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Friday, August 12, 2011

Borek with Spinach and Feta Cheese

It has been a long summer break but the holiday is almost over.  I thought I will write about some recipes I have tried during the past few months.  It has been a nice summer holiday, of some we have spent in Turkey and last few weeks in Switzerland.  Although I can't say we have been very lucky with the weather here. 
This is a recipe that I've been asked by some of my friends so I am posting how I make this.  It's a very practical way of preparing borek.  I used thin phyllo pastry, but you can use any other phyllo pastry you like.  You will just have to balance your milk-egg mixture accordingly.  If you have a thick pastry, you may need to add some more milk or another egg.

Borek with Spinach and Feta Cheese

10 phyllo pastry sheets
2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
a pinch of salt
1 cup of milk
1 egg
For spinach - feta filling:

500 g of fresh spinach, chopped and cooked,  squeeze out the excess water if necessary
1 cup of crumbled feta cheese
1 egg
a little bit black pepper
1-2 tablespoons of sesam seeds (optional)

To start with, mix your ingredients for the filling, spinach, feta, 1 egg and a little bit of black pepper in a bowl and set it aside.  
Next whisk 1 egg, 1 cup of milk, olive oil and salt in a large bowl.  
Grease your oven tray or casserole dish before you start preparing the borek.  Place 2 sheets of the phyllo on the greased tray.  Spread 2-3 tablespoons of the milk-egg mixture over the sheets you have just placed on the tray.  Put 2 more sheets and repeat the same procedure. Next, put only one pastry, then spread your spinach filling over this 5th pastry. Try to spread it all over the pastry.  When done, take 2 more sheets and place them over the spinach filling then spread 2-3 tablespoons of the milk-egg mixture on it.  Repeat this with 2 more phyllo pastries.  Place the last pastry on top nicely and take a sharp knife to slice the borek as seen in the photo above.  Spread the left over milk-egg mixture on top and sprinkle some sesam seeds over if you like. 
If you have time put the tray in the fridge for about 2-3 hours so the pastry absorbs the liquids to make the borek taste nicer. 
Cook in a preheated oven (180° C / 356° F)for about 30-40 minutes until it is golden brown. Enjoy it with a glass of Ayran!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Turkish Zucchini Fritters Baked Version (Kabak Mücver)

I know I should write more Turkish recipes.  There is nothing like Turkish cuisine because it's so rich, full of variety, flavor.  In the end, it was contributed by so many cultures from the Ottoman times.  I absolutely love it and this food was the only thing that I was craving during my pregnancies.  Then the kids came and ruined it all. Now I have to cook child friendly food. I'm not saying Turkish kitchen is not child friendly. It is actually the opposite. I always make the usual kofte and a lot of the vegetable dishes, but I can't make very spicy dishes. If I do then it has to be cooked separately and who has the time?  Like a lot of my friends have been asking for my mother's kisir recipe (a kind of couscous salad), which is full of onions and chili pepper but how can I tell them I haven't actually made it for over a year. I make less spicy versions but not the original.  I promise, I will post the recipe but not just yet.  It has to be done right.
Kabak mucver is a very typical Turkish dish.  However, the original version is deep fried in oil and I have made a baked version.  It came out a lot softer than the fried version but it tasted delicious.  You can try it like my version or be brave and fry it with a little bit of oil in the pan.

(Makes 4 portions)

4-5 Zucchinis - grated
6 tbsp flour (alternatively you can use bread crumbs)
2-3 spring onions - finely chopped
1 egg
1 cup of feta cheese - crumbled (alternatively you can use grated Parmesan cheese)
1 tbsp of chopped fresh dill
1 tbsp of chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp of chopped fresh peppermint
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp of paprika

Drain your grated zucchini and mix it with all the other ingredients in a bowl.  Heat your oven to 180. 
Place a baking sheet on your oven tray.  Take scoops of the mixture and put them on the tray.  Flatten them a little bit like cookies.  When ready, bake them in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes. 
After they are done, leave them to cool for 5 minutes.  With the help of a spatula, carefully take them out of the tray to plates for serving.  
These fritters are great with plain yogurt or cacik.  Enjoy!