Thursday, 25 September 2008


Hi all, gullac is a very light and delicious desert, especially popular during Ramazan. It is made from starch, flour,  milk and poured over a large  hot pan (sac ) thinly and cooked dry, then packed away for later use. It is wafer like, fine, dry and round pastry leaves are the basis for  this delicate desert. Gullac dates back to ottoman period of Sultans and Pasa's, as favorite in the palaces. It gets its name gul, meaning rose. So using the rose water for this desert is a must.

  • 10 gullac leaves
  • 1 litre of milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup pistachio nuts, chopped
  • 2 tbsp rose water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded
First heat the milk with sugar, rose water and vanilla. It has to be just warm enough to touch not very hot. Pour 1 cup of  milk into a large tray. Then place a gullac leaf in the tray making sure the leaf is completely soaked. Place the second leaf and some more milk to soak. Do the same with the third, forth and fifth leaf. Then spread the walnuts over it generously. Then continue to layer the milk and the remaining 5 leaves as above. Pour the rest of the milk mixture over the leaves to make sure no dry bits left. Then sprinkle the desert with chopped pistachios. Finally cut  the desert into diamond or square shapes and leave it in the tray for the milk to be absorbed totally for about  30-45 minutes.
Decorate with pomegranate seeds just before serving.

COOKS NOTE: It is best to use full fat milk for a special treat but it is just as nice with semi skimmed milk and less sugar to make it low calorie desert.

Sunday, 21 September 2008


  • 1/2 kg peppers
  • 250 g lean steak mince
  • 1 -2 tbsp oil
  • 1 cup  of rice
  • 2 onion
  • bunch of fresh parsley
  • salt, black pepper
  • 2-3 tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • some water
  • little oil 
  • extra tomatoes, sliced,  to use them as lids  for  the peppers.
First wash the peppers and take the stalks out by cutting around them and pushing them inwards with your thumb. Then prepare the filling. Place the mince into a dip dish, add the washed rice, oil. Chop the onions finely and dice the tomatoes, adding the  chopped parsley in to the mince and rice mixture.  Some salt and black pepper to taste and then mix it all together to bind it. 
Stuff each pepper loosely with the mixture( about 1 -2 table spoonful each pepper) making sure to leave room for  rice to expand. if we stuff the peppers too much the rice wont cook through. Cut the tomatoes into small round shapes to cover the peppers like a lid. Then transfer the peppers to a dip pan and add some water to cover up to half way of the peppers. Mix the tomato puree in some water and pour it over the peppers making sure the water covers the peppers at this stage.  Drizzle some oil over the peppers then, put the pan on a high heat and bring it to boil. Then turn the heat to low and let it cook slowly for 25-30 minutes until it is cooked. When cooked, transfer it to a serving plate  and use the juices as sauce for the peppers. Afiyet olsun...

In Turkey we prefer the small, thin skinned  peppers  for  this dish. The measurements above are for small peppers. If you are using larger, firm flesh capsicums you need to use more stuffing per pepper.
Please see my post for ETLI DOLMA, on 18- Nov- 08. made with CAPSICUM PEPPERS.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

SEMOLINA HELVA ( irmik helvasi )

This is a one of the Turkish speciality for deserts called HELVA. The main ingredients are semolina, butter, nuts and sugar. The other type of helva ,made with flour which is called un helvasi. I will give the recipe on later dates  for un helvasi which is quite different in texture to the semolina helva.

  • 1 and a half cup course semolina
  • 125g butter
  • handful of pistachio nuts
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • sugar, cinnamon for sprinkling
First melt the butter in a non stick pan, add the semolina and nuts and mix it well. Turn the heat down and cook the semolina slowly,with butter, stirring it constantly, until it turns golden brown. This will take about 20 minutes or so. We have to make sure it doesn't burn by stirring it constantly. When it is the right colour, prepare the sugar syrup. Mix the sugar with water and milk and bring it to boil. Pour the hot syrup over the semolina and let it simmer for a minute or two until all the liquid has absorbed. Turn the heat off, sprinkle the helva with sugar and cinnamon mixture,  place the lid and let the helva rest for another 20 minutes. Stir and make it fluffy before serving or just cut it into slices before serving. Hope you enjoy...

NOTE : In Turkey people tend to  use water drinking glass, as cup  measurements. 

 1 cup of  sugar = 250 g  
1 cup of water= 300 ml

COOK'S NOTE : Please see my post  HELVA WITH HONEY AND PINE NUTS   posted on 14/ Jan/09.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008


This savoury rice dish is a all in one meal, great for parties and family get together.

  • 200g  mince
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • salt , black pepper
  • oil for frying
  • 1 or 2 chicken breast, diced
  • 1 aubergine, cut into small pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 cup rice, washed
  • 2-3 cups of chicken stock or hot water
  • 1 cup chick peas
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp parsley and dill.
First make the meatballs by  mixing the onion, mince, salt and pepper in a food processor. Shape them into little round shapes and fry them in oil on a medium heat until they are brown. Drain and set aside. Then add the chicken pieces to the same pan and sallow fry until golden. Add more oil if necessary.
When the chicken pieces are cooked add the onion,  garlic, aubergine, red pepper  and cook all together for 5-7 minutes. Then add the rice, water, chick peas, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Return the meat balls to the pan. Stir and mix well with the rest of the ingredients. Bring it to boil, then turn the heat to low and cook the rice with the lid on for 10-15 minutes or until all the stock is absorbed. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and dill just before serving.
This dish is nice if it is mushy in consistency like risotto or paella. Enjoy...



The best Turkish coffee is made from freshly roasted and ground coffee beans just before serving. The ground coffee is finer than an espresso and brewed on a stove, in a coffee maker jug, called 'cezve'.
You need 1 tsp of coffee per person and some sugar to your taste. You add cold water and brew very slowly to get a good froth on top of the cezve, which is very important. My friends in Turkey tell me that it takes about 15 minutes to make a good coffee. Once the mixture is brought to a boil you must let the froth rise, then it is ready to serve.
The thick layer of sludgy grounds left at the bottom of the cup, must not be drunk. The tradition is, once you have drank your coffee, and left the grounds at the bottom, you turn over the coffee cup on to the saucer then leave to cool. Then the patterns of the coffee grounds are used to read ones fortune. It is called KAHVE FALI. Symbols in the cup can be many things like people, animals and objects. The fortune teller will group symbols together for a prediction. It is more of a fun thing than anything, when family and friends get together.
A well prepared coffee must have a thick foam of froth at the top. Traditionally they say if a girl makes a frothy coffee, she will be a very good wife too. As you can see I am afraid my coffee didn't go frothy no matter how I tried!! Good job I am already taken LOL and promise to make a good coffee one day to share with you all.


Izmir is the 3rd largest city in Turkey with the second largest seaport. It has been inhabited since 3000 AD so the area is rich in historical sites. Izmir hosts the cultural international fair in Alsancak every year. The historical site of Ephesus is only 30-35  minutes from the city centre.
A visit to Izmir can not be complete without spending a few hours in the market area of Kemeralti Bazaar in Konak. It is a historic and liveliest part of Izmir with old streets full of shops, work shops, allies, Mosques, places to eat and relax. Kizlaragasi is the place to purchase lovely gifts and beautiful silver jewelery.
Also you get to taste the best Turkish coffee, brewed in its cup on a cole fire in kizlaragasi Hani, prepared in a special way is the great way to sit, relax and let the world go bye.

Monday, 15 September 2008

SUGAR PUFFS AND DATE TRIFFLE ( bugday patlagi ve hurmali jole tatlisi )

  • 1 packed of fruit jelly
  • 1 large peach
  • custard powder
  • 6 dates, chopped
  • sugar puffs
  • hazel nuts, chopped
  • cinnamon
  • dates for decorating
Make up the jelly according to the packed instructions. Add the diced peach and let it set in the fridge. Make the custard, add the dates. When cool, pour over the jelly. Decorate with sugar puffs, cinnamon, hazel nuts and dates. Serve immediately.

RICE COOKED IN FILO PASTRY ( yufkali pilav )

Hi all, this is a rice dish with a difference. Rice with herbs and spices cooked with mince and wrapped in filo pastry, making this dish a centre piece for any occasion.

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 200 g minced meat
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 pepper, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • pinch of cinnamon,
  • ground black pepper
  • parsley, dill, chopped.
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cup boiled water
  • salt
  • 1 large or 2 small filo pastry
  • oil for brushing the pastry
  • 1 egg yolk

Fry the mince in oil with the onion until cooked and browned, add the tomatoes, peppers, cinnamon, black pepper, dill and parsley. Cook for 5 more minutes. Add the washed rice, stir, then add hot water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and cook the rice with the lid on for 10-15 minutes until it is cooked. Set aside.
Grease a tray or Pyrex dish, lay the filo pastry, transfer the rice over the filo pastry and cover the rice with second filo pastry tucking in the edges. Brush the pastry with egg yolk and cook in the pre heated oven on 175C for 20- 30 minutes until it is golden brown.

AUBERGINE WITH EGGS ( yumurtali patlican )

This is one of my mothers delicious dishes that we enjoyed from a very early age and it is still a family favourite and takes us back to our childhood. it is very simple and easy to prepare, hope you enjoy.

  • 1 aubergine per person
  • 1 egg per person
  • oil for frying
  • water
  • salt.

First wash the aubergines. Stand the aubergine upright and cut a cross section down to the root. Boil them in plenty of salted water for 15-20 minutes or until they are soft. Drain the aubergines.
Whip the eggs in a bowl, dip the aubergines in the egg and fry in a non stick pan on a medium heat, turning both sides until it is nice and crispy.

Monday, 1 September 2008


This is a refreshing  summer side dish which you can serve with anything. Combination of tomatoes, peppers, onion and sumak makes it tangy and tasty.
  • 5 OR 6 medium tomatoes
  • 1 large or 2 small peppers
  • 1 medium onion
  • parsley
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sumak
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt and black pepper to taste.
First wash all the vegetables. Chop the onion, tomatoes and the peppers very finely. Add the parsley. Mix the sugar, sumak with oil and the lemon juice in a separate bowl. Season with salt and pepper and add this mixture to the salad. Serve with vegetarian dishes, with chicken or pasta. Serves 4.