Month: April 2012

Spicy cake with fresh fruit

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Hello all! Long time no see. I’ve been busy with uni and still pulling long hours these days that writing recipes is only possible when I’m feeling ill or tired 🙂 That said, there is this recipe I wanted to share with you weeks ago. A fruitcake or a cake with fruits (and I mean real fruit not dried) with cinnamon and ginger.  This incredibly delicious fruitcake is very light and cheap to make. Very light because it’s low in sugar and low in fat. In Turkey, this cake is especially eaten in fall, when fruit is in abundance or during cold winter days when we need some food to fight our depression (hey any excuse at that point is good to eat cake :)). Good thing is that this recipe is not bound to any specific recipe. You can add all sorts of fruit or spices. Just include your own favourites.  I’ve made it with fruits I had home. Next time I will definitely add some raisins or walnuts to it. Yummy with a cup of coffee!

Ingredients (suitable for 10):

  • Fruit: 1 apple, 1 pear, 2 mandarins, 1 orange, 2 kiwis (I only had one at home)
  • 2,5  cups flour
  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • half a teaspoon ginger powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 sachet baking powder
  • 1 sachet vanilla (5 g)

Chop the fruits into small cubes. Mix with 1 tablespoon of flour (to avoid sinking when baking) and set aside. In a mixing bowl beat the sugar and eggs until creamy. Add the milk and oil to the mixture. Mix the flour, the baking powder and the rest of the ingredients to it. Stir once, then add your fruits. Stir again and put to mixture in a cake pan. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour in preheated oven at 180C.

Enjoy!

Hummus

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Who doesn’t love hummus right? This simple but delicious recipe is probably the most well-known Middle Eastern dish. Everyone knows that it tastes different everywhere. As for me, I always prepare the version with sumac or za’atar (a mix of dried herbs like thyme, oregano, sumac, chili, and salt) which is the Palestinian or Lebanese version. I find the Turkish one quite strong due to it’s overuse of tahini. What I most love about hummus is that not only it’s easy to make but you can’t go wrong with it. Also good news if you’re obsessed with your weight 🙂 This -rich in protein- dish helps you control your sweet cravings and gives you a full and satisfied feeling.

Without food processor

With food processor

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (265ml) of chickpeas
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 or 1 lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame paste (tahini)
  • salt and pepper
  • parsley and basil (optional)
  • sumac (or za’atar)
  • olive oil and 2 tablespoons sunflower oil (for the mixture)

Mash the garlic, add the chickpeas and lemon juice. Mix the other ingredients until it’s smooth (use a food processor otherwise you’ll get a sticky mess (first picture). Drizzle some (1 tablespoon is sufficient) olive oil on top and garnish with chopped parsley and sumac! Add 2 tablespoons of water if the mixture is still thick.

Very delicious with toasted pita bread or nacho chips!

Salep (Sahlep)

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Yesterday, a friend of mine gave me pure dried salep. I was familiar with salep of course but I’ve always had those instant salep mixes. She ensured me real salep was different, so I’ve decided to give it a try. I must say for a first attempt the result was: delicious!!! It tastes like Turkish ice cream (which is very different than the ice creams we know). A bit of useful information on Salep: Salep is a traditional Turkish drink. It was a popular beverage during the reign of the Ottoman Empire. It is produced from the bulbs of some species of the orchid family. They only grow in certain regions in Turkey. Real salep is expensive so the more expensive the better. You can find it (the instant ones) in your local Turkish supermarket, but for the real ones you should go to Turkey or any other former Ottoman land.  All I can say is try it out and you’ll find out 🙂

For two cups you’ll need:

  • 1 teaspoon of salep,
  • 2 cups of whole milk,
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar (optional)
  • vanilla (optional)
  • cinnamon

Mix the salep, the milk and sugar in a pan. Stir on low heat until you have a thicker consistency. (When removing from the stove you can add some vanilla). Pour into a cup and garnish it with some cinnamon on top. You can also add some chopped walnuts or pistachios as a topping.

Afiyet olsun!

PS I’m not even mentioning the health benefits. Just look it up 🙂

Sütlaç (Turkish rice pudding)

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One of my favourite desserts is rice pudding. Not just any rice pudding but the traditional Turkish one. Originated from the Ottoman cuisine, it is a light and nutritious dessert. Although, every country has its own rice pudding recipe, for instance, the Spanish have their ‘arroz con leche’, the French their riz au lait’, the Flemish and the Dutch their ‘rijstpap/rijstebrij’, the Arabs their ‘Riz bi haleeb’ and etc., I only have a craving for the Turkish version. While most of the countries use cream along with milk, the Turkish one is just made with milk. Actually, I think it’s one of the most plain rice puddings out there using simple ingredients. Originally, in the Ottoman palaces this dish was made with rosewater. If you like rosewater I would strongly recommend you to try this dish out by adding 3 tablespoons of rosewater (and maybe 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom for a Persian version).

For 10 small bowls you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of white rice (any rice is ok, but I prefer the broken one or short one)
  • 1l of whole millk
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 sachet of vanilla (optional)
  • rice flour or corn starch (optional)
  • rosewater (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped pistachios or pistachio powder
  • cinnamon

Pour the rice and water in a pan and cook till the water is almost absorbed. Add the milk and stir gently (prevents sticking) until the milk starts to cook. Mix one spoon of rice flour with a cup of water and add to the mixture. Then add the sugar and vanilla and stir for another 5 minutes before removing from the stove. Garnish with cinnamon, chopped pistachios or almonds on top. Serve cold.

Afiyet olsun!