Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Magic Sauce

Our diet is based mostly on olive oil and wild herbs in the south western area of Turkey, more so in Bodrum where we live. There are even jokes to keep people from Bodrum away from your garden, because we eat any green that would be edible, that includes nettles, chards, spinach, wild asparagus etc, etc. But the most important addition to these greens is our magic sauce. This magic sauce turns every vegetable dish to something delicious and surprisingly every flavour is kept even the souce would be the same but every dish made with different herbs totaly tastes different. So here goes the magic souce recipe !

Ingredients ;
1/2 Cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 Cup early harvest olive oil
6 cloves of Garlic
salt and black pepper to taste

Crush the garlic into the lemon juice with a garlic press and whip about 5 minutes throughly, than add olive oil slowly like making mayonaise than add salt and pepper. Try to use this sauce on luke warm vegetables it makes a difference if you pour it over cold vegetables. Simple as that ! Bon Apetite

This recipe is shared on

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Stuffed Courget Flowers


1 cup feta cheese
¼ cup ricotta
1 bunch of Parsley
1 bunch of Dill
2 whole eggs

25 courget flowers
½ cup bread crumbs
1 spoon powder coriander
½ cup Sunflower oil.

Mash the feta cheese and the ricotta together , add one egg and finally chopped parsley and dill. Open up the flowers fill them in with the stuffing and fold them. Whip one egg and cover the stuffed flowers in egg wash, than roll them over in the breadcrubs that is mixed with coriander.  Heat the oil in a pann and fry the flowers. Serve them hot, with any kind of salad.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Rumeli Mantısı ( Filo Roses)

Rumeli Mantısı ( Filo Roses in garlic yoghurt )

Ingredients ;
32 sheets of filo ( yufka)
1 kg ground beef & lamb ( 30% lamb 70 % beef )
¼ cup butter
½ kg yoghurt ( thick)
Garlic to taste
Chili pepper to taste
Salt & Pepper

Stirfry the meat with 2 spoons of butter, salt and pepper, make sure there are no hard balls in the meat you will have to stir it constantly until it is ready.
Line the filo put meat in the middle of the sheet from one end as shown on the photo, fold both ends of the file as on the photo and roll them very delicately, do this to all filo sheets.
Place them in the preheated oven at moderate heat and cook until they look golden Brown.

On the other side boil some stock vegetable or chicken stock would be great, add some fresh chopped scallions there and when they start boiling add the rose shaped oven baked filo flowers in the stock. Cook for about 10 minutes.

Mix yoghurt with some salt and garlic, place the yoghurt in the plate put the filo roses on top of the yoghurt and pour some butter that is melted with chili peppers.  Decorate your plate with mint.

A Special thank you to my dear friend Nilgün Erdem, for taking these wonderful pictures.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Arthichoke Hearts in Olive Oil

Arthichoke Hearts in Olive Oil

 I always feel that I am very lucky to live in Bodrum, Turkey as a foodie and restaurant owner, here we get fresh vegetables in all seasons and can get them directly from the farmers. This field I have been watching to grow since November, arthichokes are so picturesque. There are so many different recipes in our Aegean cuisine with arthichokes, I will try to share them in time. This one is very simple but very delicious.
 Ingredients ;
6 Archichoke Hearts
1/2 cup  of fresh green almonds, can be replaces by juice of 1/2 lemon
1 patatoe
2 small turnips
1 carrot
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup chopped dill
5 Green Onions
5 Fresh Garlic
1 cup olive oil
Salt, black pepper to taste
2 coffee spoons of sugar

 Instructions ;
Place arthichoke harts as on the picture insides to the bottom in the pan, peal the patatoes and carrots in small cubes, take the ends of the almonds off and place them all on top of the arthichokes. Than in a seperate   bowl put finely chopped fresh garlic, finely chopped fresh onions salt, black pepper and sugar together and squeeze them with your hands ( we call this action killing the onions here :)
 Put the olive oil and enough water to cover the ingredients in the pan. At first until it starts boiling put the pan on top of the stove at high heat, than reduce the heat when it is boiling and cook until the arhitchokes are very soft. This may take not less than 40 minutes depanding on how fresh the archicokes are.
Afiyet Olsun ! ( meaning bon apetite )

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Romano, Pinto or Cranberry Beans ( Barbunya Pilaki)

 We call these red beans "Barbunya" in Turkish, I have heard people calling them different names,
the dictionary says Romano beans, some people called them Pinto beans some call them Cran Berry beans, what ever you call them I am sure you will love this recipe. It has been the favorite of my cooking classes here in Bodrum. It is easy to make and I have never seen anyone who doesn't like it . It is a Turkish Mothers way to make her kids eat something healthy, kids love this recipe !
And thank you Dana for making me write this, she has asked me to write it since she is cooking it tonight at a Turkish Dinner :)
Ingredients ;
1 Bell pepper in chunks
4 -5 Cloves of garlic crushed
4 - 5 Onions chopped
1 Cup Olive Oil
1/5 cup granulated sugar
salt and pepper to taste
2 Cups of Chopped Tomatoes
4 Cups of beans ( This usually is about 2 Kg beans before pealing, if you are using dried beans they should be 4 cups after they are soaked in water for an overnight )
Water to cover the beans
Directions ;
Heat the olive oil in a pan, put the pepper chunks and cook them until you can smell the peppers than add the garlic stir for a few minutes and add the onions stirfry them until the onions become transparent than add the chopped and peeled tomatoes in and when it starts boiling add the beans, salt and sugar and black pepper and add luke warm water. Beans may differ in absorbing water so you should start with adding water to cover the beans in the pan but make sure that you check while it is cooking to see how much water is absorbed and if you think the juice is less you can add warm water as you go along. The heat should be high until it starts boiling once boiling starts than reduce the heat and let the dish simmer for about 45 min to 1 hour.
Notes : This is the most classical way of cooking these beans, if desired you can add chopped carrots and / or patatoes, if I was in U:S I would definately try them with sweet patatoes and not add the sugar :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Rice Pilaf with Anchovies

This dish is called "Hamsili Pilav" in Turkish, it is one of the favorite dishes of the Black Sea Region. There are severeal ways to  make it, this is mine, I hope you will enjoy it.
Ingredients ;
3 Cups Short Grain Rice ( Baldo in Turkey, Sushi rice can be used aswell)
1/4 cup Butter
1/5 cup Vegetable oil (I use sunflower oil)
3 Cups of vegetable stock or water
1/5 cup raisins
1/5 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup chopped dill
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 large onions finely chopped
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
1kg Anchovies ( Black Sea Anchovies are the best and they should be fresh not can ! If you can not find it you can use small Macharels or Sardines )
Directions ;
 Put a pan on the stove wait until it is warm enough to roast your pinenuts. Put the nuts into the pan and roast them until they are golden brown. Than add the vegetable oil, and the rice. Stir fry the rice until it becomes opaque, than add the raisins and the chopped onions stirfry until the onions are cooked than add dill and parsley, put the rice aside.
Get a pan which is not deeper than 6 cm. Prepare the fish by taking its bone and head off but leave the tail as shown in the picture below. Brush your pan with vegetable oil and line the fish at the bottom and sides of the pan. Fill in the pan with the prepared rice and start covering the rice with the fish as on the pictures once all the rice is covered put a few bay leaves and a  heavy plate that is heat resistant on top of the dish than add the stock, cover the pan and put it on the stove cook about 30 -35 minutes on medium heat, I use a gas stove so might need a little bit more time with electric stoves.
Once your pilaf is cooked take the plate off and put the butter in small chunks on top of the pilaf cover it with a kitchen cloth and let it stay 10 minutes before serving.
This can be the Turkish version of paella, basicly it is the same idea but different ingredients, I am sure you will enjoy it, if you live in Turkey ask your fishermen to get the anchovies ready for you that will save great time. This weekend we will try a Greek version with Byron Ayanoglu as our guest chef with squids. Details on facebook!/events/124149327764117/
and on Erenler Sofrasi website

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Turkish Home Cooking in Bodrum: Green Lentils

Turkish Home Cooking in Bodrum: Green Lentils: In the winter, we love to cook dry grain like chickpeas, beans which are very common and we serve it with rice pilaf. When I was growing up...

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Green Lentils

In the winter, we love to cook dry grain like chickpeas, beans which are very common and we serve it with rice pilaf. When I was growing up I loved the green lentils that my nany cooked,  I loved to fish the dish for the small dough pieces.  It was a simple dish, nothing fancy but I always felt warm when it was cooked. I had not cooked it for a long time, in Bodrum we hardly have cold wheather and in the restaurant we cook more fancy, this was one of those dishes you would love but would not be appropriate to serve to guests. Today the wheather is grey and  it feels very cold and wet. I thought, ok today is the day for my childhood dish. I hope you will enjoy it.

Ingredients ;

3 Cups of green lentils
1/5 cups of vegetable oil (I use sunflower oil)
1 large onion chopped
250gr (8.8 oz) ground beef or lamb (you can also replace the beef with sausages and it would be a great dish for kids )
1 carrot diced
2 spoons red pepper paste
1 can peeled and diced tomatoes or 1 cup sun dried tomatoes.
salt, black pepper.

For the dough
1 cup flour
2 eggs

Directions :

Soak the lentils in water for minimum 3 - 4 hours.
Make a hard dough with 2 eggs and some salt. It should be little harder than the bottom of your ears.
(That is a very culinary term in Turkish-  kulak memesi kıvamında)  make very small footballs with the dough. If you do not want to mess your kitchen with the flour you can always use pasta 1 cup would be enough.

Stirfry the chopped onions in oil, after they look soft add the ground beef and keep stirring once the meat is cooked add chopped tomatoes, carrots, pepper paste and 3 cups of water cook until the carrots
are cooked than add the dough and cook for about 20 minutes more.

We love to add a little redwine vinegar on the plate when eating this dish.

Afiyet Olsun ! ( Means bon apetit)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mandarine Preserve

When I moved to Bodrum, a small port town in Southern Aegean part of Turkey, five years ago
I was surprised to see most of the tangerines and mandarines on the ground after the heavy rains we get here in the winter months and no body bothered about them, since there were too many.
I was raised in a house where we were thought never to waste anything edible, and I felt very sorry for those mandarines on the ground I had to do something! So I started creating and learning new recipes with these fruits. Making jams and preserves is the first approach here. You can made this recipe with mandarines, tangerines or even lemon and lime.

This preserve recipe is an award winning recipe shared by a dear friend Sema Sagat.
I think it is very delicious and pleasant looking.

Ingredients ;
2.5 Kgs or about 20 Mandalines
4 cups of granulated sugar
Juice of 1 Lemon
40 Almonds
Directions ;
Wash the Mandalines very well, and boil them in a pot with lots of water. Take the mandalines out pour the water into the sink and fill the pot again with water and boil again. Repeat this two times more. Than cut the mandalines in two halves, take out the seeds
. Places the mandalines into the pot as seen in the photo, place one almond in the middle of each half mandaline. Pour granulated sugar gradually on each mandaline. Make rows of them in the same order. Leave this pot overnight with sugar, next morning boil them for 10 -15 minutes and cool it down, repeat this three times. Than fill them into the jars these will keep for a year minimum.
This preserve can also be served as a desert with ice cream or clotted cream.
Bon Apetite !

Saturday, January 19, 2013

This will be my first post, please keep in mind that I am not a native English speaker so I might make mistakes please let me know if there is anything that you do not understand.

It is now the Mandaline and Tangerine time in my newfound home town Bodrum.
There is a great rush to collect the fruits before the frosts to come in the following weeks.
This is the time when we collect the fruits and rush into the kitchen to prepare our jams, preserves and marmalades. Here is a recipe from my family where my ancestors link  to Trace, the European land portion in Turkey now.

Orange Preserve

Ingredients ;

Peels of 6 -7 Oranges
Needle and cooking thread
3 Cups of Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Orange Juice
2 Table Spoons of Lemon Juice

Directions ;

Peel the Oranges or the GrapeFruits as on the photo below.

Make a long neclace like the Hawaian Flowers with the oranges as on the photo below.
Soak all the necklaces you made in fresh water overnight. In the morning take the necklaces out of the water and place them in a cooking pot and cover them with the sugar let it stay like that for a day or so. The next day pour in the orange juice and cook the necklaces for about 1 hour, cool it down and do the same thing 3 times.
At the last step add the lemon juice cook for about 10 minutes more, cool it down and pour it into the jars.
They make great gifts :)