Lentil-Patties – Yeşil Mercimek Köftesi

Lentils are one of the favourite pulses and every country has their own special recipe. It is incredible in how many countries lentils are cultivated. The top five producers for lentils are Canada, India, Australia, Turkey and the USA followed by Nepal, Ethiopia, China, Syria and Iran. The archaeological evidence is from 9500 to 13000 years ago. The first lentils are probably grown from the wild lentils in middle east. Thus it is needless to mention that the Swabian got their recipe for “Lentils with Spätzle” from its former big brother (abi) “Anatolian Lentils with Noodles” :).

In Turkey we love lentils in one-pot-dishes or for patties, but I am sure that there are hidden recipes still waiting to be discovered for lentils as sweet dishes ;) Lentil-bulgur-pilav and these patties are my favourites.

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I cook the lentils with bayleaf, cloves and cinnamon until soft and then prepare the patties. I don’t use so many eggs or more flour and therefore the patties are not so firm. You have to be a little bit more careful frying them. Thus I fry them just a little on each side and bake them for 10 minutes in the oven. If you prefer more compact patties then add another egg and more flour.

The patties are so delicious; the first bite is already taking you off to the taste heaven and the lentils full of flavour fill your mouth. The carrots, chives and parsley complete the taste-sensation. A have to try recipe! You can have it warm or cold for your meze-table with wine or with a salad as a light lunch or dinner or enjoy it like I do for tea-time instead of cookies ;) Delicious! Enjoy it! Afiyet olsun!

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Turkish Apricots with Creme-Filling – Kayısı dolması

The winter is slowly knocking at our doors, it is so misty and gray outside. Therefore I need something sweet to cheer me up. At the sight of this golden-orange apricots filled with heavenly sweet creme, the sun rises at least in my eyes. This is going to be a beautiful day.

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The dried apricots are slightly cooked in sugar syrup until soft and then filled with a sweetened cream and garnished with nuts. Simple but delicious! Enjoy it! Afiyet olsun!

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Turkish Thanks-Being-Porridge – Aşure haftamız

Every year on 10. Muharrem of the Islamic calender is “Aşure” day. It is always after the big festivals shortly after the beginning of the new year of the Islamic calender (Muharrem is the first month of the Islamic calendar). Like Indians with Diwalli we celebrate the whole week with our families, friends and neighbours. We say “Thank you” for being alive and together. We sit together with friends and neighbours and enjoy a special porridge, because the best way to say thanks is through sweets.

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Our grandfather used to tell us a children-story every year this time about Noah in his ark with his family and all the animals and how he was waiting for a divine sign. How the food they had was running out and how they scraped together every grain, pulses and fruits from the sacks, put them into a pot and cooked a meal, a porridge. Our grandfather said that in remembrance of this we cook “Aşure” every year and say thanks for their efforts and for being alive and being with our families, friends and neighbours. We would sit around him and listen to his words and ask about the ark and Noah and the animals and wait for grandmothers porridge. It is of course not the real story behind this day, but we liked to listen to his tales. It was always a very special week. We enjoyed this sweet porridge with our neighbours and friends.

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Turkish Wrap with Veal — Tantuni

May I present you: “Tantuni” — an example from our Turkish fast-food-treasure-chest!
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A few years ago I started a research asking what Europeans associate with Turkish food. The result was overwhelming: Doener Kebab!

Now the “doener kebab” gets competition from “tantuni”. Some food lovers distinguish already between “doener dürüm (wrap with doner kebab)” and “tantuni (wrap with pan-fried meat)”. “Dürüm” is the Turkish word for “wrap”. Perhaps you have read the word on a menu such as “kebab dürüm or kofte dürüm”? In Germany you can now get “tantuni” with roast minced meat (lamb and veal), veal or poultry.

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“Tantuni” is a speciality from the Mediterranean city Mersin. Actually this is an every day simple fast-food-dish.

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Turkish Pita Bread — Ev Pidesi

Today is “World Bread Day 2014″ initiated by Zorra
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My favourite bread is of course the Turkish pita bread. Preferably home made fresh and warm from the oven. I don’t need anything else, maybe a bit butter and hot tea. It is so soft and delicious! Enjoy it! Afiyet olsun!

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Potato and Bulgur Patties — Bulgurlu patates köftesi

The same procedure as every day, late in the afternoon my concentration diminishes and I get tired. So I drag myself into the kitchen to make a large cup of strong builders tea or coffee and look out for a small snack to revive my senses again. In England we call this “Tea Time” and at our home it is called: “Cay vakti – tea time”. The food served in Turkey for strong Turkish tea is as varied as the people who live there. We celebrate life with food enjoyment. Once the teapot is placed, the hand goes to the refrigerator and to the door of the pantry: “What can I serve for tea?” is the only relevant question. Whether sweet or savory, preferably a bit of everything. Perhaps the cultural diversity in Turkey and our passion for food-enjoyment are due to the popular small dishes in Turkey.

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My father loved delicate pastries, while my mother had a penchant for little savory patties. She experimented with simple ingredients – “from little make a treat” was her motto. So one day she came up with this recipe.

I would like to mention that we form our patties without using eggs and mostly baking them in the oven. The patties are soft and difficult to apply in a warm state. But we let them cool slightly on the baking sheet and serve them lukewarm for tea. They are then a little bit firm and still amazingly soft in the middle. A creamy pleasure with strong tea. So if you want to fry these patties in the pan, please turn the patties over slowly and carefully and please please please do not turn them too often, then they will end up as a paste. We do not want that. Fry the patties on medium heat until they are golden on the bottom, which usually takes about 3-4 minutes, depending on oven and pan. Patience and practice makes a gourmet! Enjoy your meal! Afiyet olsun!

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Easy Roasted Meat with Aubergine Puree the Ali Nazik Way — Kolay Ali Nazik Kebab

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Always a delight! In Turkey “Ali Nazik Kebab” is a little different. There the chefs make first spicy mince-meat-skewers and barbecue them and then they remove the meat from the skewers and cut the meat into small pieces. To serve they also prepare a aubergine puree and spiced butter and serve with tomatoes and paprika. Todays easy version is for homecooking even on not barbecue days. You just need a good frying pan. Please stir in the parsley just before serving to save the fresh aroma. Serve with fresh and warm pitta bread. Enjoy it! Afiyet olsun!

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Review: “Echt bayerisch kochen. Ein Lebensgefühl” von Michaela Hager, Brandstätter Verlag

bayerischEcht bayerisch kochen – Ein Lebensgefühl (I would translate it as: Authentic Bavarian Cooking. A joyous lifestyle)by Michaela Hager, published by Brandstätter Verlag 2013:

A must have: *****Just delicious! A wonderful cookbook with easy to prepare delicious dishes for the whole family. Traditional and authentic Bavarian recipes newly interpreted to indulge all your guest from all over the world. A nice spell book for joyful, pleasant and delicious evenings with family and friends.

Unfortunately it is only available in German. So is the review. Sorry!

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Warm Salad with Courgettes and Feta-Cheese – Beyaz peynirli kabak salatası

Don’t you just love these small gorgeous courgettes! I can’t resist whenever I see them. I love to add small cubes of courgette into mixed salads or into salads with bulgur, rice, noodles, potatoes, because the courgettes stay firm and are not as watery as cucumbers. The courgettes also go very well in salads with lentils, beans or chickpeas, as a matter of fact, you can use these courgettes in all sort of salads :) But I love them solo best, just a little bit of feta-cheese on top. Delicious!

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I used to make this salad very often during my studies. It was so difficult for me to cook just for myself. Therefore I concentrated more on Meze and small dishes I could prepare in no time and enjoy with bread. Most of the time some of my dorm-roommates joined me. :)

I slice the courgettes and fry them just a few minutes in olive oil to warm them up. I like them warm but firm to bite. Then I add lemon juice, freshly ground pepper and fresh herbs, toss gently and sprinkle with feta-cheese. It’s my favorite lunch salad, but it is also perfect as a starter or as a side dish for patties. Just delicious! Enjoy your meal! Afiyet olsun!

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Filled Courgette Blossoms – Kabak çiçeği dolması

A trip to the garden of my mother-in-law was very succesful. I discovered four small courgette blossoms :) After some begging, I was allowed to cut and take them into the kitchen. Actually when I told my mother-in-law that I would like to fill the blossoms with ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan, then no much begging was necessary. She was curious. So I could prepare the blossoms and we could enjoy them and on top of it, she got a recipe that she could try out at the next harvest of blossoms.

Do you want a look at my gorgeous filled blossoms:

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In Turkey vegetables are often filled with spicy rice. I like to fill the blossoms with a fine vegetable mix and cheese, but this time I just wanted a creamy cheese filling and used mozzarella, parmesan and ricotta. I added some herbs and egg yolk.

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The result is a small but delicious appetizer served with a thin slice of bread or simply without anything. Enjoy the creamy filling melting in your mouth. Heavenly! Enjoy it! Afiyet olsun!

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Posted in Gluten free, Mediterranean, Vegetarian | 4 Comments