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.



  • 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!  😉



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



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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 🙂


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!


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So just got back from a lovely holiday in Turkey. I had a great time eating all that delicious Turkish food and discovering the beauty of the country. The best part was the sun (of course), eating watermelons 3 times a day, visiting family members and shopping 🙂 While being back in cold Belgium and trying to adapt myself is hard I find making lots of Turkish food quite helps. Therefore, the next few weeks I’ll be sharing 3 Turkish recipes. Today’s recipe and the first out of the 3 will be Cacik! This dish eaten throughout almost all the former Ottoman countries, is very delicious and again very simple to make. It is made with yoghurt, which is actually a Turkish word. Anyone who has ever been to Turkey knows that yoghurt occupies an important place in the Turkish cuisine. Cacik is eaten as an appetizer (meze), sauce or as a side dish. Thick or diluted with water (depending on the occasion and food served) it can be served alongside everything, especially with meat dishes and rice. I think it’s an excellent choice on hot summer days for its refreshing and healthy ingredients. Cacik is quite similar to the Greek tzatziki (except that tzatziki is only consumed in the thicker version).

For approximately 3 bowls the ingredients are:

  • 1/2 cucumber (if you’re using the European ones)
  • 1,5 cup plain yoghurt (Turkish or Greek)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • mint (dried or fresh)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • dill (dried or fresh)
  • half a glass water
  • Some salt to taste

Chop the cucumber finely or grate it (I always grate it) in a bowl. Add the yoghurt and mix to see if you need more. Crush the garlic and add it to the yoghurt. Lastly, add the spices (I prefer mint and dill but thyme is fine if you don’t have dill) and the water. Stir until you get a smooth consistency. Leave it in the fridge for a few hours so the ingredients can blend nicely. Pour into bowls, garnish with fresh mint leaves, drizzle some olive oil on top and serve.

Like I said, this recipe is so great that it goes with everything. Besides using it as a dip sauce, meze and side dish, Turks also eat it on its own as a soup (similar to the Spanish gazpacho) by mixing it with ice cold water.

Afiyet olsun!

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!