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globe zucchini

Stuffed Globe Courgettes: Turkish Red Pepper Paste and Siyez(Spelt) Wheat

I’m sorry for having been slack in blogging. In case you’ve been wondering…

When you read this, I’ll be on the plane to or already in London for my first WSET Dip exam. Juggling work and study has been quite a task. So I thought I’d go a bit early to give myself a few days to cram. I hope all the wines to try AND the world cup won’t be too distracting!

Last month, I went on a spontaneous road trip, which combined many celebrations into one: hitting the 40s bracket, friendship, new adventures, etc. Gosh, what an ecstatic holiday it was!

I struggled quite a bit trying to get back to the grind after such a long crazy holiday with endless eating and drinking. But it was well deserved and that’s what life is about: being happy.

birthday Bodrum

A fabulous boat trip and swim in Bodrum and an unplanned catch-up with an old friend in Cappadocia… I came home with such lovely memories that I wished I could have been a full time traveller.

By the way, if you are in Bodrum, don’t miss the chance to take My Way Boat Trip and meet the lovely couple, who put their heart and soul into what they do. It’s a great way, not only for tourists but also for locals to enjoy the day in the sea with loved ones on special occasions.

Ma'adra Turkish wine Rose

The best thing I liked about their tour is intimacy, attention to details and the quality of food and wine, which other usual touristic boat tours don’t care about. Upon reservation, I politely asked if I could bring my own wine, – can’t stand bad wine, especially on my birthday! – but was assured by the wine list he gave me.

Since my travel companion wasn’t into reds and it was hot, I picked Ma’adra Rosé, which is made of Kalecik Karasi and Syrah. Lovely!

globe courgette

Anyway, as friendship comes in different shapes and styles, Stuffed Vegetables, Dolma, come in a variety of shapes, sizes and flavours. At this time of the year, you’d probably see these cute globe zucchini at farmers markets. They are too irresistible to pass up.

Ok, I won’t lie to you. I made this last summer and it was sitting almost finished in the draft so I decided to post it with bits of holiday stories shoved in.

stuffed courgette

The pine nuts and dried fruit are pushed in and hidden inside the stuffing

This recipe is a mix of Turkish and Persian flavours, as usual. Koofteh Tabrizi was mentioned on my favourite food show and I, inspired by the idea, incorporated it into the stuffed zucchini I was planning to make.

I used 100% lamb and other major tweaks in my recipe were the spelt bulgur and red pepper paste. It strictly has only red pepper paste; no tomato paste.

Turkish salca

MIL just posing for a camera during the annual salca making

Turkish red pepper paste (biber salcasi) is the essential part of the cuisine along with tomato paste. I use this sun-dried red pepper paste a lot in cooking, which comes in various spicy levels.

So I mixed the ground meat with a big dollop of red pepper paste, which had a medium spicy level, along with ‘grated‘ onion, spices and bulgur, which had been soaked in hot water.

stuffed zucchini

It’s almost like having a big meatball inside the courgette. It’s meatier, containing very little bulgur, and heartier, bursting with rich flavours.

stuffed courgette

And there’s even a little surprise hidden inside! Tiny details always make a huge difference. Hubby said it was very delicious and had a nice and rich sweetness to it.

The combination of ‘grated‘ onion,  pomegranate molasses and red pepper paste probably did the trick. The reason why I grated onion instead of chopping? For texture, to make the stuffing hold tightly, and for evenly distributed flavour.

stuffed zucchini

Speaking of spelt bulgur, a gurme shop in Kadikoy, called Altinoluk, stocks a range of regional, organic and quality products including spelt bulgur from Kastamonu, sourdough spelt bread, potato bread from Bolu, pomegranate molasses from Hatay, etc.

I think it’s worth a trip to the shop if you’re a slow foodie. And I’ll see you after I get back from London with ‘pass’ smiles. I’m so looking forward to tasting good wines but not the exam…. 😦

Globe Zucchini Stuffed with Lamb and Bulgur


6 globe courgettes, hollowed

For the stuffing

500g lean ground lamb
1 onion, finely grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup of spelt bulgur, soaked in hot water, covered
1 Tbsp Turkish red pepper paste
1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp cinnamon
2 tsp dried mint
2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
fresh parsley, finely chopped (optional)

some pine nuts, dried fruit(date, prune, cranberries, etc.)
pine nuts, slightly toasted (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 200’C.

2. In a large bowl, mix all the stuffing ingredients very well and stuff each courgette. Place some nuts and dried fruit and push them into the centre.

3. Put the lid on and place the courgettes in a baking dish.

4. Make a bowl of broth with 1 1/2 cup of water +1 tsp minced garlic + 1 Tbsp red pepper paste + 1 Tbsp olive oil, and pour it around and over the courgettes.

5. Bake for 40-50 mins and serve warm.

Alternatively, you can take the lid off and brown the top under the broil and put the lid back on when serving.

fava purslane salad

Spring Pick-Me-Up Food: Artichoke, Fava Beans, Purlane

Hello! I’ve been so swamped by study lately due to the crazy commitment I’d taken. The WSET Diploma is far more challenging than I’d thought, demanding a lot of my time. I hope it’ll get a bit easier as the course progresses and I get a better handle on the course frame.

After a couple of overseas trips, the realisation how far behind I was in the coursework threw me into panic for a period. While I was catching up on the course materials, May suddenly arrived, making me jittery again.

I have a lot going on in May, more travels, and the first exam is in June. So I’ve locked myself at home for the past week, trying to get as much studying as possible done. Today, I finally felt a bit of relief and thought I’d write something up here.

fava purslane salad

In between my study breaks, I still visit the weekly farmers market as it’s impossible to skip! However, these days, when I see lovely seasonal staple veggies, I have to turn away quickly to cut off the temptation for cooking them. What a dramatic change, huh?

I’m still trying to cook as much but simplifying things to save time.

marinated artichoke

No matter how busy I am, I can’t pass up the delicious artichokes, fava beans, snow peas and fresh garlic. I’ve stored away pickled artichokes and made green fig jam as usual.

I enjoy purslane quite a lot throughout the summer, either bought from the market or foraged. Especially my purslane salad recipe has been praised by MIL and hubby as the most delicious.

Purslane is such a nutritious weed packed with omega-3 fatty acid and antioxidant, and sometimes we eat it at breakfast for its tangy and peppery taste.

However, when it comes to cooking it, purslane salad is almost always made with yogurt and a bit of garlic, and I find it boring to be honest.

fava beans

I’ve made several variations of my original dressing for purslane salad and I think this one has been the best.

The most important bit in the dressing is grain mustard, ginger and zahter (za’atar)!  I’ve tried it with Dijon mustard, and with and without za’atar, but the winner is always the one with za’atar, which goes by ‘breakfast za’atar‘.

fava beans purslane

To peel or not to peel fava beans, it’s up to you. I prefer the bright green colour of the peeled ones and also, they’re easier to digest creating less of the gas problem. Plus, sesame is believed to reduce flatulence so, go figure!

fava beans

Fava beans can be boiled with the skin on for a minute or less, and then peeled, or can be quickly pan-fried for crunchiness. The smell of fava beans while boiling is distinctive; one loves or hates it. For me, it’s the scent of my childhood home; lots of fermented soy, that it!

Hope you will enjoy this super healthy weed with different flavours this summer!

Purslane Salad with Fava Beans and Za’atar


half bunch of purslane
1 cup fresh fava beans, blanched
fresh herbs such as wild thyme, mint

1 inch piece of ginger
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp grain mustard
lemon juice
1 Tbsp pomegranate molasse
1 Tbsp Za’atar
extra virgin olive oil


1. Wash the purslane and snap off the leaf-heads and some leaves with small stems, and add into a salad bowl along with blanched fava beans and fresh herbs if using.

2. Make the dressing: Crush ginger, garlic and grain mustard into paste in a mortar and add pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, and olive oil and mix well.

3. Pour the dressing into the salad bowl and toss it well, and top it off with the za’atar powder.

*Variations: You can use other kinds of beans or even artichoke and oyster mushrooms in place of fava beans.

Turkish pancake

You say Crumpet, I say Akitma! – Holey Pancake Day Out in Canakkale

One of our family rituals for spring is a visit to MIL’s village to collect some spring food items. The day always starts with the most anticipated breakfast with akitma. It’s meant to be a carb-loading day, which happens only once in a while, so why not just enjoy it?

Akitma is a pancake leavened with yeast, which fits somewhere between a pancake, English crumpets and French crepes. The texture and the holey appearance place it very close to English crumpets though. This cross-cultural root of akitma made me look deeper into the history of crumpets, pikelets, pancakes, etc.


The fact that akitma is eaten specifically in this Thracian region of Turkey coincides with Bulgarian pancake, ‘katmi‘, though the latter has more eggs.

I’m not a food anthropologist but it might be fair to say that akitma is the holy mother of  the later more-refined crumpets in the Victorian era?

The more I eat it, the more I appreciate the honeycomb-like holes and spongy texture. Butter, honey, or anything put on it will be trapped in all those tiny holes, making it scrumptiously delicious!


I still haven’t figured out the origin of it, though it resembles Moroccan pancake, Beghrir. Out of curiosity, I put the word into Google Translator and it says ‘greedy‘. Makes sense!

This time, I asked aunt a few questions to verify whether or not baking powder or baking soda is necessary as suggested in many crumpet recipes. Aunt exclaimed, ‘No baking soda!’ 

According to the master of the holey pancake, if you cook it fresh, you don’t need to add an additional raising agent. Yeast and heat will be enough to create as many holes as you’d like. That confirmed why I didn’t like the metallic taste of the crumpets I made last summer.

Subsequently, that might also explain how baking soda or baking powder sneaked into the original recipe and eggs out over time as servants tried to make it with scraps of bread and biscuit dough.  It’s a mystery… anyway, from now on, only yeast and more butter for me!!!

There was a pot of milk the aunt freshly milked that morning and boiled for the batter, and gave us a glass full before sitting down at the table.


So this is the aunt’s family recipe.

2 cups of milk, 1 cup of  lukewarm water, one egg, 1 packet of yeast, a pinch of salt and  flour (add till it’s runny enough, 2 or 3 cups) to make batter to feed 6 people. Let the batter ferment for 30 mins and cook over high heat throughout for 3-4 mins and flip it over for 1-2 mins.


Grease the pan with oil rather than butter to prevent it from browning. When cooked, smear with butter generously and stack them up.

We were all stuffed but my big aunt started cooking the second batch to overfeed us. I lost count of akitma and I could hardly breathe at the end.


The last piece was unnecessary but I sacrificed my tummy just to demonstrate to you how to eat akitma properly.

Traditionally, it’s eaten with cooked minced meat, and cheese and grape molasses or kaymak(clotted cream) and honey.

Homemade grape molasses was so delicious on homemade cheese and homemade butter. That was an ultimate ‘koy kahvalti(village breakfast)’ experience.

Turkish pancake

Don’t eat with a knife and fork like my MIL did; eat with hands! It’s no longer the Victorian century! It’s messy but that’s how you get the maximum satisfaction.

After digesting a little, we went outside and visited some other relatives while aunt put together eggs, chicken, yogurt, milk, and so on for us to take home.

baby sheep

When aunt opened the door of the barn, all timid sheep rushed out and ran about chaotically, crashing into each other. It was quite funny to watch.

 village life

When heading home, we took a wrong road by mistake but ended up enjoying the spectacular landscape and nature.


The cattle, sheep, and goats were grazing happily, looking curiously at us.


I’d wished I could have got out of the car and rolled around on the flower-laden pasture or had a romantic picnic with a nice bottle of bubbly.


Perhaps another time but very soon… I really loved this secret scenic road, so green and peaceful.

I hope the weather is warm and flowers in full bloom around you right now. Why not plan a lovely picnic this weekend then!

semolina cake

Healthy Semolina Coconut Revani with Grapefruit Syrup – Tricks for Moist No-Sugar Cake

Yes, the title is correct. If you love the classic Revani soaked in a pool of syrup, it’s great! Otherwise, you’d be pleased to learn that you can replicate the decadent dessert without sugar yet as delicious as the original, which can be also healthy. You don’t believe me? Then, read on.

I say healthy because semolina is indeed more nutritious and tastier than normal flour. But the problem of baking with semolina is the gritty and dry texture it creates. So syrup is crucial in making it moist but the dense and heavy taste isn’t for my palate.

After several trials and errors, this is the best version that everyone loved. You might consider adding this to your Easter table if you want something traditional but with a modern twist.

It’s light and moist without compromising the taste, though Revani would turn in his grave seeing his favourite quintessential Middle Eastern dessert being adulterated.

grapefruit cake

Who is Revani? It’s said to be named after the 16th century Ottoman poet, Revani, who was the governor of Safavid Persia, Yerevan and brought to Istanbul to entertain the sultan.

I can totally understand the ecstatic feelings the bite of revani might have induced, along with wine. But we are living in a world surrounded by sweets, which used to be reserved for special occasions, hence a bit of modification.

I love grapefruit for its lovely aromas and I add it to salads and mineral water. But I haven’t thought of making a cake with it in place of orange or other citrus fruits.

semolina cake

But wow, it certainly added extra layers of flavours to the cake in comparison to the cake made with an orange.

A typical recipe for Revani calls for 4 cups of sugar, yes, 1 cup for the cake and 3 cups for the syrup!! It’s definitely responsible for the high rate of diabetes in middle eastern countries.

By revising the recipe, you can cut down the sugar dramatically and here are the tricks I used.

1. Add yogurt and vegetable oil: Yogurt gives extra moistness and creaminess and so does vegetable oil instead of butter, though fat has less impact on the texture.

2. Rest the batter: After mixing the wet and dry ingredients, let it sit for 30 mins. This allows semolina to absorb some liquid and plum up.

3. Use honey for the syrup: 4 tablespoons of honey was sufficient to achieve the acceptable level of sweetness.

4. Microwave it: if your cake turns out to be a bit gritty, especially when you use only semolina, pour some diluted juice over the sliced cake and microwave it for 10 sec. It will make any gritty semolina cake moist like spongy.

The trick #4 was discovered by accident and saved my very first batch that turned out to be too gritty. Apart from those four tricks, adding a bit of flour and vegetable oil made the cake lighter and moist, too.

My version has coconut flakes, real vanilla bean seeds and orange blossom water, which bring beautiful aromas, making it lovely just to smell.

semolina cake

There are many different variations throughout middle eastern countries, using almond flour, no yogurt but more eggs, or no eggs as in the Egyptian version, basbousa, with lavender, cognac, Cointreau or whisky.

I was so proud of my Revani, which earned me credits from friends and family. It will be my to-go recipe to impress people.

Semolina Coconut Revani
with Grapefruit Syrup


1 ²⁄3 cups fine semolina
¹⁄3 cup all purpose flour
¹ ⁄2 cup coconut flakes
2 tsp baking powder
¹⁄4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 ¼ cups yogurt
½ cup coconut oil or other vegetable oil (or melted butter)
1 tsp vanilla extract or seeds from a vanilla pod
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup grapefruit juice

4 Tbsp honey (1/3 cup)
¾ cup grapefruit juice (freshly squeezed)
1 Tbsp orange blossom water (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C(350F). Line the bottom of an 9 inch square pan with baking sheet.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter or oil, eggs, yogurt and the zest.

3. In a small bowl, mix semolina, coconut flakes, salt, and sugar, and add it to the wet ingredients and whisk until combined to smooth runny batter. Let it sit for 30 mins.

4. Sift in the flour and baking powder into #4 and mix to combine.

5. Pour the batter into the pan, tap on the counter to remove any air bubbles and bake for 25-30 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

6. While the cake is baking, make the syrup: place the honey and grapefruit juice in a saucepan and simmer for 5 mins. Remove from heat and add the blossom water, if using.

7. When the cake comes out of the oven, let it cool for 5 mins and cut it with a sharp knife into a desired shape. And brush the syrup over the top of the cake. I found that brushing, compared to pouring, worked better to control the amount of syrup.

8. Allow it to cool and serve it or keep it in the fridge for several days.

If you want more inspirations, you can check the links below.

Semolina Coconut Marmalade Cake

Really Rich Revani Cake

“Revani” Semolina Cake Soaked In Syrup

Turkish Revani

duck confit

Making Duck Confit at Home in Gascon Style: Ultimate Slow Food, A Tradition to Preserve

Yes, I repeat. Duck Confit is the easiest yet the most misunderstood food in the world. Let me explain why in this post and show to how to tackle the most sublime epicurean delight, which some might consider ‘too classic’.

But as a devoted listener of A Taste of the Past, I have deep appreciation for traditional foods. This post inevitably made me dig into the album of the best moments in my life.

It was supposed to be written before the duck season in February, or even earlier. Despite its delay, I thought I’d post it after tucking away my second batch of duck confit this week at the winery, in the deepest corner of the fridge, not to be tempted and open it up any time soon. It will sit there for at least one month to further develop the true confit flavours.

If I can make duck confit with a small convection oven, so can you! Neither slow cooker nor sous- vide is required.

duck confit

Imagine numerous dishes I can make with this a few months down the road, consequently making my trip to the winery extra joyful. This is really a great food to have on hand. This deliberately forgotten jars will show up in those moments when you need special treats or when you’ve run out of inspirations for cooking.

chateau la menotte

Duck Parmentier( shepherd pie) for example!

So today, I’ll try my best to bring to you

The air and flavours of Gascony and the Pyrenees

gascon food

Just like fermented food, ‘to confit‘ is an ancient method of cooking meat or fruit for preservation. It may sound daunting, but you will be surprised to learn how easy it is to make it at home and how versatile and life-saving it is!

One corner of my pantry is full of duck confit and pate brought in my suitcase from France but my overseas trips have become less frequent these days, and in addition, the taste of store-bought confit has stopped satisfying.

duck confit

So, when my friend tipped me off that a nearby ecological farm has geese, I couldn’t resist it. We were going to make it together so we got FOUR geese, two each, but I ended up making it all by myself.

Since meat price had gone up, it actually turned out to be more economical to eat goose meat and consequently healthier. So we’ve been eating our way through little bits of goose meat in rice, stew, pizza, pasta and so on.

duck confit

Am I pressing too hard here to inspire you to make this decadent duck confit? I’m sure one or two people out there will appreciate it and pick up some useful tips here!

If you have ever searched for duck confit recipes, it’s most likely that you get a beautifully plated leg of duck confit in the results, not the actual recipe for making the confit. Even the ones I found weren’t very practical, if not traditional.

What makes my recipe credible is the fact that I learned the art in the heartland of duck confit, Gascony, near the Pyrenees, close to the birthplace of of D’Artagnan, Lupiac!

I wholeheartedly recommend you visit Gascony to immerse yourself in true gastronomy and look deeper into the cherishable tradition in the company of laid-back, unorthodox Gascons! It’s a festive activity, where families and friends spend 2-3 days together, cooking, feasting, chatting and having fun.

This experience set me straight on the whole issue regarding foie gras and duck confit. There was a vegetarian chef, who came all the way from Paris to learn the tradition, and it was truly a curving point in my culinary travels.

So here you go, the most practical

Step-by-step instructions for making duck confit at home.

I’ll share my experience from ‘then’ along with my recent photos.

1 whole duck or goose (or duck legs only)
Coarse salt
2 bay leaves, 1 tsp black peppercorns, 1 sprig of rosemary or thyme, 1 star anise(optional)
2-3 cups duck fat (top it off with extra virgin olive oil)
sterilised jars (important!)

duck confit

#1. The most important step

is to cure the meat with coarse salt for 12-24 hours in the fridge. The longer, the saltier, and the longer it keeps. With a refrigerator and an easier access to duck meat all year around these days, you may want to shorten the curing time and aim to store for up to 6 months instead of 1 year.

And you don’t need garlic, onion or other seasonings because the meat will have its rich unique flavours – you can always make sauce to serve with later – plus, the simpler, the longer storage.

goose breast

I deboned the two geese – to learn how to de-bone a duck, watch this video – and separated breasts, legs, wings and necks, and since I couldn’t fit all pieces, I saved the breasts for later. I could have made pastirma (dry cured duck breast ham!). But you can confit breasts and all parts.

duck confit

While the meat was being cured, we hiked the Pyrenees, which was one of the best memories up to this day.


If you can cross over to Spain, like Napoleon did until he got baffled by Cirque de Gavarnie, which is named after the amphitheatre-like valley, and its size from the bottom(800m diameter) to the top(3000m diameter) is just impressive and out of this world.


What a breathtaking and magnificent view! We managed to get down before we froze to death and headed home passing the Napoleon Bridge, which was built in order for him to have access to cheap Spanish wines.

#2. The next day,

you shake off the salt and prepare the fat for cooking the duck.

What internet recipes never tell you is this. Mincing the fat! This is the secret.

Yes, it’s A LOT OF fat. But you need a lot of fat to submerge the meat in oil. Trim any excessive fat and process it. It helps render the fat quicker, AND most importantly, you waste nothing and are rewarded with an amazing treat at the end!

duck confit

I added the duck fat I’d saved from the last can of duck confit to the minced fat. Duck fat is a wonderful thing and is the only animal fat that is in a liquid form at room temperature. It’s healthy fat so you don’t need to freak out!

If you don’t have access to duck fat, you can top it up with extra virgin olive oil, med quality. Don’t worry, it won’t go to waste because you’ll use up the fat in cooking after eating the meat.

And you render the fat over the stove and when the fat starts to simmer, add the duck. You can turn the heat to is lowest possible and keep cooking OR pop it into the oven, preheated to 95-110’C (200-225F), and forget about it for 4-6 hours.

The cooking time varies depending on the meat of course. Mine was wild goose so it took good 8 hours at 110’C but the duck you buy from a market will take 4-5 hours(lower temp, longer cooking, therefore more succulent)

goose confit

While the duck is cooking, you feast and celebrate with food and drinks. Or go about your daily affairs, if not home and only if you feel like it, you can turn around the meat from time to time.

Floc de Gascogne is a regional aperitif (a bi-product of Armagnac) and drunk chilled with salty charcuterie, and of course, a tasting of Armagnac in a different year; 1988 and 1994. And of course, the local wine, Madiran, made from Tannat.

Like I said, it is an ultimate slow food and no waste food tradition. I was so stunned when the roasted rib cage was served in front of me at the table. Everyone worked on it, taking every bit of the meat of the bone. And the green beans cooked in the duck jus were the best I’d tasted in my life!

I cooked the remaining bones and made ‘rillettes’, shredded meat similar to pate. You can throw in some green or dried beans and make casserole. Yum!

#3. Now the meat is ready to go into the jar.

I know you will want to eat it right away! However, fight the temptation and wait for a few weeks. Your patience will pay off with bountiful flavours that will stick out with you for the rest of your life.

duck confit

Only legs, or a leg and breast or only breasts, with necks and bits thrown in to fill the space.

duck confit

And then pour the fat into each jar to cover the meat, and bring out more local wine to celebrate the treat that I’d mentioned above. Graisseron!

Fishing out every pieces of meat and straining out the fat, you get this delightful little treat, graisseron in French.

It’s the scratchings left at the bottom of the pot and it’s insanely delicious.

Save this by all means and eat it on crusty bread with a glass of light red or use in cooking vegetables.

duck confit

#4. And the final stage of sterilisation comes.

It’s an important stage for long storage of your precious duck confit. It’s done at 100’c for 2-3 hours.

In our modern lifestyle, I’d skip this stage but I made sure the jars were sterilised before being stuffed.

duck confit

These are the goose confit and rillettes I made and the geese, so big, didn’t fit into normal jars so I had to find bigger jars. As you’ve noticed, this one has more brown liquid of gelatin because I cured the meat less, hence more water content in the meat. I didn’t plan to keep it for too long since I had another batch to make.

The bountiful jars of duck confit are like treasures. Because of the effort involved and the memories shared, you’ll appreciate every jar, savouring every bite with gratitude and joy. That’s the essence of duck confit in the era of commercialised, fast, processed food that we’re accustomed to. No wonder the Gascons are known as boisterous; they have the best food!

I’ll share some photos when I start opening the jars. So exciting!

You will have no shortage of duck confit photos on my blog. Here and here.
Cheers to the most sublime slow food, Duck Confit!

duck confit

Brussels sprout kimchi

Fermented Goodies: Brussels Sprouts, Mustard Greens Kimchi

Better late and never! The latest freezing temperature, I hope, will do some justice to this post. But then again, there isn’t a right time for fermentation obsession, is there?

I took advantage of the cold weather with drizzles and gutsy wind, I busied myself with much delayed winter chores. But before I begin, I send out my apology for not being able to do the annual kimchi workshop, nor any Korean food events this winter. But I certainly will this year!

I hope that you still made your favourite kimchi to store away for months to come.

On my part, so caught up between two jobs, I was getting anxious that I might not be able to make any kimchi myself. The bigger issue than time, though, was not finding Napa cabbages in Canakkale!

As a desperate resort to stock some fermented goodies, I made kimchi with Brussels sprouts and mustard greens, called ‘hardal otu‘ in Turkish.

kimchi brussels sprout

There are three things that give me a sense of security, and they are Kimchi/Cheese/Wine. Neither a man nor money; as long as you have kimchi in your fridge, all others will follow. How does it work? I don’t know.

The other day, the title on The Food Programme was Comfort food for Dark days. I thought about my comfort food, of course, while eating kimchi fried rice. As much as I’d like to say I have a French palate, I must say how much comforting the simple fried rice is to me.

Is it because of the flavours or is it the ‘La madeleine de Proust‘ effect? The memory of cooking and eating it with my 3 other sisters when mum wasn’t around… the happy moment.

Brussels sprout kimchi

Anyway, I felt secure when I made some kimchi out of alternative ingredients such as Brussels sprouts and mustard greens.

Since I didn’t do the workshop, I’m going to give away some of the tips shared at the workshop.

fermented Brussel sprouts

My workshop involves a rundown of the basics of fermenting vegetables, and I take sauerkraut and Brussels sprouts as an example. Sauerkraut is straightforward but Brussels sprouts need some extra attention.

The Brussels sprout, healthy but loathed by many, is an excellent vegetable to ferment, especially in a kimchi style.

Brussels sprout kimchi

Why would you chop up this cute little cabbages, which are so lovely to look at?

It might take longer to brine but it’s so worth the patience. The whole B.sprout is just for pressing down to keep them submerged. You can also use a halved onion as seen in other jars above.

fermented Brussels sprouts

Voila, after 4 weeks, it turned into a delectable treat, tangy and a touch of spiciness. Two weeks later, it will be just perfect.

kimchi broth

Just for the purpose of alternating tastes, for a clean taste to be precise, I like using shiitake mushroom and dashi(kelp) broth for a certain type of vegetables. However, feel free to use fish sauce, anchovy sauce or anything you have handy.

mustard green kimchi

This type of kimchi has more liquid and is non-or less spicy. Pureed onion and apple is also strained to keep the liquid clean, and garlic is added into the liquid as a whole or in half.

mustard green fermented

Another minor details are the yin-yang and aesthetic combination: carrots for Brussels sprouts and radish for mustard greens

mustard green kimchi

You can make it with some other wild greens such as wild radish leaf kimchi, which surprised everyone at the last workshop, with its tangy savoury flavours. I strongly recommend you make this with some wild plants now while they are abundant at weekly farmers’ markets.

fermented Brussel sprouts

Not to mention, the superstar of Kimchi, too! I felt really happy that I’d managed to get hold of Napa cabbages and made kimchi two weeks ago!


So I have fermented veggie condiments in various shapes, colours and flavours. Small things that make life happy…

I made two packets (about 1kg), so you can divide the measurement in half, but why not make a big batch and share the love?

Ah, why do they have the cling film under the lids, you ask? It has two purposes: one, it keeps the smell staining the lid, and two, it helps to seal more tightly.

Here is the ultimate recipe for the most delicious kimchi-style fermented vegetables. If you have any questions regarding the recipe, please feel free to drop me a message in the comment!

Fermented Brussels Sprouts Kimchi


2 pounds Brussels sprouts, halved
3 cups spring or filtered water
4 Tbsp course sea salt
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 pear
4 cloves garlic, halved or quartered
1 Tbsp to 1/2 cup chilli flakes (gochugaru), depending on your taste
A small piece of ginger(optional)
2 spring onions, cut into strips
1 carrot, grated

3 cups shiitake, kelp broth(or 2 Tbsp fish sauce dilluted in 3 cups spring water)
1 Tbsp rice flour*
1 cup water

4 small or 3 big glass jars, sterilised
cling flim


1. Trim any damaged outer leaves and cut them in half. In a bowl, make salt brine and toss the cut B.sprouts and let it sit for 2-3 hours until wilted slightly. You’ll not rinse them as opposed to normal kimchi.

*Keep one or two big Brussels sprouts to use for weighing down the veggies to submerge in the liquid. You can use halved onions as well.

2. In the meantime, make the broth and rice porridge. For the broth, in a small pot, boil 4 cups of water with 2-3 pieces of shiitake and 1 big or 2 small pieces of kelp for 20 mins. It’ll be reduced to approx. 3 cups. For the rice porridge, add the flour into water and bring it to simmer till it’s thickened to glue consistency. Let it cool.

3. In a food processor, puree the onion and pear.

4. Add the broth and rice porridge into the bowl of B.sprouts, and strain in the onion pear puree along with the chill flakes.

5. Add in the carrot, spring onion, garlic and ginger slices, and toss it all thoroughly.

6. Divide the veggies into prepared jars, pressing them down to minimise the air gaps but leaving 2 inch head-space. Top up with the remaining juice from the bowl.

7. Press the veggies down as much as you can to submerge them into the liquid, and add more filtered water if necessary. Place the onion or B,sprout or a weight stone and close the lid, not too tightly at this point.

8. Leave the jars at room temperature for 3-4 days, preferably in a dark place, and taste it if it’s turn slight tangy. If so, close the lid tightly and continue fermenting it in the fridge for 4-6 weeks.