All posts filed under: Mains

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. 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, …

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. Imagine numerous dishes I can make with this …

pork kimchi

Slow Roast Kimchi Pork with Super Crispy Skin – Paired with Mavroudi or Mavrud of Thrace

Celebration and indulgence… That night marked the end of the long-distance living or dual location households. It’s OVER! Hooray! It was hard; it was costly; it was stressful; it was emotionally damaging. I know many couples are doing this, whether or not by choice, and I wonder how they manage it. Well, it didn’t fit for us and the biggest struggle was not being able to eat together and, for him, not finding any food outside. When I asked what he wanted for dinner on his moving day, he screamed ‘PORK!’. So I took out two packets of pork shoulder cut from the freezer the first thing in the morning. I scored the skin in a criss-cross pattern and rubbed it generously with coarse salt. I also drizzled some kimchi juice over the meat and sprinkled Schiuan pepper and rosemary. After resting in the fridge the whole morning, it was ready for the oven. Since the cut was individually packaged, not in whole, I had to find a way to make it sit with the skin …

pumpkin tortellini

Pumpkin Leek Tortellini with Duck Ragu

Finally comes the duck story… And I’m afraid yet delighted that you’ll hear more duck stories this winter. How come? Well, I’m spreading the duck spirits around me and so many people are eager to eat more of the delicacy. Leading up to the last day of my sejour at the winery, I was thinking hard everyday about the duck: how and when to cook it.  Sensing the accumulated anticipation of almost two months, I decided to get the task over and done with. Originally, it was destined for Duck a l’Orange, but I incorporated a Chinese Peking Duck method by adding more herbs and oriental spices such as star anise and cinnamon, and also by drying out the skin for crispiness. The warm aromas had the effect of stimulating a holiday mood as well. After resting in the fridge overnight, rubbed with salt and spices, it was ready for the oven the next morning. Despite some unexpected events, I managed to cook it for as long as 2.5 hours. The tough parts, the wings …

Chasing the Season: Sardines Wrapped in Grape Leaves

These days a lot of photos of Ahi Tuna are circulating on social media, teasing me who can’t even get any fish. Commercial fishing is banned from May to September in Turkey to protect fish population. You can still get farmed fish, though. However, I won’t resort to Norwegian farmed salmon, so I’m hanging in there waiting for the healthiest little fish to appear. And they have! But my stubborn FIL keeps saying firmly, “Not tasty yet. Wait till July!”  Ahhh~~~ I know if I’ll be rewarded with big fat sardines if I wait a bit longer. I’m usually great at delayed gratification but not with fish. So one day I decided to risk upsetting him, – he’s very serious about fish – and bought some without telling him. They were not as big as FIL would have liked but still pretty fat. The farmers market is full of goodness. Look at the 5 different kinds of cherries! And here you go, the fresh green chickpeas. This is one of those vegetables that you buy …

Humble Delights: Garlic and Onion Scapes

When I got back home after 2 weeks’ absence, I was delighted to see my plants still healthy. This wine bottle watering system really worked! The bottle was still half full and the soil was wet. Now I don’t need to worry about plants when going on a holiday, yeah! I’ve created a few dishes this week and some turned out really amazing. I can’t wait to share them with you. But for today, I’ll share some tricks you can do with humble garlic and onion scapes you probably see a lot these days. When I see the scapes at the market, my knew-jerk reaction is ‘PICKLE’~! This salty, tangy and sweet pickle is a delight at a meal.  But instead of garlic scapes, I’ve been seeing a lot of onion scapes. Did I miss them while I was away?? I bought the scapes anyway and pickled some of them since I couldn’t eat them all. I threw in some fresh green garlic cloves as well. When pickled, they develop a different flavour. I’ll start eating them after 2 weeks …