Sunday, 26 April 2009


This bread is delicious hot from the oven with butter or with any savoury dish with your meal.

  • 4 cups of strong bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • half a cup warm water
  • 2 tsp easy blend dried yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp natural yogurt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp nigella seeds
For glazing
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp milk
Sieve the flour with salt. 
1) Mix the yeast and sugar in a jug with warm water. Set aside for 10 minutes until is is frothy.
2) Make a well in the flour and add the yeast mixture. Add the oil, egg white and the yogurt. Knead by hand for about 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface. Alternatively use an electric mixer with the dough hook for 6-7 minutes. Add little more flour if sticky but make sure the dough is not too hard.
3) Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for 2 hours until it has doubled in size. Knock back the dough and knead for 1-2 minutes.
4) Place the dough on a floured surface and divide dough into 2 pieces.. Flatten each dough with the heal of your hand, use your fingers to stretch it from the middle.
5) First mark the dough with a knife  like a diamond shape on the surface. Then push your fingers into the dough to achieve a dimpled effect.
6) Place the dough on to a baking tray, brush with milk and egg yolk mixture and sprinkle with nigella seeds. Cover and leave the dough to rise again for 30 minutes.
7) Place 2 cups of water in a oven proof dish and place at the bottom of the oven. Bake the pide in preheated oven 220 C, 200 Fan setting for 10 - 15 minutes. Bake the other pide the same way.
8) Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm.

Friday, 24 April 2009


This morning I made these muffins for breakfast which was a lovely change from usual breakfast. These will be great as a snack at any time of the day or as a tea time treat. I added no sugar for this recipe because of natural sugars from honey and banana but if you prefer them really sweet, add 2 tbsp brown sugar to the mixture. It was sweet enough for me especially with spread of honey on top before serving. It is my own creation and enjoyed making them. Hope you enjoy too.
Below makes 12 muffins.

  • 2 cups of whole meal flour
  • 1 and half  cups of oats
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 5 tsp of poppy seeds
  • 2 large or 3 small bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 tbsp oil
  • 5 tbsp clear honey or pekmez
  • 2 tbsp tahini paste ( optional )
  • 2 kiwis, diced
  • extra jam or honey for glazing.
  • sprinkle of poppy seeds.
Preheat the oven to 200C, 180 Fan setting.
Prepare the muffin tin with paper cups or lightly grease the bun tins with oil.
1) Sieve the flour with baking powder and salt. Stir in the oats, spice, poppy seeds in a bowl.
2) In a separate bowl, mix beaten eggs, milk, oil, honey, tahini and mashed bananas. Add this mixture into the bowl with dry ingredients.
3) Mix lightly until all the ingredients are combined, then stir in the chopped kiwi fruit.
4) Divide the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 20- 25 minutes. Leave muffins to cool in the tins. Transfer them on to a wire rack to cool completely.
5) Warm jam or honey and spread over muffins. Sprinkle with poppy seeds just before serving.

Sunday, 19 April 2009


SIMITS ( Bagels ) are a very popular snack in Turkey which is lovely to eat at any time of the day and especially for breakfast. Street vendors tour round the housing estates to sell  warm simits first thing in the morning,  straight from the local bakers. Simit sellers even keep slices of cheese and boiled egg along with the simits for those who didn't have time for breakfast before leaving home. You are sure to have a good breakfast on the go with fresh simit, cheese and egg.
This is the first time I made simit and very pleased that they turned out nice. My family's comments were: "they taste just like the ones  we buy in Turkey", which is a great compliment. 
Below makes 10 simits.

  • 450 g strong bread flour
  • 2 level tsp salt
  • 7 g easy bake yeast 
  • 250 ml warm water
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp pekmez or molasses
  • 1 cup  hot water
  • 200 g sesame seeds

1) Sift the flour with salt. Add yeast  and mix well. 
2) Mix honey, oil and water in a jug. 
3) Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour the liquid in gradually to make a firm dough. Start kneading and stretching for about 10 minutes. Add more flour if it is too sticky.
4) Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a greased  bowl. Cover with cling film and place it on a warm corner in your kitchen for 2 hours, until the dough doubled in size.
5) After 2 hours, punch down and knead the dough briefly.
6) Divide the dough into 10 equal chunks  then divide each chunk into 2 small balls. Roll each ball into  25-30 cm long log. Then twist two logs together into a plat. Squeeze and seal the ends together with a splash of water. As you make one simit, keep the other chunks of dough covered with a clean tea towel. Repeat with rest of the dough to make 10 simits. Place the simits into the baking tray, cover with tea towel and allow to stand for 1 hour. 
7) When the dough is nearly ready, mix molasses or pekmez with hot water and mix well.
8) Then dip each simit, first in the pekmez and water mixture and then roll the simits all over in the sesame seeds, in a large tray.
9) Place the simits back  in the baking tray lined with grease proof paper. Let the simits rest further 30 minutes before baking.
10) Place 2 cups of water in an oven proof dish and place it at the base of the oven.
11) Cook simits in preheated oven 220 C, 200 Fan setting for 15- 20 minutes.
12) Cool them on wire rack before serving.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009


Baklava  is a Turkish specialty dessert that  prepared and enjoyed during holidays, weddings and special occasions. It is also customary to take some baklava as a gift when visiting family and friends.
Baklava in Turkey  always made with home made paper thin filo pastry and only pistachio nuts or walnuts used as filling as they are softer in texture.
Today I used mixture  of walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios which I had in my freezer and wanted to used them up. I hope you enjoy making this as much as I did. Makes 23-25 pieces of baklava.

  • 1 pack of 400 g filo pastry, defrosted if frozen
  • 1 cup ( 10 tbsp )melted butter 
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
FOR THE SYRUP ( 1 cup of water = 200 ml and 1 cup of sugar = 200 g )
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat the oven 180C, 160 fan setting. Mix chopped nuts with cinnamon in a bowl.

1) Brush a baking tray with butter. ( I used 32cm x 22 cm tray ). Cut one sheet of filo pastry to fit your baking tray as shown above. Then brush the pastry with butter and place another layer of pastry. Repeat this process with 4 more layers of filo pastry and butter  to make it 6 first layers. Sprinkle the nut mixture to cover the pastry  and layer another 6 sheets of  pastry brushing the each layer with butter. Now sprinkle some more nuts and layer it with 3 or 6 more of the sheets of filo with butter, depending on how much pastry left to use. Brush the top of the last filo with butter.
2) Using a sharp knife, cut the baklava diagonal lines right through all the layers to the bottom, to form small diamond shapes.
3 ) Place baklava into the oven and bake for one hour, until it is golden. While the baklava is  in the oven, make the syrup.
4) Place the sugar and water into a heavy pan and bring it to boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Then turn the heat to low and simmer the syrup for 15 minutes  until it thickens slightly. Add the lemon juice and simmer further 3-5 minutes and take the syrup off the heat. Leave it to cool in the pan.
5) Take the baklava out of the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes. Then pour over the cooled syrup over the baklava and leave it to soak preferably overnight.
6) Re cut the baklava and serve with sprinkled pistachio nuts.


  • 2 aubergines
  • 1 onion
  • olive oil
  • sprinkle of salt
  • goats cheese 
  • 6 chicken thighs
  • bunch of fresh herbs
  • juice of 1 lemon
  •  mixture of salt,  ground black pepper and dried herbs.

1) Slice the aubergines lengthwise thinly as shown above. Slice the onion like rings and brush them with olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle some salt and  cook them on the griddle pan until both sides are lightly browned. Do the same with rest of the aubergine skin slices and onion rings. Set aside.
2) Wash and drain chicken tights. Cut of the excess fat and take the bone out from each thigh. Place 1 slice of cooked onion ring and the herb of your chose inside  the chicken thigh and tuck it under.
3) Lay one aubergine slice on a plate and place the chicken thigh over the aubergine. Place 1 slice of goats cheese on top of the chicken.  Now roll and wrap the chicken  with the aubergine slice and secure it with a tooth pick. Do the same with rest of the chicken pieces and brush them with olive oil.
4) Place the chicken parcels in an oven proof dish. Pour the lemon juice over the parcels and season with salt,pepper, herb mixture.
5) Cover with foil and cook on preheated oven 180C, 160 fan setting for 1 hour. Take the foil off and cook for further 10 minutes at 200C to get it nicely browned. Remove the tooth picks. Serve  the parcels with rice and side salad.

Monday, 6 April 2009


Dried fruit compotes are great favourite during the winter months served along side of the rice after the main course. Traditionally it is served with rice but it is great, served with natural yogurt, on your cereal or with ice cream.

  • 2 cups of dried fruit
  • 3-4 cups of water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
Wash and place all the dried fruit into a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring it to boil then simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add the cinnamon, lemon juice and more water if need. Simmer for further 5-10 minutes until the fruit is cooked. Set aside to cool. Sprinkle more cinnamon powder just before serving.


Here are some selection of Turkish meze's  which can be served as a snack, as an appetizer or to accompany the drinks. These are great to spread over bread and served as a starter.

  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 chili pepper, chopped
  • handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • salt and black pepper 
Place all the chopped ingredients in a food processor and pulse it 2-3 times until all mixed together or chop all the ingredients very finely then mix in a bowl.
Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste before serving.

  • 1 tub of natural yogurt
  • half a cucumber, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, 
  • pinch of dried mint
  • salt to taste
Crush the garlic with salt. Chop the cucumber to small pieces. 
Mix yogurt with garlic and diced cucumber. Season with mint and salt before serving.

  • 2 cups cooked and drained chickpeas
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup runny tahini
  • 1/2 cup natural yogurt
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped finely
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • salt
  • pinch of paprika
Place the chickpeas in to a mortar and pestle to pound or into a food processor  and blend until it is smooth. Add the garlic and the rest of the ingredients and mix well to bind. Sprinkle with paprika just before serving.

  • 1 aubergine
  • 2 tbsp cream fraiche
  • 2 tbsp natural yogurt
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped finely
  • salt and ground black pepper.
Cook the aubergine whole  under the grill, turning frequently making sure it is cooked and the flesh is soft.  Peel of the skin under running cold water and diced the flesh finely.Mix with the rest of the ingredients with aubergine pulp. Add cream fraiche, yogurt and parsley. Season with salt and ground black pepper just before serving.