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Pasta – Makarna

Spaghetti with Fresh Peas, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Garlicky Prawns

Fresh peas are packed with flavor

Fresh peas are packed with flavor

We are a big fan of peas in our family and I especially love fresh peas. They are packed with flavor and their brightness and sweetness are so inviting. Peas work particularly well in “Zeytinyaglis”,”Vegetables Cooked in Olive Oil” in Turkish Cuisine, like in this Baby Artichokes Poached in Olive Oil with Peas, Carrots and Almonds. Dressed with olive oil and lemon juice, they are not only very healthy but also very refreshing, a joy to eat during summer time and can be kept in fridge 2-3 days.

Artichokes in olive oil, Em tennis, almond bulgur, lokum first p 015

Artichokes poached in olive oil with peas, carrots and almonds; peas work delicious here too.

I was delighted to see some delicious recipes showcasing fresh peas by one of my favorite chefs & food writer Stevie Parle and our menu was set; Spaghetti with fresh peas, sun dried tomatoes and shrimp. Good tips from Stevie when buying fresh peas; look for pods that are silky-soft, shiny and green; the peas within will not have split yet and should be small, soft and sweet. When they are really good, you can put a bowl of them on the table and you’ll find folks munching away on them with a glass of wine or beer.

Spaghetti with fresh peas, sun dried tomatoes and shrimp

Spaghetti with fresh peas, sun dried tomatoes and shrimp

I added sun dried tomatoes that needed finishing to this recipe; their tangy and sweet flavor worked well with the peas and the garlicky shrimps. I also loved the refreshing lemon zest here and the fact that a freshly cooked delicious meal ready in less than 30 minutes.

Adapted by Stevie Parle’s brown shrimp and pea taglierini 

Serves 3- 4                                            Preparation & Cooking time: 25- 30 minutes

200gr/7 oz. peas

30ml / 2 tbsp. sun dried tomatoes, cut in stripes

1-2 garlic cloves, finely sliced

180gr/ 6 ¼ oz. raw prawns, peeled

Zest of 1 lemon and juice of ½ lemon

250gr/ 8 ½ spaghetti

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Extra virgin olive oil to serve – optional

 

Shell the peas and rinse well. Bring a pan of salted water to boil.

Stir in the olive oil in a small saucepan and gently fry the garlic until it just begins to color. Add the prawns and season with salt and a little pepper. Stir and cook for about 2 – 3 minutes, then take the heat off and stir in the sun dried tomatoes, lemon zest and juice.

Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the fresh peas to the boiling water and cook together for a further of 3-4 minutes, until the spaghetti is just cooked. Drain, reserving a little of the pasta water. Pour the shrimp mixture into the pasta and add a dash of cooking water. Mix everything well, check the seasoning then transfer to plates. You can drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over and serve.

Fresh peas in spaghetti with sun dried tomatoes and garlicky shrimp; a delicious and easy meal

Fresh peas in spaghetti with sun dried tomatoes and garlicky prawns; a delicious and easy meal

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

 

 

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Gluten-free and Delicious; Pasta with anchovies, garlic, capers and parsley, in tomato sauce

A typical Pazar -Market - in Istanbul; healthy and delicious foods like beans seeds and nuts in their natural, unprocessed form have a big part in Turkish cuisine.

My good friend Gillian needed to switch to a gluten-free diet recently and thanks to her, I have been learning a lot more about gluten-free products and how they can help with those suffering from coeliac disease (or celiac disease as known in North America) and auto-immune conditions. Good news is that she is feeling much better and moreover, finding exciting ways to incorporate gluten-free ingredients to her diet. BBC Food has some wonderful information challenges on gluten-free diet, gluten-free ingredients and substitutions as well as wonderful recipes to spice up gluten-free ingredients, if you would like to check out.

Gluten-free pasta; a blend of corn flour and rice flour

A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). Though it is nice to know that many healthy and delicious foods like beans, seeds, nuts in their natural, unprocessed form, fresh eggs, fresh meats, fish and poultry (not breaded, batter-coated or marinated), fruits and vegetables and most dairy products are naturally gluten-free.

Having coastline to the Aegean, Mediterranean and Black Sea, Turkey has wonderful variety of fish

Turkish cuisine is based on using fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables, plenty of fish, nuts and legumes. I am delighted to see that most ingredients we use in Turkish cuisine are gluten-free and suitable for those in need of delicious gluten-free recipes. Try our wonderful Appetizers and Mezzes, like this wonderful warm hummus with red pepper paste infused olive oil, or vegetables cooked in olive oil like this Artichokes cooked in olive oil with peas,carrots and almonds, for exciting ways to enjoy gluten- free diet.

Mercimekli Mualla - Lentils, aubergine, onion, garlic and peppers cooked in olive oil; a delicious gluten-free dish

Mercimekli Mualla - Lentils, aubergine, onion, garlic and peppers cooked in olive oil; a delicious gluten-free dish

How about lentils? They are an integral part of Turkish cuisine and their protein packed nutrition add to a healthful diet. For a delicious, gluten-free treat, try this Mercimekli Mualla, eggplant, tomato & green lentils cooked in olive oil. This tasty, versatile dish can be a wonderful side to grilled meat and fish or a meal on its own.

As for the grains; couscous, bulgur wheat and semolina are not gluten-free, and we use especially bulgur quiet a lot in Turkish cuisine. However, you can use quinoa, in the place of couscous or bulgur wheat for salads and side dishes. Try making my spicy bulgur wheat salad with vegetables,kisir, with quinoa, for a delicious, gluten-free alternative.

Delicious Coconut-flavored Tilapia Fish and Potatoes Curry by Peri's Spice Ladle

Indian cuisine is also a great source for delicious and easy gluten-free recipes. Please also check out the wonderful blog Peri’s Spice Ladle; Peri has a delicious Coconut flavored tilapia fish and potato curry this week, so worth trying.

Here is a delicious and easy gluten-free pasta recipe, inspired by my friend Gillian’s wonderful sauce to go with it. It was my first time trying gluten-free pasta (a blend of corn flour and rice flour); we were impressed by it and the sauce of anchovies, capers, garlic and tomato gave it a really nice punchy flavor. I like to add a tablespoon of capers for extra zing, if you like the flavor too. My husband didn’t realize it was gluten-free pasta until I mentioned at the end! 🙂

Hope this recipe and other Turkish recipes here in this blog may help you to enjoy a gluten-free diet.

Gluten-free and Delicious; Pasta with anchovies, garlic, capers and parsley, in tomato sauce

Gluten-free pasta with anchovies, capers, tomatoes and garlic in tomato sauce

Serves 2

Preparation time: 10 minutes                           Cooking time: 15 minutes

250gr gluten-free pasta (or enough for 2 people)

30gr/ 1 canned anchovy fillets in olive oil – coarsely chopped

1tbsp capers, rinsed

3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped

14oz/1 can of Italian whole or cherry tomatoes, crushed in your hand (this works really well in the sauce, but if you rather prefer to use chopped tomatoes, that works too)

15ml/1tbsp olive oil

Handful of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and sauté the garlic for a minute or two. Add the crushed tomatoes in can (along with about 2 tbsp of water to get all the juices in the can) to the pan; give them a good mix and cook for a further two minutes. Stir in the capers and anchovies, combine well. Season with salt (if needed; as anchovies and capers are already quite salty) and black pepper and simmer on low heat for about 5-8 minutes.

Anchovies and capers go well with garlic and tomatoes in the sauce

While the sauce is simmering, place the gluten-free pasta in a saucepan of boiling water, add a little salt and a dash of olive oil. Stir occasionally and boil for about 10 minutes, until “al dente”. Towards the end of the cooking, take 2 tablespoons of the pasta’s cooking liquid and add to the pasta sauce, along with the parsley, mix well. Once pasta is cooked, drain the water and mix the pasta with the sauce.

Afiyet Olsun (means in Turkish; “may you be happy and healthy with the food you eat”),

Ozlem

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Delicious, Sun kissed Inspirations from Kalkan; Pasta with peppers, chili, garlic and tomatoes, in olive oil

We have had some wonderful food while in Kalkan at the south coast of Turkey, featuring region’s sun kissed fresh produce; tomatoes have been at their peak, and the peppers tasted out of this world – no need to mention the region’s divine olive oil; I could dip my bread to it all day!

Sun kissed south coast of Turkey is always so inviting

We had this simple yet very delicious pasta at Mahal’s café, and I recreated at home in England; it is packed with goodness and so easy too, ready within 30 minutes. The sweetness of tomatoes and peppers work so well with the chili pepper and tangy lemon juice- a handful of capers also work really well in this sauce.  Even though it wasn’t Kalkan’s lovingly grown tomatoes, still tasted wonderful, with children asking for another serving; sunshine on a plate.

Pasta with peppers, chili, garlic in olive oil, so delicious

Pasta with peppers, chili, garlic, tomatoes in olive oil, so delicious

For the ultimate Turkish experience, you can serve the pasta with Ayran, refreshing Turkish drink with yoghurt or Cacik dip with cucumber and yoghurt by the side. The tangy and hard Turkish kasar cheese goes very well, grated over the pasta; if you can’t get kasar, you can replace it with a tangy cheddar or Pecorino Romano.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 25 minutes                     Cooking time: 15 – 20 minutes

500gr pasta (spaghetti or penne works well) – or enough for 4 –

Red, orange, yellow (or green) pointy or bell peppers, deseeded and finely chopped

1-2 chili peppers, deseeded and finely chopped

4-6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

4 medium ripe tomatoes, finely chopped – please keep all the wonderful juice!-

Juice of ½ lemon

5ml/1 tsp. brown sugar

60ml/3 tbsp. olive oil

10ml/2 tsp. oregano

5ml/1 tsp. red pepper flakes – optional-

Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Grated hard and tangy Turkish kasar  (tangy cheddar) or  Pecorino Romano to serve

Ripe tomatoes, juicy peppers, garlic; fresh ingredients for a healthy, delicious sauce

Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan and stir in the peppers, chili pepper and garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the pan and combine well. Stir in the lemon juice, brown sugar and red pepper flakes, if using. Season with salt and ground black pepper, mix well.  Leave to cook on a moderate heat for about 8 minutes. Once cooked, stir in the oregano to the sauce and check the seasoning.

Tomatoes, peppers, chili and the garlic work so well together

Boil the water for the pasta in a separate heavy pan, while the sauce is cooking. Cook the spaghetti in plenty of lightly salted boiling water until a minute before it is al dente (please refer to the cooking time on the pasta’s packaging). Drain the water and set aside the pasta in the colander.

Stir in the pasta to the pan where the sauce is cooked; make sure to coat all the pasta with the sauce (if you like, you can drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the pasta).

Make sure to stir in the cooked pasta to the pan you cooked the sauce in, to mop up all the juices

Serve hot with grated tangy kasar (cheddar) or  pecorino cheese over the pasta. Steamed vegetables or cacik dip complement the pasta well; ayran drink would be a refreshing accompaniment to the pasta too.

Sunset in Kalkan; mesmerising

Sunset in Kalkan; mesmerising

Afiyet Olsun!

Ozlem

 

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