Saturday, 28 November 2009

Only in America

I couldn't decide which of my friends and family to buy this for, so in the end decided to just take a picture so you could ALL enjoy it.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Sultan's Kitchen

I've been missing good Turkish pide, that's relatively easy to get in Sydney and London but more of a rarity here. Accordingly, a few weeks ago I did some internet research and sifted through the wide variety of recipes I found there, coming up with a hybrid recipe and set of instructions that best approximated what I missed and what I was looking for. The result was better than I had hoped for! We've since made it three or four times, and it's so easy, and SO yummy!

2 teaspoons yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 - 1 cup warm milk (or water)
2 1/2 - 3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil

Heat half the milk to around 90F - 100F
Add yeast and sugar, let stand until frothy (around 15 min)
Sift flour into a bowl, add salt
Stir in milk-yeast mixture, add rest of warm milk/water, add olive oil
Mix well; turn out onto well-floured bench and knead until smooth (5 - 10 min)

Add a tiny amount of olive oil to a clean bowl; form the dough into a ball and place in the bowl
Brush olive oil over the surface of the dough; cover bowl with cloth and let stand in a warm place until it rises to double its size

Remove dough from bowl, knead lightly to get rid of any air bubbles
Divide dough into four pieces; place each separately (I put them on a non-stick baking tray) and cover with cloth or cling film; allow to rest for around 15 minutes

Press dough out into a long flat shape, on a lightly floured bench
Spread topping mixture (suggestions below) to within about 2cm of edge of dough
Fold edges in a small amount; twist ends into a sort of canoe shape
Bake in a hot oven (450F - 500F) for around 15 minutes - after some experimenting, I find it works best to assemble the pide on a matfer or other non-stick tray, bake for 7 - 8 minutes, then move to a pizza stone to finish cooking; it really crisps up the bottom!

Optional: remove from oven about three minutes before it's finished baking, and brush the crisping edges of the dough with olive oil; return to oven to finish baking

Once removed from oven, allow to stand for a minute or two before cutting into strips
Squeeze lemon over the whole; consume with gusto!

Topping variation #1:
200 - 250g lean ground lamb(beef is also fine)
1 tomato, diced reasonably fine
1/4 white or brown onion, diced
3-4 tbsp parsley, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
Other herbs to taste (eg cumin, cardamom, pepper)

Mix everything together in one bowl with a fork before adding to dough (see above)

Topping Variation #2:
1 chicken breast
1/2 - 1 cup chopped spinach
1/4 white or brown onion, diced
2 - 3 tbsp parsley, chopped
1/4 tomato, chopped
One egg
Other seasonings to taste, eg garlic, paprika...

Mix everything together etc etc

Topping Variation #3:
1 cup spinach, frozen or fresh
3 - 4 mushrooms
reasonable size chunk of Syrian (or similar) cheese (yes, 'chunk' is a standardised measurement :p )
one egg
Garlic; other seasonings to taste

Mix blah blah blah

By the way, the title of this post comes from my wonderful new recipe book, Sultan's Kitchen, by Ozcan Ozan. Inspired by pide success, and using some birthday money (thank you cousin Angela!), I just ordered it last week... let's hope for more Turkish successes in the near future!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

At this time of year

It's finally getting cooler. We have one of the woollen blankets on the bed (although we don't always use it). We've had the heating on a few times. I'm thinking about re-stocking the kindling basket by the fire. It's almost time to roast the turkey. Leaves are drifting down from the backyard trees. It's pleasant to be out of doors. It's dark when we get home from work. We wear slippers in the morning. And the grackles swarm and chatter each evening at dusk.