Tuesday, 28 October 2008


HI ALL, I want to share these delightful boreks ( pastries ) with you as they are delicious. In Turkey, we make boreks with Filo Pastry, but unfortunately this is not so available in England. I can get them in supermarkets in smaller sizes  in the freezer section but not the same as freshly made like  in Turkey.
I had a packet of spring roll pastry in my freezer which i thought would be a good alternative to Filo pastry, I was very happy to discover both pastries cook the same and i didn't lose out on the great taste of home made Boreks.
Packs of square spring roll pastries,  40 in a pack, 215 mm x 215 mm are widely available in continental stores. If frozen, leave out for an hour or so to defrost.

  • 1 pack of 30 or 40 spring roll pastry
  • 1  or 2 packet of feta cheese or 1 pack of Edam cheese or mixture of both
  • I packet of baby spinach
  • 1 tsp paprika or chili pepper
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup ( coffee mug ) water and milk mixture, half and half
  • 1 cup natural yogurt
  • Half a cup olive oil ( or less if you like )
  • 2 eggs
  • extra egg  for  glazing,  mixed with 1-2 tbs water

First prepare the filling: by washing and chopping the spinach and grating the cheese. Mix all together with parsley, salt and peppers. Set aside.
Prepare the sauce: by whisking 2 eggs , add milk and water mixture, oil and yogurt. Mix well.
Separate the wrappers, dip individual wrapper in the sauce mixture to wet it then place 2 tbsp of the cheese filling on each wrapper and fold one point over as shown above. Then roll up towards the last point like a log.Then  swirl it around to shape it and tuck the end bit underneath. Repeat this process until you use all the wrappers. Then whisk the egg with 1 tbsp water and glaze over boreks.
Pre- heat the oven, cook the boreks in a greased baking tray at 180C for 25-30 minutes or until golden and crispy.

COOK'S NOTES: For the filling I used feta cheese but you can use any cheese as long as it is not full fat cheese as the cheese will melt away and it will be too rich. I also used potato filling for half of the boreks which were quite nice. I grated boiled and cooled potatoes, mixed with chopped onion, spinach, parsley, chili pepper, salt.
I didn't measure the cheese filling as it is always good to freeze left over cheese filling for later use.

Monday, 27 October 2008


Hello all, here are some pictures taken in Salzburg, Austria, where we passed through on our way home from Turkey. We stopped at a border mountain village and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. Above is a picture of a typical Austrian house and a mountain top castle. 

Saturday, 25 October 2008


Lahmacun is the Turkish equivalent of thin crust pizza with minced meat filling. it is quite unique to Turkey and enjoyed as a quick snack or lunch time meal served with a bowl of salad. It is  traditionally served with squeeze of lemon juice over the lahmacun.


  • 200 g flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried yeast
  • 100 ml warm water
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250 gr lean  minced meat ( beef or lamb )
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped 
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 level tsp chili powder or all spice
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 egg yolk for glazing,( optional )

First mix sugar, salt and the yeast in warm water. Put the flour in a food processor little at a time with the yeast mixture using the dough hook. Add the egg ,  olive oil and mix the dough 3-5 times until we use all the flour. Then transfer the dough into a large bowl and knead by hand until it is smooth for about 5 minutes. Cover with cling film and let the dough rice for about an hour until it doubles in volume. 

In the mean time prepare the topping.  Place the mince, onion  in a food processor. Pulse it 2-4 times then add the tomatoes, mince, salt and pepper, chili pepper  and parsley  to bind it together. Transfer the mince mixture into a colander and get rid off excess water. 

Transfer the dough on to a floured surface and knead the air out to return the dough to its original size. Divide the dough into 4-5 pieces and roll 18-20 cm round circles on a floured surface.

Preheat the oven to 200 C, 180 Fan. Grease the baking sheet. Put mince mixture over the circles thinly in the centre leaving 1 cm  border around the edge. Cook for 10 - 15 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice and fresh parsley just before serving.

NOTE: Traditionally we don't glaze the lahmacun but my family likes it with the glaze so I used 1 egg yolk for glazing before I cooked the lahmacun.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008


This a beautiful Sun set we have been enjoying in Kusadasi.


Here is a picture of streets and houses from Kusadasi old town. It is full of old Turkish character with history taking us back in time.

Monday, 13 October 2008


This an unusual but very good soup that I discovered recently. I wasn't a big fan of courgettes but I have changed my mind now. Hope you enjoy it too.

  • 2 courgettes
  • 3 cups of water
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or butter
  • 1 tsp paprika or chili pepper
First wash and peel the courgettes and grate them. Place the grated courgettes into a pan with the water and the salt. Bring it to boil then simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes until courgettes are cooked. While still simmering, mix egg, yogurt and flour in a bowl and mix it well. Transfer  this mixture into the pan of courgettes and stir. Cook it all together for  further 5- 7 minutes. Add more water if needed. Sprinkle the dried mint and take the soup of the heat. Melt the butter in a small frying pan, add paprika or hot pepper flakes and drizzle over the soup. Serve with crusty bread.


HI ALL,  this again a very tasty complete vegetarian meal which is very quick to make. Hope you enjoy...

  • 1 onion, chopped,
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp pepper or tomato paste( puree)
  • 1 clove of garlic ( optional )
  • 1 tsp chili pepper (optional )
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped peppers
  • 1/2 a cup bulgur wheat or rice
  • 1 cup cooked chick peas
  • 3- 4 cups hot water.
  • fresh or dried herbs of your choose
  • salt and black pepper

First prepare all the vegetables and chop them finely. Wash the lentils,  rice, chick peas and set aside. Fry the onion in the oil for 5 minutes, then add the garlic, tomato paste, tomatoes and peppers. Cook for couple of minutes. Add the lentils, rice and chick peas together with herbs, water, salt and chili pepper. Use 3 cups of water first then add the rest of the water as it cooks. Add more or less to suit your taste. I like to serve this dish  with the constancy like risotto or even more mushier but you can cook and serve it more like a rice dish if you like by using  less water.
Add more herbs and ground black pepper just before serving.

Saturday, 11 October 2008


This vegetarian dish of rice, tomatoes, cabbage, onion and peppers  is good on its own or as a side dish to accompany any meal.

  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 2 -3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 cup rice, washed
  • 2 cups  finely chopped cabbage,
  • 2-4 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup finely diced  peppers, 
  • 3 cups  vegetable stock or hot water
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • salt and black pepper
  • fresh dill and parsley, chopped finely
  • Fresh lemon juice

First  heat the oil in the pan, add the onion and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add washed rice, tomatoes, peppers and stir. Add the tomato paste and stock and boil for 2 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper and fresh herbs, turn the heat down to low and let it cook for 10-15 minutes until the rice is cooked. Add more water if necessary as it is nicer with the juice of the dish.
Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon juice just before serving.


The real Turkish tea  ( CAY )is made by brewing it on the stove with 2 teapots. Large pot at the bottom is for only water and has to be well boiled, second one on the top is smaller in size and it is for tea leaves. We boil the water and pour it in the little pot and let the tea brew for 10-15 minutes minimum in the low heat. Making sure the pot at the bottom is half full with water  at all times. After 20 minutes or so, tea is ready for serving. It is served black in small glass cups. It is full  flavored strong black tea which you can adjust the strength to suit your taste. Pour some strong tea in the cup first about 1/3 full then top it up with hot water for a perfect cup of tea.
Most of the  tea plantations are in Rize and Trabzon in the black sea region. First tea factory was built in Rize in 1947.
Also, one of the common sights in Turkey is 'Tea Houses' where you can see people sitting and enjoying the fresh brew and catching up with daily news. Also good  place for the community to exchange ideas,  find out what is going on and to talk about  future events in town.