Puff Pastry Boreks

I always feel so much better when my children take a decent lunch to school, and although I can’t always be making boreks for them everyday, these are pretty quick and simple to put together. They are also useful for serving to your guests.

I cut up shop bought puff pastry into squares and add white cheese and parsley for the filling, roll them up and egg wash them. You could also add seeds on the top to make them look more presentable, especially if they are for guests. Bake until golden brown, about 30-40 mins.

Always use good quality puff pastry. I tried using store brands and they just didn’t rise as well. You can be as adventurous as you like with the filling and can even have them plain with no filling at all.

Yogurt Soup (Yayla Corbasi)

So I looked in the fridge and what did I see? A whole lot of yogurt. It’s always been my philosophy to ‘cook what you have’. So today I made a yogurt soup. It’s one soup that everyone in my family loves. I’m not sure if there is a correct way of making this, but this is how I make it:

In a pan add yogurt (about 500g) and two glasses of water. Add an egg (this makes it what the Turks call ‘Terbiyeli’) and a couple of spoons of flour. Mix well with a whisk. Put this on the stove to start warming then add a handful of washed rice.

Occasionally give the soup a mix as it is cooking.

In a separate pan melt a spoon of butter. Add dried mint, basil, salt, red & black pepper and optional chilli flakes. Once the butter has melted add it to your soup.

Keep cooking on a low heat until the rice has soften, for about half an hour.

Yayla corbasi

I also sometimes like to add lemon to this soup.

Menemen

Turkish eggs! At a time when low carb eating is in fashion, Turkish eggs is one recipe that you will come across a lot these days. I love a good Turkish breakfast and menemen is so healthy and so delicious: I just haven’t found a way to consume it without eating a whole loaf of bread with it, it’s just so perfect for dipping into!

Saute 1 chopped onion and about 2 chopped up sweet green Turkish peppers (or spicy green chillies if you dare)

Add peeled and chopped tomatoes (2-4)

And cook until the tomatoes are broken down – season to taste

Add 4 eggs and scramble in the menemen mixture

And enjoy this Turkish breakfast any time of the day.

Borek

For the filling: Saute onions, add mince, a grated potato, parsley salt and pepper and cook until mince has browned.

For the liquid mixture (to keep your boreks moist) add an egg, yoghurt and a splash of oil and give it a good mix

Open out filo pastry sheets, I usually use two at a time if they are thin.

Add your filling and about 4 tbsp of the liquid mixture.

Roll up the filo pastry, and role round into a spiral shape:

Egg wash and decorate with sesame seeds/black seeds or leave plain if you are sending them off to school for the kids packed lunches. Bake in the oven for about 35 mins at 200 degrees, until golden brown.

Enjoy 🙂

Kurabiye

2 eggs

250g butter (room temp)

1 Turkish tea cup sugar

Vanilla

1 tsp baking powder

(mix/knead with hands)

4 tbsp corn flour

3/4 cups of flour

Knead into a nice soft dough, break into small balls and arrange on a tray. Use a fork to press down on them to make an optional pattern

Bake for 12-15 minutes at 175 degrees 

Decorate as you desire

Here is where I got the original recipe:

I think these would make great breakfast biscuits as they are really filling and not too sweet.

Rus Salatasi

Not sure what the name of this salad might be in English, but in Turkish it is Russian Salad. I myself am slightly addicted to this salad and when I make it I can’t stop eating it. It must be the gherkins, they really must have something in them that makes people crave them. I generally do not like gherkins, and even pick them out of my burgers, but in this I love them. I understand why pregnant women crave them. When I am having a low carb day I can eat this without feeling guilty. It’s also a great side dish to serve to your guests. In Turkey they eat this as a jacket potato topping too.

In a bowl add equal amounts of cooked and diced carrots and potatoes, peas and chopped gherkins.

For the dressing add equal amounts of yoghurt and mayonnaise.

Ela’s Pogacas

In a bowl add 1 packet of dried yeast and 2 tsp of baking powder

Add 1 cup of plain yoghurt, 1 cup of melted butter and two eggs ( mix)

Add 1 large cooked and grated potato (I usually cook in microwave for 5 mins) – potatoe really helps to keep the pogacas soft

Add roughly 4 cups of flour (slowly) + 2 tsp of salt

Knead until the mixture no longer sticks to your hands and cover top and allow to prove.

Separate into 8 equal balls of dough

Roll each ball out into a circle about 15 cm in diameter

Use a pizza slicer or knife to cut into 8 triangular pieces (think pizza)

(I have added a white cheese and parsley filling here)

Role them up into croissant shapes, egg wash and bake at 200 degrees c for about 20 mins(or until browned)

Enjoy!

How to Make Ganache

I made a chocolate ganache today and it was so simple that I couldn’t believe it!

It also tastes so nice!

Basically ganache is made by adding chocolate to heated cream, mixed, then refrigerated. It really is that simple. Today I used 1 part cream to 2 parts chocolate and ended up with a thick ganache. I used dark chocolate which had my lot all complaining, but I liked it. You are also supposed to add some butter, but I didn’t and it still worked out well. I’m really excited because now that I know how to make a basic ganache I can vary it in so many different ways.

For example you could use really dark chocolate, nuts and dried fruit to make it healthier.

I was thinking that it would also have a lot of health benefits if you were to use chestnut puree.

How delicious it could be with hazelnut puree….!

Vary the chocolate for different flavours.

Vary the consistency for different uses. Thick for a pudding, creamy for a cake topping or ice-cream sauce.

The possibilities seem endless!

This was definitely a housewife win for me today.

Red Lentil Soup – Mercimek Corbasi

There is only one person in the world I know who doesn’t like a red lentil soup and that is my daughter. I’m not sure where I went wrong there. They say that for a child to learn to eat something new they need to try it about 17 times, my daughter has tried it about a million times and it is still a no from her. I guess there are some exceptions to this rule.

So sticking to my healthy meals regime – this is a very very simple and healthy meal idea. It’s so healthy and so simple that I think everyone should be able to make and eat this. I am going to give you two options here, mega simple and slightly harder.

 

Red Lentil Soup/Mercimek corbasi – simple

In a pan add a spoon of butter and melt with a spoon of salca (red pepper paste).

Add water, red lentils, a stock cube and cook till the lentils are soft.

And that’s it – done!

When we were little my mum never blitzed our soup, so when I first got married I never did either. Then one day my husband said that it would be so much nicer if I did. So for many years I would blitz it. After a while husband then declared he missed the old version! So in the Aydin household we sometimes blend our soup – and sometimes don’t.

You can also add as much veg as you like to this soup too – I usually grate a carrot in too – just to up my children’s veg intake.  I recommend blitzing when hiding veg.

 

Version 2 – Ezogelin Corbasi/Spicy Red Lentil Soup

I don’t know who Ezogelin was but I’m sure she was a darned good housewife. She did this to her Mercimek Corbasi:

Saute 1 grated onion in a spoon of butter, add a couple of cloves of grated garlic, spoon of salca, mint, salt.

Then add your water, lentils and a hand full or rice and/or bulgur and cook till all is soft.

Ezogelin is  a legend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes I will admit that this is a terrible photo, but I am no Instagram queen. Also I have yet to buy some pretty plates!

 

The Turkish Diet vs Healthy Eating

Now I am no expert on nutrition  (although I have probably read enough about dieting and healthy eating to make me one) but they do now say that the Mediterranean diet is one of the best. When they say this I am not convinced that they include the Turkish diet in this equation, although technically we are Mediterranean. Now I don’t have any statistics on hand to back this up, I just know a lot of unhealthy Turks. I always thought that this was because of the amount of fat they added to their food. I am constantly telling my mum off for the amount of oil that she adds to her dinners.

But get this, a lot of studies on nutrition are now saying that eating fat doesn’t make you fat.

This goes against everything that we have ever been taught. I am still skeptical and I will keep encouraging my mum to lessen the amount of oil she uses, but I am less wary about eating what she cooks.

Minimise the oil in a Turkish dish and you will find that a lot of the food is quite healthy. The diet includes plenty of vegetables and pulses, all cooked to maximise the taste. You cannot accuse Turkish food of being bland.

You will have most likely heard by now that carbohydrates and sugar are the new evil. Whilst everyone can agree that sugar is bad, not everyone is sure that we should be limiting our carb intake. I am almost convinced that this is the way forward. I am currently trying to cut down on my carb intake, after all I have spent nearly all of my life over indulging on carbs, so giving my body a break from carbohydrates shouldn’t hurt too much.

I hope to include a lot of delicious and simple Turkish dishes to this site soon, just bear with my whilst I try to lose a couple more kilos. I am currently on a low carb diet, for example today for my late lunch I will be having a chopped up chicken breast. I cook this on the stove. I always use lemon, cayenne pepper and chilli flakes to spice it up – then add a random selection of herbs. I serve on a bed of salad. I sometimes add a dollop of humus too.

I am still a firm believer that you should eat everything in moderation, after all if you were to take the processed food and junk food out of a western diet, would we all still be unhealthy? I doubt it very much.

Experts haven’t quite settled the carbs vs fat argument yet so don’t get fixated on that for now if you are looking to get healthy. Just eat more veg – everyone can agree on that one!

If you are tempted to go low-carb, this is the book I am currently using to get ideas:

Kisir

Kisir is basically a bulgur salad. I do not know anyone who doesn’t like a kisir. It can be made in many different ways, and I personally love them all. This is my take on kisir.

Method:

Place your bulgur in a bowl and cover with hot boiled water. Use the smallest grains of bulgur that you can find.

In a small pan add some oil (olive oil if you want to keep it healthy) and a generous spoon of salca (spicy red pepper paste).  Heat for a minute or so whilst giving it a good mix. Just don’t let the salca burn.

Once your bulgur has absorbed the hot water, add the oil and salca mixture. Give the bulgur a good mix, changing the colour to orange.

Your bulgur is ready!

Add salad!

A kisir is not a kisir without chopped parsley and green (salad) onions.

I would also add chopped dill – because I love the smell and taste.

As for the rest of the ingredients, that is up to you. I usually have a bag of mixed salad that I chop and add.

Warning – do not add the salad until the bulgur has cooled down.

Dressing

Lemon juice

Salt

Optional: Nar eksisi (pomegranate molasses)

You are aiming for a spicy and lemony salad. Go as spicy as you dare. I love kisir as it is healthy and delicious and everyone loves it.

Saturday Morning Turkish Breakfast

Good Morning from a sunny but freezing cold London. I wanted to share with you my lovely Turkish breakfast this morning. We like to have a proper Turkish breakfast at the weekends.

Sucuk (spicy garlic sausage) in tomato sauce, boiled egg and salad. The brilliant thing about this breakfast is that it is delicious so we can eat it as a whole family and I can skip the carbs if I am watching my weight. This morning I had the smallest piece of toasted granary bread with mine. You could add olives or a little bit of cheese to this or vary the salad to your liking.

 

 

Leave a comment if you have any questions, or let me know how you would vary your own Turkish breakfast.