Cilbir – Poached Eggs In Garlic Yogurt

Ever eaten ice-cream with a fork and a knife? I am just back from a 5-day trip to my dad’s hometown in Kahramanmaras, in the Mediterranean Region of Turkey and that’s how they eat gelato there. Kahramanmaras ice-cream includes dried orchid roots and goat’s milk as its main ingredients, is very hard and does not melt easily. The best way to eat it is with a knife and a fork.

(more…)

Mucver – Zucchini Fritters (Turkish Style)

 

I picked 10-12 huge zucchinis from my mom’s garden last weekend. Well, she forcefully made me pick them. I don’t know what’s with her?! Their place is half an hour drive from Istanbul and I guess she believes that there is no  where I can buy vegies in Istanbul! Always insists that I pack bags and bags of vegetables on my way back home. We are only two people at our place, me and hubs. We go to mom’s almost every other weekend. How many kilos of vegies can a working wife cook in two weeks? How much food can two people eat? I hate wasting food, I feel like crying when something in the fridge goes off and I have to throw it away.

Anyhoo, I took the courgettes as refusing to do so would have been a very tiresome act. I decided to make fritters, Ottoman style of course. Here is the recipe for mucver (pronounced muejvar):

(more…)

Lorlu Biber Mezesi – Stuffed Red Capsicum With Ricotta and Pine Nuts

I love cold dishes in summer, that’s why I keep coming back with more meze recipes. This light and easy but still elegant recipe looks really good. If it looks good, it tastes good. Of course, there are a few exceptions to this, e.g. the previous monstrous looking samphire meze.

(more…)

Taratorlu Deniz Borulcesi – Marsh Samphire With Tartar Sauce

Meze dishes are the stars of Ottoman cuisine. The word meze refers to side dishes that accompany alcoholic beverages or main dishes. The other day, I saw a news report on a national TV channel saying that some freaks (yeah I am jealous, I should have thought of that before those guys) decided to take the Guinness challenge of cooking 1500 mezes in one day, original recipes from Ottoman cuisine and they succeeded. I am sure this samphire meze was one of those 1500 dishes. It’s a widely available dish in Turkey, especially at seafood restaurants. I suppose the plant is also quite common in the UK and Australia, I don’t know about the US though. In  Turkey the best deniz borulcesi, i.e. marsh samphire, is available in spring through early summer. The greener the better, as it reddens it gets saltier and coarser, you wouldn’t want that on your plate, considering the stringy bits in the cores of the stalks. Another trick is buying or picking them with the roots still intact, as this makes the process of removing the strings easier. If you ever decide to make this into a salad or meze, make sure that you season it with garlic, the two go really nice together.

(more…)

Enginarli Ispanakli Tavuk Pidesi – Chicken Pide With Artichokes and Spinach

Pide is Turkish pizza. If you’re looking for ways to incorporate artichokes into your diet and don’t know how, here’s a free-of-guilt way of eating pizza, ooppps sorry, I was supposed to say, “here’s a healthy dinner recipe” instead.

(more…)

Visne Pelteli Irmikli Muhallebi – Semolina Pudding With Sour Cherry Jelly

I made this one up, but both semolina pudding and sour cherry starch pudding are traditional Turkish recipes. Ottomans began using fish-gelatin in the 19th century (remember the surprise book my hubs gave me?), before that, they used fruit pectin (quince seeds in particular) and starch in dessert recipes as thickeners, to achieve that jelly-like texture.

It’s quite easy to make this naturally colorful sweet and sour dessert. For the base, I used digestive biscuits, simply lined them up to the base of the tray. For the white pudding layer, you can find the semolina pudding recipe here.

(more…)

Sumakli Nar Eksili Semizotu Salatasi – Fresh Purslane Salad

I made this last weekend at my parents’ place and everybody loved it. Fresh Purslane Salad with walnuts is a regional recipe from South Eastern Turkey, I don’t know if Ottoman palace chefs made purslane this way, but I know that there is an extremely delicious meze recipe calling for purslane, yogurt and garlic. I’ll write about that later. This one is simple, delicious. Highly recommended if you like sour and nutty salads and if you have access to these ingredients.

(more…)

Etli Kabak Dolmasi – Stuffed Zucchini

Yesterday, my husband and I were both out, me shopping, him working. He called me on the phone close to our meeting up time and told me that he had a surprise for me. A surprise?! I was really surprised, my hubs had a surprise for me. Thank God he didn’t tell me what it was on the phone, because he always does that and ruins the surprise, he calls up and tells “hey honey I am on my way home and I got flowers for you” and he turns up at the door and says “surpriiise!!” with a big and cute smile on his face, and I am like “duh?!” This time he kept it to himself that he bought me a book on Ottoman Cuisine. The book contains some very interesting info on 19th century dining habits of the Ottoman elite.

Anyways (thanks to the person who invented this word), back to our recipe… Stuffed vegetables, poultry and meat are very popular in Turkish cuisine. Zucchini comes the third on the list of things-to-be-stuffed, I suppose, after vine leaves and capsicum. 8-ball zucchini is one of the cutest things you can find in a garden, imho. We call them Cretan Zucchini, I don’t know why and feel quite lazy to look it up on the internet. If you have minced meat, rice, zucchini and tomatoes in your kitchen, this recipe is pretty much ok to play around with depending on your liking of herbs and spices.

(more…)

Patlicanli Borek – Borek With Eggplant Filling

Borek, byrek, burekia, piruhi, pierogi, whatever you may call it, is an intriguing way of utilizing wheat grain in food recipes. It’s basically called pastry in English language, but it’s got a lot more to it. In a Turkish home, there is always some kind of pastry on the table. It may be borek, gozleme, pogaca, you name it.  As long as the ingredients are fresh, your borek can’t turn out bad. It might only be good, better, the best, amazing, killer…

(more…)

Irmik Tatlisi – Semolina Pudding

I’ve always been a dairy fan. I can’t go one day without milk, yogurt or cheese. My dear hubs is lactose intolerant, so making milk desserts all the time is a bit unfair. Besides, I’ve come to notice that I can still survive with less dairy intake. I can’t really say I have a sweet tooth, so spending a lot of time in the kitchen for making desserts is not my cup of tea. This one’s different though, milk calms down the taste of sugar a bit and it makes a wonderful light dessert. There are other ways as well of using semolina as a dessert ingredient in Turkish cuisine. It goes into savory recipes and even meat dishes as well.

(more…)