Tag: Turkey

Legendary Dishes | Red Pepper Paste

EUROPE SPAIN TURKEY
4 red bell / long peppers, washed
30 g paprika flakes (optional)
15 ml olive oil

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease a baking tray with the oil. Place peppers on the tray, bake in oven for 25 minutes, until the peppers have wilted and the skin and seeds are easily. When cool liquidise the softened peppers. For a deeper flavour add paprika flakes. Store in fridge or in sterilised jars.


INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS =  Paprika | Red Peppers

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Legendary Dishes | Kalkanoğlu Pilavı (rice pilaf with beef and red pepper / tomato paste)

TURKEY

The Kalkanoğlu restaurant in the heart of the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul has maintained the culinary tradition of Trabzon with its signature dish, rice with beef and tomato paste, so good it is sold by the kilo! We have tweaked their version with the option of red pepper paste.

800 ml water
300 g beef fillet, cut into medium dice
300 g rice, soaked in water for 30 minutes, drained
150 g tomato paste / red pepper paste
60 g butter
15 ml olive oil
15 g salt
5 g black pepper

In a large pot combine choice of paste with the water and salt. Boil, add rice, reduce heat. Cook until rice has absorbed the liquid. Melt butter and oil in a large frying pan, brown the beef, no more than that. Fold meat into the rice. Serve, dressed with black pepper.


INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS =  Beef | Rice | Red Peppers | Tomatoes

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Legendary Dishes | Imam Baialdi / Imam Bayildi (stuffed aubergines)

BALKANS TURKEY
750 g aubergines, small 90-95 g, four deep slits cut along length
500 g tomatoes
3 onions, sliced
180 g cabbage, shredded
1 garlic bulb, crushed
1 parsnip, grated
1 carrot, grated 
1 celery stalk, grated
1 green pepper, grated
50-200 ml olive oil
15 g paprika, hot
10 g pepper
5 g salt
5 g sugar

Bring a saucepan of water to a rolling boil, blanch aubergines for ten minutes. Leave aubergines to drain.

The amount of oil is always a personal choice, but 20 ml is sufficient to sauté the garlic and onion. Add paprika and salt, remove from heat. Make a sauce with the oil, pepper, sugar and tomatoes.

Mix the cabbage, carrots, celery, pepper and parsnip with the garlic-onion-paprika mixture, and stuff into the slits in the aubergines.

Place the aubergines in a casserole or deep baking tray. Cover aubergines with the tomato sauce. Bake in a 200°C oven for 30 minutes.


The traditional Turkish version calls for the aubergines to be submerged in salted water for 15 minutes after two incisions have been made along the length of each one.

Dry, then fry lightly in 80 ml olive oil until golden brown. Remove from oil and place alongside each other in a large wide saucepan. Add another 80 ml of olive oil to the saucepan the aubergines were fried in and sauté eight cloves of crushed garlic and two large onions sliced into rings until soft.

Remove from heat and add 350 g diced tomatoes, 120 g chopped parsley, thin slices from one garlic clove. Stuff this onion-tomato mixture into the slits in the aubergines, add 500 ml of water, cover and simmer for an hour, until aubergines are soft. 

If using large aubergines, cut in half along their length, remove pulp after frying, stuff with onion-tomato mixture. The water in the saucepan should not cover the aubergines.


INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS =  Aubergines | Paprika | Tomatoes

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Legendary Dishes | Yeşil Zeytin Piyazı (green olive salad)

TURKEY
200 g small green olives, pitted
2 spring onions, finely chopped
4 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
8 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, refrigerate for two hours.


INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS =  Green Olives | Lemon Juice | Olive Oil | Parsley

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Legendary Dishes | Acılı Ezme Salatası (spicy tomato salad)

TURKEY

This minced salad is a marriage of juicy tomatoes with spicy paprika. The quantities for the cucumber, mint, parsley, pepper and spring onions are a guide. The tomatoes should dominate. One of the great salads.

450 g tomatoes, grilled, peeled, diced small
2 red peppers, grilled, diced small
1 cucumber, peeled, chopped small
6 spring onions, diced small
30 g parsley, finely chopped
30 ml pomegranate molasses / Basra date syrup
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp paprika flakes
10 g black pepper
10 g fresh mint, chopped small
Salt, large pinch

Mix dry ingredients thoroughly. Whisk lemon juice into the molasses or syrup, add oil.  Pour over salad, and mix again.


INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS =  Basra Date Syrup | Lemon | Mint | Olive Oil | Onions | Paprika Flakes | Pomegranate Molasses | Tomatoes

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Legendary Dishes | Topik (chickpea and potato patties stuffed with caramelized onions)

ARMENIA TURKEY

This is a very popular Armenian dish, appreciated also in Anatolia.

Shell
800 g potatoes, peeled, boiled, mashed
750 g chickpeas, soaked in water overnight, boiled, mashed
75 ml tahini
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
Filling
3 kg onions, halved, sliced thin
500 g tahini
3 tbsp currants
3 tbsp pine nuts
4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp allspice
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
Cinnamon to garnish
Olive oil to garnish

For the shell combine potatoes with chickpeas and tahini, work in the cinnamon, salt and sugar, knead a little to form a dough.

For the filling sauté onions in a very large frying pan with salt on very low heat, stir from time to time. The onions should cook down to almost a quarter of the original quantity.

Add currants, pine nuts, cinnamon, allspice, black pepper and sugar to the onions, and mix well. Once cool add tahini and mix.

Prepare 12 pieces of clingfilm (approximately 20 x 20cm). Divide the chickpea / potato dough into 12 equal portions. Take a portion and spread on a stretch film in a round manner, it should be about ½ cm thick. Place 1/12th of the onion mixture in the middle, then hold from all four sides of the stretch film and close up to make  round ball, twist the corners and turn over on a large plate or tray. Do the same with the rest of the mixes.

Transfer to the refrigerator, chill for two hours. Ideally topik tastes much better the next day. The surplus may be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for up to two months.


INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS =  Allspice | Chickpeas | Currants | Onions | Pine Nuts | Potatoes | Tahini

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Legendary Dishes | Kuru Kıyma ve Patlıcanli Pide (aubergine and meat flatbread)

TURKEY

Pide comes in various shapes, crusty and soft, for numerous uses, including a pizza-like base for holding meat and vegetables. Large rounds with an uneven surface are generally soft with a spongy crumb, baked at a low temperature, small ovals are flat and crisp, baked like lepinje and pita at the highest setting, the heat forcing them to puff up. This filled version is one of the most popular in Turkey.

Dough
500 g strong white wheat flour
200 ml water, lukewarm
1 egg / 45 g thick yogurt
30 ml olive oil
15 g yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Finish (optional)
1 egg, beaten
15 g black sesame seeds
Filling
1 kg g aubergines, roasted in oven, pulp removed, mashed
500 g lamb, ground
4 red peppers, chopped
100 g onions, sliced
100 g tomatoes, chopped
45 ml olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
30 ml pomegranate molasses
15 ml mineral water
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt

Activate yeast in sugar and lukewarm water. Sift flour with the salt. After 15 minutes add yeast mixture to flour with the egg or yoghurt and oil, and more water if necessary to make a pliable dough, about 15 minutes kneading. Leave to rise for one hour, fold out air and leave for a further hour. Preheat oven to 250°C and two baking trays. Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Knead, flatten and stretch into ovals. Leave to rest.

Fry onions in the olive oil over a high heat for about five minutes, until they start to take on some colour. Add garlic, peppers and tomatoes, fry for three minutes, add pomegranate molasses and water. Reduce heat to low and cover, cook for five minutes. Increase heat, add lamb, stir constantly to evaporate liquid in frying pan. Season, leave to cool. Fold in aubergine pulp.

Remove trays from oven, oil and put back in the oven for five minutes. Carefully place two of the ovals on each tray, fill each oval with a quarter of the aubergine mixture. Leave to rest for 30 minutes.

The edges of each pide can be coated with egg and sprinkled with black sesame seeds.

Bake for 13 minutes.

INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS = Aubergines | Black Sesame Seeds | Pomegranate Molasses | Yoghurt

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Legendary Dishes | Atzem Pilaf (rice with orzo pasta)

GREECE | TURKEY

This increasingly popular pilaf, once made barley and then with thin noodles and occasionally with pieces of chicken or lamb meat,  is now made with the rice-shaped pasta called orzo.

2 litres vegetable stock 
800 g carolina rice, soaked in 800 ml hot water, 
washed, strained, cooled
300 g orzo pasta
100 g olive oil
35 g salt

Heat oil in heavy-based deep saucepan and sauté the orzo until they turn brown. Add rice, stock and salt, cook until orzo and rice are soft.

See A Whole Different Bowl of Rice.

INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS = Greek Rice | Turkish Rice

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Legendary Dishes | Halep Dolması (stuffed dried aubergines, Gaziantep style)

TURKEY

Dried Aubergines

 

1 litre water, boiled
300 g beef and lamb, minced
250 g onion, finely chopped
150 g baldo / osmancık rice, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
75 ml olive oil
16 large pieces of dried aubergine (kurutulmus patlican)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp dried mint
20 ml pomegranate molasses
15 g salt
10 g tomato paste

To rehydrate the aubergines, heat plenty of water in a large pot and boil the dried aubergines for 15 minutes, until soft. Drain and cool under cold water and set aside to drain completely. In a large bowl combine minced meat, onion, garlic, rice, pomegranate molasses, mint and salt. Mix well. Stuff this mixture into the rehydrated aubergines, coming up to three-quarters of each aubergine. Place the stuffed aubergines in a pot big enough to hold them vertically side by side. Once all the aubergines are stuffed, prepare the sauce by heating the olive oil. Add the pastes and sauté for a few minutes. Then turn off the heat and add the hot water and pomegranate molasses. Mix well. Pour this mixture over the stuffed aubergines, cover with a lid and cook over high heat until it boils, then turn down the heat and cook over low heat for about an hour, until the aubergines are soft and the stuffing is fully cooked. Serve hot with yoghurt on the side.

INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS = Dried Mint | Osmancık RicePomegranate Molasses | Sun-Dried Aubergines | Tomato Paste

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Legendary Dishes | Kapsalon (the hairdresser = French fries, shoarma / shawarma meat, cheese, salad and sauce)

BELGIUM | NETHERLANDS

French fries coated with shoarma (aka shawarma) meat and melting gouda cheese, topped with salad and served with a sauce, this is the Hairdresser! The dish originated in 2003 when Nathaniel Gomes, the Cape Verdean owner of the Rotterdam hairdresser Tati, went to the shoarma shop El Aviva and asked for all this favourite ingredients in one go. It became a regular order, took its name, and is now very popular among Dutch and Belgian youths. At 1800 kcal kapsalon is a calorie bomb.

Essential Ingredients
Shoarma (chicken, beef, lamb or turkey)
Baked fries
Grated cheese
Iceberg lettuce, sliced
Red onion, sliced
Sauces: garlic sauce, curry sauce, peanut sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise

Kapsalon is also made with chicken, döner, falafel, gyros or kebab.

Shoarma (Shawarma) Spice Mixtures

The spices for shoarma (shawarma) are variations of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, ginger, mace, nutmeg and black, cayenne and paprika pepper.

Dry Mix
15 g coriander, ground
15 g cumin, ground
15 g garlic, powder
8 g cinnamon, ground
8 g paprika, ground
1 tsp black pepper, ground
1 tsp garam masala (optional)
1 tsp ginger, ground
1 tsp turmeric, ground
Cayenne, large pinch
Cloves, large pinch
Wet Mix
120 ml lemon juice
10 garlic cloves
60 ml apple cider/ grape vinegar
60 ml olive oil / vegetable oil
1 onion, grated
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp salt
1 tsp thyme
Caraway, large pinch
Cardamom, ground, large pinch
Cayenne, ground, large pinch
Cinnamon, ground, large pinch
Cumin, ground, large pinch
Ginger, ground, large pinch
Pepper, ground, large pinch

The Dutch add nutmeg to these mixes.

Shoarma (Shawarma) Beef

Derived from the Turkish verb çevirme (revolve, rotate) to describe grilling stacked meat on a spit during the Ottoman period (1518 to 1918), migrants from the Levant brought the method to the Netherlands, where it evolved separately to the tradition that remained in the eastern Mediterranean’s Arabic regions. Traditionally it was a mixture of all kinds of poor quality meat marinated in a large quantity of garlic and spices to mask the flavour, grilled, like the Turkish döner kebab, on a vertical spit (instead of the horizontal spit), an indication that it was influenced by Iskender Efendi who changed the centuries old method of grilling stacked meat in the 1860s. Essentially döner and shoarma / shawarma are the same, with different names and variations in preparation and content between Europe and the Levant.

500 g beef, lean, cut into strips
75 ml shoarma (shawarma) wet mix
15 ml sunflower oil

Marinate meat in the wet shoarma (shawarma) mixture overnight. Brown meat in oil in a wide frying pan over a medium heat, about five minutes. Preheat oven to 180°C. Place meat in a small baking tray, spoon a tablespoon of the marinade over the top. Cover with foil, bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil, bake for ten minutes. Leave to rest for five minutes, serve.

Shoarma (Shawarma) Chicken
500 g chicken, cut into strips
15 ml red / white wine vinegar
15 g shoarma (shawarma) dry mix
15 ml sunflower oil

Marinate meat in the shoarma (shawarma) spices overnight. Brown meat in oil in a wide frying pan over a medium heat, about five minutes. Preheat oven to 180°C. Place meat in a small baking tray and spoon vinegar over the top. Cover with foil, bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for ten minutes. Leave to rest for five minutes, serve.

Shoarma (Shawarma) Lamb
500 g lamb, lean, cut into strips
120 ml yoghurt
2 red peppers
30 ml olive oil
15 g shoarma (shawarma) dry mix
2 garlic cloves, crushed, chopped
Salt
Pepper

Marinade meat and peppers in oil and spices for an hour, separate meat. Combine garlic, yoghurt and seasonings. Brown meat in a wok over a high heat, add peppers, then the garlic yoghurt mixture. Cook for five minutes. Serve with hot pita, the sauce on the side, garnished with green chillies and lemon wedges.

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Legendary Dishes | Icli Köfte (bulgur-crusted beef meatballs)

SYRIA | TURKEY

The Turks took these delightful Assyrian meatballs to their hearts (and stomachs) a very long time ago, and now produce numerous variations on the very old original recipe. In Istanbul the proliferation of Syrian restaurants has increased the competition to produce the best icli köfte.

CRUST
500 ml / 2 cups + ⅔ fl oz / approx. 1 pint water, boiled
350 g / 11⅔ oz bulgur, fine ground
150 g / 5 oz semolina, fine ground
30 g / 1 oz walnuts, fine ground
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp salt
Semolina, coarse, for coating

Soak bulgar and semolina in the hot water, leave to rest for 30 minutes, then add the walnuts and seasonings. Wet hands and knead into a soft dough.

CORE (filling)
250 g / 8⅓ oz beef, double minced
200 g / 6⅔ oz onions, chopped
100 g / 3⅓ oz walnuts, coarse chopped / fine ground
4 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped (optional)
4 tbsp parsley, finely chopped (optional)
30 ml / 1 fl oz olive oil
30 ml / 1 fl oz pomegranate molasses
15 g / ½ oz red pepper (paprika) flakes
45 g / 1½ oz red pepper paste / tomato paste (quantity optional)
1 tsp sumac, ground

Sauté onions in oil, about 15 minutes. Add the meat, break and fry for three minutes. Add paprika, sumac and walnuts. increase heat, stir for three minutes until the walnuts release their oil. Stir in the molasses and paste, leave to cool. if desired, work the herbs into the mixture. divide dough into walnut-sized pieces. Using thumb and forefinger make a cavity with thin sides in the bulgar dough. Place two teaspoons of filling inside the cavity, push down and fold dough over the filling, seal and shape into a ball. deep fr y in sunflower oil at 190ºC until golden or shallow fry in a large frying pan or bake in a 200ºC oven or boil in salted water.

Note: The pastes can be bought in jars but they are easy to make if good fresh red peppers and tomatoes, preferably Turkish, are available. for a colourful description on how to make red pepper paste go to http://www.deliciousistanbul.com/blog/2013/08/29/incredible-oven-roasted-red-bell-pepper-paste/.

Note: The crust for icli köfte is not always made with bulgar. Semolina became a crust ingredient along with nuts aeons ago. Wheat grits have also played a part while in more recent centuries potatoes have been combined with eggs and flour. Some recipes call for double-ground meat to be added to the various flours that def ine the crust. The bulgar can be coarse ground and also fine ground, the latter producing a crispy crust. The cooking method is also variable. According to Sahrap Soysal, author of A Cookery Tale, fried icli köfte are called irok, while the boiled version is known as igdebet.

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Legendary Dishes | Turli Tava (meat and vegetable stew)

SOUTH BALKANS | CAUCASUS | TURKEY

This mixed meat and vegetable stew has its origins in the south Balkans, but it is popular across the region, finding its way into Turkey and the trans-Caucasus.

It can be made with beef, lamb or mutton, with assorted vegetables – aubergines, green and red peppers, okra and zucchini, with root vegetables – carrots, onions and potatoes, and with beans and rice.

1 litre water

250 g onions, chopped

150 g aubergines, peeled, cubed

150 g beef, cubed

150 g lamb, cubed

150 g mixed peppers, chopped

150 g okra, cut small, soaked in one tablespoon vinegar

150 g string beans, chopped

150 g tomatoes, peeled, cubed

150 g zucchini, cubed

90 g butter, for frying

75 g rice

1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

Salt, pinch

Olive oil, for frying

Sauté onions in half the butter in a large heavy-based pot over a low heat for 30 minutes.

Increase heat to high, brown meat, about ten minutes.

Pour in the water, cover and bring to a low boil.

Melt remaining butter in a frying pan over a medium heat, add a splash of oil, and sauté in succession the beans, aubergines, okra, zucchini, peppers and tomatoes.

Add vegetables to the meat pot.

Deglaze frying pan with some of the cooking water and add to pot.

Add rice, bring heat to a low boil, then simmer for 45 minutes.

Serve with bread.

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Culinary Connections | Armenia Switzerland Turkey

 

Yoghurt

The recipes for kalajosh by Vartanoosh Onigian and Rose Terzian in the 1973 book Adventures in Armenian Cooking by St. Gregory’s Armenian Apostolic Church of Indian Orchard, Massachusetts, U.S.A. remain the default standards for this traditional dish in American-English.

In the years since the book went out of print and became available online, these versions have travelled through hyper-space onto recipe sites and personal blogs without acknowledgement to the original source.

This, sadly, has allowed those who sought and still seek to interpret the dish to get it wrong. When the people of St Gregory’s published their book they expected to sell it locally as a fundraiser. They did not expect it to become a best-seller, and that meant that the easier recipe, by Terzian, became more popular than the slightly complicated recipe by Onigian.

Terzian stated: ‘Saute meat and onion in a quarter of a cup of olive oil, add salt, pepper and garlic. Cook until tender. Add bread cubes, stirring lightly until browned. Spoon yogurt over meat when serving.’

It could not have been more simple, and with the ingredients easily available to north Americans the recipe by Terzian is now stuck in a default position.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with the Terzian recipe. But it does not explain the purpose of the dish or its place in the traditional cuisine of Armenia, whereas the recipe by Onigian contains hidden mysteries.

Lamb has always been a reliable source of protein for the peoples of eastern Anatolia and the trans-Caucasus. By combining the lamb with yoghurt, the Armenians were paying homage to one of their oldest culinary traditions. And by transforming their own sweet yoghurt (known as manzoon or macun) into a sauce to accompany the slow-cooked lamb they are acknowledging the role that traditional food plays in their culture, one of the oldest in the world.

Onigian suggests mixing manzoon or yoghurt with egg and water to make the sauce. Some cooks also add flour and use a thick home-made yoghurt (see recipe below).

Modern versions of kalajosh can be made with large pieces of lean lamb. Traditionally the lamb is cubed, in some recipes into small cubes that reduce further in size during cooking and resemble mince in the finished dish.

A meat stock instead of water is preferred to produce a richer flavour. Seasonings should be treated with respect. Too much salt will ruin this dish while black pepper and paprika will add an aromatic depth to contrast the sweetness of the manzoon sauce.

It is believed that kalajosh has a Persian origin. Armenians will probably argue that notion with you and insist that this rich traditional dish has nothing to do with the period when the Ottomans ruled the region, or with any other influence.

Professor Gürsoy, in his reflections on Armenian and Turkish culture, argues that both societies shared culinary traditions, and notes the historical influences of Arabia, Greece, Persia and Syria.

The professor refers to Adventures in Armenian Cooking as a common denominator between these cultures in north America. The book, the professor says, ‘includes information about Armenian food names, their ingredients and methods of cooking’.

‘Food … is a cultural category which defines societies, and common food is an important element which shows the interaction of the societies.

‘Armenians … from the population of the Ottoman Empire still carried on their food culture after migrating to the US.’

Professor Gürsoy identifies numerous dishes shared by the food cultures of the region. Not surprisingly, the professor asserts, there are many similarities between Anatolian, Turkish and Armenian dishes. Interestingly kalajosh is not one of them.

Here is the anomaly. Terzian’s recipe is very close to yogurtlu yahni, a Turkish dish (below) whereas Onigian’s recipe is faithful to Armenian traditions. Yet Terzian’s is regarded by Americans as genuinely Armenian, when it is clearly influenced by Turkish culture.

Kalajosh

800 g lamb, boneless shoulder 
cut into small cubes less than 2 cm
600 ml meat stock
400 g onions, chopped small
100 g apricot, dried, sliced thin
45 ml olive oil
30 g paprika
10 g black pepper
Salt, large pinch

Gently warm the stock in a large pot.

Sauté a third of the cubed meat in a splash of olive oil over a medium heat in a heavy-based frying pan.

When the fat and juices separate from the meat, pour contents of the pan into the stock pot, deglaze pan with a little of the stock.

Repeat with the remaining oil and meat.

Add onions to the stock pot. Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Cover and simmer for 60 minutes on a low heat.

Remove lid, simmer and reduce for a further 45 minutes.

500 g yoghurt, thick sweet
50 ml water, mineral
30 g semolina
1 egg

Beat egg into yoghurt, loosen with the water.

Pour into a saucepan and bring slowly to a low boil.

3 two-day old dry pideh breads, cut into small pieces.
Mint, fresh, cut into strips

Place bread in soup bowls, spoon hot yoghurt on top followed by the meat and onion mixture. Leave to soak into the bread. Finish with a little more of each. Garnish with mint and serve with rice.

Yogurtlu Yahni

1 kg lamb, cut into 4 cm cubes, salted
250 ml yoghurt
200 g onions, small, quartered
75 ml water
15 g butter
15 g vegetable oil
10 g herb (dill/mint/parsley), rough chopped 
10 g salt
Water, for diluting yoghurt

Sauté lamb in butter and oil in a large wide frying pan over a low heat for 15 minutes.

Pour a third of the water into the pan, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Repeat every 15 minutes. Cook in total for 75 minutes, until the lamb in tender.

Stir the herbs into the meat.

Loosen yoghurt with a little water.

Put the meat in a large dish, the yoghurt in a jug and allow diners to help themselves. Serve with pide bread.

Manzoon

1 litre milk
250 ml double cream
80 g milk powder
60 ml manzoon/yoghurt

Bring milk to below boiling point in a large saucepan. Remove from heat, stir in milk powder and cream and cool to 45°C.

Preheat oven to 80°C.

Loosen the manzoon/yoghurt with a little of the warm milk.

Pour the warm milk into a large ovenproof bowl, stir in the manzoon/yoghurt.

Reduce oven heat to 45°C.

After four hours the new batch of manzoon/yoghurt should be thick and have a sour-sweet flavour.

Allow to cool, then refrigerate.

Jajik/Jajukh

Popular in both Armenia and Turkey, this summer dish is featured in Adventures in Armenian Cooking as jajukh.

500 g cucumbers, peeled, cubed small
500 g manzoon/yoghurt
50 ml chilled water
4 garlic cloves, crushed and mashed
1 tsp dried mint/1 tbsp fresh mint (crushed/chopped)
Salt, large pinch

Beat yoghurt into a smooth consistency, loosen with water, add garlic and salt.

Mix cucumber into yoghurt, chill for two hours.

Serve with a garnish of fresh (or dried) mint.

Spas

Traditionally this yoghurt soup was made with wheat berries, which were pre-cooked.

It is also made with pre-cooked rice.

This is the semolina version.

250 g manzoon
125 ml water
100 g semolina
65 g onion, chopped
1 egg
10 g butter
10 g flour
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
Salt, pinch

Whisk egg in a bowl, add flour and a third of the manzoon and the water.

Pour into a saucepan, add remaining manzoon, semolina and salt.

Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, heat the mixture until the semolina is cooked.

Add onions and butter, heat through, about three minutes.

Bircher Müesli

Named after Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner, who proclaimed the restorative powers of raw fruit, berries, grain flakes, nuts and seeds as the first meal of the day, this breakfast dish is now a favourite throughout Europe, especially in Armenia where tangy manzoon complements the sour-sweet apples, berries and oranges.

200 g manzoon
200 g berries 
150 g apple cubes
100 ml dairy milk/soya milk
100 g grain flakes (barley, rye, spelt)
100 g orange segments
50 g honey
20 g almonds, chopped
20 g hazelnuts, chopped
20 g sunflower seeds

Blend half of the fruits with manzoon and milk, stir in flakes, nuts and seeds.

Pour honey on top, refrigerate overnight.

Serve with remaining fruits.

Food Stories | Legendary Dishes | Pilaf / Pilavi / Plovar (rice with various ingredients)

AZERBAIJAN | GREECE | TURKEY

Plovar, rice dishes from central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, became the favourite food of the Turks and not wanting to be upstaged by their neighbours the Greeks also adapted it into their traditional diet.

The Turks called it pilaf after the Persian pilaou, meaning boiled rice, and a culinary legend was gradually introduced to Europe.

If you didn’t know better, you’d be fooled into believing that pilaf served in Greece and Turkey is authentic plov. Since the opening up of the Eurasian region that has changed dramatically.

The truth is out. Genuine plov is a whole different bowl of rice.

Şirin Plov (sweet)

Increasingly popular around Europe as a vegan dish, the sweet plov known as shirin is also served in Baku with fried meat.

1 kg basmati rice
1 litre water
300 ml butter, melted
120 g sugar
80 g apricots / dates, sliced
80 g flour 
80 g prunes, halved
80 g raisins
1 egg, beaten  
Salt, pinch 
Oil, for frying
Water, for qazmaq (dough for cooking base)

Parboil the rice in salted water.

Fry fruit, except prunes, in butter, add sugar.

Make a qazmaq with egg, flour, rice and a few splashes of water. Dough should be soft.

Combine fruit and rice.

Roll out the qazmaq dough to the diameter of the rice pan.

Pour thin layer of oil into pan, lightly fry qazmaq.

Spoon fruit-rice mixture on top of the qazmaq.

Cover and leave to cook over a gradual heat for an hour.

Serve in the shape of a dome, decorated with prunes.

 

Balıqlı Plov (fish)

1 kg fish, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 kg rice
2 onions, sliced 
200 g butter
200 g butter, melted
200 g salt
200 g soured cornelian cherries
5 g turmeric
Water, for rice

Soak 45 g of rice in a little water with the turmeric. Leave overnight.

Soak remaining rice in salted water, drain. Steam rice in just enough water to half cook it. Fry par-cooked rice and turmeric rice in butter. Mix rice with onions.

Place fish in the bottom of a large pot, cover with rice and onion mixture, cherries and melted butter.

Cover and cook over a low heat for an hour.

Serve with flat bread.

 

Çolpalı Plov (cockerel)

1 kg cockerel, boiled, cut into pieces
1 kg rice
200 g onions, sliced
100 g oil
20 g cornelian cherries, stoned
5 g salt 
2 g saffron
Milk, for rice
Water, for rice

Soak 45 g of rice in a little milk with saffron.

Soak rice in salted water for three hours, parboil and drain.

Fry parboiled rice and saffron rice in oil.

Fry chicken in oil, add onions and cherries.

Arrange rice in a large pot, layer with chicken, onions and cherries, cover and heat gently over a low heat for an hour.

 

Səbzi Plov (beef)

500 g beef
500 g rice
300 g onions, sliced
200 g oil
50 g fennel bulb, sliced
50 g leek, sliced
30 g salt
1 bunch coriander
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch sorrel 
1 bunch tarragon 
5 g lemon salt
5 g saffron
Black pepper, pinch
Plums, for garnish

Cook rice in salted water over a very low heat for three hours, drain, keep warm.

Fry onions.
Boil beef, cut into slices, fry in oil until crisp.
Fry rice in oil, add saffron near the end.
Combine the rice, meat, onions, herbs, greens and seasonings in a bowl. Invert and garnish with plums.

 

Qarası aş (black)

Meat
1 kg lamb / beef, sliced, boiled in salted water
500 g chestnuts
500 g onions, sliced
300 g apricots, dried
300 g Albukhara plums
300 g oil
300 g prunes 
300 g raisins 
15 g salt
Black pepper, large pinch
Turmeric, large pinch

Fry onions, set aside.

Individually fry apricots, albukhara, prunes and raisins.

Layer in a large pot in the following order – meat, onions, prunes, chestnuts, Albukhara plums, apricots, raisins, colouring and seasoning – and cook gently until rice is ready.

Rice
1 litre water
1 kg rice
200 g butter, melted
100 g raisins
60 g salt
Turmeric, large pinch

Parboil rice in salted water.

Fry raisins.

Combine rice, raisins and turmeric in a large pot. Add butter, cover and heat gently for an hour.
Serve with meat and assortments.

 

Qatıqlı aş (yoghurt)

500 g rice
200 g green beans, boiled until al dente, chopped
200 g yoghurt
80 g butter
80 g green herbs, chopped
Flour, for umac 
Salt

Parboil rice in salted water, drain.

Combine herbs, flour and a little water to make umac paste. Lay this in the bottom of a pot.

Mix beans and rice with the yoghurt, place on top of the umac, cover and cook over a very low heat for an hour.

Serve with yoghurt.

Düğün Pilavi

The Turkish Düğün Pilavi is made similarly, with chickpeas, and with lamb. When lamb or mutton is required, use 500 g cubed, simmer in hot water for ten minutes, then fry until a crust has formed on the meat. Cook chickpeas in half the stock until al dente, add the meat, then the rice.

 

Bulgur Pilavi

The Turks adore pilaf and will make countless versions with different ingredients, methods and results. Some are steamed, others are baked, and it is not unusual to see a pilaf used as stuffing or encased in a pastry. This is their cracked wheat pilaf, which is also served in borek pastry parcels.

800 g bulgur
800 ml water / meat stock
200 ml olive oil / vegetable oil
100 g butter
6 onions, chopped
15 g coriander/mint, fresh, chopped
Salt, pinch
Pepper, pinch

In a heavy-based deep saucepan, sauté onions in butter and oil until they are golden-brown.

Add bulgur, sauté for 30 minutes over a low to medium heat, making sure the onions do not burn.

Pour water or stock onto bulgar, season, cover and cook over a medium heat until the grains have absorbed the liquid.

Continue to cook over a very low heat for 30 minutes.

Stir to loosen grains and serve in a large bowl.

Season with pepper, garnish with fresh herbs of your choice.


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Culinary Connections | Albania Bosnia-Herzegovina Kosovo Greece Turkey France

Spinach Pies

Byrek me Spinaq/Pita Zeljanica

These traditional cheese and spinach filled filo pastry pies are ubiquitous throughout the Balkans, the Trans-Caucasus, down into the eastern Mediterranean.

The pies made in Bosnia-Herzengovnia and Kosovo are similar to the Albanian pies.

The Greek pie, containing milk, is lighter while the Turks have traditionally used butter instead of oil between the filo layers.

Tinned spinach purée is an option for this version if fresh spinach is not available.

1 kg spinach, chopped small
500 g filo pastry
375 ml olive oil
300 g Feta
250 g scallions/spring onions
2 eggs
Salt, large pinch

Preheat oven to 175°C.

Cut a sheet of filo to fit into choice of baking tray with an excess edge to come up and over the sides (use two sheets if one is not long enough). Cut remaining filo into equal sizes to fit into bottom of tray.

Divide these sheets into two piles.

Grease the tray with oil, lay the large filo sheet/s, tucking in the corners, brush liberally with oil.

Place sheets from the first pile on top, brushing each sheet with oil before placing the next one on top.

Whisk cheese and egg together with 185 ml of oil and onions, pour this mixture into the tray.

Mix spinach and salt by hand, squeezing out any liquid, place on top of the cheese mixture.

Place remaining filo sheets on top, brushing each one with oil.

Fold the bottom sheet over, brush entire surface with oil.

Bake for 35 minutes.

Spanakotirópita

This is the Greek version.

1 kg spinach, fresh, chopped small
500 g filo pastry
375 ml milk
375 ml olive oil
300 g Feta
300 g onions, chopped small
2 eggs
1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1 tsp nutmeg, grated
Salt, large pinch
Oil, for frying

Salt the spinach, sauté in a splash of oil a large frying pan over a high heat until it wilts, about three minutes, drain, leave to cool.

Preheat oven to 175°C.

Cut a sheet of filo to fit into the base of a deep baking tray, repeat with remaining filo. Divide these sheets into two piles.

Grease the tray with oil, lay a filo sheet on top, brush with oil, repeat until the first pile is used up.

Return to the spinach, and using hands squeeze out all the liquid.

Whisk cheese, egg and milk together with all the seasonings, add 185 ml of oil, the onions and spinach. Pour this mixture into the tray.

Place remaining filo sheets on top, brushing each one with oil.

Bake for 35 minutes.

Ispanakli Tepsi Böregi

This is the Turkish version.

1 kg spinach, fresh, chopped small
500 g filo pastry
375 g onions, chopped
300 g butter
1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
Salt, large pinch

Sauté onions in 100 g of butter over a low heat for ten minutes, add the spinach and allow to wilt, season and leave to cool.

Preheat oven to 175°C.

Melt remaining butter in a saucepan over a low heat.

Cut a sheet of filo to fit into choice of baking tray with an excess edge to come up and over the sides (use two sheets if one is not long enough). Cut remaining filo into equal sizes to fit into bottom of tray.

Divide these sheets into two piles.

Grease the tray with butter, lay the large filo sheet/s, tucking in the corners, brush liberally with butter.

Place sheets from the first pile on top, brushing each sheet with butter before placing the next one on top.

Spoon spinach mixture into the tray.

Place remaining sheets on top, brushing each one with butter.

Fold the bottom sheet over, brush entire surface with butter.

Bake for 35 minutes.

Mini Quiche au Fromage et aux Épinards

Compare the spinach pies of the eastern Mediterranean with those of France, especially these creamy mini quiche – products of master patissiers in Paris and not unknown in the provinces.
Fresh eggs and young spinach leaves are essential for their success.

250 g shortcrust pastry
250 g spinach, washed, stalks removed, cut thin
50 ml cream
2 eggs
65 g Emmental/Gruyére, chopped small
40 g Parmigiano, grated
Nutmeg, grated, large pinch
Salt, pinch
Pepper, pinch
Butter, for frying and greasing

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Sauté spinach in butter over a high heat for three minutes, drain, retain liquid, leave spinach to cool.

Put spinach liquid in fridge.

Cut pastry into 12 rounds, place in moulds in a greased baking tray.

In a bowl, beat the egg with the cream, brush the pastry with a little of this mixture.

Using a fork, prick the pastry dough and bake for ten minutes.

The butter used to sauté will have harded and taken on a rich green colour, scoop this off the top of the spinach liquid, place in bowl with cream-egg mixture.

Add emmental, nutmeg and seasonings, stir, pour into pastry moulds.

Sprinkle with parmigiano.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Note: This quantity of ingredients made twelve 10 cm diameter mini quiche.


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Euro Snacks | Gaziantep

Baklava has been making a westwards journey for thousands of years, gradually moving from Damascus in Syria into Gaziantep in south-east Anatolia onto Istanbul where it became associated with the janissaries during ramadan.

The baklava procession started by Süleyman in the 16th century is never-ending as the fame of this sweet pastry continues to spread.

Turkish baklava is now characterised by its relationship with the pistachios and walnuts grown in eastern Anatolia, but a long time ago it was made with clotted cream, and sometimes with nothing more than a sugar syrup.

This is the ‘ordinary’ baklava.

 

Baklava

500 g butter
Dough
1 kg durum wheat white flour
10 ml lemon juice
10 g salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Water
Rolling Flour
50 g corn starch/fine polenta flour
50 g flour
Syrup
750 g sugar
350 g water

Whisk soda into juice. Sieve flour onto a clean work surface, make a well and add salt, juice-soda liquid and sufficient water to form a soft dough. Knead and divide into 12 equal pieces.

Leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Combine the two batches of rolling flour.

Melt the butter.

Roll out each piece of dough, about 25 cm in width.

Brush butter on nine pieces, place three pieces on top of each other to make three piles, top each one with an unbuttered piece.

Leave to rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200°C and grease baking tray.

Roll each pastry pile, folding the pastry over the rolling pin to stretch it, paper-thin, less than 1mm. Cut the pastry into sheets the size of the baking tray.

Place a sheet of pastry on the bottom, brush with butter. Repeat with remaining sheets.

Cut the pastry into diamond shapes, slicing deep.

Brush the top of each diamond with a liberal amount of butter.

Bake at 180°C for 25 minutes, until golden brown.

Make a syrup with sugar and water. Leave it to cool, pour over the baklava.

 

Gaziantep Baklava

 

The butter-sweet aromatic baklava made in Gaziantep with local pistachios is the most iconic and traditional of these Turkish confections. Golden on top, bright green in the middle, syrupy yellow on the bottom, the Gaziantep Baklava has no substitute.

Making it requires skill and patience. Enjoy the experience, and share the magic with the artisans of Gaziantep.

Afterall they have been hand-making baklava since the days of Gilgamesh!

1 kg butter, salt-free
500 g Antep pistachios (Antep fıstığı), chopped
100 g wheat starch
Dough
1 kg durum wheat white flour
3 eggs
10 g salt
Water
Filling 
500 g milk
50 g semolina
Rolling Flour
75 g corn starch/fine polenta flour
75 g flour
Syrup
750 g sugar
350 g water

Sieve flour onto a clean work surface, make a well and break in the eggs, salt and sufficient water to form a soft dough. Knead and divide into 12 equal pieces. Leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Boil milk vigorously, add semolina and stir until the mixture begins to thicken. Leave to cool.

Combine the two batches of rolling flour.

Melt the butter.

Roll out each piece of dough, about 25 cm in width.

Brush butter liberally on nine pieces, place three pieces on top of each other to make three piles, top each one with an unbuttered piece.

Leave to rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180°C and grease baking tray.

Roll each pastry pile, folding the pastry over the rolling pin to stretch it, paper-thin, less than 1 mm. Cut the pastry into sheets the size of the baking tray.

Place a sheet of pastry on the bottom, sprinkle with wheat starch, a thin layer of semolina cream, and an even layer of pistachios. Repeat with all but the last sheet.

Cut the pastry into equal diamond shapes, slicing deep.

Brush the top of each diamond with a liberal amount of remaining butter.

Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown.

Make a syrup with sugar and water. Leave to cool, pour over the baklava diamonds.


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Legendary Dishes | Tokány (Transylvanian paprika stew)

 ROMANIA

paprikastew.jpg

Dracula is not the only legend to have emerged from the forests of Transylvania.

If other legends are to be believed, the original goulash was a meat and paprika stew of Transylvania.

Vladimir Mirodan says it was brought south to Bucharest by young Transylvanian girls ‘in search of services and fortune’.

This is an adaptation from Károly Gundel’s Hungarian Cookery Book.

The kidneys can be from calves, lambs or pigs.

The marjoram, mushrooms, paprika and sour cream are essential. Without them it does not have the distinctive flavour that make it one of the region’s most popular traditional dishes.

500 g mushrooms, sliced
350 g beef, cut into strips
350 g pork, cut into strips
350 g pork kidney, blanched, cut into strips
300 g sour cream
200 ml water
150 g onions, chopped small
150 g smoked bacon, cubed
60 g sunflower oil
6 cloves garlic, crushed
30 g hot paprika
1 tsp mild paprika
10 g black pepper, freshly ground
5 g marjoram
Salt, two large pinches

Sauté onions in oil in a large frying pan over a low heat for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat, add hot paprika, allow to soak in.

Put pan back on heat, add beef, garlic, majoram and seasonings, sauté until beef is brown.

Add half the water, simmer for 10 minutes until the liquid has evaporated.

Add pork, brown, simmer for 10 minutes in remaining water.

In a separate frying pan sauté bacon and kidneys over a medium heat. When the kidneys are cooked add mushrooms and seasonings, cook for five minutes.

Pour contents of bacon pan into beef pan, simmer for ten minutes, add mild paprika, then the cream and bring to a low boil.

 

Walnut

The tan-coloured walnut is the common walnut of Europe, introduced by the Persians into ancient Greece. Ancient Romans brought it to the rest of Europe.

The Persian walnut (also known as the English and Italian walnut) has a high oil content, and is used as a salad dressing because of its pungent nutty flavour.

Walnuts featured heavily in the traditional foods of ancient eastern Mediterranean civilisations, from the Aegeans and Phoenicians to the Greeks, but it was the Ottoman Turks who introduced walnut cookery to Europe, evidenced by the amount of walnut pastries baked daily from the Balkans to the Caucasus.

Pakhlava – 1

 

The sweet walnut pastries eaten throughout the Balkans, the Caucasus, Greece and Turkey are older than the hills.

Cut into exquisite diamonds or shaped into delightful parcels they are still thought of as the food of the gods, just as they were 3000 years ago when the Assyrians decided to coat their flatbreads with date molasses and crushed walnuts.

The layered pastries we know today as baklava were refined over centuries of improvisation.

The Arabs and Armenians added cardamom, cinnamon and cloves to improve the flavour. The Greeks invented the thin leaf-like dough known as filo. The French enriched the dough. And throughout the Ottoman empire – in Armenia, the Balkans, Egypt, Greece, the Levantine, the Mediterranean, northern Africa, Persia and Turkey – cooks worked their individual culinary magic on these pastries.

Pistachio rivalled the walnut, sugar syrup replaced date molasses and honey seduced those who believed it was an aphrodisiac.

This is the original, made by the Assyrians eons ago.

500 g chapati flour
250 ml mineral water
250 g date molasses/Basra date syrup
250 g walnuts, crushed, chopped
50 ml water

Make a firm dough with the flour and mineral water. Shape into small balls, roll each one on a floured surface to the size of a tea-plate, 20 cm diameter.

Put a flat iron pan on a high heat for five minutes. Adjust heat, place a disk on the pan, cook for two minutes, flip over and give the other side two minutes. Repeat until all the dough is used up.

Dilute date molasses/syrup in water if necessary.

Spread each disk with a thin layer of molasses, sprinkle with walnuts, roll tightly into a cylinder, and smear molasses over the top. Finish with walnut dust.

Pakhlava – 2

 

In Armenia, Azerbaijan, the Crimea, Georgia, Russia and the Ukraine, walnut pakhlava is a sweet multi-layered pastry.

Dough
500 g pastry flour
150 ml milk, lukewarm
150 ml sour cream
2 eggs
50 g butter
15 g yeast
1 tsp sugar
Salt, pinch

Filling
250 g butter
250 g icing sugar
250 g walnuts, crushed, chopped
Cardamom, large pinch
1 tsp cinnamon 
1 vanilla pod, deseeded

Topping
1 egg, beaten
Walnut halves

Syrup
150 g honey
100 ml water

Dissolve yeast in milk and sugar.

Sieve flour into a large bowl. Mix in butter, eggs, sour cream, salt and yeast liquid.

Form into a dough on a floured surface, knead for 10 minutes. Leave forban hour.

Put the walnuts into a bowl, mix with sugar and vanilla, then cardamom and cinnamon.

Grease a large deep rectangular baking tray.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Cut dough into 13 pieces, form two pieces into one ball.

Roll the large ball out to cover the surface area of the tray and each of the four sides. The dough should be thin, no thicker than 1 mm.

Using the rolling pin, fold the thin sheet over the tray, push down into the corners, leave an overlap.

Melt the butter and brush the dough.

Roll a ball of dough to the size of the surface area of the tray, and, using the rolling pin, lay it on the bottom sheet. Brush with butter and sprinkle the walnut mixture over it.

Repeat with remaining balls.

Bring the sides of the bottom sheet over to enclose the layers. Brush with butter, sealing the edges with the egg.

Brush the top with the egg and cut squares, stopping the knife before the bottom layer. Press one walnut half into each square.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Make honey syrup, remove tray from oven, and brush top with butter. Spoon some of the syrup over the top, allow it to seep into cracks between the squares.

Put back in the oven until it takes on a reddish colour.

Allow to cool, remove from tray and cut into squares.

Dip each square into honey syrup. Give each side of the square three seconds to absorb the syrup.

Leave to cool.

Kadaif/Kadayif

 

In the Balkans they are faithful to the Ottoman tradition of using shredded filo pastry dough, using margarine instead of butter.

1.5 kg sugar
1.5 litres water
750 g tel kadayif (wire pastry dough)
360 g margarine/butter
300 g honey
150 g walnuts, crushed, chopped
50 g vanilla sugar
1 lemon, juice

Flake kadayif over a large rectangular baking tray, sprinkle walnuts on top, then another layer of kadayif, finally the margarine or butter.

Bake at 160°C for 35 minutes, until golden.

Cover and cool.

Dissolve sugar in water, bring to the boil, simmer until the liquid forms into a light syrup.

Heat honey, vanilla sugar and lemon juice.

Pour syrup evenly over the pastry.

Cut into squares.

Dip each square into honey liquid.

In Sarajevo, tradition calls for the kadaif to be served with olives and radishes.

 

Kataïfi

 

A Greek interpretation.

1.5 kg sugar
1.5 ml water
750 g filo pastry sheets
375 g walnuts, ground
350 g butter
30 g breadcrumbs, toasted
15 g cinnamon
1 lemon, juice
1 vanilla pod, deseeded

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Combine breadcrumbs, cinnamon and walnuts.

Grease baking tray.

Lay a sheet of pastry on a damp linen towel, cover with one tablespoon of walnut mixture, roll into a sausage shape and place in tray. Repeat until pastry and filling are used up.

Heat butter, drizzle one tablespoon on each sausage.

Bake for 40 minutes, until golden.

Allow to cool.

Dissolve sugar in water, bring to the boil, simmer until the liquid forms into a light syrup.

Add lemon juice and vanilla.

Pour syrup over sausages.

Cevizli Çörek

 

These walnut parcels from Turkey evolved out of a desire to produce a simple variation of the walnut baklava.

1 kg pastry flour 
500 g walnuts, ground
200 g butter
20 g yeast
15 ml milk, lukewarm
15 g sugar

Disssolve yeast in milk and sugar.

Sieve flour into a large bowl, incorporate butter and yeast mixture.

Form into a dough on a floured surface, knead for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Roll dough out and cut into 4cm diameter rounds, 5mm thick.

Spoon some walnut into centre of each round. Fold into a parcel.

Place each pacel on a greased baking tray.

Bake at 160°C for 45 minutes, until the crusts are golden.

Harire

 

A modern Assyrian interpretation, albeit not a pastry. That’s evolution for you.

1.2 litres water
250 g flour
250 g grape molasses
250 g sugar
250 g walnuts
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger

Blend flour, molasses, sugar and water. Boil on low heat until the mixture reaches a thick consistency. Stir in spices, pour into bowls and garnish with chopped walnuts.

 

Traditional Walnut Dishes

 

Euro Snacks | Kars

Cevizli Çörek

These walnut parcels from Turkey evolved out of a desire to produce a simple variation of the walnut baklava.

1 kg pastry flour
500 g walnuts, ground
200 g butter
20 g yeast
15 ml milk, lukewarm
15 g sugar

Disssolve yeast in milk and sugar.

Sieve flour into a large bowl, incorporate butter and yeast mixture.

Form into a dough on a floured surface, knead for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Roll dough out and cut into 4cm diameter rounds, 5mm thick.

Spoon some walnut into centre of each round. Fold into a parcel.

Place each pacel on a greased baking tray.

Bake at 160°C for 45 minutes, until the crusts are golden.


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Apricot

Apricots-low-res
Turkish Apricots

With all due respect to the Austrian, French, Greek, Italian, Moldovan, Spanish and Swiss growers, the best apricots in Europe come from Anatolia, where the climate and soil are conducive to consistently high quality production, a quarter of the world crop.

The Austrians of Wachau and the Swiss of the Valais/Wallis turn their delicate fruit into apricot brandy (and liqueur), but the Turks treat the apricot like a fruit from the gods.

They eat it fresh, dry it in the sun and extend its usefulness in various ways, knowing the health benefits:

beta carotene to thwart cancer;
fibre to aid digestion;
iron to prevent anaemia;
potassium to boost the heart and kidneys; and
vitamins A, C and E to keep the body functioning

Nine tenths of the dried apricot market arise from Anatolia and are shipped around the world, where they are appreciated for their nutritional value – 100 grams of dried apricot contains 24g of dietary fibre, one gram less than an adult’s daily requirement.

Apricots make their way into a range of baked, cooked and processed foods in Turkey into jam and paste to preserve their shelf life and consequently their benefits.

Turkish apricots are of a higher quality, primarily because they are original cultivars (native species, not cross-cultivated) and have the best growing conditions in Anatolia.

The native Roxana is being developed because it is early (July), has a large fruit (80-120g) and is resistant to cold. Red with orange flesh, the kernel is sweet.

Armenian, Austrian, Greek and Hungarian apricots are also old species varieties.

The European season is May to July and through to September in some regions.

Breeders are constantly working to produce sweeter apricots by identifying the original cultivars.

Kayısı Reçeli

 

1 kg apricots, fresh unblemished
1 kg/800 g sugar
400 ml water (optional)
1 lemon, juiced
Apricot kernels

There are two distinct methods of making apricot jam.

Halve the apricots (retaining the stones) and steep overnight in the juice of one lemon and one kilo of sugar.

Crack open the stones to extract the kernels, which should be blanched to remove the skins.

Put the apricot-lemon-sugar mixture in a heavy-bottomed pan. Bring gradually and slowly to the boil until the sugar crystals have dissolved, about 15 minutes. Add the kernels for the last 10-15 minutes, testing the mixture for solidity.

This done by placing a plate in the refrigerator, spooning some mixture onto the plate. If it forms a skin and begins to set it is ready to go immediately into hot sterilised jars.

The second method calls for less sugar, which should be dissolved in the water before the apricots are added. Boil them in the sugar mixture for 10-15 minutes, add the lemon juice and kernels, reduce and test.

The first method retains the shape of each apricot half, the second produces the consistency of jam and is almost like a paste, which brings us to the next popular apricot product in Turkey.

 

Kayısı Pestili

 

1 kg apricots
100 ml water

Halve the apricots, discarding the stones, and simmer in the water until they are soft, about 20 minutes.

Liquidise, pass through a sieve and place the pulp on a buttered baking dish. Cover with cheesecloth and leave to dry in the sun until dry and leathery.

Alternatively, placed the tray in a low preheated oven, around 90°C, and bake for about two hours.

This apricot leather can be cut and reconstituted in warm water for various uses, in soups and stews, and in cakes and pastries.

One such is the Viennese Sachertorte, arguably Europe’s favourite chocolate cake.

 

Sachertorte

 

The smooth consistency of the chocolate icing gives this cake its celebrated Viennese appearance but it is the inner apricot glaze that makes it iconic. The recipe for the original Sachertorte, made by 16 year old apprentice chef Franz Sacher at the court of Prince Metternich in 1832, remains a secret.

There are now many versions of the cake. Among the best are found in Bologna at the Neri Pasticceria beyond the gate on via Saragozza and at the Caffe la Serra near the Arsenal in Venice.

Only the Italians!

This is an adaptation of the version provided by Austrian Tourism.

200 g dark 70% cocoa chocolate
150 g butter, softened
100g icing sugar
50 g vanilla sugar
7 eggs, separated
50 g sugar
150 g flour
Salt, pinch
Butter and flour for cake tin/mold
200 g apricot jam or paste, 
smooth for spreading
75 g almonds, ground
Icing (200 g dark 70% cocoa chocolate, 
250 g sugar, 150 ml water)

Melt the chocolate slowly in a bain-marie. At the same time cream the butter with the icing and vanilla sugars, stirring in the egg yolks one by one.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a cake tin with butter and sprinkle with flour.

Vigorously beat egg whites with sugar to form a stiff peak when lifted.

Stir the melted chocolate into the butter-egg paste and carefully fold in the whipped egg whites alternately with the flour and salt, and the ground almonds if preferred.

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 55-60 minutes.

Turn the cake onto a board and allow to cool, turn again after 25 minutes. This will give the cake a flat surface on each side.

Reconstitute apricot paste in warm water to make 200g of soft jam.

Divide the cake into two equal bases.

Smooth jam over each base and place one on the top of the other, coating the edges with the remaining jam. Leave to set.

Dissolve the sugar in the water gradually over a medium heat until it begins to boil. Cook for five minutes, turn off heat and allow to cool. Break chocolate into small pieces, add a few at a time stirring until the glaze is smooth.

In a single movement pour the chocolate glaze over the cake, and with a broad-bladed knife smooth out until the surface and edges are coated. Apply any necessary decorations and leave to cool at room temperature.

 

Apricot Varieties

 
Aprikoz – Turkey (700,000 tonnes) 
 
Bebeco – Greece (41,000) 
 
Bergarouge – France (160,000) 
 
Bergeron – France
 
Búlida – Spain (83,000) 
 
Canine – Spain
 
Erevan – Armenia
 
Klosterneuburger/Kegelmarille – Austria
 
Luizet – Switzerland 
 
Mitger – Spain
 
Orangered – France
 
Red Galta – Spain
 
Rouge du Roussillon – France
 
Roxana – Turkey
 
Rózsakajszi – Hungary
 
Tyrinthos – Greece

 

Traditional Apricot Dishes

 

Amaretti ITALY almond, apricot kernels
and honey macaroons
 
Aprikosenkuchen mit Streuseln SWITZERLAND
apricot crumb cake
 
Aprikosentörtli SWITZERLAND apricot tart
 
Birnbrot SWITZERLAND fruit bread
 
Brac de Gitano ANDORRA apricot cream roll
 
Hutzelbrot GERMANY festive fruit cake
 
Marillenknödel AUSTRIA apricot potato dumplings
 
Marillenkuchen AUSTRIA apricot cake
 
Oie Rôtie aux Fruits FRANCE roast goose with apple, pear,
dried apricot, prune
 
Plov, Shirin EUROPE basmati rice with apricot, date, plum,
raisin, saffron
 
Plov, Shirin AZERBAIJAN basmati rice with apricot, date,
plum, raisin, saffron, fried meat
 
Tarte Tatin FRANCE apricot tart
 
Yaini ARMENIA AZERBAIJAN GEORGIA RUSSIA beef soup
with dried apricots