Sunday 5 February 2012

Be My Valentine! Seni Seviyorum xxx

If French is the language of love what about Turkish! To the Turks I believe it would be food. Food is thier way to express themselves to one and all, to thier children, to thier friends, to thier spouses and lovers.

I would like to introduce a challenge from Very Good RecipesBe My Valentine. Be creative and the best entry wins.  Remember make them good as I will be one of the judges. I would like to thank Stepane for choosing me to be one of the judges.  You have until February 27th to get your entries in. Here are the links to the rest of the judges blogs for the February challenge.

Han Ker from Hankerie
Irini from Irini Savva
Katie from Down Home Foodie
Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker
Leslie from Culinary Chronicles
Michelle from The Adirondack Chick
Minna from Naked Plate
Teri from The Freshman Cook

Since my Valentine is Turkish I thought I would make a dish that he would enjoy so that means Turkish Food. We will probably be having a glass or two of wine with dinner and what do Turks like with alcohol at a meal? Yes thats right Meze.  I will be making Meze dishes for our special evening and this will be the feature.

Yes this is a salad but the Turks love salads and my husband will love this.  This is Pembe Sultan surounded with the classic Shephards Salad.  So quick and easy to make.

Pembe Sultan

1 kilo of cooked beetroot - you can boil it or roast it to be fancy - you can add it in raw if you like but it doesn't give you the deep red colour.
garlic, minced
yogurt - 1-2 cups

Peel and grate the cooked beetroot.  Add everything else, stir and serve.

Shephards Salad

2 finely diced cucumbers
3 finely diced tomatoes
1 finely diced onion
lemon juice
olive oil

Mix everything together in a bowl then serve.

Monday 30 January 2012

Cig Kofte Urfa - Raw Meatballs

I couldn't think of another name for this post so I just translated the meaning.  This is a very famous dish from Sanli Urfa.  This is a Kofte(meatball)recipe using red meat that you form into the kofte's but you don't cook them after, so the meat is left raw.  There are other variations that I will post substituting the meat with walnuts.

The photos come to me courtesy of Ahmet Usta from Urfa Cig Koftesi Sevenler.  Ahmet Usta has a facebook page that I came across with some great photos.  I contacted him and asked if he would mind me using some of his photos he most graciously responded saying I could.

This is an easy recipe to make with the process being straightforward.  If you are Turkish there is alot of tradition around making it and I have only seen men making this dish.  There is also quite alot of kneading involved and you probably need about 30 good minutes to do the job properly or if you are like me doing it in a food processor is quite acceptable as long as your Turkish guests are none the wiser.

I'll show you the photos first followed by the recipe.  This recipe can have some variations with the meat with these photos showing the use of egg.  The cooked egg is kneaded in with the bulgur, meat mixture then formed.

Our guy kneading away

Showing consistency

Adding in the cooked egg

Finished plate with pickles

Tray with kofte, pickles, hot chillies, mint sprigs and some radish slices

The story for this food goes that Abraham had caught a deer that he gave his wife to make food for him.  Nothing could be found to make a fire and this is the dish she came up with.  I am sure thousands of Turks would love to thank her for this very popular dish.

2 cups fine bulgur
250gr fat free dark coloured meat, diced
6 tbs hot chilli powder
1 tbs salt
pinch of cinamon
pinch of pepper
half bunch spring onions, diced
1 onion, diced
1 cup finely chopped parsley
1 tbs pepper(tomato)paste

Put everything into your food processor until well mixed.  Slowly add in small amounts (tbs) water and keep processing until you get a consistency like the photo. If you want to add in the egg cook a couple of eggs in the fry pan and mix in.  If you want to do it the hard way add everything together and knead for 30 - 45 minutes with Turkish music on in the background to keep you focused.

You can serve like the photo which is on a plate or make into individual portions (meatball size).  This is nice with Ayran.

Thursday 5 January 2012

Turkish Food, Australia

Having come back here has been very good with all my family adjusting to thier new lives.  We have met a few long term ex pat Turks and a couple of newcomers.  All seem to have only good things to say about thier adopted country. Eating Turkish food here has been another experience, all very delicous but if it is truely authentic I will let the true Turk foodies argue over the fine points.

Our local Turkish food supplier sells pide at the mall.  The owner of this establishment is very nice as are his staff one of which has been my oldest son for the past couple of years.  The taste of his pides is authentic but the pides themselves well I will just say I have never seen pides like this before in Turkey.

One of the lovely employees
Chicken, cheese and mushroom

If you come to this pide place you will enjoy delicous Turkish Pides served by a friendly staff.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Cherries, Pickled and Jammed

It is Cherry time again and who doesn't like them? They are just great and healthy for us as well. In a previous post about Cherries before I told you of the fantastic healing qualities of the dried stems, today I will give you two typical Turkish Recipes, one for a Cherry pickle and one for a Cherry Jam.

Kiraz Tursu - Cherry Pickles

You can pickle probably almost anything and Cherries are definitely one of those things. These might not be to every ones taste but just think of lovely pickled cherries on a ploughman's lunch plate or arranged delicately next to a chicken breast.

1 kilo Cherries
1 lemon or citric acid

Wash, clean and destem cherries put into your jars.  Fill your jars 3/4 of the way with water and add salt to taste to make a moderate brine solution.  Add in half a teaspoon of citric acid per container.  Close jars and store for 2 weeks before tasting.

If you make one large container ie plastic container you can add in a sliced lemon.

For those of you out there who aren't familiar with brining here is a basic recipe. 1 cup of salt to every 4 litres of water.  Taste that and if you want stronger or lighter use more and or less salt.  To do cukes you can use 1 tsp salt to every cup of water.  It all really depends on your palate and whether you are on a low sodium diet.

Kiraz Recel - Cherry Jam

There are jams and there are jams.  I come from Australia and here we like our jams nice and thick so it will stay on a piece of toast or balance on a scone.  When I went to Turkey my whole idea of jam was challenged.  To the Turks jam is a watery affair that your bread needs to be dipped into.

1 kilo Cherries
3 cups sugar
half cup water
1 pinch citric acid

Wash and destone cherries.  Place sugar and water into a saucepan and bring to the boil.  Boil for about 5 minutes then add in the cherries.  Continue to boil mixture and add in the citric acid.  Boil until the mixture thickens slightly or until it forms a ball on a plate.  Take off the heat and cool then bottle(can).

I hope you like both of these recipes as I said before these are 2 Turkish recipes.  If you google cherries you can find lovely pies and desserts but they wouldn't be Turkish.  If you have a Turkish boyfriend or husband or friends make these recipes for them and I'm sure you will be able to win some points.

Tell me readers what food do you make that can give you some sure points with your loved ones?

Saturday 1 October 2011

Lifes Journey

Tomorrow I will be starting the next leg of my trip to Istanbul and then onto Australia.  I havent been back for 7 years.  My husband and children will be coming with me and this will be part of our lifes journey together.

My 4 year old and 2 year old have never been there,they dont even realise that they are speaking 2 different languages.  They will be exposed to a completely different way of life, new people and even a new diet.

My blog will still continue even though I will not be in Turkey as I will still be cooking Turkish food for my husband and family.  We will be in contact with other Turks and I will be commenting on the food I find there, whether or not they have stayed true to thier roots or westernised the food to suit Aussie palates.  Readers bear with me while I make this transition and I will be contact soon with lots of photos and recipes.

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Frozen Rose Water - Güllü Dondurma

We have seen Rose Water slushies, Rose Water Bicibici and now Rose Water Ice.  There is a man here that makes Rose water like this and it is a real treat, if you have an icecream maker at home you can make this very quickly and serve as a sorbet replacement at any dinner party.

If you dont have an icecream maker you can see this man has butchered a large water cooler and placed an aluminum container in it to make his icecream.  

This has a softer texture and is much nicer than the slushy.

Sunday 25 September 2011

Şırdan - Stuffed Sheep Gall Bladder

We are having lots of adventures whilst saying farewell to relatives and friends in the past couple of weeks and some of those have been culinary.  This delicacy is definately for the adventurous.  This is a sheeps gall bladder that has been cleaned and stuffed then boiled.  One man even told us that there is a sheep gall bladder maffia in this area and they make sure that no one is hogging the market as they are buying and selling.  In this town there is only one man that comes out at night selling this dish. 

one of these costs 3lira

This dish is famous as a alcoholic bing after food.  Personally I couldnt think of anything else worse to look at let alone eat whilst being drunk.  Maybe you need to be a bit sloshed to eat it.

For all of you out there that slaughter your own food I have the recipe.  It is very easy and you can make it out of either sheep or goat.  Since animals only have one of these it makes it a delicacy.

I tasted this and it didnt taste that bad actually, the stuffing was a bit dry 
The recipe

1 gall bladder
tomato paste
chilli paste or powder

Take your gall bladder, clean it out then boil until soft(dont know how long that would take as I havent made it and am not likely to).

Im thinking you would need at the most half a cup of rice per gall bladder.  Take 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, spices to taste and 3 tablespoons of oil.  Mix all this together and stuff the gall bladder.  Take some thread and stitch the opening closed.  Place into boiling water and cook until the gall bladder is soft to the fork.  Drain and serve.