Tag Archives: Turkish

Fried eggplant with tomato onions

25 Mar

As a child Woman was scarred by eggplant. Her father would fry up what seemed like mountains of eggplant on the barbeque. I don’t know why this scarred her, but it just seemed there was always a lot.

But Woman has been rehabilitated to fried eggplant. Fried eggplant, in moderation, is very, very good. (It’s hiding in this picture behind the vineleaves and lentils.. oh mezze, how I love you)

Fried eggplant with tomato onions (serves 2 as part of a mezze)

  • 1/2 eggplant (medium size) cut into slices
  • 1/4 C chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 small white onion, sliced into rings
  • 1 tsp thyme

Heat olive oil in pan and cook onion until soft and browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

In the pan, add a bit more olive oil and cook eggplants on each side for about three minutes or until very soft. Remove from pan. Set on plate.

Throw cooked onion back into the pan with tomatoes and thyme. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the tomatoes have become less watery. Serve on top of fried eggplant.

Estimated cost: £1

Musical accompaniment: John Grant


Gozleme with spinach & parlsey or cheesy sumac egg stuffing

17 Mar

To Woman’s insatiable upset, the caff near Finsbury Park which used to make fresh gozleme in the mornings alongside gelatinous Full Englishes, abruptly stopped selling the far more amazing gozleme some two years ago.

I remember the day clearly: a house guest and dear old friend of Man’s from Sydney (I’m looking at you, Peter Carey) had a list of London things to do, among them was a full English. ‘I know just the place’, said I smugly, imagining tucking into a  gozleme, drizzled in lemon juice and accompanied with some briny black olives as Man and Friend waded through gluggy tinned baked beans and anemic fried tomato. Oh, the hubris. Oh fate, tempted.

The caff, in the face of zero demand (excepting Man Woman’s occasional popping in for the £1.50 delights) had capitulated to a far more Anglo cuisine. A sad day it was, dear readers. Sad and bitter, as Woman refused to order any alternate dish and sat, seething, drinking instant coffee and seeing her angry face infinitely reflected on the two walls of facing mirrors.

And so, we started to make our own. It’s easy.

Gozleme dough (makes 4)

  • 1/2 C white flour
  • 1/2 C wholemeal flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C water

Mix all ingredients. Give it a good knead. Like a ten minute knead. Knead it good.

Then let it rest for an hour, ideally. Divide into four balls and then roll the dough out into a rectangular shape. Roll as thin as possible – 2mm would be great.

Spread your filling in the centre of the dough. Not very thick – just enough to cover a section of about half the dough evenly. Then pull the edges over (see  above and below) in an envelope-style fold.

Brush the gozleme in olive oil or melted butter and fry on a hot pan for about 4 minutes a side, or until cooked through with nice black dots on it.


    The folded gozleme, ready for fryin’

Spinach and parsley stuffing (makes 2)

  • 1/2 C cooked or thawed frozen spinach
  • 1/2 C chopped parsley
  • 1 spring onion (or less red onion)
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint

Mix together and do as above.

Sumac cheesy eggs stuffing (makes 2)

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C grated cheese (we used cheddar, but a white cheese would be great)
  • 2 tsp chopped red onion
  • 2 TBSP chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

Mix together. You’ll want your dough a little thicker for this one.

Estimated cost: £1.90

Musical accompaniment: Mulatu Astatke

Stuffed vine leaves with yoghurt tahini sauce

14 Mar

Woman is nearly becoming a woman of a certain age. That age being 30. Woah.

The day after she turned 29, she fashioned herself a list of 30 things to do before she turns 30. Generally, it’s a typical list: career goals, travel KPIs, 10km race targets, extreme sports commitments and, you know, learning to play the accordion. Among the orthodox hit list, are some exceptionally lame inclusions. One being the home made manufacture of stuffed vine leaves.

This recipe is modified from the totally brilliant From the Tables of Lebanon veggie cookbook. It’s such an un-photogenic (there are no photos) cook book, Man Woman love it. Everything we’ve cooked from it has been good. Lebanese!

Making your own stuffed vine leaves is not as time-consuming or difficult as Woman thought – otherwise she wouldn’t have put it off for so many years. It is, though, something you definitely want to make in bulk because once you start you get a whole production line thing happening.

Stuffed vine leaves (makes 18)

  • 1 packet of vine leaves in brine
  • 1 C short grain rice
  • 2/3 C tinned chopped tomato (or 1.5 tomatoes)
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1/2 C olive oil
  • 1/2 C parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp allspice powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP dried mint

Combine all ingredients bar the vine leaves in a bowl.

In the middle of each vine leaf (rinse before using), place a tablespoon sized log-shaped dollop. Roll over once, tuck the sides in and continue rolling.

When all are rolled, line an oiled heavy-bottomed pot with thin sices of potatoes. Stack vine leaves in layers, cover with 1.5 cups of water (and salt) and top with a heat-proof plate (like terracotta).

Bring to a boil, then simmer for a further 40 minutes.

Don’t discard the potatoes! They’re some kind of wonderful on their own, and I’m sure the Lebanese wouldn’t throw them away.

Yoghurt tahini sauce

  • 1.5 TBSP tahini
  • 2 TBSP yoghurt
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 3 TBSP water
  • salt

Mix water, tahini, salt and lemon juice first with a fork or whisk. When combined, add yoghurt and combine.

Estimated cost (with sauce): £2

Musical accompaniment: Noah and the Whale

Quick & chunky hummus (or houmus)

15 Feb

This recipe carries with it a startling and depressing confession: Man Woman does not possess a food processor. Gasp! Shriek!

Alack, dear readers, ’tis true. So the reason that this following recipe is ‘chunky’ is partly because we couldn’t be stuffed mashing the chickpeas for any longer. The amount of liquid added to this, however, does make for a more, well, liquid hummus, and the lack of blitzing means that the texture ends up being desirable as well as the only one we’re capable of producing.

Chunky hummus

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/2 C lemon juice
  • 1/4 C water
  • 1/3 C tahini
  • salt
  • sumac, paprika, mint or parsley to garnish

Mash chickpeas, combine with other liquids and salt to taste. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with spices, fresh or dried herbs & serve with bread or veg sticks.

Estimated cost: £1

Musical accompaniment: PJ Harvey, Let England Shake

Review: Tas on The Cut

2 Aug

One of the most heart-breaking things about London is the omnipresence of chain eateries. From the 12 Pret-a-Manger outlets along the Number 19 bus route between Finsbury Park and Kensington, to Gordon Ramsey’s eponymous restaurants which seem to self-multiply in a disturbing Fantasia-broomstick-esque manner – it’s too much of an (often not quite) good thing.

One exception to the rule is Tas. When Man Woman first came across Tas, we did think it was a fantastic little find. Much like when I first got to France and thought I had stumbled across a fantastic little boulangerie run by Paul. Alack, Tas too is a chain (and Paul is shit).

But there are chains, and there are chains.

Tas on The Cut looks far posher than it is – or maybe it’s just that Man Woman is unused to eating on anything but plastic-coated table cloths or the wallpaper we scavanged from someone’s front yard dump. Does tend to skew your perspective somewhat.

Tas – all of the Tases actually – is a place we love almost despite itself. After abandoning fish from the menu, I have to honestly say that the food is basic, sometimes lacking the flavour intensity the dishes visually insinuate. But this is the kind of place where reading the menu is excitement enough (eg. leeks, chickpeas and lentils with couscous and yoghurt with pomegranate), the eating of it is almost a superfluous experience.

It’s the only place in London that does Turkish bread that in anyway resembles the glory that is Turkish bread in Australia (and, I’m assuming, Turkey) and the good armies of waitstaff provide the bread, olives and some rather delicious yoghurt dip free and frequently.

The dishes themselves are massive, ranging from bulgur kofte to some dish involving both grapes and cheddar cheese and which is oddly kinda yum. Dishes to avoid (as a veggie) would be the Mantar (a sizeable pyramid of mushrooms topped with a flavourless white cheese). My main tonight, patlicanli – a smoked aubergine puree, couscous and yoghurt, lacked any actual texture apart from ‘soft’, but something tells me I’ll one day end up eating it again anyway, thus is the draw of Tas.

Tas on the Cut, though, is definitely worth a wander to. You’ll have no idea why you love it.

Oh, and at all times: keep away the house wine.

Price per head: generous veggie mains start at £7.45, set menus start at £9.95.  We regularly spend around £15 a head

Friendliness to veggies: 9/10

Overall rating: 8/10, but I don’t know why

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