Results tagged “nuts”


greece, turkey
The best baklava in Turkey comes from the southeast, notably the town of Gaziantep, which is surrounded by pistachio groves and known for its master baklava makers.  Traditionally it would be made with yufka, which is a super-fine dough rather like filo, and baked in a round dish called a tepsi in a wood-fired oven.  There are all kinds of different baklava shapes - layered, rolled, twisted and coiled - and it can of course be made with different nuts - walnuts, pistachios and hazelnuts being most common.  For added flavour use honey instead of some or all of the sugar.


Nocino (green walnut liqueur)

This delicious liqueur is traditionally made on 24th June, the day of St John the Baptist, when (at least in warm parts of Italy) walnuts are at the perfect point of (im)maturity.  This is my version of the recipe, based on that I learnt from the lovely Giulia Savini at her organic agriturismo, Valle Nuova.

IMG_0005.JPGWe actually first made it in France, using Italian ‘pure’ alcohol and French walnuts picked in July.  In England I’m guessing the nuts definitely won’t be ready as early as 24th June.

smnocinoItaly0005.JPGThe walnuts should still be just soft enough to cut through the whole thing (unpeeled) with a big heavy chef’s knife - cut notch then lift knife with walnut attached and whack down on board.  The nut revealed inside should be jelly or semi-jelly, with nuttiness just beginning to form.  They stain your hands and board like anti-theft capsules stain clothes.  Be warned.

If you can’t get pure alcohol (I don’t think it’s sold in the UK), use the strongest vodka you can find and reduce the amount of water in the sugar syrup by 500ml.

Note that your liqueur will taste horrible at first, good after a year, and delicious after two.  I’m yet to discover just how wonderful it gets after three years in the bottle…

Ten Turkish tastes

Copy (1) of Smzelispazaraubergines0001.JPGIt's ridiculous to try to sum up Turkish cuisine in 10 flavours.  Turkish cuisine is hugely rich and infinitely varied, not least because a) Turkey's absolutely enormous - have you looked at a map recently? - comprising three different coastlines, high snowy mountains, very hot, dry plains and lush wooded hillsides, among other things, and b) its cooking has been influenced over the centuries by Mongolian, Chinese, Persian and Greek cultures and then, through the enormous Ottoman empire and its trade routes, many more, including Moroccan and French.

But I'll give it a go...

It's all fıstık to me

Smfindik0001.jpgWe have found that sugar is often accompanied by nuts in Turkey, and they are as important as each other in the cuisine.  Everyone knows which region grows the best of each kind of nut, and the nuts are often named after these places.  We managed to visit several of them.



Culinary Anthropologist