Monthly Archives: October 2013

Sweet and Sour Aubergines from Claudia Roden

sweet-and-sour-aubergines

We’ve been wracking our brains for a blog post for a few days now, so Hilary thought, ‘why not do a recipe?’.  She was actually surprised to find we hadn’t posted this one before.  We make it constantly (and used to make it frequently in the UK where aubergines were higher in price and lower in quality).

It’s not Turkish but it does use ingredients readily available here year round.  Quantities are difficult as I tend to make it with the aubergines I have on hand and am not saving for something else…

Today I used two long, fairly thin aubergines (just under half a kilo), a medium to large sized onion, two cloves of garlic, a huge tomato, three dessertspoonsful of vinegar and one dessertspoonful of sugar (less in summer when the tomatoes are very sweet).  A good handfull of chopped parsley and a largish quantity of dried mint.  Salt and pepper.

First I cut the aubergines into chunks.  I quarter it lengthwise then chop the four pieces into wedges.  Then I put it in a colander with salt for twenty minutes to half an hour.  I don’t always do this with aubergines, but I do for this dish as it helps stop the aubergines from absorbing too much oil.  Whilst that is happening I chop the onions into half moon rings (piyazlık), chop the garlic up fairly small and put those to one side.  Then, in another bowl, I put the chopped up tomatoes (yes, in the UK I often used a can of plum tomatoes – usually a small can), along with the chopped parsley, dried mint, some pepper, the vinegar and the sugar.

onions-fryingHeat quite a lot of oil in a wide, shallow pan (I have an Ikea sautée pan which is absolutely ideal for this) and fry the onions till they are soft but not coloured.  Then add the garlic.

While this is happening I rinse the aubergine wedges, squeeze each handful and salted,-rinsed,-squeezed-andry on a towel.  As soon as the garlic has been stirred in, I throw in the aubergine wedges and stir, frying for about five minutes (or till they take on a bit of colour).  I then tip in the rest of the ingredients stir till it all combines, put on the lid and turn the heat down.

frying-nicelyThe time it takes from here on in depends a lot on the aubergines.  It should end up pretty mushy and combined and this usually takes 20 to 30 minutes.  It doesn’t need much attention, just the occasional stir to ensure it doesn’t burn.

I guess it could be eaten hot, but it’s much nicer if you allow it to cool down.  It keeps in the fridge for three to four days (much like any zeytinyağlı mezze).

Andon Boğazı Doğa Yürüyüşü

bogaz-walk-4This was the first walk this year arranged by  Zirve Dağcılık ve Doğa Sporları Kulübü Selçuk Şubesi.  Route said to be 15 Km, time allowed 5 hours.  We thought it was going to be easy.   We were wrong.  There were long stretches on unstable rocks, there was one quite difficult scramble (Hilary more or less had to be lifted up this bit as she is useless at climbing) often we were hacking our way through quite dense undergrowth.   At times the path became impassable (either due to density of undergrowth or sheer cliffs) and we had to backtrack.  Much use was made of walkie talkies and GPS, and eventually an alternative and easier to reach destination was decided upon  There was considerable consternation as no suitable place was found to light a fire (the forest was very dry) so we could not cook our sucuk!  This was rectified by lighting a fire to barbeque sucuk and chicken in the village at the end of the improvised route where the coach picked us up.

It was wonderful to walk through such beautiful and wild scenery within about half an hour’s drive from where we live.  Yes, it was hard going (we have the scratches to prove it) but worth it for the views.  Also the wild flowers are starting again (though we’ve not really had much rain).  If you think of an English or Scottish bluebell wood in spring – well, we saw the same sort of effect, woods  pink with cyclamen.  We got a very good view of some sort of falcon and the blackbirds and smaller thrushes were singing merrily most of the way.

The weather was perfect, bright and sunny.  It got up to 27 degrees on our back porch whilst we were out, but was probably a bit cooler than that up in the hills.

And, next morning, on our Facebook pages, not only pictures of the walk, but congratulations from our başkan on having successfully completed a very tough hike!

Baking in autumn

StormsAfter a stormy autumn day and night we have had a few cooler days.  This has resulted in eating indoors and the doors and windows being closed.  It was chilly at night.  The new duvet has come out, Hilary made soup, we have started buying winter vegetables – the celeriac looked really good and the leaves go really well in lentil soup.

The temperatures are back on the rise, by mid-week the days should be really pleasant and the evenings cool rather than cold, but it is another reminder that the seasons are changing.  As they change so does what we eat.  There will be more soups for breakfast, less fresh fruit.  Soup is commonly lentil, usually with whatever else is around, beet leaves, celeriac leaves, cauliflower or broccoli stems, anything that might otherwise go to waste.

Swedish-Apple-CakeWe have also been experimenting with baking.  Today we have Swedish apple cake in the oven, made with local eating apples rather than Bramleys.  It was meant to be topped with a butter, sugar and cinnamon syrup which would soak into the cake, instead we ended up with toffee.  So we have toffee apple cake.

Recently we have discovered that caramelised onions, classically French, go really well with kaşar and yufka.  So a French / Turkish fusion, caramelised onion and cheese tarte tatin  borek.  Delicious.  One recipe for caramelising onions we have used in the past was was originally from Ainsley Herriot Meals in Minutes, has a cheat and fast method for caramelizing the onions.  This one does not cheat, being retired we have time not to cheat and to do a bit of experimenting to find the best shape for the actual borek….

The Recipe

For four borek you need one yufka, about 200 gm of butter, enough grated kaşar or similar yellow cheese to go round the perimeter of the yufka and as many onions as will sensibly fit in your frying pan when sliced.  I use 5-6 depending on size but it would be less if they were really big.  Slice the onions really thinly into half-moons (piyazlık) and put them in a frying pan on low heat with a slosh of oil (I use Riviera olive oil, not the virgin oil for this) and a bit of butter – maybe 15 gm.  Leave them there for a long time, stirring them occasionally.  Leave them until they are caramalised (it takes about an hour, sometimes more, and they need stirring more towards the end).  I put in a small slosh of balsamic vinegar (again, I would not use the good stuff for this, even if I had it) and stir it round till the onions are evenly brown.  Then take them off the heat and let them cool down a bit.

The yufka gets spread out on the counter and brushed all over with melted butter.  That’s what most of the butter is for.  Keep a little back for the top.  Cut the yufka into four segments (I use a pizza cutter which is perfect  for the job).  Now arrange the grated cheese and caramalised onion around the perimeter of your yufka.

Start rolling.  Take each segment separately and roll up from the perimeter to the centre, enclosing the filling.  Once you’ve done that, wind the sausage shapes into spirals, tucking the ends underneath and put them on a baking tray lined with baking paper.  When they are all done, brush them generously with butter and put in a preheated 200 degree oven where they should get nicely done in about forty minutes.

gul-boregi-cooked

September – Photos of the Month

Kovadabanner1

The banner above and the two below.  All of Lake Kovada.  The lake is stunningly beautiful so hard not to have good photos.