Friday, 21 November 2008


Hi all, this pudding is one of the most traditional and oldest of deserts in Turkey. It is made during the religious month of 'Kurban Bayrami.' About 10-15 ingredients go into this desert and the more ingredients we have, is the better.
Every household makes this pudding in large amounts and then distributed amongst neighbours and relatives. It is served when family and friends visit during bayram to celebrate the holy month.

  • 1 cup dovme ( wurled wheat )
  • 1/3 cup small white dried beans
  • 1/3 cup chick peas
  • 4 tbsp rice
  • 1/2 cup seedless raisins
  • 1 small orange peel, chopped finely
  • 1 small lemon peel, chopped finely
  • water
  • 5 dried figs, chopped into small pieces
  • 6-7 dried apricots, chopped finely
  • 1 packet of vanilla or 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp rose water
  • cinnamon
  • desiccated coconut
  • walnuts
  • hazelnuts
  • pistachios
  • pomegranate seeds.
First soak dovme, white beans and chick peas separately in plenty of water ,overnight. Wash them several times and boil them to cook separately. Then transfer all 3, into a large sauce pan. Add the rice, orange and lemon peel. Add water to the top, to cover the ingredients and bring it to boil. Turn the heat to medium, stir  it well and  simmer for 30 minutes. Add sugar and washed raisins  mixing thoroughly. Simmer for further 10 minutes. Add washed and chopped figs, apricots, vanilla  and boil for another 5-7 minutes. Rewove from heat and add rose water. Pour the pudding into individual desert bowls while it is hot. Then cool it. Sprinkle with cinnamon, then decorate and garnish with coconut, hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios and pomegranate seeds just before serving. Serves 10.


Turkish carpet weaving is one of the most ancient crafts in Turkey. Historically the Turks were among the earliest carpet weavers. It dates back between 4Th and 1st centuries BC.
Konya ( The Selcuk, capital ) was the center of carpet production in 13Th century.
Isparta is another city which is very famous for handmade wool and silk carpets, today amongst many other cities which are famous for their own type of carpets.. I was born and brought up in Isparta region and proud to say  that, as a young girl, I used to enjoy sitting and helping my big  sister weaving beautiful carpets. The wool  we used, was  also dyed and hand spinned  locally. Carpet weaving, something we all had to learn as we were growing up.
All the girls in rural Turkey, make their own wool or silk carpets for their dowry. It takes one person 3 months, to finish one carpet by 2 m x 3 m sq.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008


Hi all, I have been asked by friends to make  some etli dolma but without too much hassle. Capsicum peppers are widely available in this country  and although  they are quite firm fleshed, this method of cooking was very successful and easy to prepare.

  • 500 g mixed capsicum peppers, about 5 medium
  • 200-250 g lean beef or lamb mince
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic,crushed ( optional )
  • handful of fresh parsley or 1 tsp of  dried mix herb
  • 4-5 tbsp of rice (100 g ), washed
  • 1  cup of water ( about 300ml )  
  • 1 tbsp of pepper paste or tomato paste
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • I medium tomato, sliced
  • 2  cups of hot water (500 ml )
  • drizzle of olive oil.

First wash the peppers and remove the tops by cutting them round with a knife. Scoop out the seeds from peppers with a spoon.


 Fry the chopped onion with olive oil for 5 minutes, then add the mince, garlic to brown the meat together with the onion. Add the washed rice, pepper paste, parsley and pour 1 or 1 and a half cup of water, enough to cover the rice and mince mixture. Stir, add salt and pepper then bring it to boil. Turn the heat to medium, cover the pan and let the filling simmer 10-12 minutes until the rice is soft enough  but still al dente. Turn the heat off. 


Spoon out the filling, 2 tbsp per pepper to fill them but not over fill the peppers. Place one tomato slice on top of each pepper and press all round gently so that tomatoes covers the filling securely. ( You can use the pepper tops that we removed but tomato slices holds the filling better.)
Stand the peppers upside  down  in a dip saucepan.( In doing so, the filling will cook better through the tomato lid ). Add 2 cups of hot water in the pan about half way up to the  peppers. Drizzle with olive oil and bring the peppers to boil. Then  turn the heat to low and simmer the peppers about 45 minutes with the pan lid on. When the peppers are soft enough, turn the heat off, let it rest for 5  minutes. 
Then lift them into an oven proof dish carefully. Pre heat the grill and brown the peppers for about 5- 7 minutes just before serving.
NOTE: This dish is ready to serve after you cook the peppers  on the stove and it is not essential to grill them. But it is  presented better if you brown the peppers for a few minutes.

Monday, 17 November 2008


This  is my friend Lisa's recipe from Canada. They are ready in no time and are  simply delicious.

  • 230 g whole wheat flour
  • 230 g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100 g chocolate chips
  • 100 g chopped hazelnuts
  • 100 g fresh or frozen bananas
  • 125 ml milk
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla or rum extract
  • 230 g brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs

Pre heat the oven to 350F, 180C, 160 Fan.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and mix well. Add the hazelnuts and chocolate chips. Set aside.
In a blender, add chopped bananas, eggs, milk, oil, vinegar, vanilla and rum extract. Blend until smooth. Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture. Mix well until all combined together. Spoon the muffin mixture into the paper cases, bake in the middle shelf for 20-30 minutes.

NOT: I didn't have enough chocolate chips, so used sultanas to make up the amount. I also sprinkled the muffins with sugar and cinnamon mixture just before they went into the oven. I hope you don't mind Lisa, LOL !!!


Sunday, 16 November 2008



  • 250-300 g lean lamb or beef mince
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 tomatoes
  • handful of fresh parsley
  • salt and black pepper
  • chili pepper ( optional )
  • 400 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp dried yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp natural yogurt
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 50 ml warm milk
  • 1 egg yolk for glazing


Mix yeast and salt with  sifted flour. Add sugar olive oil,  whisked eggs and warm milk  in a dip bowl and mix it to bind. Transfer the dough on to a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Form a ball, cover with cling film and let it rise for an hour until it doubled in size. Knock the air out and knead for 1-2 minutes. Cover and let it rest another 45 minutes.

In the mean time, prepare the FILLING
Put the onion in a food processor and pulse it 2-3 times. Add chopped tomatoes, mince, parsley, chili, salt and peeper and pulse it until mixed well and you achieved a ball of the mixture. Transfer into a calender and let the excess water drain.

Transfer the dough on the floured surface. Break the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each dough 25-30 cm long and 10 cm wide. Put 1 heaped tbsp of the mince mixture in the middle of the dough and shape it with your finger tips. Fold  the edges of the pide inwards  like a boat ( see picture above ) Place pides on greased baking tin and glaze them using the brush, with egg yolk. Cook  the pides in preheated oven, in the middle shelf at 220 C,  200 fan  setting, for 15- 20 minutes. 

NOTE : I cooked 4 pides at a time but  if you are cooking one or two at a time you may need less time to cook.


  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 175 ml milk
  • 50 ml oil
  • 75 ml honey
  • 75 ml maple syrup or pekmez
  • 2 small or 1 large  banana, mashed
  • 5- 6 tbsp blueberries
  • handful of nuts, chopped ( walnuts or hazelnuts )
  • 460 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling
Beat the eggs, add oil, milk, honey, maple syrup, mashed banana, blue berries and nuts. Sift flour with baking powder and baking soda. Stir into the batter mixture. Mix to bind it. Preheat the oven. Place the batter into 12 muffing cases. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon and sugar mixture and bake in the muffin tins for 15- 20 minutes at the middle shelf at 180 fan, 350F. 

NOTE: If you haven't got maple syrup, you can use honey to replace it.

Friday, 14 November 2008


During our wonderful visit to Canada, we visited and spent several days in St Marys. It was a delightful village with wonderful scenery and landscape. We stayed at SERENDIP with Roy and Eloise Hagerman. They were the perfect host and made us very welcome. Her muffins and pancakes for breakfast was simply delicious. This is Eloise's pancake recipe below.

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup bran flakes
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 cup of milk
  • Handful of blue berries or fresh fruit of your chose
Sift the flour with the baking powder in a dip bowl. Add the egg, oil, milk and make a smooth batter. Fold the bran flakes and the  berries in. Heat the griddle and drop a tbsp of the batter mixture into the pan and cook both sides, turning over until they are cooked. Repeat this process until you use all the batter.
Serve with honey or maple syrup.


You can make this borek with various fillings such as cheese and spinach. Mince and onion ( for this, the mince meat have to be pan fried with onions first. ) Potato, dill and spring onion. You can also create your own filling from the combination you desire. 
Today I am using cheese and parsley to make these boreks for breakfast. I used edam cheese but any semi fat cheese will be fine to use.

  • 400g  plain flour
  • 2 level tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 100 ml milk
  • 100 ml warm water
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Add the egg, olive oil, milk and water in the centre of the flour. Work all the ingredients into the flour, mix it well to form a ball. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and knead it for 5-7 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball, cover with cloth and set aside to rest for half an hour or so.

  • 1 packed of edam cheese
  • handful of parsley.
While the dough resting, grate the cheese and mix with chopped parsley. If you are using potato filling, boil them first, grate and mix with spring onions or chopped spinach.


Divide the dough into 8-10  pieces, about a size of an egg. Place the dough pieces on floured work surface. Roll out the dough into a thin circle, about 25-30 cm in diameter. This is the size of my griddle, but you can roll it smaller or larger depending on your pan size.
Then place 2 heaped tbsp of cheese and parsley filling in the centre, on the one half. Fold the other half over and brush the edge with water before pressing with finger tips to seal the boreks.
Heat the griddle or pan, turn the heat to medium- low and cook boreks for 5-7 minutes, turning and making sure both sides  are cooked properly. Brush it with olive oil or butter just before serving.
NOTE: Sometimes if I am in a hurry, I make this dough in a food processor. Just put everything in the food mixer and pulse it until you achieve a ball of dough. It works very well.

Saturday, 8 November 2008


These little meatballs are my favourite as it is my childhood food. My mam used to make these so it always brings back happy memories.

  • 500 g lean mince
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 1 cup fine bulgur
  • 1 egg
  • Parsley, handful, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • salted water
  • 2-3 tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Fresh parsley.
First mix mince, onion, bulgur, egg and parsley either in a food processor or by hand until it is bind well. Add little salt and some black pepper and work to bind it for couple of minutes more. Then take little pieces  about a size of a hazelnut and roll them to a  round shape. Place them on a plate with flour, so they wont stick. Take a dip pan and boil some water, say half full. Add some salt. When the water boils add the meat balls. Turn the heat to medium and cook the yuvarlama for about 10-15 minutes. Make sure the water totally covers the meat balls. Drain them, set aside to cool. Reserve the water.
Just before serving, heat the butter in a nonstick frying pan, add the meatballs and the garlic and give it a quick stir or a minute or two. Decorate with parsley and serve with rice and salad.

NOTE : You can use the reserved water of the yuvarlama as a sauce over them or you can use it as a base for any soup for the next day.


 Mevlana lived in Konya/Turkey in 13Th century AD. His name was Jelal and later he took the name MEVLANA ( teacher ). He revived the practice of whirling in his life time and gave it the status as a method of concentrating THE MIND and developing the art of devotion. Mevlana taught his followers a method of " self development". His method includes music, poetry and whirling. These 3 elements are incorporated in the ceremony of dance called SEMA. Mevlana heard some beautiful music and he began turning in harmony yet with a centered discipline. He was the mystic poet who founded the dervishes ( Mevlevi ). Dervishes also known as Mevlevi are sufis. Sufi's are spiritual off shoots of Islam and Sufi means WISDOM. Whirling Dervishes believe in performing dance SEMA.  Dervish literally means " doorway " and Sema represents a mystical journey of man's spiritual ascent through mind and love to PERFECTION. Turning towards the truth, the follower achieves "perfection". During the dance, the right palm faces up and the left palm faces down. Energy from above enters through the right palm, passes through the body and through to the left palm and into the earth.  Dervishes believe that when they are spinning ,their body becomes open to receive the energy from God.
Turkish Sultans often consulted  Dervishes in difficult times. Their spinning created a relaxing and hypnotic effect.

ABOVE PICTURES are: whirling dervishes, Mevlana,  Mevlana museum and Mevlana's shrine.

MEVLANE BOREGI ( Mevlane pasties )

These boreks ( pasties ) are the speciality of City KONYA  where MEVLANE ( see above ) lived.
These are delicious filled with mince meat, but today I used  mince meat  and some  goats cheese, parsley filling  for some of the boreks  which was equally nice.

  • half a kg lean mince meat
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 lage onion, chopped finely
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • half tsp chili flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • half a kg flour
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1tsp sugar
First cook the mince with the onion in oil until it is browned nicely. Add the parsley, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Add 1-2 tbs water if it starts to stick to the pan. Take off the heat and set aside. This should take  about 10 - 12 minutes.

Mix yogurt, oil with sifted flour. Add the egg, sugar and bind it together until you achieve a soft dough. Take a size of a walnut open the dough piece about 10 cm round shape on a floured surface. I do this by hand but a rolling pin can be used if it is easier.
Place 1 tbsp of cooled mince mixture in the middle and fold it over to cover it. Seal the edges well and brush the pasties with egg yolk. Transfer the pasties on a greased baking tray, brush with whisked egg yolk and cook on preheated oven 180C for 15- 20 minutes until they are cooked and golden in colour. Makes 20 -25.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Helstroff , FRANCE

On our travels,  we stopped at  farming village Helstroff in France.  In the evening we went to next town, Boulay and  had a lovely evening meal  with champagne pate for starters and Cabernet  Sauvignon chicken dish which was  exquisite. Here is the recipe to  share with you all...


  • 8 pieces of chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 litre of Cabernet Sauvignon or any dry wine
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 15 baby onions, skin peeled, left whole
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • fresh parsley, chopped
1 ) First bring wine to boil to remove the alcohol until it is reduced by a third. Set aside to cool. Prepare all the vegetables and leave the onions whole. Wash the chicken pieces, cut out the skin and excess fat. Mix the vegetables with chicken  in a bowl and pour the wine over the mixture. Cover and leave to marinade in the fridge overnight.
2 ) Next day pour the chicken and veg mixture in a colander to drain at least 45 minutes. Reserve the liquid.
In the mean time dry roast the flour in a non stick pan, on the stove until it is golden colour. Set aside.
3 ) Fry the chicken pieces in olive oil on a high heat, turning each side for 5-7 minutes. Add the vegetables and cook for further 5 minutes. Add the flour then whisk the wine little at a time to make a smooth sauce.
Season with salt and pepper, stir then transfer the chicken and veg into an oven proof dish. Cover and cook in the pre- heated oven, 170C for 30-35 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve piping hot with french bread or roast potatoes.


You can make this dish using sucuk, spicy sausages or just without the meat as a vegetarian dish.

  • 2 cups of cooked black eyed beans
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup chopped spicy sausages
  • 1 tbsp tomato or red pepper paste
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • half a tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp paprika or chili flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste.
First fry the onion in oil until just turns brown. Add the peppers, sausages stir and cook for couple of minutes. Add the drained beans, tomato paste and hot water and stir well while cooking on low heat. Add cumin, sugar,  paprika and season it well and cook all together on low heat for 15 minutes. Serve with rice or crusty bread. Afiyet olsun.

KABAK TATLISI ( Poached pumpkin )

This is a lovely winter desert as the pumpkins are widely available through out the cold months. you can serve it with nuts,  clotted cream  or creme fraiche.

  • 1 kg pumpkin flesh, peeped and deseeeded
  • 400 g sugar
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Handful of walnuts

First peel and deseed the pumpkin, cut into  cubes. In a large pan put one layer of pumpkin then sprinkle some sugar over it then again some more pumpkins then sugar over it. Repeat this process until all the pumpkins are covered with sugar. Add the cloves and the cinnamon stick. Put the lid on and leave it to rest overnight. Next day you will have lovely sugar syrup with the pumpkins.


 Mix the pumpkins and the syrup gently once then  put the pan on the heat and bring it to boil. Then turn the heat to low and simmer the pumpkins for 10 - 15 minutes with the lid on tilted. Stir it gently. Then take the lid off and continue to poach the pumpkin until they are tender and rich in orange colour and to thicken the syrup. This will take further 10-12 minutes or so. 
Leave the pumpkin in the pan to cool before transferring into the serving dish. Serve with nuts and cream. Hope you enjoy it...