Simit a.k.a. Turkish Bagel

For years that I lived in Turkey, simit was my everyday breakfast when I was running to school or to work. Street vendors sell it in every corner of the cities or they walk through street by yelling “simiiiiit, sicak taze simiiit, gevrek simiit” meaning freshly baked, crunchy simits. I loved to wake up early in the morning by their simit selling chanting. When you hear it, you run to the windowcontinue reading

Muhammara (Red Pepper and Walnut Dip)

It’s been a while I wasn’t here because of long hours of restaurant life. When I started to have a little time at home for few mornings a week, I came right back to give more love to my blog. I wanted to post Muhammara recipe since quite a while, because, it’s the first recipe I wrote for my cookbook years ago and also very easy to make. Muhammara is actually a meze but it’s easier to describecontinue reading


Yogurt my love!!

Did you know that I use about 40kg (90lb) yogurt per week in two restaurants? Yogurt is a Turkish word! It’s one of the rare contributions of Turkish language to the world. Yogurt is quintessential food in my life as in millions of Turkish people! In Turkey, natural homemade yogurt is the first food we feed babies after breast feeding. Yogurt is the most important accompaniment to almostcontinue reading


Two years ago, my husband, my daughter and I traveled to the southeast of Turkey! This region is the birthplace of kebabs (heaven for carnivores) and flat breads, capital of pistachio, baklava, pomegranate and apricot. I wanted to write about this trip for a while and few days ago I started to check out the photographs that we took when we were traveling through the region. Then I saw a picturecontinue reading

Spring lamb kebab

I cook lamb almost everyday in my restaurants. We receive the whole lamb and do our butchering. For me, it’s the normal and natural way to do it because I grew up watching or helping my mother butchering a lamb or chicken slaughtered by my father in our yard (no, it didn’t traumatize me!). Every time I hire a new cook for our teams, the first reaction to butchering is kind of acontinue reading

Classic dark chocolate cake

I admit it; I’m a cake lover. Luckily, I’m not a pâtissière, because I would eat a whole cake everyday! But not those made out of “mousse”. I’m quite traditional when it comes to the cakes. At this point, I don’t even care if there is any frosting or cream on it, I just love the taste of a real fluffy and spongy cake. I grew up eating olive oil cakes. I know,continue reading

Beef “snail” pies (börek)

What is a “börek”? Everybody asks me this question whenever we have it on the menu. So I decided to write about it and make a recipe. I know that will make my husband happy too. I think Turkish men are made out of dough. They love everything made with flour; they eat bread, a lot of bread, homemade pastas, all sorts of börek and of course dough based and syrup soaked desserts likecontinue reading

Homemade pomegranate syrup

Who doesn’t love pomegranate? The juicy, tangy, sweet seeds are addictive. It can be challenging to open and to seed them if you’re not familiar with the technique, but the result is definitely worth the effort. I don’t even remember how and when I learned to open pomegranates. My parents have mandarin orange orchards. There are also pomegranate and quince trees around them. My fathercontinue reading

Red lentil and bulgur köfte

Legumes are a staple in Turkish cuisine; lentils, chickpeas, all kind of dried beans are on everyday menus for home cooks to feed their families well even with a tight budget. They are a significant source of protein, fiber and more, and they are delicious! Legumes are quite versatile to cook to make salads, soups, ragouts or even purees… Today, I chose lentils, especially the red onescontinue reading

Chopped tomato salad

We call this kaşık salata, which means spoon salad in Turkish. It’s more of a salsa than salad and it’s eaten with a spoon! The difference is that ingredients are chopped more coarsely in kaşık salata, and it has more texture and crunchiness than salsa. Chopped tomato salad (kaşık salata) is one of my favorite recipes to make in my restaurants’ kitchens because it goes wellcontinue reading