Saturday 30 April 2011

Stuffed Peppers, Biber Dolması

I enjoy going to the Bazaar, especially at the turn of the seasons.  So much to see and to get what you have been waiting a year to taste.  I saw these littles lovelies and had to have them.  They are small, sweet and will hopefully tempt my 4 year old fussy eater.

I turned them into dolma stuffed with rice. We will eat them cold with a salad.

The recipe for the stuffing is the same one I used for Dolma.

Wednesday 27 April 2011

Flat Bread, Lavaş

During the last holiday I had great plans on making home made lavaş every day but then tragedy struck.  I cut my finger very deeply opening a can of something.  Slow food really is safer!  I am sure I had to go to the hospital for stitches but my husband calmly took a bandaid and taped it up.  It took 5 days for it to just seal and now I have a large scar on my finger tip. As a result my family got to partake of one day worth of lavaş and for the rest of the holiday we went bread free.  Very hard thing for a Turk to do as they need bread to feel full, if they dont have bread on the table they think thier throat has been cut. 

This is very easy to make.  I cooked this using my flat crepe pan but you can use an electric frypan or any telfon pan.  I rolled this out quite thin but not too thin.  If it is too thin it goes crunchy and breaks.  This stays soft and is nice and flaky when you rip it. 

Rolled out

500gr plain flour

Using the above ingredients I make a soft dough, knead it for 5 minutes until soft then let it rest for a few minutes before rolling out into circles to be cooked. I would use about 2 or 3 tbsp of oil as this makes the end product nice and soft.  These have been rolled out to about 3 mm thickness.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Wheat Salad, Kısır

Kısır is one of those classic dishes in Turkish Cuisine.  I have been to a few different areas in Turkey and have seen this made differently in most. As my husband is from the Adana region this is how I usually make it.  

I found in Adana they use large amounts of chilli powder, either lemon juice or sour pomegrante syrup and more salad vegetables.  Istanbul uses less salad and less chilli and dosnt seem to use lemon juice.  In Konya they use no chilli, no salad and use cooked grated potato instead.  In Gaziantep they use less salad, less chilli, lots of dried mint and garlic.  Other areas are a mix but my favourite really is the Adana style Kısır.

The photos have my husband in them as I had badly cut my finger so I could do the required kneading needed.

Chopped salad veggies ready
500gr  bulgar
3 medium size cucumbers, diced
4 tomatoes, diced
2 onions, diced
1 large bunch parsley, finely chopped
half head lettuce, finely chopped
lemon juice or sour pomegrante syrup
2 tbsp sweet pepper paste/tomato
1/4 cup oil
chilli powder to taste
garlic, minced if liked

Ready to be mixed
Take the bulgar and take about 1/4 cup of water and pour ontop so that it can absorb.  Mix well and let sit.  It will still be hard after 10 minutes. This has the sweet pepper paste, salt and pomegrante syrup ready to be mixed in.

This all has to be kneaded together for about 5 minutes

This is the only Kısır recipe I have seen that people knead the ingredients together.  Other areas seem to let the bulgar fully absorb as to be soft and skip the kneading.

End stage kneading 
As you can see the pepper paste has been mixed through. This would be a good time to add the oil.  I dont like using alot of oil in my cooking but for this dish a little is really needed.  It keeps it from drying out. Kısır is not that nice when its dry.

Chopped veggies added

Salad veggies added and ready to be kneading through.

Final product

This is what it looks like.  If it has been kneaded correctly the bulgar should be nice and soft with most of the salad been kneaded into the bulgar. This has to be kneaded for about 20 minutes. This is very filling and very light.  Nice served iwith pickles and ayran.

If anyone can help with the spacing on this post I would be grateful.  Thanks.


Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays. We had a low key Passover.  I had all sorts of things planned but was struck down with a very bad infection. Hence the lack of posts. Keep safe.

Saturday 16 April 2011

Dandelion Soup - Otlu Çorba

This is a light delicous soup perfect to serve for a formal dinner.  This will be making an appearance at our Passover.

2 litres chicken stock
dandelion greens - 250gr or a couple of large handfuls
2 potatoes
2 carrots
garlic, minced
1 litre water
lemon wedges

Wash the dandelion greens well and chop finely, put to one side.  Peel potatoes and carrots and dice, put to one side.  Put the chicken stock into a saucepan and add dandelion greens and diced veggies, garlic and salt.  Cook over a high heat for 10 minutes then taste, add extra water and seasonings as desired.  Turn down the heat to medium and continue to cook until the vegetables are cooked.

Serve with lemon wedges on the side and or add the juice of one lemon to the soup before serving.

Will post photo in a couple of days

Monday 11 April 2011

Lamb Shanks with Broad Beans - Baklalı Kuzu İncik

On the 18th of April is Passover, Pesach or Korban Pesach.  While we wont be killing a lamb we will hopefully be celebrating well.  I dont know what I will be serving yet but this is one of the hopefuls. 
I like lamb shanks and this is a very easy dish to make.  It includes broadbeans. Now broadbeans and I have a dark past but I have put our issues aside and have learnt to appreciate this lovely bean.

6 lamb shanks
250gr small fresh broad beans
15 very small onions
4 normal sized onions cut in halves
1tbsp tomato paste
2 cups water

Take some oil and heat up in a pan, place in the shanks and brown all over.  Put all the other ingredients into the pan and cook for 5 minutes then add in the tomato paste and mix well.   Add in the water and cover.  Cook on a low-medium heat for about 1 hour-until the meat is very soft. (check water levels as you dont want it to dry out and burn)

I would serve this with either a bulgur pilav with added chopped parsley (1 cup) or a couscous with added added parsley.

This dish would work well in a crock pot or pressure cooker.

Sunday 10 April 2011

Stuffed Pide, Kapalı Pide

This is what we had for breakfast on a lazy Sunday.  I make the cheese mixture then my husband gives it to the firin (bakery),the guys there did a great job. I was at home setting the table and brewing the tea.  It was delicous as usual.  

500gr soft white cheese(feta) (continental cottage) (ricotta)
1 small bunch of chopped parsley
2 tbsp sweet pepper paste/tomato paste

Thursday 7 April 2011

Urban Foraging, Wild Greens and More

Who dosnt like getting stuff for free! Urban Foraging is a great term that just means getting stuff for free and either eating it or reusing it.  I am a great believer in recycling also.  Recycling and Urban foraging are really quite similar.  In my other life, in my native country I used to seperate my plastics from the paper and deposit in the appropriate bins.  I bought a paper making kit to make my own paper from used envelopes etc then moved into selling that product at the local markets.  I grew my own veggies and used discarded car tyres to grow herbs in.  Used an old tractor tyre for a sandpit for my kids.  Used old carpet to kill weeds. Harvested fruit off trees in parks, picked up unwanted furniture off the side of the road and used it. Gone to recyling depots to get craft supplies for my kids and had many more urban foraging/recycling adventures.

Since coming to Turkey I have found out the value of weeds, learnt how to identify them cook them and even know the best places to buy cultivated and source out wild ones if necessary. I have gone to castles and picked capers and caper berries, gone to an ancient city and picked pepper corns off  huge pepper trees, visited the local park and got my not so willing husband to pick a few kilos of beautiful black figs which I then turned into fig jam. Watched my son harvest mussels off the pier for the locals, harvested olives out of a very old garden, picked stinging nettles, threaded orange blossom chains and given them to the old ladies, stayed in an old orchard and picked chamomiles from the beautiful carpet that comes in the spring, gotten the seeds from red poppies to use as a mild pain killer plus many more.  My lounge at the moment came off someones roof after they used it for the summer, my dining table and wall cabinets were free after being discarded and various other bits and pieces have all been foraged.

My favorite weed here has to be the stinging nettle.  It tastes fantastic, can be found if you know where to look or bought very cheaply at the local bazaars.  It also has a wealth of health benefits, good for your hair and they say if drunk everyday will help you overcome cancer and loose weight. I have dried some and will be making a shampoo bar very soon with that.  In regards to eating it the locals seem to cook it with onion and tomato paste and use it as a filling for böreks(filled savory pastries)To take the sting out of it for cooking all you have to do is give it a good shake(yes it does work) and when you cook it the sting goes so there is no problem.

This was bought from the local bazaar
500gr stinging nettle
2 onions, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
chili powder

You need to give it a good wash first and if the stems are fairly woody using kitchen gloves take the leaves off the tough stems.  If it is younger you can just cut the stems up with the leaves. Chop it up.

Fry the onion in a pan until clear then add in the nettle and sautee for about 5 minutes.  Add in your salt and chili then taste.  İf you need to add more salt, add now.  Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another minute.

You could aslo add in about a cup of fetta cheese for a variation.

This filling can be used for any börek from filo pastry triangles to a layered pastry in a baking dish.

Monday 4 April 2011

Baked Spinach and Eggs - Ispanklı Yumurta

I enjoy cooking for other people so I must enjoy cooking. But I also like quick and easy meals and this is one of them. I also love spinach and here it is very cheap usually 1lira for a kilo. That is enough to crush my spinach cravings for the week.

1 kilo of spinach
4 onions
8 eggs
2 tbsp tomato paste
salt and pepper

Wash the spinach very well as you dont want to end up with any sand or dirt. Cut finely and place in a large saucepan. At this stage I dont add oil, I usually put about a quater of a cup of water in and put the lid on and let it cook down. This takes about 10 minutes and during the cooking time you need to check it to make sure it hasnt stuck to the pan. After it is cooked drain all liquid and put the spinach in a smaller bowl. Now I finely chop the onions and fry them in a small amount of oil for a few mintues until done, if you want you can add garlic to it at this stage and cook. Take off the heat and add the spinach with the tomato paste and salt and pepper. Stir well. In a good size baking pan or large frying pan add the spinach. Spread it out so it evenly covers the pan. Now you get a spoon and make little holes where you will place the eggs. After doing that crack an egg into each well. You can sprinkle a bit of salt over the whole thing now if you like or do it at the table. Place the baking pan into a moderate oven until the eggs are cooked.

If you want to do this in a frying pan just spread the spinach mixture over the base of the pan and make wells in the spinach, cracking the eggs again into the wells. Place on a moderate heat on your stove and cover. When the eggs are ready take off heat and serve.

I serve this with ayran and lavash(my preferred bread) and then I drizzle pomegrante syrup over the top.

Saturday 2 April 2011


Look at this great video showing all the wonderful dishes from Gaziantep.