Monday, 28 April 2008

GREEN LENTIL SALAD ( Yesil mercimek salatasi )

A simple salad with crunchy vegetables perfect for barbecues and as a delicious lunch time light meal.

  • 200 g cooked green lentil
  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon or 6 tsp vinegar
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 red apple, finely chopped
  • 4 tsp roasted pumpkin seeds
  • ground black pepper
  • Green olives and apple slices to decorate.
Mix oil and lemon juice with the lentils. Add celery,carrot, apple and pumpkin seeds. Season with little salt and pepper to taste. Decorate with olives and apple slices.

GUILT FREE CAKE ( Diyet keki)

This cake has NO fat and NO sugar but lovely and moist from the bananas and pekmez.

  • 4 small or 3 medium bananas, mashed
  • 8 oz/225g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 eggs, whisked
  • 1 0z/25g chopped walnuts
  • 6-7 dried apricots, chopped
  • 5 tbsp pekmez
  • Icing sugar for dusting.

Preheat the oven to 170 c, 325 f, gas mark 3 ( if fan oven 150 c)
First sift the flour together with the baking powder and cinnamon. Add mashed bananas, walnuts and apricot to the flour and mix with a fork. Add whisked eggs slowly and mix in gently with a wooden spoon. Add Pekmez give it another mix and pour in a lined baking tin (I used a kugelhopf tin). Cook for 50 minutes. Let it cool on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar before serving.


PEKMEZ is a  Turkish syrup like liquid made from fruits such as grape, mulberry, fig and apples (I have used uzum pekmezi= grape pekmez, syrup).



This is a versatile savoury sauce which I make in advance, store it in the fridge in sterilized jars. It is  great to use on meat, vegetables and pasta.

  • 1 Large onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 fat cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 lb/450g tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 chilli pepper ( optional )
  • Half of lemon ( sliced) 
  • Bunch of fresh parsley
  • Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 8 fl oz/250 ml water

Fry the chopped onion gently in the oil. Put lemon, tomatoes, garlic, chilli, parsley in a food processor and pulse it. Pour into the pan with the onion add water, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 20 minutes. Transfer the sauce into airtight jars and keep in the fridge. Use it as required.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008


Hi all, this dish is inexpensive these days and it is the quickest way to cook fish. It comes out of the oven sweet and succulent. You can serve it with simple salad or it goes well with mashed potato. I served it with mixed roasted vegetables.

Serves 2 ( if small trout )
Serves 4 ( large, as above )

  • 2 large trouts
  • 2 cloves of garlic (left whole )
  • dill (handful )
  • thyme (handful )
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 200 ml/7 fl oz of white wine
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • Drizzle of olive oil and some black pepper
  • 1 lemon, sliced

Wash the fish and dry on kitchen paper. Make sleets across the fish. Divide garlic, dill, thyme and bay leaves among the fish and place all inside. Get a large piece of foil to make generous parcel around the fish. Put them into the foil, pour wine and soy sauce mixture over the fish, drizzle with olive oil and season with  black pepper. Close the foil into loose, airtight parcel and put into the oven at 180 c or gas mark 4, 350 f for 20-30 minutes. Remove the foil for last 10 minutes until the fish is crispy.Serve with lemon slices and roast vegetables.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008


This is a different and tasty  way of serving your greens. Also nutritious  with added calcium and zinc from yogurt and pumpkin seeds.

  • 350 g  broccoli
  • 4-5 tbsp low fat natural yogurt
  • Lemon juice
  • 1 clove of garlic grated (optional )
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds ( handful )
  • Paprika

Cut the broccoli into small florets, wash and steam them for about 6-7 minutes to your taste until just turning soft. Squeeze lemon juice over the broccoli. Grate the garlic on the fine side of the grater and add to the yogurt. Pour yogurt over the broccoli.
Serve it with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds and paprika on top.


The quickest way to roast pumpkin seeds is to dry roast them in a non-stick pan on the stove.

Sunday, 20 April 2008


This is a nice salad either served as an appetizer or as a vegetarian meal. Serves 2

  • 200 gr cooked white beans
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot or small red onion, salt
  • 1 tbsp of parsley, chopped
  • Ground black  pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sumak 
  • 10-12 black olives
  • 1 Egg, boiled, sliced
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Jalepeno peppers
  • Sweet paprika to sprinkle

First slice the onions thinly. Put in a bowl with a pinch of salt and a little water. Rub it well with salt then wash and rinse it. ( You will have soft and sweet onion for the salad now )
Mix the onion, olive oil, parsley, olives, sumak and lemon juice with the beans. Add black pepper to taste.
Decorate it with eggs, tomatoes and jalepenos. Sprinkle with paprika before serving.

SUMAK : This spice comes from the Mediterranean and Middle East, from the berries of a wild bush. Favoured over lemon for sourness. Dark red in colour, this aromatic spice has a tangy and fruity flavour. 

Wednesday, 16 April 2008


Hi all, this is a lovely salad  which you can either  serve it as a starter for two or as a main meal for one.

  • 100 gram frozen cooked king prawns ( defrosted )
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 garlic glove, crushed
  • 1 red chilli pepper OR
  • pinch of chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • salt and black pepper 
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • rocket leaves and cherry tomatoes
  • Half an avocado

First mix oil,garlic, chopped chilli pepper, parsley and half of the lemon juice in a bowl. Mix well into a smooth paste. Place the prawns into a non stick pan. Tip the paste over the prawns and stir it on a low heat for a minute or so. Turn off the heat, set prawns aside.
Prepare the salad with rocket, tomatoes and sliced avocado. Use the other half of the lemon juice over avocado and salad. Arrange the prawns on top and finally sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds. Salt and black pepper to taste.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008


This recipe is a quick and lovely way of making tasty bread. It is ideal for a savoury snack.


  • 10 oz plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 oz sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 10 pitted and halved olives
  • 1 tbsp dried onion
  • 3 medium boiled and mashed potatoes
  • 4 oz of red Leicester cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 fl oz of water.

Grease a baking tray. Pre- heat the oven gas mark 6, 200C,180C fan oven. Sieve the flour with salt and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Reserve half of the  grated cheese set aside. Then mix and stir rest of the ingredients into the bowl with flour.Pour the oil and water to make a soft dough with a wooden spoon. Turn the dough on to the floured baking tray. Shape it into a 20 cm/ 8 inch round. Mark it into 4 portions with a knife without cutting through. Sprinkle with the reserved cheese and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Transfer the bread to a wire rack to cool. Serve it fresh. 
Serves 4.  


  • 8 Chicken drumsticks or thighs
  • 1 copped onion
  • black pepper
  • 5 tbsp dry sherry or wine
  • 5 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp Tabasco or chilli sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp honey or brown sugar.
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 200C.
Rub the chicken pieces with oil. Season with black pepper. Put them in a roasting tin together with chopped onions and cook them at the high shelf for 25- 30 minutes. In the mean time make the sauce by mixing or whisking all the ingredients together.
When the chicken joints  have been in the oven 30 minutes, pour off excess oil from the tin, then pour the barbecue sauce over the chicken and cook for a further 20- 25 minutes. baste if necessary.
Serves 4

Thursday, 10 April 2008


This is  really easy, quick to make  AND delicious. Serves 4

  • 1 courgette
  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 red and 1 green pepper
  • 1 tub of cherry tomato - halved -
  • 1 cup ( about 200 gr ) chick peas - drained -
  • Hand full of mushrooms 
  • fresh coriander  and garam masala to serve.
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or just 1 tbsp  if you want to make it low fat
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 green chili
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 6 or 8 fl oz water
  • salt to taste.

First wash the vegetables,  cut into small chunks and set aside. Brown the onions in oil then add garlic, ginger, chili and all the spices. Add tomato puree salt and water, stirring on a low heat. Cook for 5- 7 minutes. Then take off the heat and blend it into a smooth paste in a blender  . Pour over the vegetables and cook it all together for 10-15 minutes. Just before serving add 2 tsp of garam masala and hand full of fresh coriander.
Hope you enjoy it. 


Today I am going to talk about nutrition, vitamins, minerals and all that is good for us. I am going to share with you one or two tips that come to mind.

  • Chewing food properly increases the nutrients we absorb, it also triggers the production of  SEROTONIN in the brain which reduces appetite
  • Sun light actually helps the brain to create serotonin and helps to reduce the amount carbohydrates we crave. So get out doors .You can boost your health as well as help weight loss.
  • Not getting enough sleep apparently makes cells more insulin resistant and may promote fat storage. We also reach for sugary snacks and high fat foods when we are tired.  
  • Salmon - it has protein, vitality boosting omega 3 fatty acids as well as vitamin D.
  • Walnuts - antioxidant, lowers cholesterol, provides vitamin E, B6 and high in omega 3.
  • Green tea - great antioxidant and metabolic rate booster.
  • Eggs - omega 3 fats,vitamins A,B,D and E. Also contains a substance for collagen.
  • Cantaloupe melon - Full of vitamin C and beta carotene.
  • Avocados - vitamins A,B,C and E. Powerful antioxidant which protect us against heart disease.
  • Sweet potatoes -  High in vitamin C and A which is good for our skin.
  • Blueberries - one of the most powerful health protective foods. 
  • Brazil nuts - high in selenium, protective for some cancers. Have 3-4 a day.
  •  Flax seeds - Rich in omega 3 fats.
  • LAST OF ALL eating garlic said to turn your heart age YOUNGER by 13 years!!!

  • I would like to say that I am using my favorite vegetables in all my recipes, but you can choose and add your own. There are no hard and fast rules
  • Use less oil in the recipes if you are cutting down on calories. Although i am conscious of the oil I use , you need some for the taste.
  • make your own oil spray. Get a spray bottle from a kitchen shop and half  fill with olive oil then top up with water. Spray your pan to save calories instead of using oil.

For those in Turkey and people who are not familier with pounds and fl oz, here is a rough guide.

4 oz = 100 g
5 oz = 150 g
8 oz = 225 g
1 lb =450 g

For the fluids

4 fl oz = 125 ml
8 fl oz = 250 ml
1 pint = 500 ml

My measurements  of  ONE CUP is ONE MUG in my recipes. ONE CUP OF SUGAR =250 g
                                                                                                           ONE CUP OF WATER = 300 ml

tbsp = table spoonful

tsp = tea spoonful


This  is a delicious  pudding which is very light and fun to make. I must admit I am not one for making puddings, but my son was home at the weekend and this was a treat we all enjoyed as a family.

  • 3 Egg whites,size 1
  • 175 gr caster sugar
  • 1 level tsp corn flour
  • 1/2 ( half tsp ) vinegar
  • 275 ml whipped cream ( I used half fat cream )
  • Pack of soft fruit of your chose
  • A little icing sugar to go on top
  • 3 Egg yolks
  • 3tsp corn flour
  • 8 fl oz milk
  • Drop of vanilla or almond essence
Pre- heat the oven to gas mark 2, 300F, 150C.


Grease the baking sheet lightly and line it with greaseproof paper. I used a plate by placing it upside down to draw a round circle of about 10 and a half inches in diameter. (about 27 cm). 
Place the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk until it forms soft peaks. When you turn the bowl upside down it should not slide out. Then whisk the sugar in slowly little at a time. Whisk the corn flour and vinegar in. Now it is ready to spoon the meringue mixture on to the baking sheet. Make a round circle by making depression in the centre. Make little swirls all around the meringue. You can use skewer to lift up and make tiny little peaks.
Now place the baking sheet in the oven and turn the heat down to 140 C immediately. Leave to cook for one hour. Then turn the oven off and leave the meringue in the oven to get completely cold and dry. I leave it in the oven overnight if i have time.


Because I don't like wasting anything, i thought it will be good idea to use the egg yolks to make a nice thick custard to use for the pavlova.
For this, heat the milk in the pan. Mix egg yolks with corn flour, sugar and vanilla essence. Pour hot milk into the egg yolk mixture. Return it to the pan and heat gently stirring all the time, until it has thickened. Leave to cool by sprinkling some caster sugar over to prevent it forming a skin.




Lift  the meringue from the baking sheet and place  it on a plate. First spread the COLD custard on top then cream and fruit over the cream. Sprinkle sifted icing sugar over the fruit before serving. 

Wednesday, 9 April 2008



HI ALL, here are some  selection of stuffed vegetables which are very popular in Turkey. INGREDENTS FOR THE FILLING  below was enough to stuff 4 peppers, 1 aubergine, 2 medium tomatoes and 8 oz of vine leaves. If you are stuffing just 4 peppers, you will have half of the rice left over. You can either freeze the half cooked rice for later use or cook it and use it as  a SPICY RICE, which is very nice served with meat or vegetables or as a cold rice salad for the next day. It will keep in the fridge for couple of days.

  • 4 Peppers. 
Put peppers in the microwave on high for 5 minutes to soften them for stuffing. take them out and prepare the filling.

  • 2 tbsp  olive oil
  • 1 cup ( 8 oz ) rice
  • 1 cup ( 8 fl oz ) hot water
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • large bunch of dill and parsley.
1 sliced tomato ( to use on top of peppers )
Half a cup hot water


Chop the onion, add into the pan together with washed rice  cinnamon,salt and pepper.  Mix well add hot water and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. ( We are just half cooking the rice ) Turn the heat off add dill and parsley. Let it cool for 5- 10 minutes. In the mean time prepare the peppers by slicing off the stalk ends and pulling out the core and the seeds. Then stuff them with the rice and sit them upright in a casserole dish. Place a tomato slice to each pepper so rice wont come out. Add half a cup of hot water in to the casserole cover with foil and cook on preheated oven gas mark 5, 375 F, 190 C FOR  1 hour. Take the lid off last 10-15 minutes to brown the peppers slightly. Afiyet olsun, Enjoy...

Wednesday, 2 April 2008


This is my feel good recipe which is very quick to make and delicious. I used all my favorite vegetables but you can vary the combination to suit yourself e.g you can use fresh or tinned tomatoes instead of sun-dried tomatoes and beans or peas instead of chick peas. Serves 4 and takes 15 minutes to cook.

  • 1 mug couscous ( about 200 g )
  • 2 mugs boiled water or veg stock
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion -chopped -
  • 1 clove of garlic ( optional )
  • 5- 6 sun dried tomatoes - chopped -
  • 1 mug of cooked chick peas - drained -
  • 1 chili pepper ( optional )
  • some fresh coriander or your choice of herbs
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • black pepper
  • dash of soy sauce
  • lemon juice to serve

Put the chopped onion, garlic, tomatoes, chili, chick peas, oil, tomato paste in a deep pan. Add hot water or stock and boil for about  7 to 10 minutes or until the onions are soft. Add the soy sauce and couscous. Turn the heat off after mixing couscous with everything  in the pan. place the lid on and let it rest for 5- 7 minutes. Mix it well, add coriander and lemon juice to serve.