Monday, January 30, 2017

Creamy Purple Carrot Soup

Who wouldn't want to tuck in to this creamy flavourful purple madness. I do. I love purple carrots. Not only they are in my favourite colour but also they are very nutritious root vegetables. You can also steam or boil them and add them to your mashed potatoes if you are a purple freak like me. 

The earliest vegetable to be known as carrot dates back to the 10th century in Persia and Asia minor and it is considered that carrots were originally purple and white. A mutation occurred which removed the purple pigmentation resulting in a new race of yellow carrots from which orange carrots developed.

One of the most popular uses of purple carrots in our Cuisine is ''Şalgam Suyu'' It is a local drink around Adana(çukurova) and Mersin the southern part of Turkey. It is made from bulgur, yeast purple carrots and salt. First the bulgur is fermented for a week then this is transferred to special wooden barrels, the boiled purple carrots are added and reserved for another week. Salt is added then the juice is filtered. There is a spicy and non-spicy version.It is a digestif, hangover cure, or an accompaniment to kebabs, cig kofte, and/or raki. Sour, salty, and spicy, it has counterintuitive refreshment powers. 


1 kg Black Carrots
2 Red onions
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1 teaspoon Caraway seeds
1 teaspoon Ground coriander
250 ml Beef stock(or water)
200 ml Double cream
20 ml Brandy
Salt & Pepper
Fresh coriander leaves( or Parsley)

Wash and peel the black carrots. Cut in equal pieces. Cover with water and cook until they are soft. 

Add olive oil in a pan and sweat the diced red onions. When soft deglaze with brandy (or red wine 40 ml). Add lightly toasted caraway seeds and ground coriander. 

Blend the cooked purple carrots by adding hot beef stock. If necessary sieve through a fine sieve. Pour the mixture in a pot, adjust seasoning. Add the cream and simmer for 5 minutes. 

Serve with a spoon of whipped cream and fresh coriander leaves.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Eggplant Papucaki

Aubergine( eggplant) is the queen of vegetables and the meat of the poor, since due to its flavour and versatility it is the vegetable prized above all others in Turkish cuisine. What other vegetable when raw is bitter and inedible but when cooked, roasted or fried turns into a magical rich flavorful delightness. Particularly in the summer months its privileged status is unrivalled, both in regional cooking and in the haute cuisine of the cities. Aubergines are used in nearly two hundred different recipes; stews,dolmas sun dried or fresh, roasted in mezes and salads, pickles and even in jam!

In the past when the aubergine season arrived the constant frying and broiling of aubergines was held responsible for many of the fires which spread through Istanbul's neighbourhoods of wooden houses like a whirlwind in dry weather, and edicts were issued forbidding aubergines to be brought into Istanbul for sale.

This is a typical dish which you can find on both sides of the Aegean Cost, Turkey & Greece. Pabuc means shoe so you can guess why this dish is called Pabucaki. You can either roast or boil the eggplants. Boiling them helps to maintain the shape while roasting them gives that distinctive rich flavour.


2 Eggplant(globe)
1 onion
1 clove garlic
5-6 sun dried tomatoes( or 1 fresh)
1-2 long green peppers
1 tablespoon tomato puree
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 bay leaf
Fresh kaşar cheese( feta or mozarella)
1fresh chilli

Cut them in two .Brush olive oil on top of a baking tray.Place eggplants skin side up. Poke holes and roast in the oven at 250 C until the flesh is soft. (30-45 minutes depending on the variety ) If you use long eggplants just poke and roast them. 

Once they cool down, scoop out the flesh without damaging the skin. (cut lengthways for thin ones) .Cut the sun dried tomatoes in cubes. In a pan put olive oil heat then add onions, mashed garlic, bayleaf and peppers. Stir until soft on low heat. 

Add sugar , salt and tomato puree and nutmeg. Dice the roasted eggplant flesh and add them with the sun dried tomatoes and sautee for 2-5 minutes on low heat with lid on. Adjust seasoning and stuff the eggplants. 

Place stuffed eggplants in an oven dish .Put grated fresh Kasar on top, drizzle some olive oil and bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for 15-20 minutes. 

Add chopped parsley on top and serve immediately while it is still hot. 
Bon Appetit

Baguette Viennoise

This rich delicious Baguette looks even prettier when braided.


500gr flour
200 ml water
75 ml milk
25 gr fresh yeast
60 gr butter
30 gr sugar
1 egg
10 gr salt
eggyolk + milk

Put yeast and sugar in warm water, and milk (max 38-40C)stir and let it rest for 2-3 minutes. 

Sieve flour & salt. Combine everything and mix on low speed for 6 minutes. Turn the speed up to 2nd gear for 6 more minutes until the dough becomes elastic. 

Cover and let it rest at room temperature until it doubles its size.(1 hour) Flour the surface of your worktop. And knock down your dough kneading for 2-3 minutes.

Divide the dough in 4 , it is better to scale it.(220-225gr) and make 4 strands about 40-45cm long. On a baking sheet start braiding your bread. 

Divide the 4 strands in two. Two on the left , two on the right Start with the right ones and

- Put 4 over 3 now the ones on the left; 
- Put 2 over 1 And now the middle, 
- Put 1 over 4 Start again, the strands in front of you are the new 1,2,3,4's 

Put eggwash on top. Slide the paper on a baking tray and cook at 220 C for 20-25 minutes until golden.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Turkish Beef Stew with Quince & Sultanas

This is an old Turkish recipe that dates back to the Ottoman Empire. Quince, prunes or dried apricots were commonly used in lamb and beef stews. Quince is an ancient fruit that grows across Turkey. It's not an easy fruit to eat when raw. It also has an extremely tough flesh, which is difficult to cut up and swallow. But If you leave a quince on a sunny windowsill it will slowly release its delicate fragrances of vanilla, citrus, and apple all over your house. And if you cook it, those scents blossom into a magnificent perfume in your dishes whether its a stew or a dessert. The fruit turns its colour from yellow white to a light rose when it is cooked. Such a magical fruit.

2kg Quality beef chuck or rump, cut into 6cm pieces
3 quinces
4 medium onions
4 cloves garlic
1/2cup sultanas
2tbs tomato puree
3-4 green peppers
1-2 red peppers
3 tbsolive oil
1,5 glass red wine
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 bay leaf

Peel and chop the onions, then peel and slice the garlic. 

Peel, core and slice the quinces in cubes .Put them in a bowl of cold water with lemon juice.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil over a medium heat in a large saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic until soft.

Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside, then add the beef and sauté for 5 minutes until all sides are seared add sultanas and the quince & stir for 5 minutes. 

Return the onions and garlic .Deglaze with red wine. Add the tomato purée, peppers, cinnamon, bay leaf, allspice, turmeric and enough water to just cover. (+1 cm )

Season and stir well, bring to the boil then simmer for at least 45 min -1 hour. 

Serve with pilav-rice or mashed potatoes.

Turkish Yogurt Soup

This is Turkish home cooking at its best. It is simple, has few ingridients and it is quite easy to make but the end result is more than satisfying. This is why this soup is made in all regions of Turkey with little differences and is called ''Yayla Çorbası'' which means High Plateau Soup. In the old days it was difficult to keep  the milk fresh so it was turned into yogurt as soon as possible. High plateaus were cool and  the best yogurt came from these high plateaus. That is the story behind the name of this yogurt based soup. When I was a child my mom used to cook this soup whenever we were sick or had an upset stomach. So the smell of this creamy soup brings back memories of comfort and love. 

Yogurt is used very often in Turkish cuisine and it is not only served cold, but is also used in soups or stews. Some of you might find this peculiar but once you taste this soup, it will become a staple soup recipe in your kitchen.It is such an easy soup to make.


70g rice (rinsed)
650ml water (chicken stock)
400g yogurt
1 egg
1,5 tbs flour
30-40 gr butter
fresh mint

Add water salt and rice in a large pot. Bring to a boil and let simmer until rice is cooked and soft.

Crack the egg in a bowl, add the flour and beat it lightly. Add the yogurt and whisk until it's smooth. 

Add 2-3 tablespoons of the warm water to temper the yogurt and egg mixture add more water , stir and then carefully pour the mixture in the pot while stirring on low heat. Adjust seasoning and simmer for 10 minutes. 

Chop  fresh mint leaves. You can use dry mint as well but using fresh mint makes a huge difference believe me.

Melt and foam the butter. Add the fresh mint leaves turn the heat off and add the minty butter on top of your soup and  serve.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Cauliflower Soup with Coconut Milk & Chillies

After a hard and tiring day at work this is the best bowl of soup that warms you up with its delicate flavours thru these cold winter nights. It’s easy to do, doesn’t need much attention, and is rich, spicy and deliciously creamy. 


1 cauliflower
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 glass white wine
1 cup vegetable stock (water)
3 fresh chillies
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1-2tablespoons fresh galangal(1teaspoon dried galangal)
or fresh ginger
1 fresh lemon grass
250ml coconut milk

Fresh coriander leaves Clean and trim the cauliflower in small size florets. Cook them in a steamer basket until soft. In a dry heavy skillet, over medium heat toast the cumin, fennel and coriander seeds till they give off an aroma , stirring or shaking the pan often. Cool and grind in a seed grinder. 

In a large pot add olive oil, heat and add diced onions, mashed garlic, grated galangal, chopped lemongrass and the spices. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the white wine. Reduce until half. Add the cooked cauliflower florets to the mix and pour the vegetable broth on top. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

 Using a stick blender, blitz the soup until creamy and smooth, add a splash more water if it is too thick. Finally add the coconut milk and simmer for another 5 -10minutes. Serve with cilantro and chili slices..

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Lentil Soup With Purple Carrots & Potatoes

This is a version of the classic Turkish lentil soup which is home cooking at its best. It is simple to make and very flavorful and nutritious.Where ever you travel in Turkey you will find this hearty comforting soup at many restaurants.
Just by adding a salad and crusty loaf of whole grain bread you make it a complete meal. By adding purple carrots also makes this a more healthier dish since purple carrots are rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene but are also rich in anthocyanins. Studies have found that these blue and purple pigments in purple carrots can improve memory, enhance vision, protect against heart attacks, act as anti-inflammatories, and even help control weight. Just perfect.

1cup red lentils
600ml vegetable broth(or water)
1 onion
1 purple potato
2 black carrots
6-8 sun-dried tomatoes(1 tbs tomato paste)
1 teaspoon coriander
1-2 dried chili pepper
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
lemon wedge

Dice the onions , carrots, potatoes and dried tomatoes. İn a large pot add the olive oil, heat and add the onions , season and sweat at a medium low heat. Add the carrots and diced tomatoes and stir.

 Add the lentils. Top it with vegetable broth(or water). Combine everything and simmer until lentils are soft and fall apart.Add hot water if necessary.

 Remove the pot from the heat and use an immersion blender to blend the soup until it is creamy but not completely puréed. Or just leave it as it is for a more rustic look as in the picture above.

 Serve it with a lemon wedge and some chopped dill on top.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Stuffed Sun Dried Vegetables (Nakışlı Dolma)

Turkish cuisine is based on seasonal and fresh produce. But when fruits and vegetables are in abundance some of the harvest is dried out to be used out of season. As a child I have memories of these beautiful purple and red gems lined in balconies to dry out in the heat of the summer sun in Adana. As a result these sun dried vegetables have a rich and more concentrated flavour and are very delicious when stuffed with minced meat, rice,spices and herbs.


35-40 pieces Sun Dried Gerkins, Eggplants, Courgette, Green Bell Peppers
2 Tomatoes
400grams Minced Meat( Beef/Lamb)
1cup Rice
1tablespoon Tomato Paste
2teaspoons Red Pepper Paste
2tablespoons Dried Currants
1teaspoon All spice
1Lemon juice/ 1tbs Sumac Molasses
2tablespoons Pine nuts
1teaspoon Cinnamon
1handful Parsley

In separate pots, put your dried eggplant, gerkins, courgettes in water.Bring to a boil and let them soak overnight. Put hot water on the peppers and leave them to soften overnight. 

Dice the onions, saute them with olive oil and pine nuts. Add the minced meat and cook until brown. Add the rinsed rice. Stir. Add the spices.

In a glass of water add pepper and tomato paste and stir until it dissolves. Add it in. Season. 

Cook the rice until it is semi cooked. Add chopped parsley and set the pilaf aside. Take your vegetables out of the water. Dry them and fill with the warm pilav mixture , but do not overfill.

Close them with tomato petals. Place the dolmas in a pot put a plate upside down on top of them. Add just a little water to cover them. Simmer for half an hour until tender. Before serving put lemon juice or Sumac Molasses on top.

Topinambour Soup with Black Trumpet Mushrooms

Sunchokes or earth apples are an important part of Turkish Cuisine. Just like celeriac and leek it is cooked as an olive oil dish and served cold, sometimes rice,currants and carrots are added. Thru October until December the delicate Black Trumpet mushrooms flourish in the north forests. It is a must to combine these two delicate tastes as a hearty winter soup.


700g tapinambour
1 onion
1 carrot
200 ml cream
200 ml beef stock(or vegetable stock)
Black sesame seeds
2tablespoons olive oil
250g Fresh Black Trumpet Mushrooms (20-30 gr dried trumpets)
1tablespoon butter
Salt& Pepper

Peel the earth apples.Cut the carrots and the earth apples in cubes. Add olive oil in a pan, sweat your diced onions. Add the carrots saute for 1-2 minutes and then add the earth apples. Add the stock and simmer for 15-20 minute until they are soft. Blend them in a blender. Saute the mushrooms with butter. Put the puree back in the pan, adjust the seasoning. Pour the cream on top. Add the sauteed mushrooms and simmer for 5 minutes. Sprinkle some chopped dill and roasted sesame seeds on top..

Roasted Beetroot & Tomato Soup

3 large beetroot
3 tomato
1tablespoon tomato puree
200 ml whipping cream
1 red onion
2tablespoons olive oil
1teaspoon nutmeg
1tablespoon caraway seeds
Mozzarella cheese

Roast the beets in the oven, skin on at 180C for 45-50 minutes.When soft, peel and cut into cubes. Add olive oil in a pan add the diced onions and sweat them. Add the beets, cubed tomatoes and the tomato puree  melted in a glass of water. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and the caraway seeds. Stir and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Blend everything add the cream and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Adjust seasoning. Pour the soup in serving bowls add the cheese on top and grill under a salamander or oven .