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Tag Archives | Vegetables cooked in olive oil

Baked Sea Bass with Vegetables in Olive Oil and Lemon Sauce; Sebzeli Levrek Pilaki

I had the pleasure  of meeting  Mr Sureyya Uzmez, the food writer and owner of Ankara’s Trilye Fish Restaurant; undoubtedly one of the best fish restaurants in Turkey. I greatly admired Sureyya Bey’s (Mr Sureyya’s) passion for seafood and efforts to source the freshest possible fish and shellfish at home, and preparing them in a way to bring the best out of them. This is also the essence of Turkish cooking; we aim to bring out the freshness, the actual flavor of the produce, rather than hiding it behind sauces.  I very much look forward to the Trilye experience in Ankara, and I hope you can too.

Trilye Restaurant’s Mr Sureyya Uzmez and myself at Covent Garden, London, before our interview

My dear cousin, Ahmet Sabuncu is an accomplished photographer (please check out Ahmet’s award winning pinhole photography) and a TV producer for TRT (Turkish Radio and Television). Teaming up with Mr Uzmez and the wonderful Sofra Restaurant’s ambassador of Turkish food, Mr Huseyin Ozer, they have been shooting a TV program in London about how Turkish and British cuisines have been shaped throughout the history, the ethnic influences that has contributed to Turkish and other food cultures. They kindly included an interview with me for the program, which is planned to go on air in Turkey – very exciting! It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience – my sincere thanks to them.  I will keep you posted on the air time of the program 🙂

Southeast coast of Turkey, bountiful with fish, just as at the Agean and Black Sea

Regarded as a symbol of fertility, fish is very much enjoyed at home, especially at the coastal regions. Turkey is bounded by the sea on three sides – the Mediterranean, Aegean and the Black Sea. With the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and Dardanelles at northwest, Turkey has over 7,000km (4,350 miles) of coastline. The plentiful fishing waters provide daily catches of bluefish, red and grey mullet, swordfish, sea bass, tuna, bonito, turbot, plaice, mackerel, sardines, anchovies and many more. In most of the coastal regions, fish is bought very fresh, straight off the boats at the daily fish market, still swimming around in the buckets or beautifully arranged on ice.

One of the many fisherman by the Bosphorus, Istanbul, getting ready for his daily catch

Inspired by Sureyya Bey’s passion for seafood, I adapted one of the recipes at Trilye’s wonderful book “Trilye’s Passion for Sea Food” (Trilye’nin Balik Sevdasi). This delicious baked sea bass makes a complete meal with all the fresh vegetables in it, and so easy to make. I poached the sea bass and the vegetables in olive oil, lemon juice and a little water, just as the same way we cook ‘Vegetables cooked in olive oil’, Zeytinyaglis. This delicious and healthy way of cooking retains all the wonderful juices of the fish and vegetables. The result has been a refreshing, utterly delicious supper that disappeared very quickly.


This wonderful recipe and over 90 authentic, delicious Turkish recipes are included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland. Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book are delivered worldwide, including US and Canada at this link – You can also see also kindle, ebook etc options here

Baked Sea bass with vegetables in olive oil

Baked Sea bass with vegetables in olive oil

Serves 4

Preparation time: 15-20 minutes                               Cooking time:  about 35-40 minutes*

4 fillets of sea bass – or any fresh white fish-

1 onion, cut in half and sliced thinly

4-6 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped coarsely

1 small green (bell or pointy) pepper, quartered and sliced thinly

1 small yellow (bell or pointy) pepper, quartered and sliced thinly

3 medium tomatoes, coarsely sliced

2-3 medium potatoes, cut in half and thinly sliced

Juice of 1 lemon

2 bay leaves

8fl oz/1 cup water (or fish stock)

45ml/3 tbsp olive oil

5ml/1 tsp red pepper flakes – optional

Salt and ground pepper to taste

Handful of flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped – to decorate

Lemon wedges to serve

* Please check the recommended cooking time for the fish of your choice on the packaging.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F

Stir in all the prepared vegetables and the bay leaves in a baking dish. Coat them with the olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (if used).

Coat the vegetables with olive oil, seasoning and red pepper flakes; they complement the fish beautifully

Coat the fish fillets with 1 tbsp of olive oil and place them amongst the vegetables. Mix the lemon juice with water or fish stock and spoon this liquid all around the fish and vegetables. Cover the baking dish with foil and put it in the oven for about 35 minutes or until the fish and vegetables are cooked. Once cooked, take the foil out and sprinkle chopped parsley over the fish. Serve immediately with wedges of lemon by the side.

Sea bass baked with vegetables in olive oil; a delicious all in one dish.

Sea bass baked with vegetables in olive oil; a delicious all in one dish.

For a light and delicious finish, you may serve the Baked Apricots with Walnuts as a dessert.

Afiyet Olsun (May you be healthy and happy with the food you eat);


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Baby Artichokes Poached in Olive Oil with Peas, Carrots and Almonds – Zeytinyagli Enginar

Vegetable Market in Istanbul – Sali Pazari, Istanbul

Turkish cuisine is very much based on using fresh, seasonal ingredients. A daily trip to Pazar, fresh fruit and vegetable market is a ritual, most Turks do daily at home. Rather than having a recipe in mind, we go to the Market, Pazar, to see which vegetables are seasonal and freshly available in the market and then decide what we will be cooking accordingly.

 Very inviting sweet and spicy peppers at the Cheam Market, England

I had one of these moments when we went to the Turkish Market in Cheam last week. It so wonderful to see great displays of different kinds of peppers (red pointy ones, slim long and spicy green peppers, small spicy peppers and small, less meaty green bell peppers which are great for stuffing), slim aubergines, vine tomatoes and.. baby artichokes.

Baby artichokes at Cheam Market; they are a real treat. Until ready to use, fresh artichokes should be treated like flowers and put in a jug of water.

I rarely can get baby artichokes at my local market, so seeing it was a real treat and the menu for that day is decided; poached baby artichokes in olive oil. We Turks love to poach especially the big, meaty globe artichokes in olive oil with vegetables, dressed with lemon juice and dill. This style of cooking in Turkish cuisine is called “vegetables cooked in olive oil”,  and we enjoy them at room temperature or cold. Dressed with olive oil and lemon juice,they are not only very healthy but a joy to eat during summer time and can be kept in fridge 2-3 days.

I adapted this recipe from one of my favourite cookery author Ghillie Basan’s Complete Book of Turkish Cooking Book. Ghillie added blanched almonds to hers, a brilliant idea for added texture and flavour, worked really well in mine too. This dish would be a wonderful starter, a light lunch or a side dish and you will be creating a healthy, delicious dish using a few fresh ingredients – I hope you can give it a go sometime.

Artichokes in olive oil, Em tennis, almond bulgur, lokum first p 015

Baby artichokes poached in olive oil with peas, carrots and almonds

Serves 4

Preparation time: 25 minutes              Cooking time: 30 minutes

4 large globe artichokes or 10-12 baby artichokes

1 small cooked carrot,diced

90gr/3oz fresh peas (or frozen if you can’t get fresh peas)

75gr/3oz blanched or flaked almonds

Juice of 1 lemon

30ml/2 tablespoons olive oil

5m/teaspoon granulated sugar

15ml/1 tablespoon fresh dill,chopped

Salt to taste

Wedges of lemon to serve

Cut off the stalks and pull off all the leaves of the artichokes

First let’s prepare the artichokes. Cut off the stalks and pull off all the leaves. Dig out the hairy choke from the middle with a spoon (you don’t need to do this stage with baby artichokes). Then cut away any hard bits with a sharp knife and trim into a neat cup shape. Rub the cups – called bottoms – with a mixture of lemon juice and a little salt to prevent them from coloring (tip: until ready to use, fresh artichokes should be treated like flowers and put in a jug of water).

Rub the artichoke cups with a mixture of lemon juice and a little salt to prevent them from colouring.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and stir in the artichokes in lemon sauce and the diced carrots. Pour 100ml/4fl oz/1/2cup water over the vegetables, combine well. Cover the pan and poach the vegetables gently for about 25 minutes. Then add the fresh or frozen peas, sugar and almonds, combine well. Cover again and continue to cook gently for another 5 minutes, until the artichokes are tender.

Toss in the dill, season with salt and turn off the heat. Leave to cool the artichokes in the pan.

Serve this delicious course at room temperature with wedges of lemon by the side.

Baby artichokes poached in olive oil; a refreshing, delicious and healthy course

You can enjoy this refreshing vegetable course as a starter or by the side of grilled meat, fish or pasta.

Afiyet Olsun!

Friendly lady at the bakery, filling us with delicious breads and pastries

And a few more photos to share from the Cheam Market; the bakery is always a big hit with fresh flat breads, sesame seeded pastries, ekmek, Turkish loaf of bread and many more.

Simit, sesame coated bread rings are a big part of Turkish breakfast

Simit is the quintessential Turkish food; these sesame-encrusted bread rings are the most popular snack at home, and they are easy to make too, here  is the recipe, if you’d like to have a go.

Wishing you all a good week ahead, filled with delicious food to share!



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Zeytinyagli Pirasa – Leeks, Carrots and Rice Cooked with Olive Oil

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

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

Leeks are around all through the year these days and they are native to Anatolia, along with carrots. This “Zeytinyagli”(vegetables cooked in oil) recipe is wonderfully refreshing and comforting all through the year. Traditionally, we like to cook zeytinyagli dishes ahead of time, and allow the dish to cool and rest in its pan for the flavors to blend well.

The recipe is very easy to make, delicious and healthy – also vegan and gluten-free. You can keep in the fridge up to 3 days (flavors blend even better the next day!) and we serve them cold or room temperature. This recipe made a wonderful lunch for me with some crusty bread and squeeze of lemon by the side. You can serve as an appetizer, meze or as a side dish to accompany main dishes.

Turkish cuisine is based on seasonal produce and offers delicious, wholesome, easy to make meals, most of them good for vegan and gluten-free diet too. This and over 90 authentic Turkish recipes are included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland and delivered promptly worldwide. Signed copies are available to order at this link – while the stocks last! – if you’d like.

If you live in the US, Canada or Mexico, you can order a copy at this link, with lower shipping rates.

Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 35 minutes

500 gr/1.1 lb fresh leeks, washed and sliced diagonally into bite size pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
15 ml/1 tablespoon long grain rice, washed and drained
60 ml/2 fl oz/1/4 cup olive oil
240 ml /8 fl oz / 1 cup hot water
5 ml/1 teaspoon salt
5 ml/1 teaspoon caster sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Chopped fresh dill for garnish (optional)
Lemon wedges to squeeze over

In a wide, heavy pan, gently heat the olive oil and sauté the onions and carrots for 5 minutes. Add the leeks and stir occasionally, taking care so they don’t scorch. When the vegetables start to soften, add the rice, hot water, lemon juice, salt and sugar.

Cover and cook gently over low heat for about 20 minutes or until the rice and vegetables are tender and the cooking liquid is absorbed. Avoid stirring during cooking, as this will disturb starch in the grains of rice.

Remove from the heat, cover with an absorbent kitchen cloth or paper towel and replace the lid. This will help to absorb any excess moisture. Set aside to cool.

Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with chopped dill if you would like. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over and some crusty bread by the side.

Afiyet Olsun,


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