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Tag Archives | mezzes

Greetings from Istanbul! Sights, people and food, glorious food

The Bosphorus bridge, Kiz Kulesi - the Maiden tower and the glorious Bosphorus

The Bosphorus bridge, Kiz Kulesi – the Maiden tower and the glorious Bosphorus

Istanbul’dan merhaba! Home, sweet home; I think the more I age, home, my roots calls me even more eagerly, it is wonderful to be back home. Here are a few snap shots of what we have been up to.

It’s been only a few days since we’ve been here and we managed to fit in a lot of family visits and said “Mutlu Bayramlar.” I especially enjoyed having a chance to visit the elderly with the children, hearing their stories to them, such precious moments to savour. Istanbul is the place to be during the Bayram holiday as most folks left for holidays. So wonderful to be able to enjoy the city minus the traffic.

Cay, peynirli borek and pogaca; a very warm welcome home

Cay, peynirli borek and pogaca; a very warm welcome home

Cay, peynirli borek, Turkish tray bake pastry with cheese and parsley and pogaca made a very warm welcome home.

Turkish mezzes and vegetables cooked in olive oil

Turkish mezzes and vegetables cooked in olive oil

One of the things I very much long is enjoying a vast array of freshly prepared mezzes and enjoying them along the Bosphorus. With a beautiful breeze and friends and family nearby, it is heavenly.

Enjoying a glass of cay and Turkish breakfast at Rumelihisari, Istanbul

Enjoying a glass of cay and Turkish breakfast with dear friends at Rumelihisari, Istanbul

I was grateful that a few dear friends were still in Istanbul during Bayram and we enjoyed a long, leisurely Turkish breakfast and multiple glasses of cay at Rumelihisari, Sade Kahve.

Sigara boregi, ciborek, freshly squeezed orange juice and many more; Turkish breakfast

Sigara boregi, ciborek, freshly squeezed orange juice and many more; Turkish breakfast

Gozlemes, Anatolian flat breads with fillings are made at the oval sac oven in front of you, with an infectious smile. Impossible to pass on.

Ciborek with a smile

Ciborek with a smile

Gozleme; Anatolian flatbreads with fillings

Gozleme; Anatolian flat breads with fillings

And we’re off again; this time taking the ferry, vapur, to visit our dear, elderly aunt with the children. I love traveling with the traditional ferries, vapur; it is nostalgic, offers spectacular views and a wonderful way to be a part of the local life. The ferry itself promises a lot of fun and excitement to us all. Children loved looking at to the sights with the ferry’s telescope – only 1 TL –

The traditional ferries, vapur, is an ideal way to cross the Bosphorus

The traditional ferries, vapur, is an ideal way to cross the Bosphorus

My son trying the telescope at the ferry

My son trying the telescope at the ferry

Of course, one can also have a delightful glass of cay and Simit, sesame encrusted bread rings to nibble while on the ferry – again, served with a wonderful smile.

Simit and a glass of cay at the ferry, vapur - one of my favorite rituals

Simit and a glass of cay at the ferry, vapur – one of my favorite rituals

Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace, over the Bosphorus

Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace, over the Bosphorus

Once in Kadikoy, we decided we need more Simit; so popped in the local bakery to get some more, along with some white cheese, beyaz peynir and tomatoes for the afternoon tea at our Meskure Hala, our dear aunt.

Freshly baked Simit at the local bakery, firin

Freshly baked Simit at the local bakery, firin

The following day started with a visit to Besiktas; I love Besiktas Carsisi; it’s market, small scale shops, fish monger and endless eatries. It has a village feel where folks greet one another, get their daily bread from the bakery, firin, the Turkish coffee and nuts from the local kuruyemisci; the list goes on and on. I got lost for words at Simit Molasi Cafe – Sigara Boregi; pastry rolls with cheese and parsley for us. And more simit, if one desires more.

Sigara boregi, cheese rolls with filo pastry and Simit, sesame encrusted Turkish bread rings galore at Simit Molasi, Besiktas

Sigara boregi, cheese rolls with filo pastry and Simit, sesame encrusted Turkish bread rings galore at Simit Molasi, Besiktas

Next stop is Ortakoy;  lovely to see the restoration at the Ortakoy Mosque is compiled – looks fascinating.

Ortakoy Mosque, Istanbul

Ortakoy Mosque, Istanbul

If you’re after a really good quality Turkish delight, have a look at Yeni Ugur Helvacisi in Ortakoy; I loved their new Turkish delight with pomegranates, they are packed with flavor. If you fancy making your own Turkish Delight, here is my home made Turkish Delight recipe.

Freshly ground Turkish coffee at Meraklilar Kuruyemiscisi, Ortakoy - Istanbul

Freshly ground Turkish coffee at Meraklilar Kuruyemiscisi, Ortakoy – Istanbul

Last stop, freshly ground Turkish coffee at Meraklilar Kuruyemiscisi, Ortakoy; smells heavenly. Hope you enjoy yours, Turkish coffee really is more than a drink – afiyet olsun!

 A delightful visit to Burgazada, Burgaz Island

It’s our last day in Istanbul before we depart for Bodrum and we took the ferry to Burgazada, one of the Princes’ islands  near to Istanbul. Children got very excited with the prospect of getting on the ferry again and riding bicycle in the Island. We had a special purpose of this visit too, as we arranged to meet up with dear Mark and Jolee from the wonderful blog Senior Dogs Abroad. Mark and Jolee live in Istanbul and blog about the life in Turkey as well as world affairs, they’re a pleasure to follow, a delightful company.

Charming horse carriages at Burgazada

Charming horse carriages at Burgazada

No vehicles are allowed in the island except the horse carriages and bicycles, which makes the islands even more inviting; a breath of fresh air.

Friday is the Market day, Pazar in Burgazada and I am grateful that the Senior Dogs kindly guided us to the right direction! Fresh, breathtaking produce galore; one can easily spend a day there, just wonderful.

Market day in Burgazada; fresh produce in abundance

Market day in Burgazada; fresh produce in abundance

Sivri biber, green pointy peppers and eggplant, patlican at Burgazada.

Sivri biber, green pointy peppers and eggplant, patlican at Burgazada.

Preserved vine leaves, ready for stuffing, so inviting – presented with a wonderful smile.

Vine leaves, sold at Burgazada, ready for stuffing

Vine leaves, sold at Burgazada, ready for stuffing

Time to say farewell and see you soon, many thanks to Mark and Jolee for having us at Burgazada!

Visiting dear friends at Burgazada

Visiting dear friends at Burgazada

With best wishes to all; hope to be in touch from Bodrum!

Ozlem

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Eggs with Peppers and Pastirma, Dried Beef with a Spicy Coating

Eggs with peppers and pastirma; Pastirmali Yumurta

Eggs with peppers and pastirma; Pastirmali Yumurta

I love the aromatic, delicious taste of Pastirma, dried cured beef with a coating of spices called cemen, consisting of cumin, fenugreek, garlic and hot chili flakes. This thinly sliced delicacy is very much enjoyed in Turkey as part of a mezze spread, as well as in casseroles with dried beans, Pastirmali Kuru Fasulye and in boreks, pastries. We Turks also very much enjoy pastirma with eggs, as part of a leisurely weekend breakfast, Turkish style.

Air dried pastirma; dried cured beef with aromatic spices

Air dried pastirma; dried cured beef with aromatic spices

This wind-dried beef, pastirma has been made in Anatolia for centuries. It’s also been enjoyed throughout Middle Eastern as well as Eastern European countries and has a special part in Lebanese and Armenian cuisine. Some of the finest pastirma is being produced in Kayseri region, in Middle Anatolia, Turkey; it almost has a silky texture and just melts in the mouth, very aromatic with the spicy cemen coating; I hope you can have a chance to enjoy pastirma in Kayseri. Making pastirma is a bit of a labor of love though and requires a lot of patience, as fellow blogger Peter Minaki of Kalofagas  explains. Pastirma is prepared by salting the meat, then washing it with water and letting it dry for 15 days. The blood and salt is then squeezed out of the meat and the meat, this time is covered with a special cumin paste called cemen, consisting of crushed cumin, fenugreek, garlic and chili flakes. Afterwards, the meat is air dried up to a month. You can get pastirma in Turkish and Middle Eastern markets, as well as from Turkish online stores such as Marketurk  in the UK and  Best Turkish Food in the US.

Eggs with pastirma and peppers

Eggs with pastirma and peppers

Here is our delicious and easy egg dish with bell peppers and pastirma. I love how the sweetness of peppers complements the aromatic pastirma and their marriage with eggs is divine. This dish is wonderful for a brunch or a light lunch / supper with crusty bread aside. Cacik dip of yoghurt with cucumbers and dried mint goes very well with this delicious egg this too.

Afiyet Olsun!

 

5.0 from 2 reviews
Eggs with Peppers and Pastirma, Dried Cured Beef with Spices
 
Delicious and easy Turkish style eggs with dried cured beef, pastirma, and peppers, for a lovely brunch, lunch or dinner.
Author:
Recipe type: Turkish Breakfast
Serves: 1-2
Ingredients
  • 2 free range eggs
  • ½ red bell pepper, deseeded, quartered and cut in thin stripes
  • ½ green bell pepper, deseeded, quartered and cut in thin stripes
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 4 -6 stripes of thinly cut pastirma, roughly cut
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 ml / 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 5 ml / 1 tsp. Turkish red pepper flakes / chili flakes
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a wide, heavy pan and stir in the red and green bell peppers.
  2. Sauté for 4 - 5 minutes, until the peppers start to soften.
  3. Create two holes amongst the bell pepper mixture and crack the eggs.
  4. Place the pieces of pastirma around the eggs and cook for 4 – 5 minutes, depending on your taste.
  5. Sprinkle ground cumin and the red pepper flakes over the egg, serve hot with crusty bread aside.
 

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Sigara Boregi – Crispy Cheese and Herb filled Filo Pastry Rolls

Asli Borek, Besiktas; here is the cheese & parsley rolls on display

Asli Borek, Besiktas; here is the cheese & parsley rolls on display

If you have read my previous post on Istanbul, you may already know how much we Turks love a good borek, savory pastries, made with paper thin pastry called Yufka. Boreks are widely available in pastry shops and bakeries, they are also sold on stalls and a hugely favorite street food; delicious and great value too.

It is thought that the Ottoman Palace kitchens devised these tasty treats in order to tempt the precious little princes. These cigar shaped rolls with cheese and parsley is very popular at home. Traditionally the rolls are deep fried in a deep-sided pan, I love this way too as it taste great and crispy. We recently had a go at these rolls in my recent Turkish cookery class and this time we baked them in the oven; the result was still very delicious with a bonus of them being healthier. The rolls disappear very quickly, very popular with children as well as adults. Worth giving a go!

Sigara Boregi; cheese and herb filled pastry rolls

Sigara Boregi; cheese and herb filled pastry rolls

These rolls, as with most savory pastries, are made with paper thin sheets of dough called Yufka in Turkey. As it is difficult to find yufka abroad, I made them with filo pastry sheets and it worked really well. You can prepare the rolls in advance and keep under a damp tea towel in the refrigerator. As with most savory Turkish filled pastries, this borek freeze very well once cooked too.

Serves 4 – 6

Preparation time: 20 minutes              Cooking time: 25-30 minutes

260 gr / 9 oz phyllo (filo) pastry sheets, thawed, or fresh yufka sheets, if you can get

225gr/ 8 oz feta cheese, crumbled

60gr/2 oz shredded mozzarella

2 eggs (one for the filling, one for brushing the boreks)

1 bunch / 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

15 ml / 1 tablespoon olive oil

15 ml / 1 tablespoon whole milk

Bowl of water to seal the rolls

Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F / Gas 4

Cheese and parsley mixture for the Sigara boregi rolls.

Cheese and parsley mixture for the Sigara boregi rolls.

Mash together the cheese (feta and mozzarella), 1 egg, parsley and the milk to form a smooth paste. Season with salt and pepper.  However, if the feta cheese is already salty, you may wish not to add salt.

Place the filo sheets on a flat surface. Keep the pastry covered with a damp cloth as you are working. This will help to avoid it getting too dry or less manageable. Working with one sheet at a time, cut the filo into strips about 10-13cm/4-5in wide. Keep the strips covered with another damp cloth.

Fold over the pastry from each side to seal in the mixture.

Fold over the pastry from each side to seal in the mixture.

Lay one strip of filo and place a tablespoon of the filling along one of the short ends (take care not to overfill as the filling may ooze out while cooking). Fold over the pastry from each side to seal in the mixture and then roll up like a cigar.

IMG_0067

Wet the end of the pastry with water to seal.

Wet the end of the pastry roll with water to seal.

Wet the end of each pastry roll with water to seal. Continue, keeping the finished ones covered with a damp cloth as you work. It would be ideal to cook straight ahead, but you can cover with a cling film and refrigerate for an hour or so if you need to.

Brush the pastries with olive oil and egg mixture .

Brush the pastries with olive oil and egg mixture .

Mix the olive oil and the other egg in a bowl. Grease the tray with a little olive oil. Brush the pastries with olive oil and egg mixture and bake until they are golden brown, about 25 – 30 minutes.

Crispy, delicious Sigara boregi, ready to be enjoyed!

Crispy, delicious Sigara boregi, ready to be enjoyed!

You can serve these delicious rolls, Sigara Boregi, hot as part of a meze spread. We also like to eat them as morning or afternoon snacks and they also go down very well for lunch next to this Coban Salata – Shepherd’s Salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and parsley with olive oil and lemon dressing.

Cheese and parsley filled cigar rolls, Sigara Boregi.

Cheese and parsley filled cigar rolls, Sigara Boregi.

Afiyet Olsun, I hope you can have a go at this easy and delicious treats and enjoy,

Ozlem

A Delightful & Delicious Turkish Restaurant  – Karakoy Lokantasi, Istanbul

Karakor Lokantasi, Istanbul - a charming restaurant with delicious mezzes.

Karakoy Lokantasi, Istanbul – a charming restaurant with delicious mezzes.

Karakoy district of Istanbul is buzzing with exciting eateries; there is the Gulluoglu Baklava, one of the best in town; then the Namli Deli & Kebabs next door – a feast to all senses with the wonderful kebabs, mezzes, vegetables cooked in olive oil and more. While in Istanbul, friends this time took me to the Karakoy Lokantasi, placed along the same line with all these wonderful eateries; this buzzing, charming restaurant was a great treat and did not dissapoint us.

Jars of pickled vegetables displayed at Karakoy Lokantasi.

Jars of pickled vegetables displayed at Karakoy Lokantasi.

The restaurant serves delicious, traditional Turkish mezzes and main courses and has been buzzing with locals and foodies constantly getting in and out. Their meyhane – tavern style dinners, I hear is especially popular with more variety of  deliciuos mezzes, so booking recommended.

Eggplants stuffef with onions, pepper and tomato; Imam Bayildi, and many more at Karakoy Lokantasi

Eggplants stuffed with onions, pepper and tomato; Imam Bayildi, and many more at Karakoy Lokantasi

A delicious array of vegetables cooked in olive oil greeted us; Imam Bayildi – eggplants stuffed with onions, tomatoes, peppers, stuffed vine leaves – sarma-, runner beans (french beans also works) cooked in olive oil with onions and tomatoes, all freshly cooked and so delicious.

 

Hunkar Begendi - Sultan's Delight; chunks of delicious meat served over the eggplant puree

Hunkar Begendi – Sultan’s Delight; chunks of delicious meat served over the eggplant puree

I tucked in the delicious Hunkar Begendi – Sultan’s Delight of chunks of delicious meat ragout served over the eggplant puree.  This dish is one of the landmarks of our cuisine and very popular at home. Apparently when Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III, visited Topkapi Palace – Istanbul as a guest of the Sultan, she admired the puree so much that she sent her chef to Topkapi Palace to learn the technique. Once you’ve mastered the eggplant puree, it goes well with any grilled meat and chicken. Here is the recipe if you would like to have a go at Hunkar Begendi.

Fried anchovies, hamsi; so fresh and delicious

Fried anchovies, hamsi; so fresh and delicious

Anchovies, hamsi is a popular fish in Turkey, and they are especially very popular in the Black Sea Region. My friend enjoyed this lightly fried anchovies with a rocket salad, a popular way to serve fish at home.

kaymakli Ayva tatlisi - Quince dessert with Turkish clotted cream

kaymakli Ayva tatlisi – Quince dessert with Turkish clotted cream

 Have you ever tasted Turkish quince dessert, Ayva Tatlisi? It is one of my favorite desserts and we had to have a go at this one at Karakoy Lokantasi, looked so inviting (and tasted amazing). To make this dessert, we pouch the halved quince with its seeds and skin, adding sugar and cinnamon stick  for about 1 1/2 hours. The skin and the seeds of quince give this dessert its glorious color. Topped with Turkish thick clotted cream, kaymak, this dessert is an absolute treat.

Ciragan - Spring is in the air in Istanbul.

Ciragan – Spring is in the air in Istanbul.

Happy travels, Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

 

 

 

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