Monthly Archives: October 2008


British wine is different than all the wines I’ve ever tried. It has a quite sweet taste and makes an effect familiar to what whisky or brandy do to the mouth and throat, but of course slighty than those. I’ve found out that it is produced by the fermentation of imported grapes which results in a wine resembling sherry (a fortified wine to which brandy is added after or just before the completion of the fermentation process). Just like written on the back of the bottle it is a ‘nice drink to get you relaxed’, of course to whom appreciating sweet taste in wine.



A couple of days ago, I was making my usual food shopping in Tesco and stopped by the shelves of alcoholic beverages as usual which is like a habit since I do it most of the time even though I have no intentions of buying any of them J. As I was looking around I realized two wines at the lowest shelf: “British wine” and “Ginger wine”. Both made me glad. Because I can use the ginger wine in my cookings while with the British wine I will add another wine to the list of wines I’ve tried in England. Ginger wine is especially good with desserts since it has a sweet taste with a ginger aroma. I used it in a fruit salad that you can see below. It is better you wait for 10-15 min. before enjoying the salad; during this period the taste of the ginger wine mixes with the tastes of the fruits and they form a new and unique taste on their own.





We are now living autumn and it is the season for butternut squash which is from the same family with pumpkin. In Turkey we use pumpkin for making dessert and I learned that it is the tendency in Asian cuisine; for eg. it is used to make ‘halawa’ (which is helva in Turkish, a name given to a category of desserts) in Middle East and  India. As an exception, my hometown in Turkey, Manisa, has a local dish that is made from pumpkin but served as a main dish. However, I have never come up with someone preparing it; unfortunately read it from a book. I have not tried it yet since I was waiting for the pumpkin season J. When the season has reached I was in England and I’ve come up with several recipes of butternut squash soup. Then, I decided to try the soup in the first place. Here is the way that I did it:




–One butternut squash

–One medium-size onion

–Chicken Broth & Milk

–Olive Oil

–Salt and Pepper


Preparation: Fry the finely chopped onions in olive oil until they are soft, then add the butternut squash chopped into pieces small enough to soften easily. Stir them occasionally for 5 minutes but keep the lid closed as much as possible. Add the chicken broth and boil the mix; then add the milk and keep stiring for another 3-4 minutes by decreasing the heat. Take the pan off the cook and wait for 10 min. By using a hand blender, make the mix turn into a liquid puree; add salt and pepper and put the pan for another 2-3 min. on the cook and stir the soup. It will be ready at the end of that period.


You can add  cream instead of milk or both. You can add curry powder, cinnamon or other spices depending on your gusto. I have served them with dry mint and baked wholewheat bread. 


PS: I did not use vegetable broth but I think it will be better since it can take away some of the sweat taste of the butternut squash which I”ve honestly not liked very much in a soup.


Being in a highly international environment is a fantastic thing and one of the most thrilling aspects is the amount of new recipes that I can learn from my friends from many countries. Besides, I’ve got the chance to experience these recipes with the native practioner of that culture and learn much more about their food culture. Plantains (a fruit that just looks like a banana but having a different taste) are the new ingredients that I have learned and I’ll soon be able to cook them in various ways (fried, boiled, grilled etc.). A friend from Cameroon will show me how to cook them as soon as I get some plantains. I’m just looking forward to it!


Since I am now not able to touch some plantains and cook them J, I gathered little info about them from the web and here it is:  



Plantains tend to be firmer and lower in sugar content than dessert bananas. Bananas are most often eaten raw, while plantains usually require cooking or other processing, and are used either when green or under-ripe (and therefore starchy) or overripe (and therefore sweet). Plantains are a staple food in the tropical regions of the world, treated in much the same way as potatoes and with a similar neutral flavour and texture when the unripe fruit is cooked by steaming, boiling or frying. They are grown as far north as Florida, the Caribbean and Central America, South America in countries like Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and southern Brazil, the Canary Islands, Madeira, Egypt, Cameroon,Nigeria and southern Japan or Taiwan and as far south as KwaZulu-Natal”.





The first couple of the fusion kitchen is “bulgur” and “cod”. Bulgur is a widely used ingredient in Turkish cuisine and is obtained simply by pounding the wheat. Wheat that is separated from its skin is first boiled, dried and then crushed to small pieces (It is still homely-produced especially in rural areas of Turkey besides the manufactured type). Bulgur generally has two kinds; the one with bigger grains is used for making bulgur pilafi (with various kinds of additional ingredients) and the other is for making bulgur balls or used in different recipes (especially recipes with red meet) for its taste as well as its merging characteristic. By the way, the second one resembles cous cous in its appearence.


Cod is a fish that is naturally not available in Turkey while it is abundant in UK (Its Turkish name is ‘morina’). For most of the time, cod fish is used in UK’s popular dish ‘fish& cips’. From the first time I ate it (it was in a restaurant when I exactly have no idea about what kind of fish I am having; I was just trying the famous fish & cips), I like it. It is a delicious fish with a pretty white color. Without looking for any cod fish recipes from the web, I bought 2 cod fillets from the supermarket (I have no beforehand information, it was totally instinct J). They were covered by crunchy crump and they need to be cooked in the oven for 20 minutes in order to be ready to eat; so easy.


As a part of my searches for new tastes, I bought a pair of avocado for £ 2 which I can’t even  dream of getting it at this price in Turkey. When I tried it, I was about to hate avocado. But I realized that it was different from other tropical fruits such as pine apple, mango or dragon fruit (it is no good to eat avocado rawly, it needs to meet with other tastes) as I looked through recipes using avocado. Then, I decided not to give up avocado but try it in an alternative way. I came up with a common avocado sauce with garlic and yogurt which sounded nice and it is the one I used in my cod fillet recipe, of course with some new touches.


Bulgur pilafi is a popular dish in Turkey; as rice pilafi you can make it with a variety of additional stuff meaning that it is an ingredient with a huge potential for innovation. Bulgur pilafi is very easy to prepare and offers much for your gusto: one of my favourites! In this recipe I added dried tomatoes and onion.


Here you are..Enjoy the recipes!  



“Bulgur Pilafi” with Sun Dried Tomatoes


–Bulgur Wheat (full of 1 water glass),

–1 medium-size onion, –

–Tomatoe Puree (app. 1 table spoon),

–6-7 dried tomatoes (I used dried- tomatoes kept in olive oil; you can use other types but the important thing is that tomatoes should be mildly soft)

–Salt & pepper (optionally dried mint & dried oregano)

Preparation: Chop the onions vertically in order to get long pieces. Fry them in some vegetable oil (preferably olive oil) or butter till they get slightly pink color and then add the tomatoe puree and pieces of dried tomatoe. Fry them by stiring for 1 minute and lastly put the bulgur to the saucepan and fry once again for another 1 minute. The amount of hot water that you will add to the ingredients is the crucial moment. The trick is that: pour hot water into the saucepan until it covers and exceeds the top of the ingredients by 1 cm. The pilafi will be ready to be served in 7-8 minutes at mild temparature. After all the water drains, take away the saucepan from the cooker, open the cover and put a cotton sheet over the saucepan. The excess water vapour will be absorbed by this way and it will prevent your pilafi to become mushy.


“Cod Fillet” Covered With Avocado Sauce




Half avocado

1 tooth of garlic (2 or 3 if they they are small)

1 table spoon of (malt) vinegar

2 table spoons of Greek style creamy yogurt

Salt and pepper


Preparation: Cook the cod fillet in oven as it is instructed on the package. For the preparation of the sauce first mash the garlic, and then the avocado. When they properly mix, add the vinegar, yogurt, salt and pepper and stir them until you think that they are mixed properly. Cover the cod fillet with this good colored sauce; the cover is better to be thick. When I prepare this recipe I have some boiled mung beans (known also as green gram or green soy which is mainly used in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Thailandian cuisines) which I have seen and bought for the first time in my life. I was thinking of using it for dressing as you see in the picture. However, during the preparation of the sauce I realized that I can add some boiled mung beans into the sauce; it would surely suit to the color as well as adding to the thickness of the sauce which is desirable in order to cover the fillet thoroughly. So I did it and believe me it’s worked J 


PS: I’ve come up with a lovely mung bean recipe at lovely Cafe Fernando at I surely advise you to check it out!