Monday, 15 November 2010

Molho Vinagrete (vinaigrette salsa)


1 cup of chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup of chopped onions
1/2 cup of chopped parsley
2 table spoons of olive oil
2 table spoons of any lime juice (or vinegar)
Salt (or some flavoring powder)
Black pepper


Put the tomatoes, onions, parsley, lime juice, flavoring power and olive oil in a bow. Add a bit of water and a bit of sugar, and mix everything. (Add the pepper if you want to)

Hint: If you're using salt instead of flavoring powder, add the salt right before serving. Salt dehydrates the tomatoes in the mixture if let for long time.

Marinated BBQ Chicken


750 g of Chicken Thighs/Legs/Wings (with the skin)
2 spoons of Vinegar
2 squeezed Limes
1 full spoon of Paprika
1 cup of chopped parsley
3 gloves of garlic (chopped)
Sea salt (as much as you like – if you put too much the chicken only absorbs the right amount)


Mix all the ingredients with your hands and than marinate it for at least 2 hours.

Place the chicken on the BBQ not close to the fire and eventually turn the chicken. It’s meant to be slowly cooked.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Chocolate Mousse (Julia Childs style)

Six to eight servings

6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 ounces (170g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup (60ml) dark-brewed coffee
4 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup (170g), plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons (30ml) dark rum (optional)
1 tablespoon (15ml) water
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Heat a saucepan one-third full with hot water, and in a bowl set on top, melt together the chocolate, butter and coffee, stirring over the barely simmering water, until smooth. Remove from heat.

2. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.

3. In a bowl large enough to nest securely on the saucepan of simmering water, whisk the yolks of the eggs with the 2/3 cup of sugar, rum if using, and water for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick, like runny mayonnaise. (You can also use a handheld electric mixer.)

3. Remove from heat and place the bowl of whipped egg yolks within the bowl of ice water and beat until cool and thick, as shown in the photo above. Then fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.

4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until frothy. Continue to beat until they start to hold their shape. Whip in the tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff, then add the vanilla.

5. Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites just until incorporated, but don’t overdo it or the mousse will lose volume.

6. Transfer the mousse to a serving bowl or divide into serving dishes, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm (at cooking club we refridgerated it for about an hour and it was set ok).

Storage: The mousse au chocolat can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.
Serving: It can be served on it's own as it really is unbelievably good. If you must, then a little dollop of cream might add a little something.

At cooking club I followed the recipe from my Julia Childs cook book but for these purposes I've uploaded the recipe from as it saves me having to type it all out!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Ratatouille (Julia Childs style)

From Julia: A really good ratatouille is not one of the quicker dishes to make as each element is cooked separately before it is arranged into a casserole to partake of a brief communal simmer. This recipe is the only one we know of which produces a ratatouille in which each vegetable retains its own shape and character. Happily a ratatouille may be cooked completely the day before it is to be served, and it seems to gain in flavour when it is reheated.

From me: This is how ratatouille is supposed to taste. It’s amazing and in my opinion it’s worth the extra effort over simply chopping the ingredients up and putting them in the oven. Just try it, taste it and you’ll be converted!

Ingredients (for 6-8 people as a side dish)

1lb eggplant (aubergine)
1lb zucchini (courgettes)
1lb fine, ripe, red tomatoes, peeled, seeded and juiced (to make this process easier, I get a good tin of plum tomatoes and then cut the flesh up, trying not to add to much of the liquid)
Half lb yellow onions
2 green peppers
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp chopped parsley
6-7 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
Salt and pepper to taste
You will also need a large frying pan or saucepan with a lid and a casserole dish (for use on the hob).

In this section of the ‘method’, the aim is to cook each of the vegetables individually to soften them and to concentrate their flavour. The latter task is achieved by cooking the vegetables slowly so they ‘render ‘or give out their juices, then basting the vegetables with these juices and then evaporating the juices off. Whilst this may seem like a cumbersome task, this is what gives this ratatouille its intense flavour. I’ve done this several times now and I’ve got it down to quite a quick process. It can be done!

1.Peel the eggplant and cut lengthwise slices about 3/8 thick, 3 inches long and 1 inch wide. Scrub the zucchini, slice off the two ends, and cut into slices about the same size as the eggplant. Place the vegetables in a bowl and toss with the salt. Let stand for 30 mins. Drain. Dry each slice with a towel.
2.Meanwhile, you can start preparing your other vegetables. Thinly slice the onions. Slice the green peppers into strips. Crush or chop the garlic. Chop up the parsley. Slice the tomato pulp into largish strips (about the same as the eggplant etc.) and remove as much juice as possible.
3.Once the eggplant and zucchini are ready, sauté them in a large frying pan in hot oil for about 1 minute on each side or until they have lightly browned. Remove to a side dish.
4.In the same pan, sauté the onions and peppers slowly (you’ll need to turn the heat down) for about 10 minutes or until tender but not browned. Stir in the garlic and season to taste.
5.Lay the sliced tomato pulp over the onions and peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over a low heat for about 5 minutes or until the tomatoes have started to render their juices. Uncover, baste the tomatoes in the juices from the bottom of the pan, raise the heat and boil for several minutes, until the juice has largely evaporated.

Now is the time to combine all the ingredients. Here the method is very similar to before. We are concentrating the flavours of the vegetables together through the process of rendering their juices, basting them and evaporating the juices. You’ll be an expert by now!

6.You need to layer the vegetables in the casserole. How many layers you do will depend on the size of your casserole dish. Ideally you should start and end with tomatoes, so adapt these instructions to suit what you have. Place a third of the tomato mixture in the bottom of the casserole dish. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of parsley over the mixture. Arrange half of the eggplant and zucchini mixture over the top. Then repeat with half of the tomatoes, more parsley, the last of the eggplant/zucchini, and tomatoes and parsley again.
7.Cover the casserole dish and and simmer over a low heat for 10 minutes. Uncover, tip and baste with the rendered juices. Correct the seasoning if necessary. Raise the heat slightly and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes, basting several times until the juices have mostly evaporated. Be careful with your heat, do not let the vegetables burn at the bottom of the dish.
8.Either eat it hot with a fresh baguette or as an accompaniment to a main dish. Otherwise, leave it to cool and reheat it later (or eat it cold).

Shepherd's Salad (Coban Salatasi)

Ingredients (serves 6 as a side salad)

2 salad tomatoes (or equivalent of other tomatoes), finely chopped
half an onion, finely sliced. (The authentic recipe has raw onions but if you don't like them then lightly saute the onions and let them cool before adding them to the salad)
1 cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
1 pepper, seeded and finely chopped
flat-leaf parsley (quantity to suit your tastes, I put in about 4-5 stems worth), chopped
A couple of good tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Juice of three-quarters of a lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste


Put all the chopped fruit and vegetables, together with the parsley, in a bowl and mix well. Make a dressing from the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. This is the typical dressing used for most Turkish salads, zingy and delicious, just make sure you have a very good quality olive oil (Turkish if possible!) that is tasty but not bitter. Just before serving, add the dressing to the salad and mix thoroughly. Feel free to splosh in some more olive oil if you think it needs a little extra.

You can always add feta cheese or other salad ingredients as you like.

This is a fantastic, quick salad to accompany any spicy or flavoursome main dish.


Turkish Meatballs (Kofte)

Ingredients (serves 6)

750 grams minced meat (lamb/mutton or beef, a mixture works well)
2 small onions, finely chopped or grated
2 slices of dry bread (without the crust)
1 whole egg
1 bunch of parsley
1 teaspoon cumin
3 teaspoons sea salt


These meatballs (called Kofte in Turkish) are a popular food found all over Turkey. They come in many different shapes and probably have slightly different levels of spicing but the basic ingredients are the same. You can fiddle with the recipe to suit your own tastes.

1. Soak the slices of bread in water, until they’re properly sopping. Squeeze out excess water, and crumble the bread over the meat in a big bowl. (The bread can be omitted if you wish to avoid it). Then add in all the other ingredients, and knead well.

2. Scoop up egg sized pieces of the mixture. You can either flatten them into small burger shapes or roll them in your hand to form short stubby fingers. Whichever, make sure you press the mixture firmly so it stays together when cooking.

3. Heat a large frying pan and fry the meatballs on a medium heat until they are brown on both sides and cooked through. If the pan is non-stick you shouldn't need any oil. Otherwise, use a little bit to get the first batch started. If you're frying more than one batch, you might like to get rid of the oil after each batch has finished cooking.

Meatballs can be served hot with fresh bread, raw onions, salad and chillies. Rice or bulgar wheat are good accompaniments too. Turkish will often eat meatballs with natural yoghurt and a salad such as the Shepherd's salad (recipe also on this blog) accompanied with a glass of Raki.

These meatballs are also very tasty eaten cold the next day, and so make perfect picnic fare.


Saturday, 2 October 2010

Amaretti - Italian almond cookies

Makes about 15 cookies.

3 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
(this is if you are using the thinner, american type extract, use much less for the oil based extracts you see in the UK)
2 cups almonds, ground in a food processor
(or buy them ready ground)

Whip whites until stiff peaks form. Gradually add sugar until whites are very stiff and glossy. Fold in extract and almonds.

Cover baking sheet with paper and dust it with cornflour (optional). Spoon mixture into oval shapes, about 1 inch apart. Let rest for one hour at room temperature.

Bake amaretti in 150 C oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until very slightly brown. turn off oven, open door slightly and let dry and cool for 15 minutes.

Stuffed Tomato with Eggplant

We made twice this amount, to have 8 tomatoes.

4 medium tomatoes (or 2 beef tomatoes)
1 onion, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 eggplant, cut in cubes
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tbsp basil, chopped
1/3 cup feta cheese, cut in cubes
1 slice day old Turkish bread (or French or Italian), without crust, crumbled
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp crushed pepper

Cut off the tops of the tomatoes using a small knife. Then spoon out the
inside of the tomatoes and cut them in small pieces, put aside.

Saute the onion with olive oil in a medium sized pan. Add the garlic. When
the smell comes out, add the tomato pieces and eggplant. Saute for about 10
minutes on medium low heat. Then turn the heat off. Add the rest of the
filling ingredients and stir. Fill the tomatoes using a teaspoon.

Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C). Place the stuffed tomatoes in a greased
casserole dish and bake for about 30 minutes.

(Patlıcanlı Domates Dolması, modified from Binnur's cookbook, online)

Monday, 7 June 2010

japanese vegetable hotpot (mizutaki)

serves 10 (generously)


2/3 cup lime juice (5 limes)

1 1/2 cup tamari

2 tbsp sake / sherry

1 cup finely grated daikon

4 tsp grated ginger

1 cup chopped green onions


2 md cabbage, cut in to ½ by 2 inch pieces (we used a variety of greens)

4 green onion bunches, cut in to 2 inch pieces

2 leeks, rinsed, narrow rings (discard dark green)

1 kg mushrooms, halved (use normal and all shitakes that we bought)

0.5 kg spinach, washed

1 tofu cake, ½ inch cubes

1 pound shrimp (should be raw, but we used cooked)


3 cups water

8 inch konbu

Sauce: combine sake, tamari and lime juice (start with 2/3 and then add more to taste) and heat on low. Put dry ingredients in individual bowls. Add some of the sauce.

You need strong heat for this, stronger than the fondue we tried on the night. We have since done it with a table top hotplate and that rocked.

Start hotpot. Add konbu to cold water and boil, simmer for 2 minutes. Discard konbu.

With guests seated, add a little bit of each ingredient in the specified order. Then serve some people. Then repeat process. Order: leeks and tofu, then cabbage and mushrooms, then green onions, when nearly ready spinach (one minute only). Raw shrimp would have gone in first, cooked shrimp go in when serving. You can add rice to your bowl if you want to.

Saturday, 5 June 2010


We made way too much on the day, so I tried to adjust the recipe for about 4 people. In the end, it is hard to guess the right quantities with sushi because it all depends on how yummy you make it, and whether you have any substantial sides.


1 1/2 cups of Sushi rice (do not use normal rice, it won't work). You need approx 1/4 cup dry rice per roll of sushi.

Sushi dressing: 3 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tbsp suger, 1 tsp salt. Slowly heat vinegar and dissolve sugar and salt, do heat too much.

Step 1 (Early)

  • Wash sushi rice, drain in sieve and let stand for 1h

  • cook sushi rice, let stand for an additional 10 min

  • mix vinegar in and cool rice by spreading it out on a flat surface (cookie tray) and fanning it

Step 2 (Pre cooking)

  • make dashi (broth) from a 7 inch piece of konbu (japanese seaweed), simmer for 20 min

  • Cut 1 box of Portabello mushrooms in strips and fry with some garlic on medium heat.

  • make sushi style omelet, see below

  • cook edamame (young soy beans): Dump 1/2 bag frozen edamame in lg pot of boiling water, heat for 3-4 min, drain and sprinkle with salt

Step 3 (Cutting for sushi)

  • cut 2/3 cucumber in 4 inch strips

  • cut pickled 2 or 3 peppers in strips

  • cut 1 carrot in thin strips

  • cut 2/3 box of surimi (crab sticks) into strips

  • avocado: half, destone, strips, you probably need only half for the sushi but the rest tends to disappear anyway

  • cut some pickles into thin strips

Rolls that we will make:





avocado, surimi, cucumber, (sesame)

Portabello strips, (pickled bell pepper)

pickles, cucumber, avocado, daikon, sesame seeds, smoked salmon

surimi, edamame (whole)

NY - Smoked salmon



cucumber, cream cheese, smoked salmon

cucumber, carrot (cream cheese)

omelet, cucumber (mushrooms)

Sushi style omelet -Tamago yaki
Yield: 1 roll or sheet.

Beat four large eggs, 4 Tablespoons dashi (stock, see below), 1 Tablespoon sugar (or more to taste), 1 teaspoon mirin (sweet rice wine), 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce, and salt to taste. Strain as before. In a well-oiled tamago pan, pour in about a quarter of the mixture and spread as if making a crepe. As the mixture cooks, and as it bubbles and sets, roll it and move to the back of the pan. Reoil the pan and add more mixture, being sure to get some under the roll. Again, as it cooks, roll the roll to the front of the pan, then move to the back. Repeat until all the mixture is cooked. Remove the roll from the pan and roll as if for a sushi roll and squeeze out excess liquid. It can be rolled into a round or rectangular shape, then is sliced when cooled.