Rice Salad with Fruits and Yogurt – Meyveli Pirinç Salatası

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For several years I observe the phenomenon of food-blogs. Many passionate people write about cooking, baking and especially about enjoying food. They tell us stories about markets, they review books and restaurants, report from events and hotels. We get wonderful reports with inviting, professional photos. It’s amazing and beautiful! A delight! Their inspiring new ideas are just stunning, these people are so creative. They collect the best ingredients from around the world in their kitchens, they order the finest fruits and qualitatively best ingredients: Oranges from Spain, truffles from Italy, chocolate from France and baking ingredients from the mill. The titles for their dishes are more detailed than usual and sound as beautiful as a poem. You can feel the passion and dedication to the world of food and you are hooked and read their reports. They change the culinary scene with their articles. The chefs are amazed what this hobby chefs and gourmets are able to create and serve.

The best thing about these food-blog-phenomenon is that they look out of the box. That they open their heart for the world of different cuisines and ingredients and they combine fearless and bring the whole world into their kitchens. Thank you so much!

The inspiration for the dish today comes from India, the pomegranates from Turkey, the grapes from Italy, the tomatoes from Spain and the cucumbers from Germany and because I have created it, I give the salad an additional Turkish name. The world in my-our kitchen, according to the motto: We cook, we bake, we enjoy and we write about our wonderful and colourful world and share it with YOU!

I wish you a healthy and delicious year 2015! Enjoy it! Afiyet olsun!

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Posted in Gluten free, Mediterranean, Turkish Food, Vegetarian | 6 Comments

Fried Turnover with Cheese Filling — Çiğ Börek

The literal translation of the name for these pastries is “raw pastries – Çiğ börek”. Not because they are eaten raw, but because the filling is not pre-cooked. The filling is cooked by the hot steam that forms inside the pastries during frying in hot oil.

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To tell you the truth, the term “Çiğ börek” is based on the original name of the Crimean Tartars dish “Chiburekki”. These pastries filled with minced meat are a Tartarean dish, they brought to Anatolia centuries ago. Thus these dishes have served as an everyday dish in Anatolia for a very long time.

In my dreams I imagine how many travellers passsing through Anatolia got to enjoy these pastries and told everywhere they went about these simple but delicious comfort food they had in the middle of Turkey. I imagine how they told cooks about it, and how the recipes travelled and entered the kitchen of the ottoman palace. I love to think how the palace chef served these dish to the emperor as a midnight snack with a lovely rose sorbet. What did the emperor think? ‘This cook is crazy serving me a simple pastry’ but than the emperor tasted it and was enchanted and a new tradition for midnight snacks at the ottoman palace started ;)

The cooking was historically reserved for men – except in the domestic kitchen, which was primarily intended for women. Perhaps you have heard of the many specialty cuisines during the area of the Ottomans or read about them or even visited the Palace in Istanbul?! The men dominated the paid cooking jobs and they specialized in certain foods and prepared this special food day in and day out for decades in the same way. And “Çiğ börek” were always the “pastry filled with spiced raw minced meat and then fried in oil”. Full stop, that’s it.

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Even nowadays, When you travel in Turkey you will notice that these recipes are still prepared the same way since centuries, no changes in pastry or filling. But who could effort to buy minced meat for an everyday dish?! So again, the women messed up, started nibbling at the old traditional recipes and changed them to their liking. They filled the pastries with raw vegetables, cheese or with lots of onions and herbs and baked them in oil. Yumm! A small revolution in the domestic kitchens, yeah! ;) Today, the title “Çiğ börek” is a very stretchable name.

Another popular version is without a filling, therefore the dough is only slightly pulled apart, fried in oil, sprinkled with sugar and served. My mother used to make the latter very often on Thursdays and distributed them to all our neighbours. Why on Thursdays, now that’s another story.

I wish you a wonderful day, enjoy your food! Afiyet olsun!

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Posted in Turkish Food, Vegetarian | 8 Comments

Vegetables Baked in Parchment Paper – Kağıtta Sebze

A popular game with my little nieces is hiding behind a chair or behind my palms and showing up with a surprising saying: “Kuck Kuck”. They beam at me every time with shining eyes and we play this game like hours and eventually they start hiding themselves behind a chair and call shyly: “kuck kuck!” An invitation, which of course I can not refuse :)
We seem to love such hiding games, because we also like to hide ingredients in dough or in grape leaves or in chard leaves or in cabbage or simply in parchment paper. So this dish seems to invite us to enjoy with a quiet and shy “kuck kuck” :)

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The vegetables are sliced and mixed in a bowl with olive oil and spices, wrapped and baked in parchment paper. Simply awesome and delicious! Be cautious when opening the parchment paper, because hot steam flows out! A pleasure with a small salad! Enjoy your meal! Afiyet olsun!

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Posted in Turkish Food, Vegan, Vegetarian | 4 Comments

Review: “Mediterran Geniessen. Verwöhnrezepte rund ums Mittelmeer” von Cornelia Schinharl, Kosmos Verlag

Titelfoto“Mediterran Geniessen. Verwöhnrezepte rund ums Mittelmeer”, von Cornelia Schinharl,Kosmos Verlag 2013

Fazit: **** A beautiful and practical cookbook for beginners, who are interested in Mediterranean Cuisine. With a selection of recipes mostly from Italy, France and Spain and wonderful photos the author invites us to the Mediterranean Sea. At the moment only available in German. Sorry!

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Review: Carpe Diem – Genieße den Tag. Sinnlich Kochen mit Franz Fuiko, Collection Rolf Heyne Verlag

Carpe-Diem„Carpe Diem; Finest Fingerfood: Geniesse den Tag. Sinnlich Kochen mit Franz Fuiko“ published 2014 by Collection Rolf Heyne Verlag

****: This is not a book for the daily cooking but for celebrating food on a higher level. The Austrian author Franz Fuiko is Chef in his gourmet restaurant in Salzburg and he teaches us, how to celebrate cooking and enjoying food. It is a cookbook for food lovers, who don’t hesitate to invest time and effort to achieve the best taste ever. Beautiful photos present the sensual and passionate food celebration of Franz Fuiko.

At the moment only available in German. Sorry!

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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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Posted in Turkish Food, Vegetarian | 2 Comments

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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Posted in Sweets, Turkish Food, Vegetarian | 4 Comments

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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Posted in Turkish Food | 2 Comments

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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Posted in Pastries, Turkish Food, Vegetarian | 12 Comments