Product Review: Authentic Turkish Gozleme

Product Review: Authentic Turkish Gozleme
I have discovered a new product at Costco a few weeks ago: It is the Authentic Turkish Gozleme with Feta and Spinach. You know those traditional Turkish pastries filled with spinach and feta cheese? That’s them.

Gozleme

It is a big pack of Gozlemes I must admit. There are 4 Gozlemes in 1 pack, weighing 1.2 kg. altogether. However, each Gozleme is 300 gr and pretty much handkerchief size. I believe they are produced that way because you want them to fit in your frying pan, right? Traditional Gozleme is very thin and large as they are cooked on top an inverted wok like cooking implement and our frying pans we use in our home kitchen can never be that big. I used to have a very big, square, electric frying pan that I mainly used to make Gozleme. It got old in the end and I quickly realised that they do not make them that big anymore. I bought the biggest one available but it is still tricky.

Because Authentic Turkish Gozleme is quite thick, it takes longer to cook. The other problem its thickness is the moment you cut it, it spills its guts out. That is probably the only negative comment I can say about it. Other than that, Gozleme is becoming very popular in Sydney and these ones are incredibly practical.

Ingredients for Authentic Turkish Gozleme
• Wheat flour (Vitamins: Thiamine, folate)
• Feta cheese (30% milk): milk, salt rennet (non-animal), culture
• Water
• Silverbeet (16%), actually this is English spinach basically
• Iodised salt

Allergen information:
Contains gluten and milk products.

How to store Authentic Turkish Gozleme
Keep frozen. Once thawed, do not refreeze. Keep refrigerated, cook and consume within 24 hours.

Cooking instructions for Authentic Turkish Gozleme
• Remove Gozleme from its bag.
• Place it on oiled hot plate or non-stick fry pan and fry until each face is golden brown.
• Serve hot with a slice of lemon (optional).

Wine Notes: Process of Wine Making

Wine making has been around for thousands of years. It is not only an art but also a science. Wine making is a natural process that requires little human intervention, meaning if you put together the right ingredients in the right environment, the process will take care of the rest. However, they say that each wine maker guides the process through different techniques.

wine making

In general, there are five basic components of the wine making process:
1. harvesting
2. crushing and pressing
3. fermentation
4. clarification
5. aging and bottling

Wine makers typically follow these five steps but add variations and deviations along the way to make their wine unique.

Harvesting
The first step of wine making is harvesting the grapes. The time of picking the grapes determines many characteristics of the grapes and subsequently the wine which is made from them.

Although many wine makers prefer to hand-pick their grapes, the harvesting can also be done mechanically. Once the grapes are harvested, rotten and under ripe grapes are discarded.

Crushing and Pressing
Grapes are crushed with two different methods: using body part or using machinery.

The body part is the process of stomping the grapes with feet and crushing the grapes into must. Think about Aitana Sánchez-Gijón in movie called A Walk in the Clouds, crushing grapes with her feet in barrels. It is the old-fashioned way.

Nowadays, most wine makers prefer to use some kind of machinery to crush the grapes. And for that, a mechanical press is being used. This is a more hygienic way, as you can imagine.

Fermentation
After crushing and pressing, the juice of crushed grapes ferments with the help of yeasts added. Fermentation happens when sugar turns into alcohol. Grapes’ individual properties colour and flavour the wine-to-be. Winemakers can step in at this point and add oak fermentation or oak products into the process to further flavour the wine or add structure.

Clarification
Clarification is the process of removing certain substances like tannins and dead yeast cells. Wine is then transferred into an oak barrel or a stainless-steel tank. Clarification can be done by fining and filtration. During the process, wine is transferred into an oak barrel or a stainless-steel tank and certain substances are added to clarify it. For example, milk, clay, gelatine, egg white or isinglass (sturgeon bladder) are added for unwanted particles to attach to. Then to capture and eliminate the larger particles, the wine is filtered. The clarified wine is now ready to be transferred into another vessel for further aging or bottling.

Aging and Bottling
As a final stage, wine is aged in barrels and tanks to impart some much-needed integration on the various components of sugar, alcohol, grape juice, oak and yeast. Some wines are bottled straight away but some are given additional aging.

Some wine makers prefer aging their wine in oak barrels. The process produces a smoother and rounder wine. During this particular aging process, the wine will be exposed to oxygen which subsequently decrease tannin and increase fruitiness.

After that stage, we come in… as consumers. Because, wine is then ready to be served and consumed with friends and family.

Faux-prawns in a Coconut Cream Sauce

Yesterday, I was tidying up my Indian recipes on my computer. All of a sudden it occurred to me that I haven’t done much Indian cooking recently. I was especially missing my Aloo Matar (potatoes and peas) and it seemed like I may have cooked it a million and a half years ago. I quickly checked the radiation levels in my fridge and for that I mean ingredients. Eventually decided to make my aloo matar and something else. That something else is below…

prawns

My Faux-prawns in a Coconut Cream Sauce recipe was inspired by Meena Pathak’s Chingri malai curry from her book; Flavours of India.

Faux-prawns in a Coconut Cream Sauce

Meena Pathak says that the dish is from the east coast of India. Of course, it uses real prawns but I substituted them with vegan/vegetarian prawns. The recipe also calls for bay leaves but I didn’t have any. So, I left it out completely.
Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 vegan/vegetarian king prawns, thawed and cut into 2
½ cup frozen baby green beans
5 baby corns, chopped
½ teaspoon ground turmeric

1 onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic
1 piece ginger (about an inch)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cloves
2 green cardamom pods
2.5 cm (1 in) piece of cinnamon stick, broken into 3 (I used a very thin one)
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon plain natural yogurt
270 ml coconut milk
Salt to taste

Method:
• Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan and add vegetarian prawns, green beans, baby corn and turmeric. Fry them on high heat until they are crispy. Remove and set aside.
• Place the onions, garlic and ginger in a food processor or blender and process to a fine paste.
• Wipe the pan with paper towel. Add the remaining oil to the pan (1 tablespoon) and add the cloves, green cardamom and cinnamon.
• Reduce the heat, and add the onion, garlic and ginger paste to the pan. Stir-fry over a medium heat for 2 minutes.
• Add 1 teaspoon turmeric and red chilli powder. Sprinkle with a little water and stir well.
• Add the yogurt and mix well. Pour in the coconut milk and return the vegetarian prawns, green beans and baby corn to the pan. Cook over a medium heat for 5-8 minutes until the sauce thickens.
• Serve with plain boiled rice.

Anah Daata Sukhi Bhaava! (Bon Appetit!)

Recipe: Aloo Matar (Potatoes and Peas)

Aloo Matar

Aloo Matar (Potatoes with Peas) is one of my favourite vegetarian Indian dishes of all time. Partly because it was the first Indian dish I ever learnt to cook.

Aloo means potato and matar means peas, by the way. It is a dry style Indian dish which can be added to other dishes like a daal or another main dish. I found the recipe in Shehzah Husain’s Vegetarian Indian cookbook many years ago. I make changes all the time like (you know me) but I have the original recipe here for you. Enjoy!

Aloo Matar (Potatoes and Peas)
Ingredients:
Tomato puree (1 large tomato)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon garlic pulp
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons corn oil
2 onions, diced
125 g (4 oz) peas (I use baby peas because they cook faster)
300 ml (1/2 pint) corn oil
3 potatoes, roughly diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
½ green pepper, deseeded and sliced
½ red pepper, deseeded and sliced

Method:
• Mix the tomato puree, ground coriander, chilli powder, garam masala, garlic, turmeric, salt and lemon juice together in a bowl and set aside.
• Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onions and fry until golden brown. Pour the tomato puree and spice mixture into pan, lower the heat and stir-fry for about 3 minutes. Stir in peas and set aside.
• Heat the remaining corn oil in a karahi or deep frying pan to 180C, or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds, add the potatoes and fry them until they have golden edges and are cooked through. Remove the potatoes dice from the pan and add to the peas and spice mixture.
• Finally, add the fresh coriander and sliced green and red peppers and stir-fry for a further 2 minutes. Serve the dish hot.

Anah Daata Sukhi Bhaava! (Bon Appetit!)

Jazar Bil Kamoun Wal Toum (Moroccan Carrot Salad)

I hope you guys all had a wonderful Christmas. Ours was fun and it lasted (the fun bit) until we were finally exhausted. Exhausted from eating and drinking but that’s what you do at this time of the year, right?

As promised… this is the salad we had for Christmas as a side to the main and a couscous dish. I thought it would be a good idea to keep all three Moroccan. I remember considering this particular salad for Vegan MoFo a few years ago when I had the Mediterranean theme for the whole month but never got around to it.

Recipe Notes: You might like to play around with the spices. I personally LOVE cumin and hot chilli so I use a lot more than specified in the recipes and even add more later on—which is true for cumin every time.

Jazar Bil Kamoun Wal Toum (Moroccan Carrot Salad)

Jazar Bil Kamoun Wal Toum (Moroccan Carrot Salad)
Ingredients:

5 medium sized carrots (I must admit, Olly ate some while I was preparing. So, I can’t guarantee the exact amount 🙂 )
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground chilli
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
juice of ½ lemon, freshly squeezed
A few black olives, pitted and halved ( used 6 olives)

Method:
• Cut the carrots into four lengthwise, then into sticks. Steam until al dente. Drain well and set aside.
• Heat the oil in a large frying pan (I used a non-stick, stone pan which is big enough for the job).
• Add the carrot sticks and sauté on a medium heat for a few minutes, until carrots are covered in oil evenly.
• Add the crushed garlic, cumin, chilli, cinnamon, salt and pepper, and sauté until the garlic is aromatic and slightly golden.
• Drizzle the salad with lemon juice and decorate with olives. Serve cold.

Happy Holidays, Peoples!

Xmas

It’s that time of year again, Peoples. I have finally put together an Australian weather suitable Xmas dinner. And we are going Middle Eastern/Mediterranean! Well, mostly Moroccan, I should say. I will be making my famous Moroccan Faux-Chicken with Preserved Lemon and Olives. This is something I haven’t made for a quite some time so that’ll be great. Here’s the whole menu:

Starters
Izot
Babaganush
Hummus
All served with Turkish bread

Main Dish
Moroccan Faux-Chicken with Preserved Lemon and Olives

Side Dish

Harissa Flavoured Couscous with Raisins and Pine Nuts

Salad
Jazar Bil Kamoun Wal Toum (Moroccan Carrot Salad)

Dessert
Orange Cointeau and Macademia Christmas Pudding which is the only Xmas-sy thing we are having this year.

Jazar Bil Kamoun Wal Toum (Moroccan Carrot Salad) is the only one I have never made before. That’s the reason why you can access the recipes for the others but not this one. If it turns out to be a handsome looking salad, I might put it on VegFusion one day. If not, we’ll never talk about it again. OK?

Because my husband and I, we both have no family living close by in Australia, we do not get many visitors around Xmas. And, Xmas is the time for family, isn’t it? So far, we were fortunate enough to be invited to our friends’ Xmas dinners. They were nice enough to share their own families with us during holidays.

This year, we are having a friend around for Xmas dinner. So, that’ll be nice. I have just finished preparing our house for tomorrow: everything is cleaned and dusted, some of the cold items on the menu are put together, olives are soaked, I washed the tagine to be used tomorrow and our faux-chicken is thawing in the fridge. In short, I am ready to celebrate!

I hope you all have a beautiful holiday season. Try and make time for the little things, Peoples. Just relax and enjoy! Life should be celebrated.

Product Review: Gardein The Ultimate Beefless Sliders

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Gardein, you’ve done it again! Guys, I cannot even begin to tell you how happy I am with Gardein The Ultimate Beefless Sliders. You know every time I see a new Gardein product at one of those places where I … Continue reading

Broad Bean Salad with Fresh Dill and Feta

I have to juggle a lot of things recently. To be precise, since NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) has started. During November, writers from around the world sign up for this event and write at least 50,000 words in 30 days. I participated it last year—it was my first time. This year, I’m participating again.

During the time of NaNoWriMo, everything gets to put on hold. I mean everything. Most days, you forget to do a lot. For example, I managed to trim Olly’s face, neck and front legs but totally forgot to do the rest. So, the rest of him is in its shaggy state. He is also getting a bit smelly because I forgot to give him a bath as well. See what I mean?

It’s worse when hunger kicks in, especially while I’m writing something very important. I have to leave my desk and try to come up with something that’ll be fast, filling so that I won’t need to repeat the same cycle within 2 hours and that something still needs to be edible. On top of everything, today I’m following US elections.

In between all of this, I managed to put together this salad though…
Enjoy!

Broad Bean Salad Fresh Dill FetaBroad Bean Salad with Fresh Dill and Feta
Ingredients:

½ pack (250gr) Heinz broad beans, frozen
100 grams feta cheese, cubed or crumbled
4 spring onions, chopped
½ bunch fresh dill weeds, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic, crushed
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Method:
• Place frozen broad beans in a saucepan (small) with enough water to cover them and bring to a boil. Once it starts bubbling, reduce the heat and cook the beans until they are soft.
• Remove from heat and drain. Run cold water through them. When the beans are cool enough to handle, peel the tough skin covering each one of them.
• Place the beans in a salad bowl. Add the feta cheese, spring onions and fresh dill weeds.
• In a separate small bowl, mix together the lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk well and drizzle over the salad.
• Toss together and serve immediately.

Product Review: Gardein Sizzling Szechuan Beefless Strips

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Gardein Sizzling Szechuan Beefless Strips is one of my favourite products. It is hearty in a delicate way. I have made beefless strips and broccoli stir-fry to go with it and it turned out very delicious. Just like any Gardein … Continue reading