Fethiye Times is delighted to welcome Ozlem Warren from Ozlem’s Turkish Table to Fethiye Times…
This is Ozlem from Ozlem’s Turkish Table
I was delighted when dear Lyn from Fethiye Times asked if I would contribute with an article and one of my recipes. I have been following Fethiye Times for quite a while and love how it celebrates this glorious land, its fascinating landscape, historical heritage and the delicious Turkish cuisine. I love my homeland and love exploring Fethiye and surroundings at every opportunity. I have such fond memories of swimming at Ölüdeniz, Çalış Beach, exploring the beautiful Butterfly Valley – Kelebekler Vadisi and more. A beautiful, special place that I feel much attached to and long to come back to whenever I can.
I was born and bred in my dear homeland Turkey and lived there for 30 years. I am a mother of two, living in England, lover of good food shared with family and friends. I am passionate about my homeland and I feel very fortunate to be a part of this rich and welcoming culture. Living abroad, I miss the warm culture and the delicious Turkish cuisine; getting together over a cup of Turkish coffee or a delicious bite to share but moreover that special land that is a big part of my heritage.
Sharing Turkish food and our culinary heritage through my blog, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, and my Turkish cookery classes have been a very valuable way to connect with my homeland and my roots. I think living abroad and being away from home made me realise how important it is to make the effort to stay in touch with family and friends and share our delicious, wholesome Turkish cuisine – it is, after all, an important part of what makes us who we are. That need to stay in touch became even more important when we had children, to help them connect with their heritage and understand and embrace the traditions and the culture. Making and enjoying Turkish food with my children has been an amazing, delicious way for them to be in touch with Turkey, understand the culture and feel proud of their heritage.
Turkish cookery classes
I am very fortunate to have been able to share wholesome Turkish cuisine through my Turkish Cookery Classes for over 10 years. I have taught in the US at the Central Market Cooking Schools in Texas, in Istanbul at the Istanbul Culinary Institute – Turkey, in the UK at the Divertimenti Cookery School, Cactus Kitchens and Blid & Hatton Gatherings Food Studio, in Amman at JA University and Jordan.
My Turkish recipe blog, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, has been a wonderful way to connect with Turkish food lovers all around the world. I am delighted to see the ever growing interest for Turkish cuisine, packed with thousand years of history and traditions.
I have also had a chance to host Culinary and Cultural Tours to Turkey over the years, to show my homeland from a local’s perspective; the feedback from the participants has always been amazing as this magical land packed with history, natural beauty and culinary delights fascinated them all.
Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes From My Homeland
Thanks to growing interest, I am now in the process of writing my Turkish cookery book; Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes From My Homeland. It is a book very dear to my heart and a tribute to my homeland; the book will showcase my favourite Turkish recipes, with a special focus on my southern Turkish roots, along with my personal stories – I really can’t wait to share this special book with you all.
Talking of the book, I would be delighted if you could take the time to complete a very short cookery book survey. Please click on the link below:
It will take less than a minute to complete and is completely anonymous. I would be most grateful for your honest feedback, to help shape the book. As a thank you, if you leave your name and email address at the end of the survey, you will be entitled to a 10% discount when the book is published. I would be more than happy to send you a signed copy!
Ozlem’s Turkish Table – the recipe
Now I would like to share with you one of my favourite salads, Smoked aubergine salad with tomatoes, onions, peppers – Patlıcanlı Eksileme
This dish showcases our much-loved aubergine (patlıcan).
This is a scrumptious salad from my hometown, Antakya in southern Turkey and it is one of my favourites. I have such fond memories of watching my mother and grandmother smoking the aubergine over the barbeque grill at my grandparent’s home in ancient Antioch, Antakya. It is packed with flavour and is always a popular mezze on warm summer days. The dried mint really adds a wonderful flavour to the salad, most refreshing along with the lemon juice.
Serve as part of a mezze spread or as an accompaniment to any grills.
I wish you all a lovely summer; I very much look forward to returning to Fethiye soon. I have a grand plan of having my Turkish cookery book tour in Turkey and Fethiye is high on my list to stop by. I do hope to have a chance to meet you in person and share a delicious Turkish bite together.
Cok Selam ve Sevgilerimle,
Smoked aubergine salad with tomatoes, onions, peppers – Patlıcanlı Eksileme
1 medium aubergine (eggplant)
1 large tomato, finely chopped
1 small green and red bell (or pointy) pepper, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
A handful of fresh flat parsley, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
30ml/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
10 ml/2 teaspoons dried mint
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Puncture the aubergine in 3-4 places and cook on a barbeque grill or over a burner. Using a tong, turn occasionally by the stalks until the outer skin is charred and blistered and the inner flesh is soft (If you rather prefer not to have the smoky flavor, the aubergine can be baked in a preheated oven at 200C/400F for about 40 minutes, please turn half way for both sides of the aubergine to cook evenly).
Carefully place the cooked aubergine in a colander, using a tong. When cool enough to handle, peel away the burnt skin and discard the stalk.
Put the flesh in a colander and gently squeeze to drain away any bitter juices. Place the flesh on a chopping board and chop and mash roughly. Transfer the flesh to a plate and pour over ½ lemon juice to retain its colour, mix well.
Cover and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to make the salad (You can prepare the aubergine this way a day in advance if you like).
When you are ready to make the salad, take out the cooked aubergine from the fridge.
Rub the onion with a good pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. This softens the onion slightly, making it much more palatable. Add the aubergine flesh to the mixing bowl and stir in the chopped tomatoes, bell peppers and the parsley. Combine all well.
To make the dressing, combine the remaining 1/2 lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, dried mint and ground black pepper to taste. Drizzle over the salad, mix well and serve.