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Our Turkish Cookery Course in Amman, Jordan; A Very Special Trip

Making Sarma, Stuffed vine leaves with participants in Amman, Jordan

Making Sarma, Stuffed vine leaves with participants in Amman, Jordan

Merhaba All,

I have just returned from Amman, Jordan, where we had our 3 day Turkish cookery course; it was a very special trip from the start to beginning and I wanted share some highlights here with you.

JA University students helping out at our Turkish cookery course.

JA University students helping out at our Turkish cookery course.

Preparing for our Turkish cookery course in Jordan, love the fresh produce

Preparing for our Turkish cookery course in Jordan, love the fresh produce

My huge thanks first of all to dear Mrs Suhair Kilani and Panthera Jordan for organising our Turkish Cookery Course in Amman; Mrs Kilani has done so much for spreading the word on Turkish cuisine and make our course happen 2nd time in Jordan, my heartfelt thanks to her. It was very special to return to JA University to teach and I love being with the students there. They have been very enthusiastic and hard working; always a very happy feeling being inspired by them and be able to inspire. I was very touched by all the kindness and generous hospitality of our Jordanian friends , it really has been a very special trip.

Turkish Jordanian Friendship Association Opening

Turkish Jordanian Friendship Association Opening

With dear Suhair Kilani and Manar Bilbesi at the Turkish Jordanian Friendship Association

With dear Suhair Kilani and Manar Bilbeisi at the Turkish Jordanian Friendship Association

I had the honor to be the guest speaker at the opening of the new premises of the Turkish Jordanian Friendship Association. It was an honor to be able to meet Turkish food lovers and have a chance to talk about Turkish cuisine. I have been so touched by dear Jordanians’ love and interest for Turkish cuisine and Turkey.

Potato and bulgur patties at our course in Jordan, it was a huge hit!

Potato and bulgur patties at our course in Jordan, it was a huge hit!

Gozleme, Anatolian flat breads with spinach and cheese, another very popular dish from our Turkich cookery course

Gozleme, Anatolian flat breads with spinach and cheese, another very popular dish from our Turkish cookery course

Zeytinyagli Sarma, Stuffed vine leaves with aromatic rice from our class, big hit

Zeytinyagli Sarma, Stuffed vine leaves with aromatic rice from our class, big hit

We had over 14 classic Turkish recipes we made during our Turkish cookery course. It was wonderful to see the keen interest from the participants and their enjoyment; some of the highlights have been Potato and bulgur rolls with pomegranate molasses, stuffed vine leaves with aromatic rice,  Gozleme, Anatolian flat breads with cheese and spinach and many more.

Islim Kebabi, eggplant slices wrapped around marinated chicken

Islim Kebabi, eggplant slices wrapped around marinated chicken

Making Sekerpare with the participants

Making Sekerpare with the participants

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Cezerye, caramalised carrot paste with walnuts from our class, delicious and healthy

We also made other classics such as Iskender Kebab, Stuffed peppers and tomatoes, Dolma, this delightful, gluten-free Islim Kebabi, marinated chicken wrapped around eggplant slices,  Manti, Turkish dumplings and many more. Desserts we made included Sekerpare, Semolina cookies in syrup, Cezerye, caramalised carrot paste with walnuts, Semolina Halva and the very special Tavuk Gogsu; Ottoman milk pudding with finely shredded chicken. I will share the recipe of this unusual but delicious dessert in a separate post.

Our visit to the Turkish Embassy in Amman

Our visit to the Turkish Embassy in Amman

Our Turkish cookery course in Amman has been very generously supported by the Turkish Embassy in Amman; it was a great honor to be able to visit our Turkish Ambassador, Mr Onal, to give our thanks for their support. Also very humbled by his kind words for our contribution to Turkish cuisine, we hope to organise many more of these courses in the near future.

A delightful pomegranate tree at TIKA office in Amman

A delightful pomegranate tree at the TIKA office in Amman

Turkish tea, cay, very kindly offered at the TIKA office

Turkish tea, cay, very kindly offered at the TIKA office

More kindness and hospitality followed, we felt home at the wonderful TIKA office in Amman and seeing their garden, I was transported to my grandmother’s 450 year old stone home in  old Antakya. She used to have pomegranate, fig and walnut trees in her garden and we would wake up with the doves singing, seeing these beautiful trees and hearing the doves were a very magical reminiscence.

TV interview during our Turkish cookery course in Amman.

TV interview during our Turkish cookery course in Amman.

Giving certificates to the participants of our Turkish cookery course

Giving certificates to the participants of our Turkish cookery course

Last day of our Turkish cookery course was filmed and I was interviewed on Turkish cuisine and its perception in Amman, to be aired on national TV. We also made it to Jordanian Times apparently! So good to see all this interest for Turkish cuisine. Another highlight was giving certificates to the participants of our 3 day Turkish cookery course, they have been all so enthusiastic and wonderful.

Turkish coffee, enjoyed by everyone at our Turkish cookery course.

Turkish coffee, enjoyed by everyone at our Turkish cookery course.

We made everyone Turkish coffee at the end; many thanks to Ozerlat Coffee for providing our Turkish coffee, everyone greatly enjoyed the aromatic taste and the traditions, rituals behind this special drink, it really is more than a drink for us.

Our Turkish Cookery Course in Jordan has been a very special trip from start to the end, my heartfelt thanks to everyone for their warm hospitality, can’t wait to come back again!

Brief but very Special Stop in Istanbul

Hello from Istanbul; a very precious stop at the Bosphorus

Hello from Istanbul; a very precious stop at the Bosphorus

Icing on the cake of this trip has been a brief but very special stop in Istanbul afterwards; the city I adore. As soon as I landed, I was by the Bosphorus in Bebek, a very special, memorable moment!

Dear Claudia Turgut's photo exhibition at PositivIST, Arnavutkoy, Istanbul

Dear Claudia Turgut’s photo exhibition at PositivIST, Arnavutkoy, Istanbul

Mum, my lovely sister Oznur and me together, a very precious moment

Mum, my lovely sister Oznur and me together, a very precious moment

Dear friend and ex-fellow blogger, owner of the wonderful A Seasonal Cook in Turkey blog Claudia Turgut has now a wonderful new passion, photography. She and some other photographers opened this lovely photo exhibition called PositivIST, sharing Istanbul they love through their photographs. Thanks to my lovely sister, we managed to make it to the Exhibition and met lovely Claudia. The exhibition continues until October 13th, located in Arnavutkoy Istanbul and highly recommended; gorgeous photos of Istanbul from these wonderful artists.

Fascinating Bosphorus and Istanbul

Fascinating Bosphorus and Istanbul

Glass of Cay by the Bosphorus, heavenly

Glass of Cay by the Bosphorus, heavenly

 Time to say farewell to this fascinating city, Istanbul, until next time; it was a huge dose of home, seeing loved ones being at home, treasured every minute.

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Homemade Cezerye; Caramalised Carrot Paste Delight with Nuts

Cezerye; Caramalised carrot paste with nuts

Cezerye; Caramalised carrot paste with nuts

Have you ever tried the delicious Cezerye dessert? A specialty from Mersin region at southern Turkey, Cezerye is a delicious confectionery made of carrots, nuts and sugar, coated with desiccated coconut flakes. They are utterly delicious, healthy and also known to be an aphrodisiac.

Spread the cooked carrot & nut paste evenly and tightly, making sure they stay intact.

Spread the cooked carrot & nut paste evenly and tightly, making sure they stay intact.

With my roots going back to southern Turkey, Antakya, I grew up sampling the very best Cezerye from the nearby Mersin region. Such a delicious and healthy snack, it was always available whenever we wanted some for a treat, therefore I haven’t really thought of making them when I was home. But living  abroad and not having an access to these scrumptious treats  make you brave enough to have a go at them, like making homemade Turkish Delights. I am delighted to report you that compared to making Turkish Delights, Cezerye is so much easier to make, lighter and equally delicious. They are traditionally made with hazelnuts; I used walnuts for my Cezerye recipe and they were delicious. My children absolutely loved them!

Cezerye; delicious carrot paste with walnuts from Mersin, Turkey.

Cezerye; delicious carrot paste with walnuts from Mersin, Turkey.

Carrots have never been sweeter; hope you can have a go and treat yourself, family and friends with these delicious carrot delights. Cezerye keeps well in an air tight container for a week.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

 

 

 

5.0 from 2 reviews
Homemade Cezerye; Caramalised Carrot Paste Delight with Nuts
 
A delicious and healthy caramalised carrot paste & walnuts dessert from Mersin, Turkey. I hope you can have a go and treat yourself, family and friends with these delicious carrot delights. Cezerye keeps well in an air tight container for a week.
Author:
Recipe type: Turkish desserts
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 medium to large carrots (app. 400 gr), cleaned and grated
  • 200 gr / 7 oz. / 1 cup white sugar (or 1¼ cup brown sugar)
  • 50 gr / 2 oz. walnuts, chopped into small pieces
  • 8 fl. oz./1 cup water
  • 50 gr/ 2 oz./1/3 cup desiccated coconut flakes to decorate
  • Bowl of water to shape cezerye squares or balls
Instructions
  1. Place the grated carrots, ½ cup water and sugar in a wide, heavy pan.
  2. Cook over medium heat, uncovered, stirring often. Cook this way for about 30 minutes or until all the liquid evaporated.
  3. Stir in the rest of the ½ cup water and cook again on medium heat, stirring continuously (carrots also release their own juice, therefore I prefer to add the liquid a step at a time so that the carrots won’t become mushy).
  4. Cook the carrots until all the juice evaporated and they are softened, this should take another 30 minutes. Using your stirring spoon, mash the cooked carrots to turn into a thick, chunky paste. At this point, they should also thicken, start to caramalise and get sticky (you can take a little bit between your fingers to test whether it sticks or not). Turn the heat off.
  5. Stir in the chopped walnuts to the carrot paste and mix well. Again using your stirring spoon, blend them all well and turn into a thick paste.
  6. Cover a small rectangular dish or tray with parchment paper. Spread the carrot paste evenly and tightly, making sure they stay intact, with a height of 1,5 cm (0.6”).
  7. Cover with a cling film and rest the mixture to settle for 2 hours in fridge.
  8. After 2 hours, start shaping the carrot paste. Have a bowl of water near you. Wet your hands, take a dessert spoonful and shape into small round balls. Or wet your knife and cut into small squares.
  9. Spread the desiccated coconut flakes on a dry surface and coat the carrot balls and squares with the flakes to coat all over.
  10. Cezerye is ready to serve. Cezerye keeps well in an air tight container for a week.
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