Having returned from Turkey on holiday I can confirm that it boasts some of the most delightful cuisine this side of the Aegean Sea. Located in the remote Güllük village on the southwest coast of Turkey this quaint fishing village is a far cry from the busy, cosmopolitan hubbub of the cities. With a short selection of about 5 restaurants – all situated on the harbour – indulging in the local cuisine was a very personal experience. Rather than show you all the pictures of the food I ate there I’d rather show you how I recreated these dishes myself at home with ingredients all bought from Lidl! Not only that but cooking them cost less than £1.00 per person. My aim is to show you the taste of the Aegean here in rainy Glasgow.
For me the dish that stood out the most was definitely the Köpoğlu (pronounced kop-og-loo). This plate belongs the Turkish Mezze selection which is basically just a starter or appetizer. Similar to Spanish tapas you can order a selection which varies from hummus, olives, samphire (salted sea weed) and other yoghurt based small plates.
The Mediterranean diet includes heavy use of olive oil. My personal belief olive oil only works within a Mediterranean life style. Us Brits don’t have the capacity to handle it in a daily diet. This is down to variables such as climate, life style and other social factors. You’ll see from this recipe that I have omitted the use of olive oil and used an alternative.
Bread in Turkey (and in other Mediterranean countries) is really light. It’s not doughy or moist but very low on heavy processed ingredients such as sugar and flour. Anyone suffering from gluten or wheat allergies like myself will be familiar with difficulties in digesting bread. Again, I personally believe this comes down to British diet. Bread abroad is clearly fresher and healthier and you never hear of anyone of Mediterranean origin suffer digestive or food allergies.
For me Köpoğlu certainly was my favourite dish of the holiday. The creamy delight will have you eating it as a starter and main course.
You will need (serves 2):
3-4 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
Tin of tomatoes
Tomato paste (1 dessert spoon)
Yoghurt (2 cups)
Vegetable stock cube mixed with 100ml hot water (or olive oil if you prefer)
Salt and pepper
Fresh bread to serve
- Cut the head off the aubergine and dice into small chunks. Heat a frying pan with spray oil (or olive oil – as mentioned above olive oil may not be the healthiest option and this works fine without). Add the aubergine chunks and stir. Add the vegetable stock. Boil and continue to stir so it doesn’t stick to bottom. Simmer until aubergine is cooked through. Remove from pan.
- No need to wash pan – add a tin of chopped tomatoes and the tomato paste to the pan and continue to stir. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Boil and simmer until mixture has reduced. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- In a separate bowl add the garlic to the yoghurt. With a hand held blender (or just with a fork if you prefer) whip the yoghurt as you would whip cream. It is better if you use normal yoghurt rather than fat free or reduced fat versions – this way you will get the full advantage of the whipped creaminess.
- In a bowl gently fold the whipped yogurt into the tomato and aubergine mixture. Don’t mix too much, instead opt for a marbled effect.
- Serve with fresh bread.
From my pictures you will see the loaf I used has Kalamata olives baked through it. I got this from Sainsbury’s for £1.65. The bread is good quality but in comparison to the bread used on the continent it is very heavy, doughy and moist. If you can’t find light bread opt for crackers instead – not so traditional but won’t leave you feeling ‘sluggish’. Let me know what you think!