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A special visit to Istanbul and Turkish Festive Meal Ideas

Merhaba dear All,

Showing my mother, Gulcin, the final proofs of my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from my Homeland

I had a flying but a very special visit back home, to Istanbul last week; mainly to spend some quality time with my parents and family, every minute of it was precious. The trip coincided with finalising my cookery book coming up, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland. I had a chance to show the final print outs to my parents, it was a special and emotional moment for us all.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table Cookery Book; Contents Page

Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, final proofs!

This special book has been a legacy of my parents, who instilled in us the love of good food, passion for sharing with others and love for our Turkish cuisine. It was a special and proud moment to show them the fruits of our labor; I am over the moon that they loved the book!:) The book pays special tribute to my southern Turkish roots, with my family history, family photos and recipes and really is beautifully made with gorgeous photography by Sian Irvine Food Photography– you will love the vividness of the colors, market photos, beautifully shot photos of each recipes and showcasing thousands of years of culinary heritage of Turkish cuisine. A warm, lovingly made book, also a love letter to my homeland, I can not wait to share with you all.

A still life image from my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, by Sian Irvine

My book is on pre-order now and it could make a lovely gift to a food lover. You can pre-order  here with 10% off pre-order discount only for this period; please enter the promo code Pre-Order Special before the check out at this link, to apply for 10% discount. Pre-orders will be shipped worldwide (including Turkey) in March, prior the general release of the book in April 2018. It’s a lovingly made, special book and I truly hope you enjoy it and it brings happy memories of my beautiful homeland, Turkey.

Festive Turkish Meal Ideas:

One of the feedback you readers kindly gave for my book has been to include Menu Suggestions in the book. And I kept my promise and included a variety of menus in the book, to help with meal planning; such as Traditional Menu, Vegetarian Menu, Gluten-Free Menu, Mezze based menu, Southern Turkish themed menu, Kebab based menu etc. Inspired by this, I thought to share some  Turkish meal ideas with recipes and their beautiful images from my upcoming book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland,  so you can enjoy with family and friends over the festive season, I hope it inspires to you all.

Ezo Gelin Corba; Spicy lentil and bulgur soup; image from my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table

We Turks always start our meal with soup, corba, traditionally and I can’t think of a better soup than Ezo Gelin Corbasi, Spicy bulgur and lentil soup to warm us all. So easy to make and dried mint and red pepper flakes flavor this soup so beautifully; you can make a big batch and freeze left overs, one of our firm favourites.

Assortment of boreks, savory pastries with filo, from my book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table

Boreks, savory pastries with fillings are a huge favorite in our home – children love them as well as adults. How about an assortment of boreks for the festive season, like in this image from my cookery book? Traybake Spinach and cheese filo pastry, Ispanakli Borek, Traybake filo pastry with ground/minced meat, Kiymali Borek or filo triangles with cheese and spinach or parsley, Muska boregi, would all be great crowd pleasers.

Potato and bulgur patties with pomegranate molasses, from my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table

I will definitely be making these scrumptious Potato and Bulgur Patties, served with pomegranate molasses, during the festive season. They are so easy to make and absolutely delicious; pungent cumin and red pepper flakes flavor these patties beautifully – you can serve as a side to your mains; they are absolutely lovely when dipped in to pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi – a delicious southern Turkish specialty.

Stuffed aubergines/eggplants – Karniyarik; a delicious main from Ozlem’s Turkish Table

Aubegine/eggplant is king of vegetables at home and Karniyarik, stuffed aubergine/eggplant with minced meat and vegetables always makes an appearance in our festive tables. You can also make Split aubergines/eggplants with vegetables filling, Imam Bayildi, if you prefer the vegetarian option – love them both.

Baked dried apricots with walnuts, from Ozlem’s Turkish Table

There can be quite rich food and indulgence during the festive period and I opt for fruity desserts most of the time. This baked dried apricots with walnuts fits the bill perfectly; healthy, light, easy to make and great for entertaining – also gluten-free.

Turkish coffee, Turk kahvesi, from Ozlem’s Turkish Table

Turkish coffee, Turk kahvesi is a special drink for us – it really is a more than a drink with all its rituals and it is the perfect end to a special meal. Here’s how to make the perfect Turkish coffee.

I truly hope these would give you some ideas to enjoy with family and friends over the festive season. My very best wishes to you all for the festive season and the New Year. It’s been such a pleasure to share delicious Turkish cuisine with you all and more to come in 2018!

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Ozlem’s Turkish Table Cookery Book – available for Pre-order Now!

Merhaba dear All;

My cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table; Recipes from My Homeland – front cover

With huge excitement to let you know that my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland, is now available for pre-order at this link!

You can now pre-order your copy at this link with 10 % Pre-Order Special discount. To redeem this discount, please enter the promo code Pre-Order Special when it says “Enter a promo code” on the left side of your shopping cart. If you are interested, I would be grateful if you can kindly pre-order, as it will help me to determine the number of books to print, my sincere thanks to you in advance. I can hardly wait for my book to reach to you and I do hope to meet you at one of the many book events we will be doing.

You can now pre-order my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table 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.  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. If paying Offline, please kindly include the Ref: GBPShop-your last name.

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

This book has been my dream in making; through my Turkish cookery classes and recipes I have shared with you in my blog, I have been writing this book for over 10 years. My sincere thanks goes to my family for all their support and GB Publishing for believing in me and all the wonderful team at GB Publishing and everyone, who worked hard to make it happen. Special thanks goes to dear Sian Irvine Photography for the amazing images she captured throughout the book.

This book is my tribute to the diverse, scrumptious Turkish cuisine and it is a celebration of my southern Turkish roots with regional recipes especially from my home town of Antakya, which is now a  UNESCO approved World City of Gastronomy, I am very proud to see. My cooking has, and continues to be, inspired by this magical land and its people. Let me take you on a Turkish culinary journey with my book – to learn, taste and enjoy for yourself the delicious foods of my homeland and along the way I hope you will feel the warmth and generous spirit of our Turkish culture.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table; Recipes from My Homeland is a compilation of my favourite classic Turkish recipes as well as regional specialities from southern Turkey, with their exhilarating aromas, smells and colours. They have been lovingly prepared and passed down to me from my mother and grandmother.  I share the recipes in this book with you in the hope that you will cook, enjoy and in turn, invite others to your own table to share a Turkish meal together.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland cookery book – back cover

As you see at the back cover of my book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table (please disregard the text on the back cover, as it is work in progress), this book covers the diverse, wholesome Turkish cuisine. From hot & cold mezes (dips, salads, pastries) to vegetables cooked in olive oil, bulgur, legume and grain based dishes to southern Turkish specialities, meat, poultry, fish and desserts, there are scrumptious recipes to wet your apetite. All recipes are well tested with easy to follow instructions, with plenty of choices for vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan diets. Living abroad, I know how important it is to access ingredients; Turkish cuisine is based on seasonal produce, flavored with artful use of herbs, spices, olive oil (as well as natural condiments like pomegranate molasses, which is widely available now and I have a recipe for it in my book) and my book showcases that. Wherever needed, I offer alternatives and substitution.

A beautiful still life shot from my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, with my family photos

This book is also a love letter to my homeland and a special tribute to my parents, Gulcin and Orhan and my grandparents, for instilling the love of good food and importance of sharing, generosity and hospitality to us; pillars of Turkish culture. There are personal stories and black and white family photos in the book, which are very dear to me and special to share with you all.

Another special touch from the book for me is the prominent cookery author, dear Ghillie Basan‘s foreword in the book. Ghillie’s  wonderful Turkish cookery books and workshops have been a huge inspiration for me and she has been a role model; I am honored to have her beautiful words in my book.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book can be pre-ordered through this link and will be shipped worldwide. Pre-orders will have the first priority and will be distributed as of late February/early March 2018. General release day of the book will be April 2018.

Introducing Ozlem’s Turkish Table at Riverhouse Barn Book Fair

I hope my book introduces you to the many foods of Turkey and especially southern Turkish cuisine. May it inspire you to create, cook, and experiment, but most of all – enjoy the magnificent cuisine of my beautiful homeland, Turkey.

Afiyet Olsun ve Cok Tesekkurler,

Ozlem

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Fish kebabs with lemon, pepper, red onions and bay leaves

Healthy, delicious fish kebabs in olive oil, lemon juice and red pepper flakes marinade.

Healthy, delicious fish kebabs in olive oil, lemon juice and red pepper flakes marinade.

This is such an easy and tasty fish kebab; you can use any firm fleshed fish like cod lion, tuna or salmon. Meaty swordfish, kilic baligi, is traditionally used at home and its firm, chunky flesh really works well in the kebabs. I like to roast extra vegetables by the side to complement the fish kebabs; with some boiled potatoes aside, these fish kebabs make a delicious, impressive meal for entertaining.

Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table book, available to order at this link

This and many other delicious, healthy Turkish recipes are included in my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland,  Signed copies available to order at this link.

Brush the left over marinade of olive oil, lemon juice and red pepper flakes over the skewers.

Brush the left over marinade of olive oil, lemon juice and red pepper flakes over the skewers.

It is worth marinating the fish prior cooking; a simple marinade of olive oil, refreshing lemon juice with a little spicy kick from red pepper flakes flavor the fish kebabs beautifully. I baked my fish kebabs in the oven. You can alternatively cook them over preheated barbecue, oven grill or hot griddle for 6 – 8 minutes, until they are cooked through and lightly browned.

Fish kebabs with roasted vegetables by the side; a delicious, easy meal.

Fish kebabs with roasted vegetables by the side; a delicious, easy meal.

I hope you enjoy these tasty fish kebabs, Afiyet Olsun,
Ozlem

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Fish kebabs with lemon, pepper, red onions and bay leaves
 
This is such and easy and tasty fish kebab; a simple marinade of olive oil, refreshing lemon juice with a little spicy kick from red pepper flakes flavor the fish kebabs beautifully. I like to roast extra vegetables by the side to complement the fish kebabs; with some boiled potatoes aside, these fish kebabs make a delicious, impressive meal for entertaining.
Author:
Recipe type: Turkish style fish kebabs - Seafood
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 350 gr/ 12 oz. skinned, boneless cod lion (or any firm fleshed fish), cut into bite size chunks
  • 1 red onion, quartered and coarsely sliced
  • 2 red pointy (or bell) peppers, deseeded and coarsely sliced
  • 1 lemon, cut into small wedges
  • 5 – 6 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp. / 30 ml olive oil (for roasting the vegetables)
  • For the marinade:
  • 30 ml / 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 – 2 teaspoon Turkish red pepper flakes or chili flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges to serve
Instructions
  1. Soak wooden skewers in water for 15 minutes before using.
  2. Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F
  3. Cut the skinned, boneless cod lion (or your choice of firm fleshed fish) into bite size (about 3 cm/1.2” in.) chunks.
  4. Place the fish in a bowl and stir in the olive oil, lemon juice and red pepper flakes. Season the fish with salt and ground black pepper. Gently coat the chunks of the fish with this marinade.
  5. Cover the bowl and set aside for 15 minutes to marinate and for the fish to absorb the flavors.
  6. Place the chopped red onion, red pointy (or bell) pepper and green pepper slices on a baking tray. Drizzle 2 tbsp. olive oil over them. Season with salt, ground black pepper and mix well.
  7. Thread the fish on to the skewers, alternating with a wedge of lemon, red onion slice, red and green pepper slices. Thread one or two bay leaves into each skewer. Brush the kebabs with any leftover marinade.
  8. Place the skewers at one side of your baking tray. Spread the remaining chopped vegetables next to the fish kebab skewers. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  9. Serve the fish kebabs hot with roasted vegetables and a wedge of lemon by the side. Boiled or roasted potatoes also complement the fish kebabs well.
Notes
Soak wooden skewers in water for 15 minutes before using.

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