Posted in Bread, British Cuisine, Cheese, Mediterranean, Quick and Easy, Snacks, Toast, Turkish Cuisine, Vegetarian

Tina’s Pide Toasties

There is nothing like a tasty toastie to fill a rumbling tummy.  Anyone who knows me well, knows that I don’t just love cheese, I ADORE it!  So here is my 3 cheese creation made with pide, which is a kind of flatbread that is very popular here in Turkey.  It can fill one hungry tummy, or be split in half and served with coleslaw or a little salad for two!  You can change the contents and add ham or tomatoes, depending on your preferences.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

2 pieces of Pide bread (Flat bread)

A large spoon of soft cheese (Labne / Philadelphia)

A couple of slices of Goat’s cheese

A large handful of grated cheese (Cheddar or Kaşar)

A few slices of onion

A few slices of green pepper

Salt, Pepper, Oregano and some chilli flakes (for seasoning)

Method

Firstly switch the toasting machine on to heat up.

Lay a piece of Pide, bottom side facing up, on the chopping board (or a plate) and spread the soft cheese on it.

Next, crumble the white Goat’s cheese over the top.

Now sprinkle the grated cheese over this.

Place the sliced onions and peppers on top, season, then place the second piece of Pide, bottom side down on the top.

Press down on it to flatten a little, then place in the toasting machine.  I usually brush a little olive oil on the outside of the toast to make it crispy.

Once cooked, serve on its own or with a side of coleslaw or salad.

 

 

 

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Posted in Biscuits & Cookies, British Cuisine, Cakes, Cheese, Chocolate, Mediterranean, Oven, Uncategorized

Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

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Living in Bodrum, a once small Aegean town in Turkey, which is growing rapidly each year, you cannot miss the abundance of orange and mandarin trees.  With not only the Christmas season upon us, but with it being the season to harvest all those sweet fruits, I thought it would be the perfect time to make a chocolate orange cheesecake, to remind me of my favourite Christmas treat, Terry’s Chocolate Orange which I can’t get here.

The recipe is quite simple to follow so you do not need to be a master chef to bake this cake.

Ingredients

Base

250 g digestive biscuits

100 g melted butter

Filling

200 g labne (mascarpone)

200 g soft white cheese (Philadelphia)

200 g suzme peynir (a type of soft white cheese in Turkey)

150 g thick cream

3 whole eggs and 1 yolk

75 g sugar

3-4 tablespoons orange flavouring

Zest of one large orange

100 g chocolate chips

Topping

200 ml bitter chocolate

300 ml thick whipping cream

2 tsps sugar

2-3 tblsps orange flavouring

Sliced baby oranges and a star anise for decoration

Method

First of all prepare your baking tray.  Line a spring release cake tin (approx. 20 cm) with baking paper.  Cover the underneath with aluminium foil to seal it.  If you have a release tin with a lipped tray that holds the water you don’t need to use the foil or submerge in another dish of water.

For the base

Break the biscuits in a bag, then using a rolling pin roll over them until finely crushed. Alternatively you can use a blender.

Mix into the melted butter and mix well until all combined.

Place into the cake tin and spread out pressing down firmly with the back of a spoon.  If you have too many you can press against the sides too.  (This may be the case if your tin is a little smaller) Place the cake tin in the refrigerator to chill for around 30 minutes.

Now pre-heat your oven to 180°c.

For the filling

Place the eggs in a bowl and whisk.  Then add the sugar and the cream and whisk together.

Place the labne (mascarpone), soft white cheese (Philadelphia) and the suzme peynir (a type of soft white cheese in Turkey) into a separate bowl and mash together until smooth.

Now add this to the first bowl containing the eggs, cream and sugar along with the orange zest and then add the orange flavouring and whisk together until smooth.  Finally, add the chocolate chips and stir gently to spread evenly.

Pour onto the cheesecake base and level out with the back of a spoon.  Make sure to get into the corners if not a round tin. Place the tin into another larger bowl or tray with water about one third of the way up the sides in order to stop the cake from cracking.

Place in the oven for 55-60 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool then cover with stretch film and place in the fridge over night for best results.

Topping

Break the bitter chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl.  In a small saucepan, heat the whipping cream until it almost comes to a boil.  Pour the hot cream over the broken chocolate and stir continuously until all the chocolate has dissolved and you have a smooth chocolate topping.  Add the orange flavouring and decorate with the sliced oranges and star anise.

 

 

Posted in Fish, Indian, Thai & Chinese Cuisine, Mediterranean, Oven, Sauces, Side dishes, Turkish Cuisine

Prawn Casserole with an Eastern Asian twist

On a cold wintery evening, there is nothing better to warm you up than a nice casserole.  And, what could be better than giving it a little bit of a Thai kick! This recipe is based on a typical Turkish hot meze (appetiser) dish known as Karides Güveç (Prawn Casserole) with a few extra touches of my own.

I used frozen prawns, but of course you can use fresh ones, just make sure you clean them carefully first.  I also use pepper paste instead of tomato puree as it does not give you the burns as tomato puree tends to give some people.

This recipe serves 2-4 depending on the size of serving dish.

Ingredients

250 g prawns (cleaned)

1 medium onion (finely chopped)

1 or 2 gloves of garlic (crushed)

1 red pepper & 1 green pepper (finely chopped)

A handful of mushrooms (cut in half then thinly sliced)

A handful of capers

8 cherry tomatoes (chopped) – 2 regular tomatoes can be used instead

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 tbsp of sesame oil

1 tbsp of oyster sauce

1-2 tbsps of pepper paste (or tomato puree)

1 tsp of hot sauce (optional)

A glass of white wine (optional)

500ml boiling water (for stock)

Salt and pepper and some oregano for seasoning

Grated cheese for garnishing (about one handful)

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180°c. Put the olive oil and sesame oil in a frying pan (or wok) over a medium heat and fry the onions for 3-4 minutes.

Then add the peppers and garlic and continue frying.  Next add the mushrooms and the tomatoes. Now add the prawns.

Pour in a glass of white wine (optional).  In a jug, mix the pepper paste and boiling water with the oyster sauce and stir. Add this to the pan and stir.  Finally add the capers and the hot sauce and simmer for a few minutes. Season as preferred with salt and pepper and oregano.

Transfer the mixture into small casserole dishes and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Bake for about 10-15 minutes in the oven at 180c, then, serve with chunky bread for dipping.

Posted in American Cuisine, Barbecue, Beef Dishes, British Cuisine, Casseroles, Greek, Indian, Thai & Chinese Cuisine, Italian Cuisine, Mediterranean, Oven, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Turkish Cuisine

Basic Meatball / Burger Mixture

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This is a basic recipe that can be used to make all kinds of meatballs or burgers.  In Turkey we like our Köfte, which are meatballs flattened into small discs.  In Italian and Indian cooking I tend to roll the meatballs into small balls.  You can even put small cubes of cheese in the middle of the balls which are especially nice when cooked in a tomato sauce and served with spaghetti. This is my husband’s recipe which he learned from his mother.

Ingredients

500 g minced beef

1 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs (if using freshly ground – only use half a cup if using fine breadcrumbs bought in the shop or it will be too dry)

1 egg

1 onion (finely grated)

1 tsp cumin

A pinch of thyme

Salt & pepper

A pinch of hot chilli flakes (optional)

Method

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with your hand.  Knead it for a good few minutes then form into a ball.

Now you can pull off small amounts to form into meatballs which you can freeze for later or cook straight away.  You can also divide up larger amounts to make burgers too.

Posted in American Cuisine, British Cuisine, Indian, Thai & Chinese Cuisine, Mediterranean, Mexican, Quick and Easy, Side dishes, Stir fry, Vegetarian

Perfect Rice

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Cooking rice can be rather hit or miss.  Either it can be bland, or puffy and over cooked, it isn’t as easy as you think.  But now I have a fool-proof recipe.  This recipe is based on 2 people so double amounts accordingly.

Ingredients

1 cup of rice (I use Jasmine)

2 cups of water

a pinch of salt

1 stock cube (chicken, meat or vegetable)

1 tbsp olive oil

Method

Put the olive oil, rice and salt in a flat bottom pan (as in the photo) and fry over a medium heat on the hob for about a minute stirring continuously.

Add the water and stir.

Cover pan with a lid and simmer over a low heat until all the water has evaporated (approx 20-25 minutes).

Serve hot.

**You can also add grated ginger or turmeric powder for added flavours.  Ginger goes nice with Chinese dishes, and the turmeric for Indian.

Left over rice can be chilled in the fridge over night and is then perfect for fried rice dishes.

 

Posted in Greek, Mediterranean, Quick and Easy, Stir fry, Vegetarian

Stir-fried String Beans

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String beans do not need to be boring and bland.  A little imagination and a few minutes more in the kitchen can vastly change the taste of these delicious and healthy beans, and can change the whole look of a meal.

Ingredients

250 g fresh string beans

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp grated ginger

2 pinches freshly ground coriander seeds

2 pinches of rock salt

2 pinches of black pepper

1 tsp garlic butter (optional)

Bowl of ice water (enough to cool beans)

Method

Boil water in the kettle and pour into a saucepan.  Put in the beans and cook on a medium heat for 7-10 minutes or until al dente.

Remove from the heat and immediately transfer the beans into a bowl of ice water.  This stops the cooking process which avoids them becoming too soggy.

Towel dry and allow to cool a little.  (You can cook larger amounts and keep in the fridge wrapped in a cloth for a couple of days to fry later if you wish)

Place a  big frying pan or wok over a high heat with the olive oil and toss in the beans stirring occasionally.

Add the ginger, coriander, salt and pepper along with the garlic butter, and cook until they start to brown.

Serve.

 

 

 

Posted in Cakes, Cheese, Greek, Mediterranean, Oven, Vegetarian

Lemon Cheesecake

cheesecake

I have tried many quick and easy no bake cheesecake recipes but was never really satisfied. Having been inspired by our good friend Deniz’s recipe, this is what we came up with and so far people are loving it.  So here is the recipe.

Stage 1

Ingredients for the base:

3 packets of digestive biscuits (finely crumbled) by using a colander.

60 grams melted butter

2-3 tbsps of milk

Method for the base:

Line a 24 cm spring release cake tin with greaseproof paper, on the base and the sides.

Mix the crumbled biscuits, butter and milk.

Press the mixture into the tin, pushing down firmly with the back of a spoon.

Place in the fridge for about half an hour while preparing the next stage.

Stage 2

Ingredients for the cream:

400 g Philadelphia Cheese

300 ml natural yoghurt

3 eggs

250 g sugar

2 tbsp flour

1 tbsp corn starch

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Method for the cream:

Mix the Philadelphia cheese and yoghurt in a blender on the lowest speed.

Then add the eggs into it one by one. Add the sugar, zest then the starch and finally sift the flour.

Add the mixture onto the base and bake it for 40-45 minutes at 165°c. While it is cooking it will rise but do not worry as it will get flatter once it cools down.

Once it has completely cooled, cover with a cloth and refridgerate over night.

Stage 3

Ingredients for the topping:

100 ml milk

100 ml water

2 tbsps sugar

1 heaped tbsp corn starch

1 heaped tbsp corn flour

1 tsp honey

Juice of 1 lemon

Zest of 2 lemons

1 heaped tbsp turmeric powder

1 packet (5 g) vanilla

1 tsp butter

Method for the topping:

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, then cook in a pan until it has some texture.  Allow to cool.

Pour the topping over the cream mixture in the cake tin. Allow to set for a few hours in the fridge.