Being told not to put your weight on your left foot does introduce certain constraints on one’s daily activities especially cooking. I fully intend to get the hang of this hopping but it isn’t as easy as you might think, and right now I am supposed to keep my foot raised.
It makes you realise all the million and one things that you do without thinking during a normal day and suddenly, here I am, reduced to writing the shopping list!
But I am not complaining: Daughter No 2 has offered me her treasure to come and cook up a storm in our kitchen and I have accepted with alacrity. She will make whatever you want! Oh music to my ears!
Luckily all the beautiful summer vegetables are out in cheery abundance and they more or less dictate what will be on the Turkish table right now.
Yes, dolma for sure, regular ones this time with the usual stubby kabak not the more sophisticated round ones that I cooked last time. I like the way
Şahziye Teyze prepares them using a fork to make attractive stripes on the sides.
Something with yufka/filo pastry, as I know that will make TT happy so I ask him to buy 5 big rounds from the village ladies who have a successful little shop making and selling all sorts of specialities down the road. I really didn’t mind what sort of börek Şahziye made but I was surprised that she chose gül böreği/rose börek as they are more labour-intensive than say, an oven tray one.
And then I really feel like something with aubergine but not too oily. She suggests karnıyarık but she herself thinks I won’t be happy with the oil used to fry them. Then she says how about patlıcan oturtma? Patlıcan means aubergine or eggplant, but oturtma defies translation as far as I am concerned. Let’s just call it a simple summer aubergine dish using the usual onions, tomatoes and green peppers with some mince. Yes, the aubergine will be sliced into rounds and fried before layering in a pyrex but they have to be. She always uses sıvı yağı, literally liquid oil, in other words either sunflower or corn oil. Not olive oil because it’s heavy. This dish appeals to me because I know all the summery tastes will be there. It’s so simple that you only make it with seasonal vegetables otherwise it will be pretty nondescript.
- Start out with washing, peeling in stripes and slicing 3-4 long thin aubergines. Then fry them in the sunflower or corn oil. Place on some kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil before placing in your shallow pyrex dish. This isn’t a dish where exact measurements are of vital importance so follow your instincts.
- Take 1 onion, chop it and gently sauté in a pan.
- Add 300g mince meat (either lamb or beef or a combination of the two) and continue sautéing till the juices run clear. Season with salt and black pepper and add 1 tbsp tomato paste along with one grated juicy tomato. Make sure you combine everything well. Add some chopped parsley and spoon over the aubergine in the dish.
- Slice a couple of large juicy summer tomatoes and arrange on top. Add some sliced long green peppers, hot or not, it’s up to you. Drizzle a little olive oil over the dish.
- Place in a preheated oven (180C/350F) and bake till cooked throughout: about 30 minutes.
- If it were me, I would add a few sprigs of parsley at this point just to decorate.
- Serve hot with a dollop of plain yogurt on top!
Not a gourmet meal, this is a simple no-fuss type of summery dish made with ingredients that you will most likely have at home anyway – the kind of dish to start putting together at around 11 am and that will be ready for lunch outside!
TT has left for Assos leaving me in the capable hands of Daughter No1. We have a few new calves so he has things to see to down there.