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Yoghurt Dip with Cucumber and Garlic – Ozlem’s Cacik Dip

Cacik dip with yoghurt, cucumber and dried mint; delicious and refreshing

Cacik dip with yoghurt, cucumber and dried mint; delicious and refreshing

This wonderful, easy to prepare refreshing dip appears often on our table. The cool cucumber, yoghurt and mint combination goes very well served by the side of grilled meats, vegetables and casseroles.

Some of the finest yoghurt in the world is made in Turkey. Yogurt is an important feature of the Turkish diet, and is included in some way at most family meal times. Traditional Cacik is not so much a meze but more a chilled yoghurt soup with water and ice cubes added. Made in the traditional way, it is easy to whisk up, and served in a small bowl alongside hot meal dishes, to refresh and cleanse the palette. If you wish, exclude the water and the ice to create a great cooling dip, as I prefer to do here.

I am passionate about healthy, delicious Turkish cuisine; over 90 authentic Turkish recipes are included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland. Signed copies now 30 % off for a limited time here and delivered worldwide including the US.

Serves 4
Preparation time: 10 minutes

225 gr / 8 oz / 1 cup of natural, creamy plain yoghurt
1 garlic cloves, crushed with salt
About 100 gr / 3 1/2 oz cucumber, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried mint
salt to taste
fresh mint leaves to garnish

Combine the yoghurt and garlic and beat until smooth. Stir in chopped cucumber and mint. Add salt to taste, cover and refrigerate until required. Add fresh mint leaves for garnish when serving.

Note: Praised for its health-giving qualities, yoghurt is rich in calcium, phosphorus and B vitamins and has earned a reputation as one of the most valuable health foods. The bacteria in live yoghurt are known to stimulate friendly bacteria in the gut easing gastrointestinal problems and aiding digestion.

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Baked courgette with chickpeas and minced/ground meat -Etli Nohutlu Kabak

This is a lovely, comforting meal that my mother used to cook for us almost weekly in Istanbul. It is very easy to make, delicious and healthy. I like to serve it with plain rice with a dollop of plain yoghurt by the side.  I usually make it ahead of time during the day and give a gentle reheat before we eat – knowing the dinner is ready in between the school run is a good feeling! This dish also freezes well.

You can add any seasonal vegetables to this dish, squash, celeriac, sweet potatoes, peas work well too. I add a can of cooked chickpeas here, which makes it more substantial and adds another layer of flavour and texture. Omit meat for the vegetarian option; you can use chopped mushroom here as a meat substitute.

I am passionate about healthy, delicious Turkish cuisine; signed copies of my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table is now 25 % off at this link and delivered worldwide, including the US, if you’re interested.

Serves 4 -6

450 gr/ 1 lb Courgette/Zucchini, sliced (if large, please cut length ways and slice)
250 gr / 9 oz ground lamb or beef
110 gr / 4 oz potatoes cut into bite size chunks

110 gr/ 4 oz carrots, cut into small chunks
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
15 ml/ 1 tablespoon tomato puree
400 gr/ 14oz chopped tomatoes in tomato juice (1 can/tin)

400 gr/14oz can of cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 tablespoons olive oil
8 fl oz / 1 cup water
Salt and ground pepper to taste
10ml/2 teaspoons Turkish pul biber / red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 200C/400F

Spread the sliced courgette, carrots and potatoes on a baking tray. Drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil, season with salt and pepper and combine well. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes. Then take the tray out and bring the oven temperature to 180C/350F.

Heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a heavy pan. Stir in the onions and sauté until transparent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the ground/minced meat and saute for further 3 minutes. Add the tomato puree, the chopped tomatoes in can and the water, mixing well. Cover and cook in medium heat for about 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked chickpeas and the red pepper flakes, pul biber giving a gentle stir. Season with salt and pepper and cook further 5 minutes over medium heat.

Place the par baked courgettes, carrots and potatoes on a baking dish. Stir in the meat sauce and gently combine well. Bake for further 25 – 30 minutes.

Serve warm with plain rice and a dollop of plain yoghurt by the side.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Purslane Salad with Garlic Yoghurt; Yogurtlu Semizotu Salatasi

 

Lambs lettuce salad with garlic yoghurt; Yogurtlu semizotu salatasi

Purslane salad with garlic yoghurt; Yogurtlu semizotu salatasi

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Serves 2

I love purslane’s slightly sour and salty taste. This lovely, refreshing salad is very easy and quick to make and makes a wonderful appetizer, meze or a side dish served with grilled meats, poultry and pasta. At home in the restaurants, this salad is served as part of a meze spread with warm pita bread, lovely feta cheese, hummus and olives. This combination also makes a wonderful and healthy lunch alternative.

Purslane is packed with goodness; rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin A and antioxidants. Watercress or lamb lettuce can replace purslane well too as an alternative. Yoghurt is a big part of Turkish diet, gut friendly and so good for you too.

60 gr / 2 oz fresh purslane leaves, washed and drained
8 oz / 1 cup plain yoghurt
1 garlic cloves crushed
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or Maldon sea salt
1 teaspoon dried mint
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Red pepper flakes to sprinkle

Crush the garlic with a little salt that will soften the garlic and release its oils. In a wide bowl, beat the yoghurt with the garlic. Season with black pepper and remaining of the salt.

Combine purslane into the bowl, add the dried mint and mix well. Transfer into a serving bowl and sprinkle a few red pepper flakes over. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over and serve immediately.

I am passionate about healthy, delicious Turkish cuisine; over 90 authentic Turkish recipes are included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland, including this recipe. Signed copies now 25 % off for a limited time here and delivered worldwide including the US.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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