Focaccia

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Here is a wonderful recipe that everyone will love: focaccia. This italian bread is a real pleasure for the taste buds and eyes. I’ve made this bread so many times in so many ways and it always turns out great. And it goes well with pretty much everything so it’s impossible to go wrong. Use sun-dried tomatoes, olives, garlic or just keep it simple with olive oil and herbs. Serve it for breakfast, as a side dish or appetizer. It always works great. I made this bread for my hungry friends and they loved it 🙂 Traditionally a lot of olive oil is used, but if you don’t like it oily then use less. Also try to use fresh herbs but if you don’t have any, dried are fine too. Oh so delicious…

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Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 3 cups flour (450-500gr)
  • 1 sachet dried yeast
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup water

For the topping

  • 3 or 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • thyme
  • oregano
  • rosemary
  • chilli flakes or paprika powder

In a bowl, mix water, yeast and sugar. Let this mixture stand for 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix it up. Knead the mixture for 5-10 minutes or until the dough doesn’t stick anymore (add more flour when necessary). Cover the bowl with a plastic bag and set aside for 30 minutes. Oil the bottom of a baking tray and transfer the dough to it. Spread the dough with your hands. Let it rest for 10 minutes. Press your fingertips in the dough and make dimples. Brush the top with olive oil and herbs and bake your focaccia in a preheated oven at  225°C for about 20 minutes.

Buon appetito 😉

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Couscous

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If there is a dish from the Maghreb which is known worldwide, then it is definitely couscous. It is also one of the most requested recipes on my blog. It’s very delicious, very easy to make, not to mention very healthy. People often confuse couscous with tabbouleh but tabbouleh is made with bulgur, which is a whole grain whereas couscous is made with semolina flour like pasta and thus is not a grain.  Couscous can be prepared with all kinds of meat but traditionally it is prepared with lamb or chicken. I’m not very fond of meat myself, so I skipped the meat but feel free to add whatever you like. I know this is not the proper way of making couscous but it’s certainly the easier way so give it a try!

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Ingredients:

  • 1,5 cup couscous (300 gr)
  • 1 zuchini
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion
  • 1 or 2 potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 can of chick peas
  • 1 chili pepper
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste (optional)
  • 4 cups of water (2 for the couscous, 2 for the sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron powder
  • 1 handful parsley (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Chop up the vegetables. In a large pan heat 3 tablespoons of oil and sauté the onions and garlic for 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir. Add the potatoes and carrots and let it cook for another 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients (the chickpeas and spices at the end). Season with salt and pepper and pour 2 cups of water over it. Let the mixture cook for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a bowl add boiled water to the couscous. Set aside for 10 minutes and let it fully absorb the water. Add 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon olive oil and mix well. Use a fork or your hands to separate the grains. Place couscous on a plate and pour the mixture on top of it. Garnish with parsley if you like.

Good to know:

  • don’t cook the vegetables too long
  • don’t put in too much cumin

bon appétit 😉

Kourabiedes (butter cookies)

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Just when I was thinking what recipe to post on my blog I saw two cookies left in the kitchen waiting for me. I found out they were called: Kourabiedes (pronounced kou-ra-bee-ye-des) or in other words: Greek butter cookies. After tasting these delicious cookies, I immediately ran into the kitchen to make them myself. I had no recipe of it so a little research on the internet was required. These cookies usually made with brandy, ouzo or cognac weren’t the ones I was looking for so I decided to go for my own version leaving out the shot of alcohol.

Kourabiedes – a little confusing for Turkish people – are made during Christmas with brandy, ouzo or cognac. Confusing because the Turkish word ‘kurabiye’ means cookie and therefore, can be any type of cookie when an adjective precedes the word kurabiye, for instance, ‘çikolatali kurabiye ‘means chocolate cookie while kourabiedes only means ‘butter cookies’ in Greek.  Confusing isn’t it? 🙂 I remembered making similar ones before like the Turkish ‘un kurabiyesi’ which is frankly the same as kourabiedes when you leave out the alcohol. Similar to the Greeks we make lots of these during ramadan or other festivities.  So I wondered how different these kourabiedes could be of the un kurabiyesi I had known for whole my life?

Both the Greek word kourabies (singular) as the Turkish word ‘kurabiye’ is derived from the Arabic word ‘urabiyya’ which in turn originated from the Dutch word ‘koekje’ (koekie). Boring I know… In any case, whether the Greek version or the Turkish, these cookies are delicious and are by far my favourites. And the best part? They last for weeks and actually get better the day after so no rush to eat them all at once.

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Ingredients:

  • 225-250g butter (softened)
  • 3 – 4 cups flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • half cup of powdered sugar (4-5 tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

In a bowl whip the butter using a mixer (or easier use melted butter). Add powdered sugar. Mix. Add the egg yolk and vanilla. Mix well. Sift flour and baking powder. Mix or knead well until dough is smooth or until non-sticky (if the mixture is still sticky add more flour). Take walnut-sized pieces of the dough and shape into balls (and slightly flatten them) or crescents. Place the kourabiedes on a tray (covered with baking sheet) and bake in a preheated oven at 175 degrees until slightly brown. Sift powdered sugar over the cookies when taking them out of the oven and sprinkle more before serving.

Perfect with a cup of coffee!

Kali orexi!  😉

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qurabiya

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cookie

Turkish: http://tr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurabiye

Tortilla de patatas

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After spending 10 wonderful days in Andalusia last week, it shouldn’t suprise you that the next recipe is a typical Spanish one. Tortilla de patatas (papas for short), or in other words the Spanish omelette is probably one of the most traditional and the most famous dishes in Spain. You can eat it hot or cold. In Spain it is often served as tapas or it is eaten as a sandwich (bocadillo). I know it’s not a breakfast dish but I like to eat mine for breakfast with bread and alioli. The most basic ingredients are potatoes, eggs, olive oil and salt (depending on the region also onion, peppers and garlic is used) but you can add whatever you like to it (I like mine with garlic, onion and parsley). A must-try for everyone!

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Ingredients:

  • 4 or 5 potatoes
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 onion
  • parsley (optional)
  • 1 garlic (optional)
  • 1 cup olive oil (enough oil to fry your potatoes and onion)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the onion and the potatoes into thin slices. Pour olive oil in a pan. Add the potatoes and fry them a couple of minutes. Add the onion, garlic and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and let the mixture cook, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat before your potatoes turn brown. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Add the potato mixture to the eggs. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan. Pour the mixture in the pan and let it cook on medium heat. Flip the tortilla when it’s slightly brown on the bottom (using a flat plate that covers the pan). Slide the tortilla back into the pan and cook the other side. ¡Ya está!

¡Qué aproveche! 😉

Tip: The thickness of the tortilla depends on the size of the pan. Use a smaller one if you want a thicker tortilla.

Penne Arrabbiata

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I love pasta (all kinds of it) but there is nothing so good as a good penne Arrabbiata. It is one of my favourite pasta recipes. A good penne Arrabbiata is hot (very hot in my case). The name actually explains why it’s eaten hot and spicy. In Italian, arrabbiata means ‘angry’, referring to the added chili peppers or chili flakes in it that gives its nice spicy taste. I prepared this dish yesterday to a friend of mine and she just loved it. Now it’s up to you…

Ingredients:

  • 500g penne
  • 3 garlic cloves  (4 for garlic lovers)
  • 2 onions (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste (or passata di pomodoro)
  • 2 teaspoons sambal (optional)
  • 1 chili pepper (or 2 teaspoons chili flakes)
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • handful fresh basil leaves
  • Parmesan cheese (or any other cheese)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta in salted water, drain it and put it back in the same pot. Chop the onions, garlic cloves and chili pepper into small pieces. Take a saucepan and put olive oil in it, let it heat and add one by one your chopped vegetables (starting with the onions). Let them fry for a few minutes and add the tomato paste and sambal to it. Season with salt and pepper (and chili flakes) and mix. Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir for a few seconds on high heat. Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese (I forgot to take a picture with the cheese, but I’m sure you get the picture) on top and garnish with fresh basil.

Serve with salad!

Buon appetito! 😉

Poğaça

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I know that my promise of a new recipe every 10 days have passed but I had to take several weeks off because of other urgent things I had to do (sounds very mysterious but it’s not believe me :D) Now that everything (well, almost everything) is over, I’ll have more time to keep my blog updated I PROMISE 🙂  To show my good will here is the last recipe out of the 3, which is called Poğaça (pronounced poha-cha). Poğaça is a traditional pastry eaten in Turkey, especially during breakfast.  The traditional ones are prepared with feta cheese and parsley or just plain and you can find these anywhere. There are other types of Pogaça in Turkey (stuffed with meat or vegetables, sweet ones etc.) but this one is the most simple one. Traditionally, these buns are prepared with fresh yeast, for a better texture, but I had no fresh yeast or feta cheese so I kept it simple 🙂

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Ingredients (for about 15 pieces):
  • half cup milk or yoghurt
  • 3 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons oil (or half cup of oil, sunflower preferred)
  • 1, 5 cup of flour
  • 1 sachet baking powder (or dried yeast)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Separate the egg yolk from the white in a small bowl. Mix in a large bowl all the other ingredients. Knead for about 10 minutes to get a soft non-sticky dough (the sticky dough becomes non-sticky so don’t worry).  Cover the dough and let it rest in the fridge for 1 hour. Take out the dough and divide it into small balls. Flatten the balls a bit, brush the top with egg yolk and sprinkle some nigella and/or sesame seeds on it. Place the poğaças on a tray covered with baking sheet and bake them in a preheated oven at 175C till they are brown.
Great with Turkish tea 😉
Afiyet olsun!

Köfte (Turkish meatballs)

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Such a long time ago I know…but I had a very good reason to neglect my blog (exams, thesis etc.) but I’m back for more! 🙂 Let’s move on to our recipe. Today’s dish and the 2nd out of the 3 will be köfte. According to Wikipedia (check link below) it is believed that there are 291 different kinds of meatballs in Turkey. To be honest, I don’t know if there are that many and I haven’t tasted them all but I do know at least 15 of them. Köfte (in different spellings) is also eaten throughout the Middle East and the Maghreb. You can find them in different shapes and different tastes. It’s up to you to choose the right one to your taste. In Morocco for instance, they add spices like cinnamon and coriander to köfte (or kefta) to give it a sweet flavour. In Turkey and Greece however this is not a common thing to do because köftes are eaten more spicier. The recipe I am giving is the Turkish version, slighty adapted to my taste 🙂

ingredients:

  • 500 grams minced meat (lamb or beef or a mixture but I prefer beef)
  • 2 onions
  • 3 slices of old dry bread or 2 or 3  tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 egg
  • Bunch of parsley (flat leave preferred)
  • 2 tomatoes or 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (optional)
  • half a teaspoon oregano (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons hot chili flakes
  • salt and pepper

Chop the onions and parsley fine, mince the garlic cloves, add them with the tomatoes and bread crumbs to the meat. Add your spices and beat the egg and start kneading the mixture for about 10 minutes. After kneading, leave it to rest in the fridge for about 3 hours (a day is even better). Take it out of the fridge and shape them into little (flat) balls. Place the köftes on a tray and bake them in the oven until they get brown. You can also grill them or fry them in a pan. All cooking methods are fine but I prefer the oven because it’s less greasy 🙂

Serve with Turkish bread, salad and ayran! Or with the cacik sauce 😉

Afiyet olsun!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kofta