Having had a couple of wonderful holidays in Turkey in the last few years, I was really excited to come across this new cookery book by Turkish-born, Sydney-based chef Sevtap Yüce. It’s been beautifully shot by lovely Aussie photographer Alicia Taylor, and features a ton of delicious recipes. Here’s a sneak preview, followed by a few snaps from my last trip there in September. A little warmth and colour for a dreary November day!
Turkish Meze by Sevtap Yuce (£20, Hardie Grant)
Sigara Böregi / Cigar Borek
These are absolutely wonderful for breakfast or lunch. Serve them hot, while the pastry is still crisp and the feta is all warm and oozy.
250 g (9 oz) feta
2 egg yolks
30 g (1 oz/1 cup) chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
375 g (13 oz) packet filo pastry
Sunflower oil, for pan-frying
In a bowl, mash the feta, egg yolks and parsley into a smooth paste.
Season with sea salt and set aside.
Cut the filo pastry into 20 cm (8 inch) squares. Take two sheets of the cut pastry and stack them on top of each other; cover the rest with a damp cloth so they don’t dry out.
Place 2 tablespoons of the feta mixture in the middle of the pastry stack. Fold two sides in, then roll up into a cigar shape, sealing the end closed with a dab of water.
Continue making more borek until all the ingredients are used.
Heat about 2.5 cm (1 inch) of oil in a saucepan or large heavy-based frying pan over high heat. When the oil is hot, fry the borek in batches for 4–5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
Drain briefly on paper towel and serve hot.
Makes about 12
Lahmacun / Lamb Pide
Here’s a recipe for a classic Turkish ‘pizza’, loved the world over. If you have any dough left over after baking the pide, heat the baking tray in the oven again until very hot. Roll the dough into 20 cm (8 inch) circles and bake them in the oven for 5 minutes, to make little pocket breads. If you are lucky enough to have a wood-fired oven, you can stretch the dough out thinly and make lavash bread, as well as your pides. You can also cook the pide in a pizza oven. Heat the pizza oven until hot. Roll each ball of dough into thin sheets, spread a thin layer of topping over each and bake until golden brown.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
250 g (9 oz) minced (ground) lamb
30 g (1 oz/1 cup) chopped
30 g (1 oz/1 cup) chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
2 long green chillies, finely diced
2 tomatoes, finely diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste (concentrated purée)
Lemon wedges, to serve
½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried yeast
450 g (1 lb/3 cups) plain
(all-purpose) fl our
80 ml (2½ fl oz/¹⁄³ cup)
To make the dough, mix the sugar and yeast in a large bowl with 300 ml (10 fl oz) lukewarm water. Allow the yeast to activate for a few minutes.
Add the flour and a pinch of sea salt and mix into a dough, using your hands.
Knead in the bowl until the dough feels like your earlobe. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Punch the dough down and knead in the bowl for another 5 minutes.
Cover and leave to rise for a further 1 hour.
Roll the ball of dough in the olive oil. Cover and leave to rest for a further hour, until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, make the topping. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion until golden. Add the remaining topping ingredients, except the lemon wedges. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir together for a few minutes, ensuring all the ingredients are well mixed. The lamb should remain partially uncooked, as you will be baking it in the oven.
Place the topping mixture in a strainer and set aside to drain.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Heat two large baking trays in the oven until very hot.
Punch the dough down again and divide into 12 small balls. Let the dough rest again for 2–3 minutes, then roll each ball out to a 20 cm (8 inch) circle. Spread each one with about 2 tablespoons of the topping and place on the hot baking trays (you may need to work in batches).
Bake for 10 minutes, or until the bread is is golden.
Garnish with extra parsley and serve hot, with lemon wedges.
Karides Güveç / Yamba Prawn GoulashIf you have some small ovenproof terracotta pots, you can delight your guests with individual servings. The Australian coastal town of Yamba is famous for its sweet prawns (shrimp) — both its small school prawns, and the medium–large ones we are using here.
60 ml (2 oz/¼ cup)
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
4 long green chillies, chopped
2 small green capsicums (bell‑peppers), chopped
500 g (9 oz) tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) raw Yamba prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined, leaving the tails intact
15 g (½ oz/½ cup) chopped fat-leaf (Italian) parsley, plus extra to garnish
30 g (1 oz/½ cup) chopped dill
150 g (5½ oz/1 cup) crumbled Bulgarian feta
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
Heat the olive oil in a flameproof casserole dish on the stove top.
Add the onion and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until soft.
Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more.
Stir in the chilli, capsicum and tomato. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook for another few minutes.
Add the prawns, parsley and dill and cook for 2 minutes.
Sprinkle the feta over the mixture, then transfer the dish to the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Garnish with extra parsley and serve immediately, with crusty bread.
Dutlu Ve Güllü Kek / Mulberry and Rose Petal Cake
Most of the mulberries I have seen in Turkey are white. The only place I’ve ever seen a red mulberry tree is at the sacred site of the tomb of Haci Bektasi Veli, in the town of Kirsehir. My family are of the Alevi faith, a religious minority with our own spiritual practices and culture, and Haci Bektasi Veli is one of our spiritual leaders with his beautiful poems and his philosophy. We love him and respect his wisdom. So years later, when I came to Australia, I saw these beautiful red and purple juicy babies and fell in love with them. If you cannot find mulberries, you can substitute boysenberries. Haci Bektasi Veli may not be impressed, but he will understand — he is a most forgiving man! This is my cake for him, and for you.
150 g (5½ oz) butter
345 g (12 oz/1½ cups) caster sugar
3 free-range eggs
125 g (4½ oz/½ cup) Yoghurt (recipe on page 72)
300 g (10½ oz/2 cups) self-raising ‑ our
125 ml (4 ‑ oz/½ cup) oliveoil
15 g (½ oz/1 cup) unsprayed red rose petals (or use dried ones from a MiddleEastern grocery store)
250 g (9 oz) mulberries
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Butter and our a 27 cm (11inch) springform cake tin.
In a food processor, blend the butter and sugar together for a few minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time. Briefly mix the yoghurt through, then the flour, then the olive oil, being careful not to overwork the gluten in the flour. Add the rose petals and pulse for a few seconds.
Spoon half the batter into the cake tin. Arrange the mulberries evenly ontop of the batter. Spoon the remaining batter over the top.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool before removing from the tin.
This cake is delicious served warm or cold. It will keep for 2–3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.