Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lemon Merigue Pie

1 ¾ cup digestive biscuits, crushed (e.g. 1 pkt Granita biscuits)
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
2 heaped tbsp white sugar
½ pkt (125g) butter

Preheat oven to 175°C.
Put all above ingredients in bowl and mix well.
Press gently into bottom of pie dish.
Bake for 8 mins.
Remove & allow to cool.

400g can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup lemon or lime juice
rind of two lemons or limes
3 egg yolks, beaten

Mix all above ingredients well in bowl.
Add to cooled pie base.

3 egg whites
4 tbsp caster sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar

Beat egg whites with electric beaters/whisk until firm.
While still beating, add sugar & cream of tartar until stiff.
Spoon or pipe decoratively onto pie.
Bake for 10 minutes or until tips are golden.
Allow to cool before serving with cream or ice cream, if desired.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rose Water Lemonade

Because it's so dang hot in Istanbul at the moment!

1/4 cup lemonade concentrate, or to taste (see below)
1/8 cup (~32ml) rose water
1/4 tsp rose essence – 1/4 tsp
2 1/4 cup water
ice cubes for serving

Combine all ingredients except ice cubes.
Stir well & refrigerate.
Serve cold, adding a few ice cubes if required.

Lemonade Concentrate

1 cup lemon juice (around 6 -8 large lemons)
1/3 cup water
1 cup sugar

Wash lemons thoroughly in running water.
Before cutting in half, place on a flat surface & roll with your palm; this will help to yield more juice.
Cut lemons & squeeze the juice.
Strain & discard the seeds.
Measure; ensure that you have exactly 1 cup lemon juice.
In saucepan boil water.
When water starts to boil, remove from heat & add sugar.
Stir well.
The water will look cloudy but keep stirring for a while until clear.
Allow to cool.
Then add lemon juice & stir well.
Use diluted 1:9, or to taste.

Other Variations:
Lime with Mint - make limeade using recipe above & add to lemonade with sprigs of mint
Watermelon - add puréed watermelon to taste to lemonade; garnish with watermelon slice
Lavender - add dried lavender & fresh lavender leaves to lemonade
Peach Tea - equal parts lemonade, peach nectar & iced tea; garnish with peach slices
Blackberry - add fresh blackberries & sage leaves to lemonade
Kiwi-Melon - add puréed honeydew melon to lemonade; garnish with honeydew & kiwi slices
Raspberry - add raspberry juice to lemonade; garnish with fresh raspberries
Ginger - add fresh ginger & pear slices to lemonade; garnish with stalk of sugar cane
Lemon Drop - use crushed lemon drops (or other lemon-flavoured sweets) & sugar to rim glass à la margarita, then fill with lemonade; garnish with lemon slice
Tropical - add guava juice to lemonade; garnish with papaya slice

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Taze Fasulye (Green Beans in Olive Oil)

Turks serve these beans once they have cooled down to room temperature (or even chilled), but they are also delicious served hot.

1 kg green beans (small fresh tender runner beans if at all possible)
250 ml extra virgin olive oil
3 medium sized onions, chopped
2 large fresh tomatoes, peeled & chopped(or 1 can chopped tomatoes)
2 tsp sea salt
3 tsp sugar
water to cover beans

Top & tail beans (many Turks do this by breaking tips off rather than cutting), then string them & break in half.
Pour olive oil into large pan & warm.
Fry onions until soft & translucent.
Add tomatoes to onions along with beans, salt & sugar.
Mix well & pour over enough water to cover beans.
Bring to boil, then turn down heat.
Cook beans on a slow simmer for approx 1 hr until tender & sauce is well reduced.
Try for texture.
Allow to cool.
Drizzle some olive oil & serve with fresh salad, natural yoghurt & Turkish rice (pilav, below) or bread.

Etli Kuru Fasulye (Turkish Lamb & Bean Stew)

400g white beans (dried & soaked overnight, or canned)
500g lamb or mutton chopped into small chunks (or beef or chicken)
4 tbsp butter
2 large onions, diced
2-3 large fresh tomatoes, peeled & chopped, or a tin of chopped tomatoes, or 2 tbsp tomato puree
2 cups lamb stock (or beef or chicken)
1 capsicum (feel free to be creative with colours), cut into medium sized chunks
sea salt to taste

If using dried beans, drain & boil after soaking over night for about 30 min until are just starting to become tender, then drain & put to one side.
If using canned beans, drain, rinse & put to one side.
Cook onions in the butter until golden.
Add meat to pan & brown lightly.
Allow any juices to evaporate.
Add tomatoes, capsicum & approx 1-2 tsp sea salt.
Cover & cook on low heat for about 45 min.
If you are in no rush, cooking time above could be extended to overnight in crockpot whilst beans are soaking with great results.
Add beans & stock (add extra stock if you wish, up to 1L), cover & let the stew simmer until beans are nice & tender.
Serve with pilav (Turkish rice) below.

Pilav (Turkish Rice)

3 cups rice
3 tbsp butter (do NOT use margarine)
4 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 tsp salt

Rinse rice in sieve under cold water.
Place rice in bowl & cover with hot salted water.
Let stand until cool.
Wash again thoroughly in cold water (water should run clear) & drain well.
Melt butter in saucepan until it just starts to sizzle, before it turns brown.
Add rice & sauté for 2-3 min, stirring continuously.
Pour stock into pan, bring to boil, then turn down to simmer on low heat.
Don’t stir pilav whilst cooking.
Cook until rice has absorbed all water (10-15 min).
Add salt & pepper to taste.
Take pan off heat & remove lid.
Place clean kitchen towel or kitchen paper over the pot, & then replace lid.
Leave to “brew” for 5-10 min, then serve with some natural yoghurt & chopped spring onions.

Pilav can be added to and embellished in so many different ways. You can mix in mushrooms (Mantarli pilavı), add in chickpeas (Nohutlu pilavı), or do away with the rice altogether and use cracked wheat instead (Bulgur pilavı). Here’s another tasty pilav alternative for once you’ve mastered the basics.

Pilav with Peas

ingredients as above
150 g peas

Boil peas or sauté in butter until tender.
Follow recipe for rice as above until adding stock.
When you turn down heat after boiling, add peas, stir in quickly, & then continue to follow basic recipe.

Afiyet Olsun (Bon Appetit)!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Persian Chicken or Duck in Pomegranate Walnut Sauce (Fesenjan)

Fesenjan, also known as khoresht-e fesenjan, is typically made for special occasions in Iran. It is traditionally made with duck or pheasant in north along Caspian sea. It is thick, rich, sweet-sour dish that improves in flavour next day. Pomegranate syrup, sometimes called pomegranate molasses, is available in most Middle Eastern & health food stores (make sure it doesn't say "sour"). If using fresh pomegranate juice, use 1 1/2 to 2 cups & reduce amount stock or water used in recipe. Adding 1/2 tsp ground cardamom or 1/2 tsp cinnamon when sautéing onions will add a richer flavor. Add more sugar if sauce is too tart, or lime or lemon juice if it is too sweet. A peeled & cubed eggplant is sometimes added. Sauté eggplant along with onions. You may need to add little more liquid as it simmers.

1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup butter or 1/4 cup oil
1.15kg chicken or duck (cut up, bone-in)
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 cups walnuts, finely ground in a food processor
1 1/2 - 2 cups chicken stock or water
2/3 cup pomegranate syrup
2-3 tbsp sugar
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Sprinkle meat with lime juice & allow to marinate for 1-4 hrs.
Over medium heat in large, heavy-bottomed pot heat 1/8 cup (2 tbsp) of butter or oil until shimmering.
Add chicken/duck pieces a few at a time & brown on all sides.
Remove to plate.
Add onions (& eggplant, if using) & sauté in remaining butter or oil until translucent.
Stir in ground walnuts & sauté for 30 sec.
Add stock or water & browned chicken/duck pieces. Bring to boil, lower heat, cover & simmer 20-30 min.
Stir in pomegranate syrup/juice, sugar, salt & pepper.
Taste & adjust seasoning.
Sauce should have balanced sweet-sour flavour.
Simmer another 15-20 minutes until chicken/duck is tender, sauce is somewhat thickened & walnuts begin to give off their oil.
Serve with plain white rice.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Home-made Hot Chips

These go really well with Lomo Saltado or Steak with Café de Paris Butter.

oil, for deep-frying
1 large potato per person
table salt for sprinkling

Take large saucepan & fill it no higher than one-third full of oil.
Using large chopping knife, cut potatoes no thicker than 1cm & soak in cold water to prevent browning & remove starch.
Remove potatoes from water & pat dry, which is very important as you do not want to throw water into pan of hot oil.
Heat oil to 140°C & start to blanch fries.
Do not overcrowd pan as it will make temperature of oil drop & fries will not cook correctly.
After 3 min, carefully lift out fries & drain on paper towel.
(This stage can be done in advance, in fact even 1 day before; of course they are better when cooked straight away.)
When ready to serve, bring oil up to 175°C & carefully lower in fries in batches & cook for 3-4 min, or until golden and crispy.
Be careful not to overcook fries.
Drain on paper towel, sprinkle with salt & serve.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Hot Cross Buns

Thanks to Artywah for this one!

Makes 12

400g white flour
2 tsp dried yeast
1 tsp allspice
2 tsp ground cinnamon
125g mixed dried fruit
100g sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup milk
50g butter
1 egg

Sift flour, yeast, allspice & cinnamon into large bowl.
Add mixed dried fruit, lemon zest & sugar & combine.
In saucepan melt butter & milk together over low heat.
Once butter has melted add egg & whisk.
Make well in dry ingredients & slowly add milk mixture folding dry ingredients over as you pour.
Combine all ingredients to form dough.
Tip dough onto floured bench & kneed for about 10 min.
Divide dough into 12 pieces & shape into balls & place on lightly floured tray.
Cover with some damp kitchen paper.
Place tea towel over top.
Set aside for 12 hrs – dough should roughly double in size.
Preheat oven to 180ºC.
Pipe on cross (see below).
(This step can be left out if you just want sweet fruit buns.)
Place buns on lightly greased baking tray & bake for 20-25 min or until cooked through & lightly brown on top.
Glaze (see below) & set aside to cool.
Serve warmed with butter.

This recipe is for hot cross buns with mixed fruit but you can use just raisins or leave the fruit out completely depending on your personal preference.
You can easily modify this recipe to make choc-chip or mocha versions of hot cross buns (see below).


2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp water

Mix flour & water together in bowl to form smooth paste.
Transfer to piping bag & pipe cross onto each bun.


3 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp dark rum

Add golden syrup & rum to saucepan & gently heat until golden syrup becomes runny.
Stir & then brush glaze over buns.

Choc-chip Hot Cross Buns

125g choc bits

Follow Hot Cross Buns with fruit recipe as above, with following changes:
Do not add mixed fruit or lemon zest but add half choc chips to the mixture instead.
Add remaining choc chips when kneading dough.
Decorate with chocolate cross (see below).

Mocha Hot Cross Buns

1/2 cup espresso
1/4 cup choc bits

Follow Hot Cross Buns with fruit recipe as above, with following changes:
Do not add mixed fruit or lemon zest.
Replace 1/2 cup milk with espresso & add choc bits.
Decorate with chocolate cross (see below).

Chocolate Cross

10g choc bits

Melt choc bits.
Add to flour & water in Cross recipe above.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Basic Capirinha

Makes 1

2-3 limes, roughly chopped
1 tbsp sugar
45-60ml cachaça (Brazilian sugarcane liquor)

Put lime pieces & sugar in cocktail shaker.
Add cachaça & ice & shake well.
Pour into glass & top with more ice if needed.

* Muddle: crush & mash together with wooden muddler (kinda like a pestle).