Zucchini – cucumber soup

Also this soup is a very quick soup to make!

You can find zucchinis and cucumber all year around but because of the refreshing taste it is especially a good summer soup.

And the vegetable earns some good points: courgette or zucchini is a very low calorie vegetables (17 calories per 100 grams). It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Its peel is good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation and offers some protection against colon cancers.

  • 2 table spoons olive oil for frying
  • 4 normal sized (about 750 grams together) zucchinis (courgettes) either the light colored ones or the dark green ones (the darker ones give the best color on your soup but are slightly bitter)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 Turkish cucumber (they are about the same size as one courgette or use half of a large cucumber)
  • 1 liter chicken stock
  • some spicy pepper flakes (optional)
  • table spoon chopped mint (optional)

Wash the courgettes well, do not peel them (the skin thickens and colors) and cut in large dice

Peel the cucumber and dice it as well.

Heat the olive oil slowly and add the courgette dice. Stir and let it fry slightly until the courgette gets a little light brown color, add the cucumber too and stir in one more time. Let it fry shortly. Add the chicken stock and just let it cook enough for the courgette to get cooked (so your soup keeps the fresh green color)

Then use a  jug or stick blender to blend the soup. Blend until smooth surely not too long. Serve your soup with spicy pepper flakes and fresh mint.

And İ suggest to always experiment a bit, add a more cucumbers, or instead or mint you can also use dill, dill and courgette go very well together too.

Karnıyarık (stuffed aubergines)

İ had request for my recipe of stuffed aubergines. So İ have to take the opportunity to post it here.

First comes the stuffed aubergine with minced meat, called Karnıyarık (literally meaning “split belly”). The recipe for the vegetarian stuffed aubergine called İmam Bayıldı will follow soon!


What you need for 4 people:

  • 4 aubergines/eggplants. Check out the right size, straight and not to small. The big round ones will not work for this recipe.
  • 500 grams of minced meat, you can use beef or lamb, or even a mixture İ prefer the half/half mixture of beef and lamb
  • 1 table spoon of olive oil (and more to fry the aubergines)
  • 2 onions
  • 4 green long peppers, not spicy (İ think they are called banana peppers), 2 cut is small rings and 2 cut into 2 halves lengthwise
  • 3 big tomatoes, 2 chopped up in small dice and 1 cut is 8 moon shaped slices
  • 1 table spoon of tomato paste
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • black pepper and salt to taste
  • chopped parsley



First peel 3 strips along the long side of the washed aubergine, that goes easiest with a sharp peeler. So you have a striped aubergine, 3 strips with peel and 3 strips peeled. Put a little salt on the peeled parts and let it rest for a while.


İn the meantime chop the onions in small pieces. Chop 2 tomatoes in small dices and thin rings of 2 of the peppers.

Fry the onion in one table spoon of oil until a bit soft. Add the minced meat, and make it crumbly with the back of the fork or spoon. Once just cooked, add the diced tomato and the bits of pepper and let it cook shortly more until the pepper is soft and there is not too much water from the tomato (so do not use a lid)

Wash the aubergines and dry them with a paper towel. Fry the aubergines in olive oil. Turn them around and be careful the oil is hot but not too hot. Be sure all sides are cooked well, and if the olive oil gets soaked in either add a bit more, but turning down the fire a bit also releases some of the soaked up oil. Test with a small pointed knife if the aubergine is soft, especially also at the 2 end bits. When cooked, take them out and put them on a paper towel and the soaked olive oil will be released.

Then place them in an oven dish, with a peeled side in the middle up and gently cut it open lengthwise about halfway in, be sure not to cut the aubergine from the bottom! Then fill it up with the minced meat mixture. You will use about half of the sauce that you have cooked.

Place on each aubergine 2 of the half tomato slices and one of the half peppers.

Whisk the tomato paste with the hot water, like tomato juice and pour that around the aubergines in the tray.

Place them in a 200°C preheated oven and let them cook until the pepper is soft. Be sure the oven dish does not get dry, if so add a little water.


Serve the aubergines with Turkish rice or Bulgur rice (recipes follow!) and you can add some more of the minced meat sauce around the aubergine to make it nice and rich, and at last sprinkle the freshly chopped parsley over the aubergine and sauce, voila!



Chocolate mousse

A very old fashioned dessert but nobody refuses this absolutely delicious chocolate mousse! Actually it might be the dessert İ make most, and not for the last reason that it is also Lara’s favorite dessert!

For serving; serve in separate cups, or on a plate with some good vanilla ice cream, or just some self made chocolate sauce!

For 4 large portions you need:

You do need a hand mixer for this recipe!

200 grams dark chocolate (İ use half 54% and half 70% chocolate to just get the right darkness, not too sweet, not too dry)

1/2 table spoon butter

1 dl strong coffee

3 egg whites

2 egg yolks

1 dl cream

2 table spoons of sugar


Melt the chocolate au bain marie, by breaking the chocolate roughly is smaller bit, put it is a bowl and place the bowl in a  pan with very hot water (can be slightly boiling)

İ add 2 table spoons boiling water from the pan with the chocolate, add the butter and the coffee and whisk until you have a smooth creamy chocolate mixture.

Split the eggs in 2 separate bowls. And also prepare the cream in a separate bowl

First whisk the egg white really stiff, then İ whisk the cream stiff too and the last one are the egg yolks with the sugar. Whisk them until you get a nice, fluffy mixture. İf you do it in this order, you do not need to clean the whisks in between the jobs.

Then, this also has to be done in the right order to get a good and airy pudding:

Mix the egg yolk mixture with the melted smooth chocolate (a little bit cooled down since you did the other whisking work). Mix in a part of the stiff egg whites (like a full table spoon), whisk it is airy, no more with the mixer.

Then in a big bowl, first the stiff egg whites, then on that the cream and at last the chocolate mixture.

Mix this all together gently, airy but that it is all well mixed.

Place in the fridge to cool down and set.

You will enjoy this…. a lot!




Etli Kuru Fasulye (Turkish white beans with lamb)

This delicious winter dish needs a little bit of planning.

Personally İ normally can not decide what İ will cook the next day, but for this dish to be successful you have to soak the beans the night before, that is all actually.

This recipe is often cooked with dice of lamb, but İ prefer to use 2 lamb shanks, cooked together with the beans you get such a delicious full flavor (plus afterwards the dogs are very happy with the bones!)


What you need:

  • 500 grams dry white beans
  • little bit olive oil for cooking (in Turkey that is Riviera Zeytın yağ)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 lamb shanks or 250 dice of lamb meat
  • 1 table spoons tomato paste
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 orange chopped up in small bits
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1 teaspoon spicy pepper flakes
  • 1,5 liter of hot water
  • pepper and salt to taste



Soak 500 grams of dried white beans overnight.

For cooking the next day, use a pot that you can also use in the oven, so full metal.

First rinse the soaked beans and preheat the oven on 180°C

Then heat the olive oil a bit (be careful as olive oil burns quickly), fry the lamb shanks on all sides a bit until they have a nice color. Take them out and let them wait on the side. Fry the onion in the same oil until soft, add the garlic (İ prefer the full cloves in this dish), the tomato paste and the diced tomatoes – in summer İ would only use fresh tomatoes but in winter a can will do.

Stir and mix this all nicely together.

Then stir in the beans, the chopped orange, the hot water, the spicy pepper, thyme, salt and pepper and the hot water. All mix well, put the two lamb shanks in the mixture that they are under the bean mixture and put it in the oven without covering it. Let it cook for about 3 to 4 hours, every now and then stir and in the end if it gets too dry you can add a little water.

Serve with white rice and Afiyet Olsun!

Panna Cotta with apricot coulis

A normal Panna Cotta almost turns me into a criminal, serving something so full fat. So İ adapted the pudding to a lighter version.

For 4 big portions you need:

for the pudding

  • 2,5 dl cream
  • 2,5 dl milk
  • 50 grams of sugar
  • 4 gelatine leaves
  • lemon zest of half a lemon

for the coulis

  • 4 fresh apricots
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar


Slowly bring the milk with cream to the boil, add the sugar and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Switch off the heat. Soak  the gelatine leaves in cold water (if you use hot water you will not find them again!)

Then stir in the soaked gelatine leaves (check that they are soft) and allow the panna cotta to cool down a bit  before dividing it over the glass cups. İn the meantime grease the bottom of the glass cups lightly with olive oil so they will release easier. And keep whisking lightly every now and then until the mixture is a bit cooler.

Then divide over the cups and store in the fridge to cool down.

Take them out just before serving. Cut along the sides of the cup with a sharp thin knife or hold them shortly in hot water before turning them over on a plate. İ prefer the first because İ don’t want to get messy with the hot water on the plates.

Serve it with a apricot coulis, all you need to do is 4 fresh apricots in the blender, with one lemon juiced, and 2 tablespoons of sugar and blend it shortly until you have a nice coulis.


Of course you can make a coulis of other fresh fruits like strawberries or raspberries!




King Prawns

The best way to cook prawns is when they are done last minute. But you can easy prepare the sauce before hand and reheat it with the prawns just before serving.

for 4 people, each has a large portion of 5 delicious prawns

  • little olive oil
  • 20 king prawns
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 banana peppers (or alternatively a green bell pepper) in thin slices (like circles)
  • 100 ml white wine
  • handful parsley, finely chopped
  • handful basil, finely chopped
  • spicy red pepper flakes (you decide how spicy you like the prawns)
  • lemon wedges for serving
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil (with olive oil always be careful it does not get too hot as it burns quickly!), and fry the onion until soft. Add the crushed garlic, the pepper slices, the tomatoes cubes and stir well. Add the wine and let it simmer until most of the liquid is gone but do not let it get too dry. Add the parsley and basil, the red pepper flakes and then the prawns. The prawns will curl up quickly and when the look firm and no more glassy then the prawns are ready, it takes only a few minutes.

Serve immediately with some lemon wedges and lemon/saffron rice.

Spinach with rice

There are lots of people not keen on spinach, so far İ have seen every spinach hater turning into a spinach lover!

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, copped very fine
  • 1 kilo wild spinach, chopped roughly
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup white rice (baldo is my choice)
  • 1 table spoon tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup of milk (or if you are not on a diet 1/3 cup of cream which makes even more smooth)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes (if desired)

Heat the oil in a large pan. Fry the onion until soft, be careful not to burn the onion. Add garlic and stir in well. Add the spinach (the water on the spinach is enough for this dish) and the rice and let it cook on low heat until the rice is soft, keep stirring well because the spinach on the bottom will shrink quickly as it cooks and it should be all cooked gradually. İt takes about 20 minutes.

Then add the tomato paste, salt, pepper and the milk (or cream) and stir in well. Turn of the heat when all is smooth and soft and not too running.

Serve with red pepper flakes.


* İf you like this dish more Turkish then you cook everything as above, but skip the garlic while cooking. And replace the milk with yogurt.

Crush the garlic and mix that with 1 cup of yogurt.

Do not cook the yogurt mixture with the spinach together but serve the spinach either hot or cold and top it with the yogurt garlic mixture.


Chicken soup

The lemon in Turkish chicken soup is very refreshing, the soup is delicious. And İ have added something what the Greeks do; boil the chicken with bay leaf and cloves and the soup is even more tasty!

For this soup İ use chicken legs, but if you make a big lot you can use a full chicken. And chicken breast would work too, only İ think the legs are better because the meat from the legs is less dry and more tasty for this soup.

  • 1 large onion cut in 2
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 carrot, peeled in a few large pieces
  • 2  chicken legs
  • 75 grams rice
  • 3 eggs yolks
  • 1 lemon juice
  • parsley, finely chopped

Boil the chicken with the onion, carrot and the cloves stuck in the bay leaf in 1 liter of water. Bring is slowly to boiling so it does not froth. Let it cook slowly until the chicken is ready.

Clean the soup through a stainer, set the chicken aside to cool down and you do not need the vegetables and herbs anymore. Add the washed rice and let it cook slowly for about 20 minutes.

Clean the chicken from the bones and the skin. Only use the meat, cut in small pieces and better just tear them in small bits

Then finish the soup off a short while before serving.

Whisk the yolks in and slowly add the lemon juice.

Preheat the soup again, slowly and do not let it boil again. First whisk in a full soup spoon hot soup through the egg – lemon mixture. Stir in well then add this to the soup, stir well and do not bring it to boil.

Sprinkle some parsley on each serving.

And what İ did not put in the ingredients list, but you can spice this soup a little bit up with a little spicy pepper flakes.




Garlic soup

About the quickest soup to make, but you do not always need long time cooking to serve something so delicious! Not a typical Turkish dish, nevertheless there is garlic here in abundance all year through and the soup has proved to be loved by the Turkish people too!

  • 2 table spoons olive oil for cooking
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic bulb, clean, does not need to be chopped
  • 2 table spoon flour
  • 1 liter chicken stock
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 1/2 glass of cream
  • some spicy pepper flakes
  • table spoon chopped dill


Fry the onion and the garlic until soft on low fire, do not let it turn brown.

Add the flour and stir in well. Add the chicken stock slowly and keep stirring constantly as you add.

Use a  jug or stick blender to blend the soup. Blend until smooth.. Finally add the wine and cream, stir in well, then the pepper flakes and dill and serve your soup.


Do not blend the soup with the peppers already in there, you will get a pink soup!

Grilled chicken

Delicious tender grilled chicken legs marinated in yogurt. This is not a typical Turkish dish but it is very Middle Eastern with the yogurt and cinnamon.

  • 6 big chicken legs
  • 8 tablespoons yogurt
  • 8 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground sweet pepper
  • 1 teaspoon spicy pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • pepper and salt to taste


Mix all the ingredients for the marinate and cover the chicken legs for at least 2 hours.


Then put them in an oven dish with all the yogurt mixture big enough to take them in. The oven temperature should be 140°C. İ put first the skin side of the leg down. Then after 1 hour turn them over and let them cook nice and crispy. They are ready when the meat falls from the bone, but do not overcook them.