Sunday, 29 March 2009


I was in the mood for baking this weekend and thought of making these oatmeal, fruit and chocolate cookies. I probably won't  do any baking for a while so I am enjoying this weekend, dedicated to baking. I am going to bake half of the batch today but keep the other half in the fridge which will  keep for a week or so,  to bake whenever we have guests  over for tea. I used mix dried fruit of berries, apricots,raisins, dates,cranberries and pineapple but use any dried fruit combination you prefer or have in your cupboard. Below makes 80- 82 cookies.

  • 125 g butter
  • 200 g light brown soft sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 150 g crunchy peanut butter
  • 150 g wholemeal self raising flour
  • 150 g self raising flour
  • 200 g wholegrain oats
  • 50 g chopped chocolate pieces
  • 100 g mixed dried fruit.
Pre heat the oven to 180 C, 160 Fan setting. Grease and line 2 baking trays with sheets of baking parchment.

1) Cream the butter with sugar, in a large  mixing bowl. Add the beaten eggs gradually beating after each addition. Add the vanilla and milk.
2) Combine the peanut butter, flour, oats, chocolate chips and dried fruit. Add to the creamed mixture in the bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon together thoroughly.
3) Divide the dough into 3 equal batches. Each batch will make 20 cookies.
4) Either cooked them all, the same day or like me cook half and store the other half ( uncooked ) in the fridge till you need it.
5) Bake the cookies for 10- 12 minutes or until lightly golden  on preheated oven. Cool them on wire rack before serving.

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE AND CHILI COOKIES ( cukulota ve biber kukisi )

  • 200 g dark chocolate 
  • 100 g butter
  • 100 g light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 200 g wholemeal self raising flour
  • 1 level tsp cayenne chili powder
  • 4 tsp coco powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 4 tsp grape syrup or honey
Pre heat the oven to 180C, 160 C Fan setting. Line 2 baking sheets with greaseproof paper.
1) First break up the chocolate pieces in the food processor or with a rolling pin. Set aside
2) Mix sugar and butter and beat well  in a large mixing ball. Add the beaten egg little at a time and continue to mix. 
3) Sieve flour together with chili pepper, coco powder and cinnamon and add to the bowl. Mix to bind.
4) Add the chocolate pieces and the syrup or honey and make either 2 logs and cut each log for 12 pieces to make 24 cookies or make small walnut shapes which will make 42 thin cookies.
5) Place the cookies on the baking tray and cook for 10-12 minutes. Cool them on wire rack before serving.

Friday, 27 March 2009

CHILI CHOCOLATE BISCUITS-COOKIES ( aci biber ve cukulota biskuvisi )

I have heard people talking about chili cookies and instantly thought that I would love  to make my own. I used my basic cookie dough recipe with little changes made because of the chili used. When I made the first batch I was so excited to see how they turned out. I made myself a nice cup of coffee and sat down to enjoy chili and chocolate cookie. I like chili and use it almost everyday with my cooking. As I finished my cookie I realized I used extra hot chili which I use making curry.It tasted rather hot and over powering.
So I was back in  the kitchen and by second and third try I perfected it and eventually got it right. As you can imagine, I ended up with lots of cookies in my tin which I have to give away to  friends and also enjoy them with family. Hope you enjoy...

  • 100 g butter, melted,( 9-10 tbsp melted )
  • 150 g caster sugar ( 1 cup )
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 200g plain flour ( 2 cups )
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 level  tsp cayenne pepper
  • 100 g fruit and nut chocolate bar
  • 2 tsp runny honey
1) Lightly grease 2 baking trays. Preheat the oven to 190C, 170 C fan setting.
2) In a dip mixing bowl mix butter and sugar and beat well. Add the beaten egg little at time, mixing and beating after each addition.
3) Sieve the flour together with baking powder and chili powder. Add the flour into the bowl. 
4) Place broken chocolate pieces in a freezer bag and roll it with a rolling pin. We should have roughly chopped pieces.
5) Add chocolate pieces and  and honey to the bowl of flour mixture.  Mix all the ingredients together to form a soft dough. Wrap and let it rest 15-20 if you have time.
6) Form the dough into round  pieces and press them lightly. Place them onto the baking tray. (use floured hands if sticky ).Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly  golden brown. Transfer the cookies onto wire rack and leave to cool. Makes 20 cookies.


While I was in the mood for baking I thought I experiment a little and make another batch. This time I replaced the chocolate with 100 g of dried mix fruit and instead of butter I used  9-10 tb spoons of flavorless oil . I also used 2 tb spoon of sesame seeds for sprinkling.
All the other ingredients and method of making these is the same as chili and chocolate cookie method.. They were lovely and softer in texture.  This also makes 20.

NOT : If you just want a hint of chili taste, only use half a teaspoon of the cayenne pepper.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

TOMATO DOLMAS ( Domates dolmasi )

While browsing through the fruit and vegetable isle of my local super market, I have seen these tomatoes and came up with  the idea of this tasty dish. It is not tomato season yet but these looked so full of colour and I couldn't resist them.
For this dish I used fine bulgur wheat which require no cooking.
One of the ingredients is - pomegranate juice concentrate - which is like thick syrup and tangy. It is puree pomegranate concentrate. If it is not available where you are, mixture of 2 tsp of honey or maple syrup mixed with 4- 6 tsp of balsamic vinegar will be a good substitute.
You can serve stuffed tomatoes as they are ( picture 2 ) or grill them before serving which is very nice too. It is ideal as a vegetarian dish, meze or starter.

  • 6 medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup fine bulgur ( bulgar ) wheat
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate concentrate
  • 1 tbsp pepper or tomato paste
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 spring onion, chopped
  • handful of fresh mint and parsley, chopped finely
  • salt and black pepper
  • oil for brushing
1) Place the bulgur in bowl and pour the boiled water over it. Cover the bowl and set aside for 10 minutes.
2) Cut the tomato tops so it acts a s a lid but don't cut it completely. Scoop the flesh out with a tea spoon. Chop the tomato flesh, spring onions, mint and parsley finely.
3) After 10 minutes of soaking the bulgur, add the onion and chopped herbs into the bowl. 
4) Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Then stuff each tomato with the mixture and serve cold.


Brush the tomato dolmas with olive oil and place them in an oven proof dish. Then cook the dolmas under  the pre- heated grill for 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

ALI NAZIK ( Minced meat with yogurt and aubergine puree )

  • 4 small or 2 large aubergines
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 250 gr lean lamb or steak mince
  • 1-2 tsp oil
  • 1  onion, diced
  • Half a red pepper, diced finely
  • 1 small chilli pepper ( optional ), diced finely
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • little salt
  • 4 heaped tbsp thick natural yogurt
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • salt and pepper

1) First wash the aubergines and smoke them on the gas flame on top of the stove until the skin is charred on all sides and the flesh is soft. Turn them from time to time until charred all over. You can do this under the grill or in the oven if you haven't got gas hob. When they are done set aside for a few minutes to cool.
2) Then hold each aubergine and peel of the charred skin under running water. Squeeze the flesh and place them on a chopping board. Chop the aubergines to a pulp and discard the stalk. Place all the aubergine pulp in a bowl.Mix with the lemon juice and oil. Set aside.
3) Stir fry the mince with onion  in oil until browned. Add the chili, red pepper, tomato paste and water to cover the mince. Bring it to boil. Turn the heat to low and cook the mince for 10-15 minutes. Add the parsley and salt and set aside with the lid on to keep it  warm.
4) Mix yogurt with crushed garlic and salt. Add the aubergine pulp to the yogurt mixture and heat in a frying pan gently to warm it. Do not boil. Add seasoning to taste.
5) Transfer the yogurt and aubergine mixture to the serving plate. Heat up the mince if need, then place it on top of the aubergine and yogurt dressing. Drizzle some of the juices from the meat over the yogurt and and aubergine bed and  serve it strength away. This serves 2.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

HONEY AND AVOCADO FACE MASK( Bal ve avocado cilt maski)

It has been a beautiful day  today and that inspired me to make some home made beauty lotions, using natural ingredients. Our skin has been exposed to wind and cold weather all winter and this is the time to nourish and prepare it for the summer months ahead.
This nourishing face mask with avocado and honey  will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. If you think the avocado is going black, add a little bit more lemon juice.

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 3 tbsp orange juice
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp maple syrup or pekmez
  • 2 tsp runny honey
  • 2 tsp almond oil
  • 10 drops of chamomile essential oil.
1)Cut avocado in half and scoop the flesh in a bowl. Mix all the ingredients with the avocado in a blender until smooth and creamy.
2) Spread over face and neck. Leave for 30-45 minutes. ( sit back and enjoy a cup of herbal or green tea. )
3) Then rinse with tepid water and dry.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

LEMON CHICKEN WITH MIX HEBS (Limon ve baharatli tavuk)

I have cooked this chicken today for dinner and enjoyed it so much that I thought I share it with you all. While the chicken was roasting, the smell of the lemon and herbs was lovely through the house. I served the chicken with roasted vegetables and gravy.

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp mixed dried herbs
  • salt and ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 C, 160 C fan setting.
1) Wash the chicken inside out. Place the whole onion, carrot and garlic cloves inside the chicken. Tie the legs with a string and  sit the chicken in roasting tin.
2) Mix olive oil, juice of  2 lemons, dried herbs, salt and pepper.
3) Rub the oil, lemon, herb mixture all over the chicken, pressing lightly with herbs.
4) Cover the chicken loosely with foil and cook for 1 1/2 hours basting it 2-3 times while it is roasting. Take the foil off and roast the chicken for further 20-30 minutes until it is golden and crispy.
5) Serve with roast vegetables and gravy or serve it cold with salad.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009


Kadayif is a very fine vermicelli like pastry used to make sweet pastry and desserts. It is a very popular sweet dish in all the Middle eastern countries as well as in Turkey.
You can find fresh or frozen kadayif in Turkish food stores and continental supermarkets. Kadayif also comes in packets already oven cooked. In that case you just have to add the nuts and the syrup to make the dessert. The syrup should be cooled if the pastry hot from the oven. If you made the kadayif the day before then the syrup should be warm almost hot before pouring to soften the kadayif. Some people add spices in the syrup but in Turkish recipe we don't add anything other than just water and sugar and lemon juice for the syrup. I hope you enjoy making this as much as I did. it is a great favorite with my family every time. Makes 12.

  • 200 gr kadayif
  • 1/2 a cup melted butter
  • 1 cup pistachio nuts, chopped coarsely
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
1) Bring the sugar and water to boil in a sauce pan, then turn the heat to low and simmer the syrup uncovered  for 10-15 minutes until the syrup is light yellow in colour. Then add the lemon juice and take the syrup of the heat and set aside to cool. Place nuts in a food processor and whiz them a few times to ground them roughly. ( or place them in a freezer bag and roll the nuts with a rolling pin until you achieve ground nuts ). Mix the cinnamon with nuts.
2) Brush a deep baking tin with butter.  Preheat the oven to 180 C.
3) Spread the kadayif on a flat surface and brush with melted butter. Then break 12 equal pieces of the kadayif ( 5 cm x 3 cm ) as shown above. 
4) Then spoon 1-2 tsp of the nuts in the middle and roll the kadayif like a log and shape it with your hands. Making sure it is tucked under from the sides and the ends of the log are securely tighted. Place  the kadayif log in the baking tin.
5) Repeat this process until you use all the kadayif. Then brush all the kadayif logs with melted butter and cook in preheated oven for 25 - 30 minutes until golden and crispy. Oven setting is 180C, 160 C Fan setting and cooked in the middle shelf of the oven. 
6) Take the kadayif out and pour the syrup over it immediately. Make sure all the syrup covers all of the kadayif to the top. ( If you think you haven't got enough syrup, boil 1 cup of  sugar and 1 cup of water, then  pour over the kadayif )
7) Let the kadayif soak up the syrup for 4-5 hours then transfer them on a plate( without syrup) and keep in the fridge.
8) Sprinkle the kadayif with pistachio nuts just before serving. Afiyet olsun. 

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

YAHNI ( lamb and chickpea stew )

  • 1/2 a kg lamb pieces with bones
  • hot water
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1-2 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 150- 200 g   pearl onions, peeled and left whole.( OR 2 large onions, cut coarsely )
  • 2 cups of cooked chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp pepper paste or tomato paste
  • fresh rosemary and parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste.
1) Place lamb in a pan and add water to cover the meat. Bring it to boil then simmer with lid on for 20- 30 minutes. Take off the heat, scoop the meat onto a plate and set aside to cool. Leave the meat stock in the pan.
2) Peel the pearl onions. Fry them in the oil until the onions are lightly  browned. Set aside.
3) When the meat is cool enough to handle, take all the bone out and add the meat in the pan with the onions. Stir and add the pepper paste .
4) Transfer the meat  into the pan with meat stock. Add the chick peas, garlic, tomato paste, rosemary and parsley. Bring it to boil. Add more water if needed to cover the meat. Lower the heat and simmer the mixture for further 10- 15 minutes or until the meat is soft. Add the pearly pre fried pearl onions, stir and take off the heat.
5) Season with salt and ground pepper just before serving. Serve with rice.


These boreks are quick to make and low in fat so you can enjoy them without feeling guilty. Great for lunch with some salad or as a party nibble or  as a snack when hungry. Makes 18 triangles. VEGETARIAN OPTION : Fill the pastries with goats cheese and onion filling or spinach, potato and cheese filling.

  • 6 sheets of filo pastry ( 40 cm x 26 cm ), defrosted if frozen.
  • 350- 400 g lean steak mince
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp fresh herbs or 1 tsp dried herb
  • pinch of chilli flakes ( optional )
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • milk for glazing
  • 1 egg yolk for glazing
  • nigella seeds

1) First cook the mince in a noon stick frying pan with the onion until cooked and browned. I used no oil but add a tsp oil if you need to and drop of water if the mince gets too dry. 
2) Add the herbs and spices, season and set aside to cool. Pre- heat the oven 180 c, 160 Fan setting.
3) Place  all 6 filo pastry on a clean bench and cut into 3 equal parts lengthwise. So you will have 3 equal lots of strips of pastry of 40 cm x 9 cm. Now you have 18 strips of filo pastry.
4) Cover the strips with damp cloth to prevent them drying. Take one strip and place 1-2 tbsp of the mince mixture near one end of the strip and then fold the strip into a triangle shape as if you are folding a flag. Continue folding triangles down the entire strip of the pastry.
5) Moisten the end of the triangle with water and stick it to the end of the triangle. Repeat the same with rest of the filo strips. During the process if you break  some of the pasty, don't worry and roll it like a cigar and cook together with the rest of the boreks.
6) Grease a baking tray with spray oil or brush it lightly. Place all the triangles and brush them with milk first then brush  the boreks with egg yolk. Sprinkle with nigella seeds, sesame or poppy seeds.
7) Cook on preheated oven  on 180 c, 160 c fan setting for 15-20 minutes until crispy and lightly golden in colour.
8) Take the boreks out and serve them warm. Eat them cold the next day or heat in the pan to warm them up before serving.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

MIDYE DOLMASI ( Stuffed mussels with aromatic rice )

This is a  very popular Turkish traditional meze dish. it is sold by street vendors in cities and sea side resorts all over Turkey. It is a common site to see people stopping to buy the mussels, squeezing with lemon  and enjoying them  as a snack. Normally It is made with fresh mussels strength from the sea, cleaned and cooked, but I had some greenshell New Zealand mussels ( my favorite ) in the freezer to use and result was very good and it worked very well with this dish.  Serves 2.

  • 10  large frozen mussels, defrosted
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 2 tsp of olive oil
  • 2 tsp pine nuts
  • 2 tsp currants
  • 1 level tsp cinnamon,
  • 1 tsp mix dried herbs
  • pinch of mix spice
  • 1/2 cup rice ( about 60 g )
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup hot water
  • fresh chopped herbs ( parsley, dill )
  • Salt and ground black pepper.

1) Clean the shells with a brush, pull out the though beards. Wash the mussels, drain and set aside. 
2) Make the  rice filling. Brown the chopped onion in a pan with oil. Add pine nuts, currants, spices and dried herbs, stir.
3) Add rice and mix until well coated. Add tomato paste, hot water, salt and bring  the rice to boil. Once boiled, turn the heat to low and cook the rice with the lid on for 10- 12 minutes.
4) Transfer the rice on a plate and let it cool. Add the fresh herbs and mix.
5) Stuff each shell of the mussels with a  tsp of the rice filling then close the shells and place them into a steamer. Place the lid tightly and bring the water to boil. Then steam the filled mussels for  15 minutes on low heat.
6) Leave the mussels in the pan for a few minutes then transfer them onto a serving plate. Serve with lemon wedges.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

HI, I have been feeling  quite creative lately ( must be the spring air ) and got all my colourful wool and knitting needles out. If i am not cooking and sitting down with cup of coffee, I have been knitting these little cases for phones, ipods and glasses. I am thinking they will be cute little gifts to give away to family and friends. So I better get on and make some more lol, see you later!!!

EASY POTATO KOFTES ( Kolay patates koftesi )

These vegetarian  koftes are ideal for entertaining or for a quick snack when hungry. It takes 10- 15 minutes to prepare in total. Serves 2.

  • 4 medium potatoes, about 300 g peeled and diced 
  • 1/2 a cup fine bulgur ( fine cracked wheat ), about 50 g
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or little less if you are cutting down on fats
  • 3 spring onions, chopped finely
  • 2 level tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or 1/2 tsp dried herbs
  • salt and black pepper
1) Boil the diced potatoes in salted water until cooked. Drain and set aside.
2) In a separate bowl pour boiling water over the bulgur, cover and let it rest for 5 minutes until all the water absorbed.
3) Mash the potatoes, add soaked bulgur, tomato paste, spring onions, olive oil, parsley, spices, salt and pepper. Mix well together to bind.
4) Take a walnut size of the mixture and shape it like little sausages. 
5) Transfer the koftes on a serving plate and sprinkle with chopped spring onions. Serve them  with salad of your chose. I served mine with : red cabbage, celery and parsley salad.

CILBIR ( Poached egg in garlic yogurt )

Hi all, this is  a simple yet tasty dish which is great as a starter, side dish, hot meze or snack at any time of the day. In Turkish cooking, natural yogurt used and  served with many dishes including, vegetables, rice dishes, kebab dishes, cacik( cucumber, garlic, dill yogurt mixture), as a desert, and very popular, national cooling  summer drink" Ayran". One other  popular way of serving yogurt is with crushed garlic. Yogurt is the  part of Turkish culture and has been made at home  by our mothers for centuries but  nowadays, different variety of yogurts and ayrans available in the shops, widely all over Turkey.

  • 1 egg 
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 4-5 tbsp natural yogurt
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp butter or oil
  • 1 dried red peeper or pinch of paprika.
1) Place the vinegar with the water in a pan and bring it to boil. Crack the egg in the water, turn the heat to low and poach the egg for 3-4 minutes with the lid on. 
2) Mix crushed garlic with the yogurt. Add salt and pepper to taste.Spoon  the yogurt into the serving dish. Lift the egg out of the water with slotted spoon and place it on the yogurt.
3) Heat butter or oil in a frying pan add the chopped dried peppers or paprika quickly and spoon over the egg. Serve immediately. Serves 1.

NOT:  Frying  the egg rather than poaching, is another nice way of serving cilbir.

  • 2 cups of natural yogurt
  • pinch of salt
  • cold water
Whisk the yogurt, cold water  and salt together in a blender until it is smooth and frothy. Add more salt if needed and serve cold. 

Sunday, 1 March 2009


INGREDIENTS for  2 servings

  • 2 salmon steaks
  • 1 red, 1 yellow capsicum peppers, cut roughly
  • 1 onion, sliced roughly
  • spray of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar 
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp runny honey
  • 2 tbsp hot water
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • pinch of chilli flakes ( optional )
  • 1 spring onion, sliced thinly
  • toasted sesame seeds
1) Griddle or pan fry the salmon, peppers and onion in spray of olive oil until the fish cooked to your taste and the vegetables are browned and tender.
2) Make the sauce in a bowl. Mix all the sauce ingredients and set aside.
3)Place the vegetables into a serving plate and the fish on top.
4) Garnish with the slices of onion .
5) Pour the sauce over and sprinkle with sesame seeds just before serving.