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Author: Electrolux Origin: Turkey
A traditional raki sofrasi ("raki table") bears dozens of meze (Turkish hot and cold hors d'oeuvres, salads, cheeses, etc.) but the two essentials are salty white sheep’s milk cheese “beyaz peynir” which is similar to feta cheese, and sweet yellow melon (kavun).
While sipping raki and nibbling meze, there's good conversation, much humour, and many toasts to your companions' health and prosperity.
Serves 4 persons. These artichokes looks beautiful filled with broad beans and tomatoes.
Blanche the broad beans and drain the water. Remove the stem from the artichokes with a knife and trim the edges of the leaves. Rub with lemon juice and place in a large saucepan. Cover with water and add some salt and more lemon juice. Cook until a leaf comes off when you try to lift the artichoke with it. Drain and remove the hair in the heart of the artichokes with a spoon. Let cool.
Heat 2 tbsp of the oil and sauté the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes, add the broad beans, season with salt and pepper. Add ½ dl water and cover, simmer until the broad beans are done. Remove the lid and if there is liquid left, turn up the heat to evaporate it. Remove from the heat; add tomatoes, dill and the remaining olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice, fill the artichokes with the mix and serve cold.
Traditional Turkish meze served all over the country.
Cut the stalks from the eggplant. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and cook the eggplants covered for 15 minutes, turning occasionally.
Transfer the eggplants to an oiled roasting dish and cut a slot in the centre taking care not to cut all the way to the ends and make hollows with the back of a spoon. Stir-fry the minced meat in the pan, add the onion and garlic and continue to fry for another 3 minutes. Add the peppers and tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes, season with salt and pepper. Fill the eggplants with the minced meat and sprinkle the feta cheese on top.
Set the oven to: Auto Cooking, Oven Dishes, Vegetable Dishes.
Pre-heat the oven to 175⁰C, bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the stuffed eggplants from the oven, sprinkle parsley on top and serve hot or cold.
This salad is lovely with some olive oil and white bread.
Wash, peel and coarsely grate the cucumbers. Wash and weed out the dill and chop finely. Whisk the yogurt and add a little water at a time until you get the desired thickness. Add salt, garlic and the cucumbers and mix well. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle the dill over the salad.
The flavours of the vegetables are essential for this simple salad so use only ripe fresh vegetables.
Press the onion slices by hand with some salt so that the onion becomes less bitter. Rinse the onion under cold water and place in a salad bowl. Arrange the tomatoes on top of the onion slices. Top with the cucumbers, green chilli, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil, season with salt and pepper and mix.
Dried apricots and pistachio nuts are common sweets in Turkey and go perfectly together.
Soak the dried apricots in cold water overnight. Bring the water and sugar to a boil to make syrup. Drain the apricots, place in the syrup and cook for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Split open the apricots, stuff with kaymak and close. Arrange on a serving dish and sprinkle chopped pistachio nuts over and serve.
The traditional drink with meze is Raki. Raki is a clear brandy made from grapes and raisins flavoured with anis. It’s similar to the Greek Ouzo and the French Pastis. If you prefer wine, there are plenty of Turkish wines to choose from. It’s difficult to make match with all the different flavours in a meze but ask your local wine store for tips, depending on what they have in store. Beer would also be suitable with meze. Try one or both of these popular brands: Efes pilsen and Tekel birasi.
The Turkish music scene is a mix of classical, folk, Islamic and contemporary music among others. The contemporary music styles vary from mainstream pop, hip-hop, Arabesque and Anatolian rock, among others.
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Camels can be difficult to come by in most European countries so try to be a little creative here. Get a camel costume and take turns being the camel. Another option is to rent a mechanic bull and cover it with a camel suit to get the right feeling. Make a tournament and get a nice prize for the winner to bring home and show off to his or hers friends.
Another fantastic Turkish tradition is of course belly dancing. If you are not confident enough to do it yourselves, hiring a professional dancer would spice up any party.
A Turkish evening is a great opportunity to really indulge in props. If you are ambitious, hang big sheets of sheer, golden, warm and colourful fabrics from the ceiling like a tent and cover the floor with plenty of pillows in different shapes and sizes. This creates a fantastic backdrop. Have your guest lounge on the pillows around low round tables filled with multi coloured candleholders and lanterns. To finish off, light incense and dim the lights.
To mix in with the theme, choose amongst different eastern traditional clothing styles. The ladies can wear colourful, sheer and golden scarves, wide harem pants or sarong skirts, a transparent veil to cover the bottom of their faces and if they are daring a bare belly and bells around their ankles and wrists.
For the gentlemen, wide harem pants, a slinky white shirt, a little black vest and a red fez or a turban. And to top it off; pointy fairytale slippers with a little bell in the top.