One of my sisters, SpecialK, has recently returned to Australia,after living in Turkey for the past 7 years.
She bought with her a Turkish husband and two gorgeous little kiddies who are rapidly adopting Australian accents and habits as they happily settle into their new home.
When we visited them earlier in the year, my brother-in-law proudly treated us to a Turkish banquet of homemade Kebabs and meats grilled over charcoal, and lots of fantastic fresh tasting salads and sweet, sweet Turkish desserts, so I know first hand how delicious real Turkish food can be.
Imagine then, how happy I was to receive and e-mail from author Sibel Hodge asking me if I would like to review her first cookbook 'A Gluten Free Taste of Turkey'!
Sibel's Dad emigrated to the UK where he met her English Mum. She grew up in the UK, but now spends most of her time in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, so she definitely has experienced the best of both cultures indeed.
When Sibel met her Coeliac husband, like most people she didn't have a clue what that meant at all.
Already the author of a string of quirky romantic comedies, mysteries and children's books, she decided she wanted to show that gluten free food can be eclectic, vibrant and delicious, and so created 'A Gluten Free Taste of Turkey'- a mix of traditional Turkish cookery, dishes with a Turkish Cypriot twist, and some of her own creation.
I eagerly read through my ebook, and was certainly impressed with what I saw. I made my favourite recipe from the book, and have jotted down some of my thoughts on the recipes as well:
I think Sibel captured the vibrancy and variety available with Turkish cuisine so well- sadly only known to many as greasy kebabs and colourful dips. Writing this style of cookbook however, shows how delicious and adaptable it can truly be to both Coeliacs and regular eaters, without compromising on either authenticity or taste.
The little snippets of information before each dish were very interesting, and helped engage me with the recipe. Rather than just having a brief word or two describing the dish it helped give each a life of its own, and also showed through a bit of her personality.
One of my favourite dishes was the Yoghurt Soup- so very yummy indeed! My sister makes a version of it often and it's certainly a favourite in her household too.
I liked how there were different options for kebab marinades, as I know so many people who (stubbornly and stupidly) refuse to try a recipe at all if there is just one ingredient in it that they don't like. This leaves them no excuse for not giving them a go.
The Figs in Syrup are bookmarked for when the fig season is upon us, and I have some Saffron Syrup that I think would go really well with them too.
The Sexy Cabbage is definitely a winner, and such an under rated veggie here as well! I have some growing in my garden as we speak :)
Pan Fried Liver was a brave inclusion- offal is an almost controversial ingredient, isn't it? I'm so glad the whole nose-to-tail eating is coming in vogue again.
So many Gluten Free cookbooks really put me off with their almost militant style of writing. Let's be realistic, most people just won't bother with huge lists of weird and hard-to-source ingredients to make this-particular-authors-
special-flour-blend that is the only one to make their recipe work. Sibel has used Great ingredients with Great style to show off one of the worlds truly Great cuisines, proving definitively that Gluten Free need not be Flavour Free!
Yoghurt Soup (Tarhana Corbasi)
1 1/2 pints (700ml) Gluten free Chicken stock
1/2 cup long grain Rice - washed
2 cups Yoghurt (I used Lidells Lactose Free)
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tsp Tomato Paste
2 tsp Cumin
2 tsp Mint (I used dried for cooking)
1 tsp Sumac
2 Tab Rice Flour (I used plain gfree flour)
2 Tab Butter
Put the stock, salt and pepper in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the rice, cover and cook on a low heat until the rice is soft.
In a separate bowl mix the spices, yoghurt, flour, egg, butter and tomato paste.
Add a few spoonfuls of the hot liquid from the rice pan into the yoghurt bowl to warm it up slightly, then pour the mixture into the rice pan, stirring it very slowly so it doesn't curdle.
Maintain a low heat on the pan, stirring for another 10 minutes, then pour into bowls. Yum!
I noticed that after a few minutes the soup thickened up considerably into a lovely smooth consistency. The flour and butter would work as a roux, and of course the protein from the egg would help give the luscious richness and silkiness- just don't let the mix get too hot, or stop stirring!
I absolutely loved this dish, but it's such a mix of opposites!
Light but rich tasting, comforting but special too, wonderful hot but gorgeously refreshing cold....
overall a terrific all-rounder and a meal I'll be adding to my families repertoire.
The other dish I decided to try were the Baked Eggs (Kavrilmis Yumurta). I'm always after nice breakfast or brunch dishes, but this would be a great lunch or supper dish as well.
The only difference I made to the recipe was to use a Greek Sheep Cheese instead of the Turkish Taze Kasar cheese or mozarella recommended. I can tolerate certain amounts of sheep and goats cheese, and the one I used was the one I could source easily from one of the major supermarkets.
I found the dish to be very tasty, but a bit rich and concentrated tasting for me. I realise that ingredients vary so much world wide, so a little tweaking is needed sometimes to adjust. I think if I just swapped out the tinned tomatoes for fresh ones, I would enjoy it a lot more.
So Dear Readers, do you enjoy Turkish food, and how often you eat it?
The InTolerant Chef was gifted a free e-copy of 'A Gluten Free Taste of Turkey', by the author Sibel Hodge. No payment was received for this review.
A Gluten Free Taste of Turkey is available to buy now in ebook format for Kindle from:
ebook/A-Gluten-Free-Taste- Turkey/book- ysOC66RUc0mQJemN5ARiwQ/page1. html?s=ZZMzD5TrXEWT2ZYb92vV6Q& r=10
It's also available in paperback from Amazon.co.uk:http://www.
amazon.co.uk/A-Gluten-Free- Taste-Turkey/dp/1480267864/ ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid= 1354097634&sr=8-2
and Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.
com/A-Gluten-Free-Taste- Turkey/dp/1480267864/ref=sr_1_ 1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354097600&sr=8- 1&keywords=sibel+hodge+a+ gluten+free+taste+of+turkey