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Tag Archives | Zucchini fritters

From Menemen to Izmir Kofte; delicious and easy Turkish meals when you are on the move

We have just moved in to our new home; very exciting yet also busy with packing and settling in. I gathered a few of my favorite recipes here that can be easily prepared, yet delicious and wholesome – I know I will be turning to them and knowing I have good food ready to enjoy & serve will give me peace of mind, at the end of a busy day. These dishes can also be prepared ahead of time or can be cooked all in one pot. I hope these also may inspire you for wholesome and easy meals; look forward to sharing new recipes from our new home soon!

Turkish scrambled egg with tomatoes, peppers, oninons and feta cheese, Menemen

Menemen; Turkish scrambled egg with tomatoes, peppers, onions and feta cheese.

Menemen; Turkish scrambled egg with tomatoes, peppers, onions and feta cheese.

What do you cook when you are loaded with boxes and busy unpacking? Well, this delicious scrambled egg and vegetables is packed with flavour, it is nutritious and gets ready in minutes. Menemen is one of my homeland’s favorite brunch item, and a great street food. There are many versions of it – garlic, onion, any choice of cheese, spinach would go well too. Served with nice crusty bread and a little garlic yoghurt by the side, this dish can make a wonderful light supper or a substantial lunch option.

Casserole of meatballs, peppers, onions and potato; Izmir Kofte

Izmir Kofte; Casserole of meatballs, onions, peppers and potato

Izmir Kofte; Casserole of meatballs, onions, peppers and potato

How about this melt-in-the mouth Izmir Kofte; Casserole of meatballs, peppers, onions and potato? This is a popular meatball and vegetable casserole (not only with the children but with the adults too!) that can either be cooked on the stove top or baked in the oven. It makes a complete and hearty main course served with plain white rice or a slice of crusty bread. Delicious, easy meal; you can add as much red pepper flakes as you would like for a spicier flavor.

 Zucchini fritters with feta, dill and green onions –  Mucver

Zucchini fritters with feta, spring onions and dill; Mucver; delicious

Zucchini fritters with feta, spring onions and dill; Mucver; delicious

Zucchini, kabak in Turkish, are very versatile, used in many dishes and their flowers are perfect for stuffing. This surprisingly easy and  wonderful vegetarian fritters, Mucver, are fantastic accompanied by garlic infused yoghurt or a leafy salad and crusty bread. You can enjoy them as a meze/appetizer for supper or light lunch dish. The bite size versions would be a great party / finger food too. They are also wonderful served next day as a cold snack. They are easy to make and delightful. Here is my Mucver recipe, if you’d like to give it a go.

Bulgur wheat pilaf with vegetables; Sebzeli Bulgur Pilavi

Bulgur pilaf with onions, peppers and tomatoes, Sebzeli Bulgur Pilavi

Bulgur pilaf with onions, peppers and tomatoes, Sebzeli Bulgur Pilavi

Often confused with cracked wheat, bulgur wheat is a grain made from cooked whole wheat berries, which have had the bran removed, and is then dried in the sun and crushed. As it has already been cooked, it requires little cooking to reconstitute itself. It is available coarsely and finely ground. For pilaf, the coarser type is used, to create a nutty and delicious dish, which is a meal in itself and served with yoghurt. Bulgur has been a major staple in many rural areas in Turkey; during the Ottoman Period, the rice was a very precious commodity that only the rich could afford. This made the bulgur a very popular option and healthy one too. It is reach in fiber and provides good source of protein.  I love this delicious and wholesome bulgur pilaf with vegetables; you get a complete, satisfying meal in no time. You can serve Cacik dip, yoghurt with cucumbers and dried mint as a side for a refreshing accompaniment.

Eggplants, green lentils and vegetables cooked in Olive Oil; Mercimekli Mualla

Aubergine with green lentils, aubergine onions and peppers; Mercimekli Mualla- such a delicious treat

Aubergine with green lentils, aubergine onions and peppers; Mercimekli Mualla- such a delicious treat

We have a whole section in Turkish cuisine called “Vegetables cooked in Olive Oil”, Zeytinyaglilar, where we cook vegetables in olive oil and serve them either cold or at room temperature. Once cooked, it is important for the dish to cool down in its pan and rest, allowing all the flavors to blend. Usually served with a wedge of lemon, this style of cooking is very healthy, tasty and refreshing. This traditional recipe, Patlicanli Mercimekli Mualla, is from Antakya, Southern part of Turkey, where my roots are from. The amazing flavors of green lentils, olive oil, eggplant and dried mint blend so well and take me back to Antakya immediately. Again, all-in-one-pot, delicious vegetarian meal you can prepare ahead of time.

Turkish beans salad with vegetables, olives, boiled egg in sumac dressing; Fasulye Piyazi

Bean salad with onions, tomatoes, olives and boiled eggs - Fasulye piyazl

Bean salad with onions, tomatoes, olives and boiled eggs – Fasulye piyazl

What do you cook when you have limited time? Well, this bean and vegetable salad, fasulye piyazi, can be ready in a flash, it is very delicious and healthy. At home, traditionally we serve fasulye piyazi with grilled meatballs, koftes. There are traditional restaurants, lokantas, at home that solely serve Turkish style meatballs, fasulye piyaz and pickled cucumber and peppers. This salad is also a great alternative for lunch, served with some nice crusty bread or in can be a part of a meze spread. I would happily have this salad with some nice bread aside for a light supper.

Baked dried apricots with walnuts – Cevizli kayisi tatlisi

Baked dried apricots with walnuts; delicious, easy and packed with goodness.

Baked dried apricots with walnuts; delicious, easy and packed with goodness.

One of Turkey’s most prolific fruits is the apricot. Because of their abundance, some of the yearly harvest is allowed to dry in the hot summer sun in order to be enjoyed all year round. Malatya, a city in southeast Turkey, is particularly famous for excellent dried apricots which are exported throughout the world. Apricots are great snacks; they are packed with fiber, antioxidants and their naturally rich, wonderful flavor is icing on the cake. This delicious & easy baked dried apricots with walnuts dessert is great for sharing with friends and family or just indulging yourself.

Delicious, frothy Turkish Coffee – Turk Kahvesi; More than a Drink

Turkish Coffee, Turk Kahvesi; More than a Drink

Turkish Coffee, Turk Kahvesi; More than a Drink

For me, nothing more relaxing than taking a break with a  nice cup of Turkish coffee. Turkish coffee, Turk kahvesi is one of the most popular traditional drinks at home in Turkey and I love the whole ritual, the experience of it. In Turkish, we have a saying “Bir fincan kahvenin kirk yil hatiri vardir” which means “The memory of a good cup of Turkish coffee lasts 40 years”. Turkish coffee is a drink of friendship; you are offered this traditional, aromatic drink wherever you go in Turkey; when visiting friends and family, in the shops, while waiting in the bank, in hairdressers.. We take time to pause and enjoy this special drink with a friend or family or sometimes simply reflect with every precious sip. A glass of water and Turkish Delights, Lokum by the side complete the Turkish coffee ritual. And I always look forward to putting the feet up and enjoy a sip of Turkish coffee at then end of a busy day.

Afiyet Olsun!

Ozlem

 

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Olympics – London 2012; Indeed “inspires a generation” and Men’s Cycling Road Race by our street!

Have you watched the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony? What a glorious, breathtaking, welcoming event it was.  It always fascinates me how this wonderful event bring people, nations all over the world together, celebrates diversity,  inspires fair game, hope and friendship. If you haven’t had a chance to watch, please tune in BBC’s iplayer Olympic Ceremonies – London 2012 Online – you won’t be disappointed!  One of my favorite parts has been the Queen’s appearance with James Bond, where two of them made their way by helicopter to the Olympic Stadium – please check out Queen and Bond unite for London 2012 Olympics video ; unforgettable, we will be watching again and again.

Weybridge, Surrey dresssed up for the Men’s Cycle Race

Here in Surrey, England, we have been very lucky to watch and cheer for the Men’s Road Race Cyclists, passing through our door step. We lined up with thousands of other folks cheering for the racers, an incredible, unforgettable atmosphere; here are some photos from our street in Weybridge during the race:

One of the many bicycles decorated for the race!

Cheers for Team GB's Mark Cavendish!

We are all lined up waiting for the racers!

 

And here they are!

 

... and gone in a flash!

And here are the wonderful game makers of volunteers, who helped the games happen, posing with a happy relief after the race

I know many folks are getting together to watch the games and share a delicious bite. Here are some ideas for you to spice up your London 2012 get -togethers;

Zucchini fritters with feta and dill; delicious, a real crowd pleaser; you can prepare ahead of time and enjoy with friends and family.

Zucchini fritters with feta and dill; wonderful with garlic yoghurt by the side

Puff pastry pockets with cheese, potato and parsley; you can serve these delicious treats as a starter or you can enjoy them for lunch with salad or with afternoon tea.

Puff pastry with cheese and potato, delicious treats

Like sports and music, love of food brings people together and celebrates diversity. I feel very lucky to get to know many wonderful bloggers all around the world. Here I wanted to share and celebrate  some wonderful recipes showcasing the cuisines of some of my favorite bloggers – these may be a wonderful addition to your Olympic Games party spread too :

Peri’s Spice Ladle’s grilled south-indian-style lamb chops with yellow daal – what a wonderful way to spice up the BBQ!

Cuisine de Provence’s Tian of sun kissed vegetables would be perfect aside to some BBQ’d lambchops 🙂

How about Kalofagas’ delicious mouthfulls of ouzo-cured salmon? Very tempting, and so refreshing with slices of cucumbers!

I love My Italian Kitchen’s Mediterranean inspired salads, and this summer salad would go so well with the Games!

Last but not least, Phil’s delicious and seriously addictive Cake-meringue pie would be a wonderful finish for an Olympic feast!

London 2012's wonderful slogan; "inspire a generation"

One of the slogans of London 2012 has been “Inspire a generation”; I loved the fact that during the Opening Ceremony, the cauldron consisting of 204 petals (one for each competing nation or territory) were lit by seven young athletes chosen by British Olympic champions. What a lovely way to inspire and empower the future generation. London 2012 has had a very promising start and I am sure it will be an inspiration for a generation to come.

 London is buzzing with excitement again. Hope you enjoy London 2012!

Ozlem

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Zucchini (Courgette) Fritters with Feta and Dill – Kabak Mucveri

I have been looking at the previous recipes I posted and thought these zucchini fritters are really worth revisiting. The trick with them is to make sure you squeeze out any excess water from the zucchini, after grating. Hope you give them a go sometime and enjoy!

Zucchini are the most widely available squash in Turkey. They are very versatile, used in many dishes and their flowers are perfect for stuffing. This wonderful vegetarian fritters are fantastic accompanied by garlic infused yoghurt or a leafy salad and crusty bread. You can enjoy them as a meze/appetizer for supper or light lunch dish. The bite size versions would be a great party / finger food too. They are also wonderful served next day as a cold snack.

If you are after a lighter flavor, you can bake the spread in a greased baking dish (at 180 C / 350 F) for about 35-40 minutes, like my mother does. You can then cut in squares and serve.


Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 25-30 minutes

3 medium zucchini (courgette), grated
150 gr / 6 oz Turkish white cheese or feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
3 green (spring) onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 bunch dill, finely chopped
3 eggs, beaten
45 ml / 3 tablespoons all purpose (plain) white flour
Pinch of paprika or red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Canola oil (or sunflower oil) for shallow frying
Sprigs of dill for garnish

Garlic yoghurt to serve (optional)

Place the grated zucchini in a colander, sprinkle with a little salt and leave to drain for 15 minutes. In a separate bowl, crumble or grate the feta cheese.

Using a tea towel, squeeze out any excess water from the zucchini and put in a bowl.

Transfer the flour to a large bowl and beat in the eggs. Add the remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper and beat into a batter (Take care not to add salt if your cheese is salty). Mix well.

In a frying pan, heat enough oil to shallow fry. Using a tablespoon, drop the spoonfuls of batter mix into the hot oil. Fry over a medium heat on both sides until golden brown. Remove with a straining spoon and drain on absorbent kitchen paper towel.

This meze (appetizer) can be enjoyed warm or you can make it in advance, and serve as a cold meze. Garnish with sprigs of dill and accompany with garlic infused yoghurt.

For garlic infused yoghurt, crush a couple of garlic cloves with salt. Combine the plain yoghurt and garlic and beat until smooth. Add salt to taste.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Note: Squash is an effective diuretic and its potassium content benefits those with high blood pressure. Dill is known to aid digestion.

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