Monday, June 28, 2010


Salads can be one of the most challenging things to keep up to date in your kitchen repertoire. Sometimes its just too easy to fall back on the old standby, and truly inspiring salad books are like finding that loley crouton at the bottom of your chicken caesar salad. Filled with bold combinations and inspiring recipes for summer, chef Andrew Swallow has come to the rescue with "Mixt Salads". My new favourite is simply titled "Sol" and its made with raw summer squash, cherry tomatoes, basil, mint, and is finished with ricotta salata. The Spring pea and morel (We have fresh morels from Charlotte Island, in case you were wondering)is absolutely delicious -- all I have to say is yum! And it's not just for summer, the handy seasonal salad guide will take you through Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring, all the way back to Summer. "Mixt" is available at the store for $35.00

Friday, June 18, 2010

Summer Reading...and Cooking

Summer - the ultimate fairweather friend. After so many grey days in a row, I opted to invite the voluptuous season into my kitchen via Recipes From An Italian Summer.

With pizza on the brain, and it actually being a cool enough temperature to keep the oven on high for a good long while, I turned to the section on Light Lunches and Suppers and took my pick. Many purists will advise that the best way to tell if a Pizza place is worth the dough is to order the Margarita - a plain cheese pie. So, that's what I made - Pizza al Formaggio on page 153.

The result was fantastic. This particular pizza dough recipe is just what it should be - tasty, simple and supportive of any combination of toppings. Mozzarella and gorgonzola - with a few olives for good measure - were a wonderful marriage of flavours. Enjoyed with a simple green salad and bottle of wine, and the kitchen table just got a lot more sunny.

Recipes also includes a list of Italian Food Festivals, a Seasonal Food Calendar and over 400 pages of recipes arranged in sections like "Picnics", "Barbecues", and "Summer Entertaining", this collection could be all you need to make summer arrive a little earlier...or stay a little longer.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


As Promised, Iman taught us how to make manti. We had to get started very early in the morning, as manti is a very time consuming process. We first made a rather stiff dough with flour, egg and water. It was then kneaded until it was very smooth and elastic. Turkish flour makes the best manti because it has less gluten than Canadian flour so we didn't need to let the dough rest before we rolled it out so thin that you could see through it. Iman made it look incredibly easy but rolling the dough is requires a great deal of skill. To make the individual ravioli Iman rolled the dough onto itself like an accordion, sliced it into 1/2 inch slices, rolled those slices onto themselves and cut them into squares. The meat filling is made from a mixture of ground beef and lamb, chili flakes, very finely chopped parsley and salt. Filling manti is as much of a social event as it is food prep, whoever just so happens to be at the restaurant gathers around the table stuffing these tiny morsels, gossiping and drinking tea. Each piece has to be stuffed with a tiny bit of filling, folded in half, and then the sides are pinched up. Five of us made a single recipe and it took us about 2 hours to fill them, but typically seven batches are made at a time. The Manti is then cooked in salted water and served with a garlicky yoghurt sauce and warm paprika oil on top. We knew our work had paid off when we came back to the restaurant later that night and saw groups of other guests enjoying our manti, it was absolutely delicious!

Another one of my new favourite dishes is much more simple and just as delicious as Manti. Heat a small frying pan with olive oil until it's almost smoking. Meanwhile wash and dry 2 large hands full of parsley, season with salt and toss into the hot olive oil. Cook until the parsley is just starting to brown around the edges, then crack an egg on top of the parsley mixture. Season the egg with salt, sumac and turkish chili flakes (hot smoked paprika would make a delicious substitute) and either cook the egg sunny side up, or gently flip it over to finish cooking. Serve with lots of toasted flatbread to sop up the gooey egg yolk.

Today was our last day in Turunc so we feasted on gozleme at Iman's, stocked up on the most amazing local honey and fresh almonds for the plane ride. We went on a short sailing trip to a few greek islands, the air was thick with the smell of fresh oregano and freshly caught fish, the islands were picture perfect, the people were friendly, it was amazing. We're now back in Istanbul, completely opposite from village life but the City has an amazing vibe. The streets are filled with silk rugs, Turkish delight, fresh spices and copious amounts of wonderful restaurants, I don't know how I'll be able to fit it all in, but as they say, Inshala -- god willing, I'll be able to eat a little bit of everything.

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