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Medley of Mushrooms with Garlic and Roasted Peppers, in Olive Oil – Healthy Food can also be Wonderfully Delicious

"Wonderful time spent with great company. I have learnt lots, loved all the food & already planned to introduce some of these dishes over Christmas to my nearest & dearest. Thank you for a great Saturday."

Warm greetings to you all; or Merhaba, as we say in Turkish. We had a wonderful, fun packed Healthy Eating and Living Event last Saturday, with inspirational talks on healthy living -many thanks to Leonie from EatWright for her wonderful presentation and Turkish cookery demonstrations –many thanks to Eser too for her delicious gluten-free treats. Please check out my Turkish Cooking Classes Page  for more information and photos on this fun packed, delicious event.

 

Leonie’s wonderful fresh produce went down so well with the warm hummus with red pepper flakes infused olive oil.

We talked about making the right choices for healthy eating and living. Healthy food can also be wonderfully delicious; there is no need to sacrifice the taste. Seasonal fresh produce, grains, beans, fish, olive oil are not only very good for us but they are also packed with flavor.

 

Fragrant spices; a natural, delicious way to add flavor to any dish.

 How about spices? You can add such wonderful flavors in a natural, healthy way, through spices and herbs. For instance, it is the fragrant cumin that makes hummus, taste like hummus. Here is a short video of my hummus demonstration at our healthy event – first try; look forward to adding more videos in the future- my special thanks to Zeynep! –Hummus demonstration, by Ozlem’s Turkish Table

The simple yet utterly delicious Shepherd's Salad, Coban Salata complements any grilled meat and vegetables so well.

A sprinkle of dried mint would totally transform the taste of Cacik – cucumber& yoghurt dip or a handful of fresh parsley gives a lovely, refreshing flavor to this Shepherds Salad, Coban Salata. Talking about spices, please check out the inspirational Spice Trip program on Channel More4 in the UK; a great watch to understand the mysterious and wonderful world of spices.

Medley of sauteed mushrooms and roasted peppers in olive oil; healthy, delicious and easy.

This medley of mushrooms with roasted peppers has been a big hit at our class last Saturday. You can use a variety of mushrooms; portobello, chestnut, oyster or shitake mushrooms, all work very well. Garlic and mushrooms are made for each other and the meaty texture of mushrooms work so well with the juicy, roasted peppers. A squeeze of lemon over them with sprinkles of parsley; your healthy, delicious vegetarian treat is ready to be enjoyed- Afiyet Olsun!

Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi. One of the main staples in Southern Turkish Kitchen, including mine!:)

l flavored the roasted peppers with red pepper paste, biber salcasi; a spoonful this paste adds such a wonderful, rich flavor to any dish. You can get red pepper paste in Middle Eastern stores and Tulumba.com. How about having a go to make your own red pepper paste?  You can also use red pepper flakes instead for flavoring.

I hope all these ideas may inspire you to make good choices for healthy eating; after all, we are what we eat. How do you add flavor to your dishes? Please share with us; your ideas and comments are always very welcome.

Medley of Mushrooms with Garlic and Roasted Peppers, in Olive Oil

This delicious vegetarian course complements any grilled meat, fish or baked potatoes well as a main course. You can also serve it as a starter with some crusty bread by the side.

 Serves 4-6

Preparation time: 15-20 minutes                                    Cooking time: 45-50 minutes

350gr/12oz Portobello or chestnut mushrooms, gently cleaned with a damp cloth and sliced

350gr/12oz oyster or shitake mushrooms, gently cleaned with a damp cloth (please tear into pieces)

Green, red and yellow bell (or pointy) peppers – one each-, deseeded, cut in half and sliced lengthwise

4-6 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped

60ml/4 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 juice of lemon (or a little more if you like the tangy taste)

Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

½ tbsp. red pepper paste or 1 ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F

Coat the peppers with the olive oil and the seasoning and bake in the preheated oven until they start getting charred.

Place the sliced peppers in a baking tray and pour 2 tbsp olive oil over them. Season with salt and ground black pepper and coat the peppers with the olive oil and the seasoning. Bake in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes, or until they are getting charred.

Juicy, meaty mushrooms and garlic go so well together.

While the peppers are baking in the oven, cook the mushrooms. Heat the remaining olive oil in a shallow pan and add the mushrooms and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and cook a further 3-4 minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley, give a good mix and turn the heat off.

A little Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi, add a lot of flavor to the vegetables.

Once the peppers are baked, add the red pepper paste to them (or the red pepper flakes) and combine well.  Stir in the cooked mushrooms to the peppers and gently mix them well. Serve hot, with sprigs of parsley over the vegetables.

 Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

 

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Let's celebrate healthy living with delicious Turkish food and great tips for healthy living!

Seasonal, colorful fruit and vegetables; a very important part of the Turkish Cuisine

Turkish cuisine is healthy, delicious and most Turkish recipes are so easy to prepare. We use seasonal produce, and spice up, flavor our dishes using spices, olive oil, nuts and other natural ingredients.

Aromatic, fragrant spices are at the heart of Turkish cuisine to flavor our dishes

I am delighted to inform you that we have a fabulous Healthy Living and Eating Event coming up on Nov 24th Saturday, from 11am to 1.30pm. It gives me a great pleasure to partner up with Leonie Wright from Eat Wright and Eser Kilcioglu from the Pretty Little Bakery. We would like to show you that you can create easy, delicious meals – wonderful for the upcoming festive season too- that are also healthy and good for you. In addition to my Turkish cookery demonstration and Eser’s demonstration of wonderful gluten-free treats, you will be enjoying a very valuable, informative talk on Healthy Eating Tips by Leonie from Eat Wright.  Needless to say, there will be abundance of delicious food and friendly, feel good atmosphere, all through the event! If you are in the area and would like to join us, please check the details of this wonderful event at Cooking Classes or Contact me.
One of the dishes I will be demonstrating at this wonderful event is the Carcassian chicken in walnuts, whole grain bread and garlic infused olive oil sauce; A very delicious and healthy way to enjoy chicken, you can’t believe there is no cream or mayonnaise in the sauce, yet still very tasty!

Circassian Chicken, Cerkez Tavugu is a delicious and healthy garlicky, red pepper flakes and olive oil infused sauce - simply irresistable

The story of the Circassian Chicken says; during the Ottoman reign, the Sultans took a particular liking to women of Circassian origin and many were captured to serve in the harems as concubines and wives. These fair beauties delighted the Sultans and with them came this dish. Originally the dish was made with fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, used liberally in Circassian cuisine. However the Palace chefs decided to create their own tamer version. This is a great option for a light lunch, served with a green salad and toasted bread or steamed vegetables. The left overs of wonderful dish also makes a great sandwich filler!

You can also spice up your left over chicken roast with the Circassian chicken’s walnut & olive oil sauce. No cream, no mayonnaise; but just a tasty, healthy dressing of garlic, few slices of wholegrain bread, olive oil and red pepper flakes, you can create a delicious chicken dish. How about serving this dish with the refreshing Shepherd’s Salad, Coban Salata? 

I hope these delicious and healthy dishes inspire you; as always, I would greatly appreciate if you can let me know how your experience turned out.

Best wishes for a healthy, enjoyable eating & living for us all,

Ozlem

 

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Fascinating Istanbul where old and new co-exists; time to take it all in

Over looking the Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia from the Istanbul Modern Museum

It’s my last few days in Istanbul, the city I love, the city I feel alive – is there any city in the world you feel this way? Today, I have been visiting a few of my favorite spots in Istanbul, old and new, both breathtaking in their own ways.

Istanbul is a city, where old and new co-exists. I have been to the wonderful Istanbul Modern – Istanbul Museum of Modern Art-  in Karakoy, Istanbul today. İstanbul Modern embraces a global vision to collect, preserve, exhibit and document works of modern and contemporary art and make them accessible to art lovers; a fascinating place to be.

Istanbul Modern is also now hosting some wonderful exhibitions like Fifty Years of Urban Walls: A Burhan Dogancay Retrospective

and After Yesterday; an exhibition of images from the İstanbul Modern Photography Collection.

While at Istanbul Modern, you can have a nice break at their cafe, with stunning views of Sea of Marmara, Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia.

Just next to the Istanbul Modern is one of my favorite mosques, Nusretiye Mosque (Cami), built in 1825; it still looks stuning, though unfortunately in need of repair.

Wonderful Nusretiye Mosque, Istanbul

From Karakoy, you can take the tram to Eminonu; our next stop is Spice Market, Misir Carsisi!

Entrance of the ancient Spice Market, Misir Carsisi

Built in 1664, Misir Carsisi, Spice Market is a feast to all senses; it’s the place both Turks and visitors come to stock up spices, nuts, dried fruits and nuts.

Time to shop; Spice Market

Dried apricots, figs and dates stuffed with nuts, very inviting!

Fruit teas and cezves - long handled pots to make Turkish coffee

You can also get herbal and fruit teas at Spice Market; Turks love cay, black tea leaves, but the fruit tea is not a traditional drink with us. It is always a surprise to see the popularity of apple tea in Spice Market.

Stalls and shops are friendly and generous to share the treats!

I am happily accepting the offer of Turkish Delights, who couldn't?

And here are Turkish Delights with different flavors; plain, with rose water, with pistachios, walnuts and many more. Did you know you can make your own Turkish Delights? Here is the recipe if you would like to have a go.

Make sure to stock up your spices at the Spice Market

How about spices, with their mesmerising smells and colors? We add wonderful flavors to our dishes with the use of spices in Turkish cuisine. Make sure to stock up on dried red pepper flakes, dried mint, cumin, ground black pepper, sumac, zahter (wild oregano) at the Spice Market.

Nuts stall, full of delicious pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts and more

There are other treats like these colorful lamps, decorations, scarfs, even kaftans and costumes at Spice Market!

 

 

My daughter helping to prepare our Bayram - end of Ramadan - breakfast

I hope you enjoy these shots from different parts of Istanbul; so live, so vibrant. And I hope you can make it here sometime : )

Until next time,  Mutlu Bayramlar &  Best wishes from Istanbul 🙂

Ozlem

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