Quince wedges in olive oil

  • 2 big size quinces
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T. fresh orange juice
  • 1 T. fresh lemon juice
  • a pinch of salt
  • Thoroughly wash quinces, cut in half. Quince is a very tough and spongy fruit so it will be hard to cut.

    Slice into quarters and cut away the core also seeds away. Peel the pieces.

    Slice into wedges.

    Place the slices into a bowl of water with lemon to prevent browning.

    Slice onion into rings and make slim onion rings.

    Peel and slice the carrot.

    Coat the bottom of the pan with extra virgin olive oil.

    Heat the pan on medium high heat and add the onion rings and carrot slices.

    Stir and let cook then add the crushed garlics.

    Add quince wedges and orange&lemon juices. Sprinkle with salt.

    Cook until they are tender.

    Place them into a service plate.

    Serve cold with plenty of lemon and olive oil.

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    Homemade pomegranate syrup (sour) ~Nar ekşisi

    The high concentration of antioxidants give heart friendly pomegranates a reputation as a superfood including its rich vitamins.
    Pomegranate syrup is an integral part of Turkish cuisine, especially Southern region of the country.
    The pomegranate syrup is obtained by reducing its juice inorder to make the juice caramelized. This way you provide a thick, tangy, sour and a kind of sticky syrup.
    With your home made version syrup, you can control the sweet ratio balance, as well as it has more rich and intense flavour according to the ready ones.
    The pomegranate sour syrup (nar ekşisi) is highly used for dressing salads, sauces or roasts in Turkey.

  • 500 gr fresh pomegranate juice (approximately 6 medium pomagranates)
  • Preheat oven to 180°C.

    Try to find red grained pomegranates which are generally sour.

    The simplest and easiest way to get pomegranate juice is to cut it into two pieces and press it with a fruit juicer. By this way, you do not need to sieve or filter, more over the juice is flavourful and very intense, preserving all the vitamins of the pomegranate.

    Pour the pomegranate juice to a Pyrex pan.

    Place a tray into the oven and put the Pyrex pan on it and bake until it is reduced by half for approximately two hours.

    Pour the deep coloured syrup to a sterilized bottle and put it to the refrigerator.

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    Mini carob rusks with aniseed and walnut

    According to the historians, rusk was consumed by ancient Minoans (in Crete) as it was the only way to have a kind of bread to keep longer without spoiling, during their journeys. They call paximadi (παξιμάδι) to the ancient wonder bread that is rusk, of which various shapes of them are loved in all over the country with many different types.

    It is beleived that, the word paximadi comes from an ancient Greek baker and cook, Paxamos. The double baked bread paximadi word is derived from Greek and borrowed as  peksimet into Turkish.

    Paximadi is a staple food of Greek island cuisine, especially for sailors, farmers and shephards that are away from homes for long periods.

    The classical preferred flour for paximadi is barley which gives its characteristic flavour.

    Nowadays one can find a paximadi with various types, including sweet ones, but not as sweet as a biscuit.

    The sweet ones like these mini carob rusks are commonly served with a cup of coffee.

    • 400 gr + 1 T. whole wheat flour
    • 1 T. brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup carob syrup
    • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
    • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
    • 1 T. aniseed
    • 2 t. baking powder
    • 1/2 t. baking soda

    Preheat your oven to 170°C.

    In a bowl, combine orange juice and baking soda.

    Add extra virgin olive oil, brown sugar and carob syrup to the bowl.

    In another bowl, combine whole wheat flour, baking powder, aniseed and walnuts.

    Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture in batches and make a soft dough.

    Knead 4 small loaves and cut into 2 cm slices, but not all the way through.

    Place a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom of your baking tray. Put the loaves into the tray and bake in 170 °C for 25 minutes.

    Remove from the oven, cut in slices and seperate the pieces.

    Place the rusk pieces to a parchement covered oven tray and bake again for at least 30 minutes with lowered temperature of 160°C.

    Bake the rusks until dry compeletly and all moisture is gone.

    Let them cool and store in an airtight container.

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    Chocolate sponge cake with dark chocolate ganache decorated with homemade oreos

    If you are missing a classic snack, here it is the dark chocolate cookies sandwiched with butter vanilla cream fillings, nowadays called oreos!

    • 1 1/2 cups of flour
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup dark cacao powder
    • 1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
    • 1 t.vanilla
    • 2 eggs

    Beat the butter and sugar until smooth about 2 minutes. Add vanilla.

    Add eggs and dark cacao powder and mix on low speed.

    Add flour gradually until the dough turns a clean ball and pulls cleanly away from the sides of the bowl.

    Be careful you might not need all the flour. arrange the dough of needs add more flour or if it is crunchy add a bit butter.

    Between two sheets of parchment paper, roll the dough about 1 cm thick.

    By the help of a cutter cut on round shapes and place the cookies to the parchment placed oven tray.

    Bake at preheated 180° C for 9 to 11 minutes until crisp around and done in the centers. Be careful not to overbake!

    for the filling:

    • 40 gr. butter
    • 1 t. vanilla
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

    In a mixing bowl, beat all the ingredients until smooth.

    Sandwich the cookies with the filling.

    Today I used these homemade (oreos) cookies to decorate my chocolate sponge cake covered with dark chocolate ganache without heavy cream.

    for the sponge cake:

    • 9 eggs
    • 3/4 cups sugar
    • 1 cup flour
    • 6 T. cocoa powder
    • 3 t.vanilla
    • 3 t. baking powder

    Preheat the oven to 200°C.

    Beat the eggs and sugar together until thick, about 5 minutes using a mixer.

    Add flour, cocoa and baking powder and continue to mix.

    Pour the mixture into a parchment lined ring mold.

    Bake for about 30 minutes until firm. The best way to check is to use a toothpick , when it comes out clean you can take the cake out.

    Remove from the oven and set aside to cool down.

    for the bitter chocolate ganache without heavy cream:

    • 10 T. good quality butter
    • 350 gr milk
    • 800 gr bitter choclate couverture

    For the smootest chocolate ganache use a good quality chocolate.

    Chop or grate the couverture chocolate into small pieces and place it to a saucepan.

    Place milk and butter into a sauceopan over medium heat. Cook stirring occasionally until butter melts completely and tiny bubbles comes out.

    Do not allow the milk to boil, not to burn.

    Pour the hot milk to the chocolate saucepan.

    Stir until the chocolate melts completely and the mixture will be glossy and smooth.

    The ganache will be liquid so put it to a piping bag and place it to the refrigerator to have a velvet texture.

    for the assemble:

    Carefully and slowly cut the sponge cake into layers.

    Set the bottom aside and put the top into the bottom of the ring mold.

    Moist the cake with Rum and orange jam mixture syrup– which is optional.

    Spread the dark chocolate ganache with piping bag.

    Repeat the same for the remaining layers.

    Place the bottom layer on top and remove the ring mold from the cake gently.

    Start spreading the ganache to top also coat the sides with ganache.

    Use a fork or a spatula for the sides of the cake for decoration.

    Decorate top with home made oreos cookies and strawberries.

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    Summer with friends

    For the plum filling:

  • 500 gr plums (deseeded)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (depends on plum, if it is sour add more sugar by tasting it)
  • cinnamon
  • Place the plums into a sauce pan and cook. Do not add water.

    When soften add sugar and cinnamon and continue to cook.

    When thickens set aside to cool.

    For the dough:

  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • baking powder
  • 200 gr. butter
  • 2 T yogurt
  • cinnamon
  • Combine the flours, cinnamon and room temperature butter in a mixing bowl.

    Mix them until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

    Add yogurt, eggs and baking powder. Knead well.

    Shape into a ball.

    Wrap and refrigerate for half an hour for easier rolling. Divide into two balls.

    Roll out one ball pastry and line a greased 23 cm flan tin.

    Pour the plum mixture on it.

    Take the other chilled ball dough.

    Dust rolling pin and work surface lightly with flour. Roll dough to a uniform thickness. Roll to a circle almost like your pie tin. Using the plastic strip cutter, form the upper dough and carefully place it on top of the plum mixture.

    If you don’t have a cutter, simply cut the dough into thin strips and place it on plum mixture.

    With the strips make a cage design. Gently press into form of tin.

    Make a strip for the edge of the tin.

    Bake at 180° C preheat oven for about 35 minutes, until golden brown.

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