26 gennaio 2011

Turkish lunch with friends

La versione in italiano qui

Third stop of Joan's Final Culinary Tour: mysterious and fascinating Tutkey!

One day last week

Me: hi Susy, how are you?
S.: fine, thanks and you?
Me: I'm ok ... listen, wanna tell you something ...
... I was wondering ... what about a turkish lunch together next week?
S.: Woooowww! ... you know I can't miss it, count on me, sure we'll have fun!

Well, must confess I friendly did calculate my inviting move, I knew pretty well Susy would have been glad to join me in this trip. She is a dear friend of mine, even toug a recent friend, we met for the first time about a couple of years ago, but you know when you have immediately feeling in between, that sort of skin sensation when at first sight you feel a nice presence and a good mood flooding in your veins? well, that was it!
Born in California (and still U.S. citizen) from Magyars (Hungarian) parents, who fled there with the revolution in 1956, she is very fond of Oriental cuisine as she lived in India for many years and also because she told me that Turks conquered and ruled in Hungary for more than 300 years, leaving a huge heritage in culture, traditions and food. She was going to be a very good cook companion, plus she 's got a wide variety of dishware and table utensils from all over the world, giving me the chance to organize a nice Mid-oriental table: the bag under the candle holders and the tea glasses are really from Turkey.

So, a quick decision about wat to cook, a quick list about wat to buy, a quick shopping and a long time togeter cooking, eating, chatting, together! Leo (her husband) and Emy joined us, and were very clever in tablesetting (Leo is an architect, a very good elp in matching colors and shapes!).
Take a comfortable seat, my dear travelling fellows, sorry I am a little bit late in blogging all recipes, but the flight to Turkey will be long and we'll ave plenty of time to enjoy our meal.

Cumin & Pumpkin Dip
recipe from Taste 
serving 6/8

500 g butternut pumpkin, seeded, peeled, coarsely chopped
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbs Greek-style natural yoghurt 
1 tbs chopped coriander
salt and freshly ground black pepper

cumin & pumpkin dip

- Steam pumpkin: pour it in a metallic basket into the pan, the water level up to the base of the basket. In pressure cooker 10 minutes from the whistle, in a traditional pan 20 minutes with a lid.
- Heat oil in medium frying pan over medium heat. Add cumin and garlic and cook, stirring, for a minute or until aromatic. Add pumpkin and cook, stirring, until pumpkin is coated in spice mixture. Remove from heat.

- Put the mixture and yoghurt in a food processor and blend until smooth, but it's so tender you can easily do with a fork. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in coriander. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour.

Cumin & Carrot Dip
recipe from Taste

serving 8/10

1 kg carrots coarsely chopped
60 ml extravirgin olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, crushed
salt and freshly ground black pepper

cumin & carrot dip

- Steam carrots: pour in a metallic basket into the pan, the water level up to the base of the basket. In pressure cooker 10 minutes from the whistle, in a traditional pan 20/30 minutes (until tender) with a lid. Let cool a little and peel.
- Place carrots, oil, cumin and garlic in the bowl of a food processor, and blend until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- You can make this dip up to 2 days ahead. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Remove from fridge 15 minutes before serving to bring to room temperature.

Turkish Pide
recipe from Taste

7 g dried yeast (1 bag)
1/2 tsp caster sugar
250 ml/ 1 cuplukewarm water
450 g/ 3 cups unbleached plain flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbs extravirgin olive oil
2 tbs natural yoghurt
plain flour, to dust
1 egg, lightly whisked
2 tsp sesame seeds

turkish pide-focaccia turca

- Combine yeast, sugar and 2 tbs of the water in a small bowl, and stir until yeast dissolves. Set aside in a warm, draughtfree place for 10 minutes or until frothy.
- Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the remaining water, oil, yoghurt and yeast mixture. Use a wooden spoon to stir until combined, then use your hands to bring the dough together in the bowl. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
- Or else put all ingredients in your kneader and work for 8 minutes.
- Grease a large bowl with a little oil, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat in oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draughtfree place to prove for 2 hours or until dough has doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 230°C. Punch down the centre of the dough with your fist. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes or until dough has returned to its original size. Divide into 2 equal portions and shape each portion into a 15 x 30cm rectangle. Place on 2 non-stick baking trays and press with fingers to indent surface. Brush with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds (I toasted a little in a no-sticky pan). Loosely cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draught-free place to prove for 20 minutes or until dough has risen 1-2cm.
- Bake at 230° for about 20 minutes or until pide is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Cut into slices and serve with dips.


A sort of cucumber salad like Indian Raita or Greek tzatziki, recipe by Susy

plain yogurt
(greek style would be perfect)
peeled cucumbers
finely chopped garlic
finely chopped mint
salt/freshly ground black pepper


- Slice cucumbers, sprinkle with salt and let rest at room temperature for at least half an hour.
- Strain from water in excess, combine with yoghurt, garlic and mint, add more salt if necessary and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and paprika, if desired.


Traditional meatballs that can be prepared in different ways depending on the region. Main ingredients are minced meat, parsley, eggs, bread crumbs, onions, garlic and various spices (cumin, oregano, mint, pepper, red pepper).
We made ours, following our Turkish inspiration and served with spiced basmati rice.

Serving 4/6:

400 g beef minced meat
1 big onion, finely chopped
one or half green chili pepper, finely chopped
finely chopped parsley
1 egg
40 g stale bread, chopped
a little milk
extravirgin olive oil
favorite spices
(we used ground Indian jeera)

- Pour bread and as much milk up to cover it in a saucepan and cook at low flame until it becomes a sticky cream (5/10 minutes sould be allright). Let cool.
- Sauté onion in a little oil, adding a little water, it does'nt have to fry but become tender. Let cool.
- In a bowl pour meat, bread, onion, salt, pepper, chili, egg, parsley, spices and mix well. Shape into balls, roll into breadcrumbs then flatten a little bit. In a large pan pour some oil and cook meat balls at medium flame, turning upside down evenly, with care they don't break in pieces.

ginger tea
at the end of our lunch a refreshing hot fresh ginger tea

more pictures on flickr

Hope you enjoyed, see you next week in Japan!

Turkey Round up

7 commenti:

Vicky ha detto...

Mi incuriosice tutta sta robina strana... brava!!

FOODalogue ha detto...

I wish I could have been invited to this lunch! The table setting and colors are beautiful -- and the food looks molto bene! I especially like that pumpkin dip. Grazie.

Sare ha detto...

Thank you Cindy and her lovely friend Susy, All the dishes on the table you tasted from my beloved country.
Dear Cindy, you have very beautiful blog. Nearly everyday I have an eye for the new one you put on your blog.
I hope you enjoyed Türkish dish you tried.
Come and try The Turkish cuisine and Turkish hospitality.
See you Sare from Türkiye

torwen ha detto...

What a nice tablesetting!
I will definitely try the dips. And maybe I will overcome my bread baking aversion and try the pide, looks so delicious :)
Thanks for posting.

Kitchen Butterfly ha detto...

Bellasma. I willm ake the pide next week. Everything is BEAUTIFUL - I love the flavours, the dip, the kofte and the tea. Well done Cindystar

Sally - My Custard Pie ha detto...

Why didn't you invite me Cindystar?! Glad I could have a virtual peep. The colours of the table are superb and the range of dishes make a glorious feast. I've made pide too and it's a very rewarding bread to make. Loved your account especially sharing time in the kitchen - that's what good friendship is all about isn't it - especially when there is food to share.

Cindystar ha detto...

Vicky, grazie, ma non è poi così tanto strana, sai? e quando ti abitui alle spezie ... sono quasi una droga!

Joan, thank youuu! This trip was real fun, I am a little worried about Japan because have no feeling at all, it's against my nature I suppose, but I am trying to find out something suitable and Japanable anyway! will cook tomorrow!

Sare, you are welcome and thanks for your visits, I really appreciate! We had real fun and greedily enjoyed every single bite! Hope to visit Turkey soon, I was in Rhodos last Summer, quite close!

Torwen, you must try pide, easy manageable, believe me!

Kitchen Butterfly, thank you, and if you try the pide then let me know your impressions!

Sally, but you are always invited, just come along and open the door without knocking, friends are always welcome! ... especially if your intention is to help and chat in the kitchen!

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