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Ozlem’s Turkish Table at Turkish Embassy, London and Courgette, lentils, Swiss chard cooked in olive oil

Merhaba Dear All,

It’s been a busy and exciting few months for Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, as it has been awarded as the Winner of the prestigious Gourmand World Cookery Book Award, in the Food Heritage Category for Turkey.  The Gourmand Awards are often compared by journalists to the “Oscars” and we are absolutely delighted. Ozlem’s Turkish Table is now being reprinted with the Gourmand seal to reach out more Turkish food lovers around the world, with sincere thanks to all dear readers, Pinar UK and GB Publishing. Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book is available at this link and it is delivered worldwide.

I am delighted to share the latest news from Ozlem’s Turkish Table, and my new recipe, Courgette/zucchini, lentils, Swiss chard and peppers cooked in olive oil – Kabakli, Mercimekli Mualla at this post, I hope you enjoy it and it inspires you to have a go at delicious, wholesome Turkish cuisine.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Turkish Cuisine Presentation at the Turkish Embassy Residence, London

February also marked a very special event at the Turkish Embassy Residence in London. Our Turkish Ambassador HE Mr Yalcin and Mrs Yalcin very kindly hosted our Turkish Cuisine evening at the Turkish Embassy Residence in London on February 12th, with the participation of diplomats, press, distinguished guests in London. It was a real honor to do a presentation on our healthy, wholesome Turkish cuisine to our guests, with thousands years of culinary heritage. The journalist Ayse Arman was amongst the guests and very kindly did a wonderful write up about the evening and our efforts to promote Turkish cuisine abroad.

After my presentation and demonstration of Potatoes and bulgur patties with pomegranate molasses, Patatesli, bulgurlu kofte, Turkish Embassy chefs and kitchen staff very kindly prepared a feast from Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, to serve our guests; it was an honor to see recipes from my cookery book prepared and displayed so beautifully, so very delighted that everyone enjoyed the evening. My very sincere thanks to our Ambassador and his wife, Mr and Mrs Yalcin, for hosting this wonderful event.

Courgette/zucchini, lentils, Swiss chard and peppers cooked in olive oil – Kabakli, Mercimekli Mualla

 I love Antakya’s traditional Patlicanli Mercimekli Mualla (as featured at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table); it has been very popular with the readers and at my cookery classes. While I was in Guru’s Place Cookery School in Kalkan, Turkey  for my cookery class last year, a Turkish lady there saw our Aubergine with lentils dish and said that she makes another version with courgettes and adds pazi (similar to Swiss card to it); she said it is really lovely too. So inspired by her kind recommendation, here is my Courgette, lentils, Swiss chard and peppers cooked in olive oil, Kabakli Mercimekli Mualla.

And I must say, it is another scrumptious dish. This time, I baked this dish in the oven; baking brought a lovely sweetness to the courgette, peppers and onions and dried mint added delicious freshness. We make this recipe using the Turkish Zeytinyagli method (Vegetables cooked in olive oil) and it’s important to let the dish cool in the pan so it can rest and the flavors develop. Once cooked, it keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days, great for entertaining. It is packed with flavor and wholesome, also gluten-free and plant based. This dish also works very well as a filling in vegetarian lasagna (we tested this too and family loved it, recipe to follow soon). I hope you enjoy my recipe as below, Afiyet Olsun.

 

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Courgette, lentils, Swiss chard and peppers cooked in olive oil; Kabakli, Mercimekli Mualla
 
I love Antakya’s traditional Patlicanli Mercimekli Mualla (as featured at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table); it has been very popular with the readers and at my cookery classes. While I was in Guru’s Place Cookery School in Kalkan, Turkey for my cookery class last year, a Turkish lady there saw our Aubergine with lentils dish and said that she makes another version with courgettes and adds pazi (similar to Swiss card to it); she said it is really lovely too. So inspired by her kind recommendation, here is my Courgette, lentils, Swiss chard and peppers cooked in olive oil, Kabakli Mercimekli Mualla. And I must say, it is another scrumptious dish. This time, I baked this dish in the oven; baking brought a lovely sweetness to the courgette, peppers and onions and dried mint added delicious freshness. We make this recipe using the Turkish Zeytinyagli method (Vegetables cooked in olive oil) and it’s important to let the dish cool in the pan so it can rest and the flavors develop. Once cooked, it keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days, great for entertaining. It is packed with flavor and wholesome, also gluten-free and plant based.
Author:
Recipe type: Vegetarian and Vegan
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 175g/6oz green lentils, rinsed
  • 4-5 medium courgette/zucchini
  • 2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 200gr/7oz Swiss chard or pazi, washed and roughly chopped
  • 400g/14oz (1 can of) chopped tomatoes in juice
  • 60ml/2fl oz olive oil
  • 240ml/8fl oz water
  • 45ml/3 tablespoons olive oil (to par bake courgettes and peppers)
  • 5ml/1 teaspoon salt
  • 5ml/1 teaspoon granulated sugar (optional)
  • 10ml/2 teaspoons dried mint
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F
  2. Put the green lentils in a pan of boiling water, stir and cover. Simmer and par boil in low heat for 15 -20 minutes. Drain the water and set aside.
  3. Cut the courgettes in half lengthways and cut each half into medium slices, about ½ cm, 0.2”. Spread them on a wide tray, sprinkle salt over and leave aside for 10 minutes. Using a paper towel, gently squeeze the excess water out of the courgette/zucchini.
  4. Combine the sliced peppers and courgettes in an oven tray. Drizzle the 3 tbsp./45ml olive oil over them. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix well. Par bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes; this will help courgettes and peppers to soften up and start bringing out their lovely sweet flesh.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the partially cooked lentils, onion, garlic, chopped Swiss chard, chopped tomatoes, salt, dried mint, olive oil and the sugar (if used). Season with ground black pepper, check the seasoning and add more salt if needed.
  6. In a deep baking dish, place a layer of the par baked courgette and pepper slices. Spread the half of the vegetable and lentil mixture over evenly. Place the remainder of the courgette and pepper slices over the top and spread the remaining vegetable & lentil mixture over also. Add the water, cover with foil and bake at the preheated oven (180C/350F) for about 30 minutes. Then take the foil off and bake for further 10-15 minutes, or until lentils and vegetables fully cooked and have started to have a nice crispy coating.
  7. Once cooked, leave to cool at the baking dish: this will allow the flavors to develop and blend well. Serve at room temperature (or if preferred warm) with some crusty bread. This lovely dish can be served as a vegetarian main course or can accompany grills as a side.
  8. Afiyet Olsun.

Healthy Turkish Vegetarian Feast Master Class – Divertimenti Cookery School, London

Sunday, March 15th, 2020 from 12.00- 15.30 (Hands – On Class)

Join Ozlem at Divertimenti Cookery School in London on Sunday, March 15th, from 12 – 3.30pm  to create a Healthy Turkish Vegetarian Feast, including Baked beetroot with garlic, served with pomegranate molasses and seeds, Spicy Bulgur and Lentil soup (Ezo Gelin Corba), Filo pastry with courgette, cheese and dill, Medley of baked or sauteed  aubergines, peppers and courgettes served in tomato sauce and garlicy yoghurt, finishing with Caramalised carrot paste delight with hazelnuts and shredded coconut and Turkish coffee, from her Gourmand World Cookbook award winning book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table. Turkish cuisine is healthy, delicious and recipes can easily be adapted for gluten free and vegan needs too.

Participation is limited for this hands on class, if you like to join us, please kindly book your spot at this link; the class can also make a lovely gift for a foodie.

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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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Gluten-free and Delicious; Pasta with anchovies, garlic, capers and parsley, in tomato sauce

A typical Pazar -Market - in Istanbul; healthy and delicious foods like beans seeds and nuts in their natural, unprocessed form have a big part in Turkish cuisine.

My good friend Gillian needed to switch to a gluten-free diet recently and thanks to her, I have been learning a lot more about gluten-free products and how they can help with those suffering from coeliac disease (or celiac disease as known in North America) and auto-immune conditions. Good news is that she is feeling much better and moreover, finding exciting ways to incorporate gluten-free ingredients to her diet. BBC Food has some wonderful information challenges on gluten-free diet, gluten-free ingredients and substitutions as well as wonderful recipes to spice up gluten-free ingredients, if you would like to check out.

Gluten-free pasta; a blend of corn flour and rice flour

A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). Though it is nice to know that many healthy and delicious foods like beans, seeds, nuts in their natural, unprocessed form, fresh eggs, fresh meats, fish and poultry (not breaded, batter-coated or marinated), fruits and vegetables and most dairy products are naturally gluten-free.

Having coastline to the Aegean, Mediterranean and Black Sea, Turkey has wonderful variety of fish

Turkish cuisine is based on using fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables, plenty of fish, nuts and legumes. I am delighted to see that most ingredients we use in Turkish cuisine are gluten-free and suitable for those in need of delicious gluten-free recipes. Try our wonderful Appetizers and Mezzes, like this wonderful warm hummus with red pepper paste infused olive oil, or vegetables cooked in olive oil like this Artichokes cooked in olive oil with peas,carrots and almonds, for exciting ways to enjoy gluten- free diet.

Mercimekli Mualla - Lentils, aubergine, onion, garlic and peppers cooked in olive oil; a delicious gluten-free dish

Mercimekli Mualla - Lentils, aubergine, onion, garlic and peppers cooked in olive oil; a delicious gluten-free dish

How about lentils? They are an integral part of Turkish cuisine and their protein packed nutrition add to a healthful diet. For a delicious, gluten-free treat, try this Mercimekli Mualla, eggplant, tomato & green lentils cooked in olive oil. This tasty, versatile dish can be a wonderful side to grilled meat and fish or a meal on its own.

As for the grains; couscous, bulgur wheat and semolina are not gluten-free, and we use especially bulgur quiet a lot in Turkish cuisine. However, you can use quinoa, in the place of couscous or bulgur wheat for salads and side dishes. Try making my spicy bulgur wheat salad with vegetables,kisir, with quinoa, for a delicious, gluten-free alternative.

Delicious Coconut-flavored Tilapia Fish and Potatoes Curry by Peri's Spice Ladle

Indian cuisine is also a great source for delicious and easy gluten-free recipes. Please also check out the wonderful blog Peri’s Spice Ladle; Peri has a delicious Coconut flavored tilapia fish and potato curry this week, so worth trying.

Here is a delicious and easy gluten-free pasta recipe, inspired by my friend Gillian’s wonderful sauce to go with it. It was my first time trying gluten-free pasta (a blend of corn flour and rice flour); we were impressed by it and the sauce of anchovies, capers, garlic and tomato gave it a really nice punchy flavor. I like to add a tablespoon of capers for extra zing, if you like the flavor too. My husband didn’t realize it was gluten-free pasta until I mentioned at the end! 🙂

Hope this recipe and other Turkish recipes here in this blog may help you to enjoy a gluten-free diet.

Gluten-free and Delicious; Pasta with anchovies, garlic, capers and parsley, in tomato sauce

Gluten-free pasta with anchovies, capers, tomatoes and garlic in tomato sauce

Serves 2

Preparation time: 10 minutes                           Cooking time: 15 minutes

250gr gluten-free pasta (or enough for 2 people)

30gr/ 1 canned anchovy fillets in olive oil – coarsely chopped

1tbsp capers, rinsed

3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped

14oz/1 can of Italian whole or cherry tomatoes, crushed in your hand (this works really well in the sauce, but if you rather prefer to use chopped tomatoes, that works too)

15ml/1tbsp olive oil

Handful of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and sauté the garlic for a minute or two. Add the crushed tomatoes in can (along with about 2 tbsp of water to get all the juices in the can) to the pan; give them a good mix and cook for a further two minutes. Stir in the capers and anchovies, combine well. Season with salt (if needed; as anchovies and capers are already quite salty) and black pepper and simmer on low heat for about 5-8 minutes.

Anchovies and capers go well with garlic and tomatoes in the sauce

While the sauce is simmering, place the gluten-free pasta in a saucepan of boiling water, add a little salt and a dash of olive oil. Stir occasionally and boil for about 10 minutes, until “al dente”. Towards the end of the cooking, take 2 tablespoons of the pasta’s cooking liquid and add to the pasta sauce, along with the parsley, mix well. Once pasta is cooked, drain the water and mix the pasta with the sauce.

Afiyet Olsun (means in Turkish; “may you be happy and healthy with the food you eat”),

Ozlem

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