Tart Dough

1 c all purpose flour
1 tsp coarse kosher salt
3/4 c chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 Tbsp ice water
2 tsp chilled whipping cream

Blend flour and salt in processor.  Add butter; using on/off turns, cut in until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add 3 T ice water and cream.  Process just until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry.  Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk.  Wrap in plastic; chill 1 hour.  (Can be made 2 days ahead.  Keep chilled.  Soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.)

Black Bean Cakes

1 cup cooked brown rice
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, divided
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 tsp juice of fresh garlic
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1 egg or flax egg (1T ground flaxseed + 3T water)
1/4 cup fine ground yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Combine cooked rice, beans, scallions, 2 T cilantro, cumin, red pepper flakes, garlic juice, salt, pepper and egg in a bowl.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Form bean mixture into four large patties.  Hold a patty in one hand and sprinkle with cornmeal spreading it evenly over the surface.  Turn the patty over into your other hand and sprinkle the other side with cornmeal.  Lay patty gently into the hot oil.  Continue with remaining patties.  Gently fry the cakes about 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Garnish with remaining cilantro.

Pineapple Avocado Salsa

1 cup diced fresh pineapple
1 avocado diced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to use.


Pide is basically the Turkish equivalent of pizza.  The bread is super-thin but rises quite well.  There is no sauce.

Ingredients: (makes 4 pide bases):
2 teaspoons dried yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
150 ml water or milk
300 grams flour (approx)
1 teaspoon salt
2.5 tablespoons olive oil

First off, warm the water or milk. It must not be warmer than body temperature, otherwise the yeast dies. Just as you would with a bath, use a (clean) elbow to check the temperature if in doubt! Mix in the yeast and sugar. Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the salt, then stir in the yeasty liquid, and add the olive oil.

Mix together until all the ingredients are well blended, then knead the dough for about 2 minutes (the more you knead, the more flexible the dough becomes). Put the dough back in the bowl and dust some flour lightly over the top. Then put a plastic bag over and around the bowl and leave it in a warm place (like an airing cupboard or boiler room) for around 20 minutes. The plastic bags stops the dough from drying out and aids the proving process.

Whilst the dough is proving, you can get started with your topping.

Once the dough has raised (it should be about 50 % larger than before), take it out and knead well to get rid of any air bubbles. You may have to add a little flour to stop it from sticking, but do use sparingly so that the dough remains nice and moist.

Cut the dough into four equal chunks and knead each of them well. This helps develop the arm muscles ready for your next bout of Turkish wrestling. Place one of the pieces on a lightly floured surface, and use a rolling pin (substitute a wine bottle – carefully – if you don’t have a rolling pin to hand) to roll it into an elongated oval.

Spread your desired filling on top of the pide, and crimp the edges up 1-2 centimetres, so your pide has a shape rather like a large stuffed aubergine/eggplant, or a flattened boat. Brush the sides and edges with olive oil, then bake for about 15 minutes at 250 degrees Celsius.

Meaty (kiymali) pides:

We love spicy, meaty pides. Normally they’re very simple, like this beef variation, which is also the basis for the very thin, round variety of pide in Turkey, known as lahmacun.

250 grams beef mince

1 peeled and diced tomato

1 onion, finely diced

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 pepper (you could use a sweet one, or if you like it fiery, use a chilli pepper as well)

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, spread on top of your pide. Bake in the oven.

Lamb Pide

If you fancy trying something more exotic and unusual:

1 tbls olive oil

2 medium onions diced

125 grams minced lamb

125 grams finely diced lamb

150 ml red wine

2 small garlic cloves

2 tblsp cumin

2 tblsp paprika

Warm a saucepan and fry the onions until they are transparent. Add the mince and diced lamb and fry until all the meat is gently browned. Add the wine and enough water to cover the meat. Let the mixture cook for a good hour or more. Then add the garlic, cumin and paprika, and let the mixture cook for another 15 minutes or so. If any liquid remains, decant it off. Your topping is ready! Simply apply and bake in the oven.

Sujuk (Spicy salami) Pide

25 slices sujuk (or spicy salami sausage)

80 grams grated mozzarella cheese

1 tomato, peeled, sliced

1 long green pepper sliced and de-seeded

Apart from the pepper, mix the ingredients together and spread on top of your pide. Then add the slices of green pepper for a decorative and tasty finish. Bake in the oven.

Cheesy (peynirli) Pide

2 tablespoons oilve oil

1 onion, chopped

1 can chopped tomatoes

1 clove garlic (crushed)

100 grams feta cheese (crumbled)

100 grams mozzarella cheese

Black olives

Fry onions in olive oil until transparent, add garlic and fry for a little longer. Add the tomatoes, and let the mixture cook until most of the juice has evaporated. Spread the sauce on the pide.

Throw on some black olives, some feta cheese, and some mozzarella. Add oregano and black pepper. Bake in the oven.


Imam Bayildi


One of the most celebrated of all Turkish recipes. A light, succulent and truly scrumptious dish – part of Turkey’s wide array of ‘zeytin yağlı’ (with olive oil) recipes. It is perfect for a snack, as part of a table of mezes (small plates or starters), or as an accompaniment to a full dinner.

Not only does it taste yummy, but it has a rich story to savour. Imam Bayildi literally means “The imam fainted”. It is said that an imam (Muslim priest) swooned with pleasure on tasting the dish. This is the story you’ll hear repeated right across Turkey. There is however, a rather less charitable account that has the imam fainting at the great cost of the olive oil used to make it. Here’s how the story goes:

“A long time ago there lived a Turkish imam, well known for his appetite and love of good food. One day he surprised his friends by announcing his engagement to the beautiful young daughter of a rich olive oil merchant. At this stage, the imam’s friends were not aware of her abilities as a cook. Part of her dowry was a consignment of the very finest olive oil. The wealthy merchant gave the groom twelve great jars of the prized oil, each one as big as a man.

Following the wedding, the young daughter quickly revealed her talents as a Turkish cook and every day prepared a special dish for her new food-loving husband. Stuffed aubergine in olive oil was his absolute favorite, and so he asked his wife to make it for him every night as the centrepiece of his dinner. Being a good wife, she did as she was told, and made the delicious dish for twelve days in a row. On the thirteenth day, however, when the imam sat down to dinner, his favourite aubergine dish was starkly absent. The imam demanded to know the reason for its disappearance. The bride replied, “My dear husband, I cannot make your favourite dish anymore, for we have no more olive oil. You will have to buy some more.” The lmam was so shocked by the news that he fainted. And so ever since that day, his favorite dish has become known as ‘Imam Bayildi’,(the imam fainted).”


The dish is simple to prepare, but it does take a little while to cook (about 1¼ hours) and cool (it is supposed to be eaten at room temperature), so make sure you allow enough time. And check that you have enough olive oil!

Ingredients (serves 4-8):
8 aubergines (eggplants)
3 medium sized onions
½ cup (4 fl oz, 125 ml) extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 medium sized tomatoes, peeled
¼ cup (1/3 oz, 10g) chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
A good squeeze of lemon juice
A pinch of sugar
½ cup (4 fl oz, 125ml) water

Wash the aubergines well and remove the stems. Peel the skin lengthwise in ½ inch strips, to give a nice striped effect. This will help the aubergine absorb the flavours while cooking, even if the stripes disappear to some extent when cooked.

To salt or not to salt:

There is a debate about whether it’s necessary to salt aubergines or not in order to drain out any bitterness. Modern varieties are apparently less bitter than they used to be, and if you choose small and very fresh ones there is probably no need to bother salting them.  If you are of the salting persuasion, then at this stage cover your aubergines with salt and allow them to rest on kitchen towel for about half an hour. Afterwards simply wipe away the salt.

Cut the aubergines in half (lengthwise), and cut a slit lengthwise in the fleshy side of each of the halves, stopping a little short of the ends. Cut onions in half (from tip to tip) and then chop into slender wedges.

Heat half of the oil in a heavy based saucepan or frying pan with a lid, and add the onions. Cook gently until they are transparent. Add the chopped garlic and cook for about a minute. Pour this mixture into a large bowl, and stir in the chopped tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper, as well as the lemon juice, sugar and water, to make the mixture used for stuffing the aubergines.

Heat the remaining oil in the pan until it starts to smoke, then add the aubergines and cook over a high heat for about 5 minutes, until they are lightly browned all over, but still nice and firm. Then remove from the heat.

Arrange the aubergines in the pan with fleshy sides upwards, and spoon the filling mixture into the slits. Try to stuff in as much as possible, and spread any remaining filling on top. Put a lid on the pan and cook over a gentle heat until tender (approx 45 minutes). Check on it occasionally, adding more water to the pan only if it is getting dry (aubergines do release a great deal of water).

Alternatively, you can arrange the stuffed aubergines in a covered oven proof dish, and cook for about 45 minutes at 180 degrees.

Remove from the heat, and let the stuffed aubergines cool to room temperature. Serve as an appetizer/meze, or as a light meal with fresh bread and/or yoghurt. It can also be refrigerated and served refreshingly chilled. Enjoy!

Mercimek (Turkish Lentil Soup)

1 1/3 cup (about 8 ounces) red lentils, picked through and rinsed
7 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
Lemon wedges and chopped mint for serving (optional)

In a large pot, combine lentils, broth, onion, carrot, garlic, tomato paste, cumin and cayenne and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, until vegetables and very tender and lentils begin to fall apart, about 25 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and use an immersion blender to quickly blend the soup until it is creamy but not completely puréed. Or, you can blend about half the soup in a blender, but use caution when blending hot liquids: blend only in small batches, hold the lid down firmly with a kitchen towel, and begin blending on low speed. Add salt and serve with lemon wedges and a garnish of mint if desired.


Ingredients (serves 4):
2 eggplants (long type)
2-3 peppers, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, peeled and cubed
2 medium size potatoes (optional)
1 courgette/zucchini (optional)
Tomato purée/paste
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed or finely sliced
Olive oil

Peel alternate strips off the aubergines (eggplants) lengthwise to create a stripey pattern. Chop into chunky cubes, sprinkle generously with salt, and leave to soak in a bowl of water for about half an hour. You can make şakşuka with or without potatoes and courgettes. Without offers a much purer appearance and set of flavours. With provides additional colours, textures, and tastes. Why not try it both ways. If you decide you would like to include them, then chop them into cubes like the aubergine and fry them up until golden. The potatoes need a bit longer than the other vegetables so give them a little extra time.

To soak or not to soak: A debate continues to rage as to whether salting and soaking aubergines really does help to remove any bitterness, but the main orthodoxy is that is better to do than not.

Rinse the aubergine chunks, pat dry, and then fry in a light olive oil until golden brown. Stir in the finely chopped peppers and the tomatoes and cook over a gentle heat. When these start to break down and disintegrate, add the tomato puree/paste and garlic, and continue to simmer for a few minutes. If the tomatoes aren’t especially juicy then feel free to supplement with a little water. You should be aiming for a really moist and juicy consistency.

Leave to cool. Serve chilled. It’s superb eaten with hunks of fresh bread or with some cool fresh yoghurt on the side.

Cinnamon Raisin French Toast

8 slices 1/2 inch thick Cinnamon Raisin Bread
4 Tbsp melted butter
3/4 c milk
1/2 c heavy cream
3 large eggs
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

1.  For the French toast custard, combine using a hand whisk the milk, heavy cream, eggs, honey, vanilla extract and the salt.  This custard can be made well in advance.  Give a brisk stir before making the toast.
2.  Transfer the custard to a casserole or open shallow dish for dipping.
3.  Dip one slice into the custard and turn over after about 15 seconds.  Transfer the slice to a plate while dipping another slice into the custard.
4.  Place a large skillet on a medium fire.  Allow the pan to heat thoroughly before pouting 1 Tbsp of the melted butter into the pan.
5.  Place both slices carefully into the skillet and cook on each side until golden brown or about 2 minutes.
6.  Repeat steps 3 – 5 until all the French toast is cooked.
7.  An optional step is to place each finished French toast onto a baking sheet in a preheated oven until all are ready to serve.

Serve warm with real maple syrup.

Serves 4.

Lemon Tart

Makes one 9-inch tart

Serves 8 to 10

When buying lemons, look for firm ones that feel heavy for their size and give a little when squeezed; very hard lemons yield little juice. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving if desired.

1 recipe classic tart dough
7 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
¼ cup grated fresh lemon zest (4 lemons)
⅔ cup fresh lemon juice (4 lemons)
Pinch salt
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
3 tablespoons heavy cream, chilled

1. Roll the dough out to an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured counter and fit it into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Set the tart pan on a large plate and freeze the tart shell for 30 minutes.

2. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Set the tart pan on a large baking sheet. Press a double layer of foil into the frozen tart shell and over the edges of the pan and fill with pie weights. Bake until the tart shell is golden brown and set, about 30 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking.

3. Carefully remove the weights and foil and continue to bake the tart shell until it is fully baked and golden, 5 to 10 minutes longer. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the tart shell cool slightly on the baking sheet while making the filling.

4. Whisk the egg yolks and eggs together in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the sugar until combined, then whisk in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Add the butter and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly and registers 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes. Immediately pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl and stir in the cream.

5. Pour the lemon filling into the warm tart shell. Bake the tart on the baking sheet until the filling is shiny and opaque and the center jiggles slightly when shaken, 10 to 15 minutes. Let the tart cool completely on the baking sheet, about 1½ hours. To serve, remove the outer metal ring of the tart pan, slide a thin metal spatula between the tart and the tart pan bottom, and carefully slide the tart onto a serving platter or cutting board.