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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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Gavurdagi Salad Variation with watercress, pomegranates, walnuts

Gavurdagi Salad Variation with pomegranates, watercress and walnuts – image credit; jennychef.com

There is one tomato salad that you often come across wherever you are in Turkey; Gavurdagi Salad. Named after the Gavur mountain, part of Tarsus mountains in Southeast part of Turkey, this delicious salad is from the Gaziantep region, where many wonderfully delicious and spicy Turkish dishes come from. Gavurdagi Salad won’t typically have walnuts in it but I love the marriage of sweet and juicy tomatoes with the crunchy walnuts in my version here. The sweet and sour pomegranate molasses dressing, Nar Eksisi really complements this salad too. Here’s my recipe to if you like to make pomegranate molasses, Nar Eksisi, at home.

We made this wonderful salad at my Turkish cookery class on Dec. 14th with more variation; I added watercress and pomegranate seeds to my salad for extra freshness and texture. It really worked well and everyone greatly enjoyed it! My sincere thanks to dear Jenny for the salad image here from our Turkish cookery class. Jenny also happens to be a passionate cook and cookery teacher, please check her blog JennyChef !

Gavurdagi salad is an important part of the meze spread at kebab houses in Turkey, served with the delicious Turkish pide bread, butter and the crumbly Turkish white cheese.  You can also enjoy this delicious and easy salad as a starter or accompaniment to grills, kebabs like my home made Iskender Kebab and casseroles.

My very best wishes to you all for the Festive Season and New Year, in good health and happiness. Saglikli, Mutlu bir Yeni Yil Dilegiyle,

Ozlem

5.0 from 3 reviews
Gavurdagi Salad Variation with watercress, pomegranates, walnuts
 
Named after the Gavur mountain, part of Tarsus mountains in Southeast part of Turkey, this delicious salad originates from the Gaziantep region, where many wonderfully delicious and spicy Turkish dishes come from. This time, I made a variation of this wonderful salad and I added watercress walnuts and pomegranate seeds for extra freshness and texture, worked really well. You can enjoy this delicious and easy salad as a starter or accompaniment to grills, kebabs like my home made Iskender Kebab and casseroles.
Author:
Recipe type: Healthy Salads
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • 3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 200 gr watercress
  • ¼ onion, finely chopped
  • Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 50gr/2oz/1/3 cup walnuts, crushed – about pea size each –
  • 15ml/1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 30ml/2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 5ml/1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 5ml/1 tsp sumac – optional-
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • ⅓ pomegranate seeds to serve
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, rub the chopped onions with the spices and seasoning; salt, sumac, red pepper flakes and ground black pepper – that will soften the onion and enable the spices to blend in well.
  2. Add the tomatoes, parsley and walnuts to the onions.
  3. Then stir in the pomegranate molasses and the extra virgin olive oil and give them a good (but gentle) mix.
  4. Stir in the watercress and combine well.
  5. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over the salad and serve.
  6. Afiyet olsun.

29th January 2017 Turkish Cookery Class -a wonderful foodie gift

Lahmacun, popular Turkish thin pizza with ground meat and vegetables topping, will be at our Jan. 29th class

Lahmacun, popular Turkish thin pizza with ground meat and vegetables topping, will be at our Jan. 29th class

Leeks, carrots, onions and rice cooked in olive oil; Zeytinyagli Pirasa

Leeks, carrots, onions and rice cooked in olive oil; Zeytinyagli Pirasa, is at our Jan. 29th class.

Get 2017 off to a healthy and wholesome start with my  selection of Turkish supper dishes from my homeland at our Turkish cookery class at Divertimenti Cookery School on Sunday, January 29th, 12 pm – 3.30 pm. Packed full of flavor and easily reproduced at home without having to spend hours at your cooker, you will be surprised at the simplicity of such stunning dishes. During the class you will also be joined by the Turkish coffee expert, Ozerlat Coffee, who will carefully demonstrate all the rituals behind Turkish coffee making whilst offering you plenty of opportunity for tastings. Menu will include ‘Mercimek Corbasi’ (Lentil soup with cumin and red pepper flakes), ‘Zeytinyagli Pirasa’ (Leeks and carrots with olive oil, rice and lemon), ‘Lahmacun’ (Turkish thin pizza with minced meat and vegetables), ‘Cezerye’ (Caramelised carrot delight with walnutsTurkish Coffee and Turkish Delight.

Turkish coffee, enjoyed by everyone at our Turkish cookery course.

Turkish coffee, rituals and how to make it will be presented by Ozerlat Coffee at our Jan. 29th class

The classes may also make a wonderful gift for the festive season and New Year. You can view the class details and book through Divertimenti Cookery School at this link, hope you can join us!

 

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Chicken and Vegetable Bake in Pomegranate Molasses; Eksili Tavuk

Chicken and vegetables bake in pomegranate molasses and lemon sauce; Eksili Tavuk

Chicken and vegetables bake in pomegranate molasses and lemon sauce; Eksili Tavuk

Inspiration for this delicious, gluten-free recipe, Eksili Tavuk; Chicken in lemon and pomegranate molasses sauce with vegetables, came from dear Janet, who is part of the wonderful blog, Archers of Okcular. Janet and Alan have been enjoying Eksili Tavuk, traditionally made with the delicious whole chicken from the villages nearby; I can just imagine how tasty that chicken must be. She asked me the recipe and so glad she did. After some research, I came up with my version of Eksili Tavuk, using some seasonal vegetables like celeriac and chard in it. We greatly enjoyed this dish and I owe a big thanks to Janet!

Marinating the chicken in pomegranate molasses, red pepper paste, garlic and spices add a lot of flavor.

Marinating the chicken in pomegranate molasses, red pepper paste, garlic and spices add a lot of flavor.

Traditional Eksili Tavuk in the Aegean Region is made with cooking a whole chicken in plenty of water and adding vegetables like potato, carrots and onions to it, as well as the lemon sauce. I have seen flour being used in the broth to thicken the sauce; it is a delicious dish. I have used chicken breast in my version and added celeriac and chard to the vegetable mix. I have also added pomegranate molasses in the sauce; celeriac especially has been a perfect pair to the chicken in the tangy lemon and pomegranate sauce; the sweet and savory flavors really complemented one another very well (Pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi is widely used especially in southern Turkish cooking and add great flavor to salads, mezzes, stews. You can make your own pomegranate molasses with my recipe here, if you’d like). Marinating the chicken in cumin, red pepper flakes, garlic, tomato paste, red pepper paste, biber salcasi (if used), lemon juice and pomegranate molasses really worth the effort, add a delicious flavor to the chicken.

I baked my eksili tavuk; chicken with vegetables in pomegranate and lemon juice sauce, in the oven. It turned out to be an easy, wholesome and delicious all in one pot dish that we loved and will be revisiting often. Many thanks for the inspiration, Janet, hope you all enjoy it!

Eksili Tavuk; baked chicken and vegetables in lemon and pomegranate sauce

Eksili Tavuk; baked chicken and vegetables in lemon and pomegranate sauce

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

4.0 from 1 reviews
Chicken and Vegetable Bake in Pomegranate Molasses; Eksili Tavuk
 
An easy, wholesome and delicious all in one pot chicken and vegetables bake with pomegranate molasses and lemon sauce, inspired by the Agean region's Eksili Tavuk. Celeriac especially here really worked well with the sweet & savory pomegranate molasses; a wonderful dish we loved and will be revisiting often. Afiyet Olsun!
Author:
Recipe type: Healthy & gluten-free chicken and vegetable casserole
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 500 gr / 1 ¼ lb. chicken breast or boneless thighs, skinned
  • 175 gr/ 6 oz. chard, washed, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 small carrots, quartered and sliced in small chunks
  • 1 small celeriac root, cut in small, chunky strips (about 4 cm log, 1 cm wide)
  • 2 onions, quartered and sliced thinly
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 15 ml / 1 tbsp. concentrated tomato paste
  • ½ tbsp. Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi (optional)
  • 30 ml/ 2 tbsp. pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 30 ml/ 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1.2 liters/2 pints/5 cups water
  • 10 ml/ 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 10 ml / 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F
  2. Cut the chicken into small chunks and place in a large bowl.
  3. Marinate the chicken in cumin, red pepper flakes, garlic, tomato paste, red pepper paste (if used), lemon juice and pomegranate molasses. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix well so that all the ingredients coat the chicken pieces. Cover and keep in the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes.
  4. While the chicken is marinating, prepare the vegetables. Cut the outer skin of celeriac root and slice in chunky strips. Rub the celeriac with 1 tbsp. lemon juice to avoid discoloring.
  5. Combine the celeriac with the other vegetables chopped, except chard, in a baking dish. Add the 2 tbsp. olive oil, season with salt and ground black pepper and mix well.
  6. Stir in the marinated chicken to the vegetables mixture and combine well.
  7. Pour in the1.2 liters/2 pints/5 cups water and mix well.
  8. Cover and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
  9. After 30 minutes, stir in the chopped chard to the mixture and give a good stir. Cover and bake 10 -15 minutes more, until the chard is tender and chicken is cooked.
  10. Serve hot with crusty bread aside.
 

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