a different texture and wonderful flavor. The dish turned out to be a very satisfying  and substantial meal yet surprisingly light. Here’s my recipe for the Bulgur meatballs with squash and chickpeas, in yoghurt and mint sauce, I hope you enjoy it.

Happy autumn/fall and Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Baked Zucchini (courgette) halves with vegetables and chickpeas (garbanzo beans) -Nohutlu Kabak Dolmasi

I previously made the delicious stuffed zucchini halves with ground meat, vegetables and chickpeas or garbanzo beans, inspired by my home town, Antioch’s (Antakya) cuisine. I was asked for a vegetarian version of this dish during my Turkish cookery class past Saturday and there came this delicious dish. The meaty mushrooms, onions, peppers made a scrumptious filling and worked so well with chickpeas. With a touch of heat by the Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi & Turkish red pepper flakes and the refreshing dried mint, we had an at least equally delicious vegetarian stuffed zucchini that we all very much enjoyed.

Stuffed zucchini with onions, mushrooms, pepper and chickpeas, in tomato sauce

Stuffed zucchini with onions, mushrooms, pepper and chickpeas, in tomato sauce

I also used a little pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi, to add a delicious sweet & sour taste to the zucchini halves. Pomegranate molasses is used a lot especially in Southern Turkish cuisine in salad dressings like in this Gavurdagi Salad of tomatoes, onions and walnuts or in bulgur wheat salad, kisir; a little bit of it adds a great punch.

You can prepare this healthy dish ahead of time and the leftovers freeze beautifully. Please save the flesh of the zucchini or courgettes that you scooped out. They are delicious & wholesome cooked with onions, tomatoes & dried mint in this bulgur pilaf .

Serves 4-6

Preparation time: 20 minutes                                                Cooking time: 50-55 minutes

3 chunky zucchini/courgette

200gr/7oz chestnut mushrooms, wiped clean and finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped

200gr/7oz (1/2 can of) chopped tomatoes

200gr/7oz (1/2 can of) cooked chickpeas, rinsed

15ml/1 tbsp. pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi (optional)

30ml/2tablespoons olive oil

240ml/8fl oz./ 1cup water

15ml/1 tbsp. tomato paste

5 ml / 1 tsp. Turkish red pepper paste – optional-

10ml/2 tsp. dried mint

5ml/1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

To serve:

120ml/8fl oz. plain yoghurt

1-2 garlic cloves, crushed with salt and finely chopped

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

carefully scoop out some of the flesh to create a cavity that is large enough to stuff

Carefully scoop out some of the flesh to create a cavity that is large enough to stuff

Cut the zucchini in half and then in lengthways. Using a dessert spoon, carefully scoop out some of the flesh to create a cavity that is large enough to stuff the filling (Please save the flesh of the zucchini that you scooped out. They are delicious cooked in bulgur pilaf). Mix 2 tbsp. water with the pomegranate molasses (if using) and wash the inside of the courgettes with this mixture; this adds a delicious sweet & sour taste to the zucchini.

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) combined with vegetables make a delicious filling

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) combined with vegetables make a delicious filling

Heat the oil in a heavy pan. Stir in the onions and garlic and cook until light golden. Add the mushrooms, bell pepper and hot pepper paste (if using). Season with salt and pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and the cooked chickpeas, mix well. Add the red pepper flakes and the dried mint, combine well. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes. Turn the heat off; the filling is ready.

Take a spoonful of the filling and stuff the zucchini halves.

Take a spoonful of the filling and stuff the zucchini halves.

Grease a baking tray with 1 tbsp. olive oil and place the scooped zucchini. Take a spoonful of the filling and stuff the zucchini halves, taking care not to over fill them. Dilute the tomato paste with the water and pour on the tray. Cover and bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes. After this, uncover and bake for a further 10 minutes for a lightly brown finish.

While the zucchini halves are baking, prepare your garlic yoghurt. In a bowl, mix the plain yoghurt with the chopped garlic. Serve the stuffed zucchini hot, with the garlic yoghurt by the side. You can make this wonderful bulgur pilaf using the flesh of the zucchini we scooped out; they complement each very nicely and you get a complete meal.

Baked zucchini halves with vegetables & chickpeas; great with garlic yoghurt aside

Baked zucchini halves with vegetables & chickpeas; great with garlic yoghurt aside

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Istanbul is Calling!

Turkish tea, Cay, Simit and Istanbul's Bosphorus; a heavenly combination

Turkish tea, Cay, Simit and Istanbul’s Bosphorus; a heavenly combination

Indeed Istanbul is calling and I can hardly wait! I will be in Istanbul next week, the city that makes my heart beats fast, a feast to all senses. Greatly looking forward to seeing family, friends and feeling the beat of this fascinating city.

The very atmospheric Spice Market, Misir Carsisi, Istanbul - feast to all senses

The very atmospheric Spice Market, Misir Carsisi, Istanbul – feast to all senses

I also very much look forward to sharing delicious Turkish cuisine with food lovers at my Turkish cookery class on Wednesday, 19th February at the Istanbul Culinary Institute. I will be in touch soon with delicious memories from home!

With my best wishes, Selamlar,

Ozlem

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