Cevizli Irmik Helvasi – Semolina Halva With Walnuts

I need a getaway, urgent, seriously! Any suggestions, around Istanbul?

Finally today, sun is up and spring seems to have arrived! Yesterday, I was watching the weather report (yeah I am watching the weather report, that’s how serious my need to have a break is) and apparently it’s 25 degrees Celsius in Kiev!?! What the heck! What’s wrong with you Istanbul! Yet, I guess I am the only person to catch a cold and get an almost 2nd degree sunburn on the very same day!

Enough with the weather, I know, my dear beloved reader… In coming weeks I’ll make it up to you with stories from my soon-to-be-planned weekend vacation, promise.

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Fellah Kofte – Bulgur Gnocchi In Garlic Tomato Sauce

Bulgur was never a favorite ingredient for chefs in the Ottoman palace. They preferred white rice over this nutritious cereal, whereas bulgur was a staple food item for the general public in the Ottoman land. Bulgur is simply parboiled, dried and partially de-branned wheat. It is available in most Western countries in natural and organic food stores, some mainstream supermarkets, Turkish, Arab and Greek grocers. It’s high in fiber and protein, makes a wonderful ingredient for a lot of vegetarian dishes.

Fellah Kofte is a widely known recipe in Eastern Mediterranean region of Anatolia in places such as Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, Adana, Mersin and Hatay. The recipe calls for fine-ground bulgur, (“#1 Fine Grind” in the U.S. and “koftelik bulgur” in Turkey). It’s easy to make and the outcome is definitely worth the effort.

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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.

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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.

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