Sunday, October 21, 2012

Deep-fried Brussels Sprouts

I haven't met so many people who go crazy about Brussels sprouts, have you? Join the club, then. They're OK for me but they are on my blacklist of veggies which make me gassy so they aren't usually on the weekly grocery shopping list. Anyways, I happened to buy them last week, but broke the habit this time. Instead of stewing or stir-frying them, I deep-fried them turning these super healthy vegetables into something unhealthy. What about the result? Well, I ate up all the crispy and so super yummy sprouts with some yogurt with minced garlic inside. If you ever want to make a change while cooking Brussels sprouts, then try this. You won't regret.

Brussels sprouts
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
2-4 cups vegetable oil
salt and pepper
soy sauce or yogurt with minced garlic for dipping


1. Stew the sprouts for 10-15 minutes. Remember to add some salt to the boiling water. 
2. Meanwhile, whisk the flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper and baking soda in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg with a pinch of salt. 
3. Once the sprouts are done, strain them and put them on a paper towel to dry.
4. Heat the oil in a deep stockpot over high heat. 
5. Dip sprouts in egg mixture first, then in flour-cornmeal mixture and then to the egg mixture again to coat. 
6. Submerge very carefully in oil. 
7. Fry for about 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown, and use a slotted spoon to transfer to a paper towel lined plate. 
8. Serve hot with soy sauce or yogurt with minced garlic inside  for dipping.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Tuhafija: walnut stuffed apples

Tufahija is a popular Bosnian specialty which you can find in bakery shops and cafes all year long in Sarajevo. However, it's more popular when muslim Bosnian people celebrate Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha and so it's made in a lot of houses on these special days. The main reason why the dessert is so popular is it's much lighter in calories than its rivals like baklava, ružica and hurmašica which are served with syrup. Another reason why tufahija is so popular is that, although lighter in calories, it still offers a great pleasure with its irresistible filling: walnuts and whipped cream. When you order a tufahija in any cafes here, it usually looks like this:


Traditionally, apples are peeled and cored, poached in syrup and served with a mixture of whipped cream and walnuts. (I will post the traditional tufahija recipe soon by the way).
                                                                                                                                                                                      This time, instead, I didn't peel the apples in order to make them keep all the flavour inside the skin. Then I baked the apples in the oven wrapped up in aluminum foil with cloves instead of boiling them in syrup which consists perhaps more than a kilogram of sugar. This way, the apples turned out much more lighter and they looked so natural in the end. The addition of ground cinnamon was a must for me as a cinnamon lover and it went along very well with the taste of the baked apples. By the way, the skin of the apples came off very easily after they were baked. Anyways, here comes the recipe of Mehtap's Tufahija. 

4 medium golden delicious apples
4 tablespoons sugar
4-5 tablespoons ground walnuts
8 cloves 
whipped cream 
aluminum foil

o. Preheat the oven at 200°C. 
1. Wash the apples and cut the tops off, but keep them aside. 2. Cut out the core. Remove all the seeds and a little more. Be careful not to make any holes at the bottom. 
3. Fill each apple with 1 tablespoon of sugar and sprinkle with some ground cinnamon.
4.  Place the tops of the apples back.
5. Wrap each apple in aluminum foil with two cloves. 
6. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes.
7. Let the apples cool down completely.
8. Meanwhile, mix some cream until thick and blend it ground walnuts.
9. Stuff each apple (when they are cool enough to handle) with walnut-cream mixture and put the tops back.
10. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 
11. Serve the apples cold in individual bowls topped with some extra whipped cream.

Raffaelo or the Sultan's Delight

"Raffaello was introduced in 1989. So white and refined, it reveals a light and delicate taste whose uniqueness is surprising.Tasting Raffaello means diving into a unique recipe, where a whole almond is plunged into a delicious creamy filling and enclosed in a crispy shell, covered in flakes of coconut. Raffaello, the only pleasure that transports you to a carefree world."

This is how Raffaelo is described on the website of Ferrero International S.A.  at  So little is left for me to say about this internationally advertised product as coconut and almond lovers would easily appreciate.

Well, I didn't have any intentions to clone or, let's be modest,  attempt to clone Raffaelo at all until I was handed a magazine on the plane by the stewardess on our way to Fethiye in Turkey. I was scannning through the pages of the magazine hastily out of  habit when I saw the photograph of cloned Raffaelos. They were given a totally irrelevant name such as "The Sultan's delight" which was probably meant to catch the tourist's eye. Whatever the intention was, its spell worked on me. After weeks, I was able to find the time to give it a try. However, the recipe needed some edits and additions. Since I know how things go with milk puddings, I decided to add some more ingredients: ground almonds. I think, as it was for the Raffaelo description I quoted above, instead of killing myself to find the correct words to describe the flavour and pleasure I enjoyed eating them, you should clear away everything on the counter and try it for yourself. They aren't, no doubt, close to the original. However, they were wonderful as the way they came out.  Here comes the recipe: 


1 litre milk
125 grams butter
1 cup flour 
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup ground almonds
2 cups desiccated coconut for rolling


1. Mix sugar, flour and vanilla extract in a bowl.
2. Transfer the mixture into a medium saucepan and add in milk.
3. Stir constantly over medium heat and bring it to a boil. 
4. Add in the butter, honey and ground almonds. Continue stirring. The consistency gets thicker as you stir and the mixture stiffens to be rolled into balls.
5. Keep simmering for another 3-4 minutes.
6. Remove from heat and let it cool down completely in room temperature. Then, refrigerate it at for least 3 hours. As it showed, it's better if you refrigerate the pudding overnight.
7.  Mold 1  heaped teaspoon of the mixture into a ball and then roll in the coconut. 
8. Place the balls separately on a tray and refrigerate them again so they get firmer. 

After this first attempt, I realized that they could get closer to the original, if coated in melted white chocolate and then rolled in desiccated coconut.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Chewing Gum with Cinnamon: Smile

Cinnamon has been always my favourite and Emir showed up one evening in Istanbul with this packet of chewing gum from Iran. I still do not know how on Earth he was able to find it but he definitely made my day. It's the first time I'd tried some chewing gum with my favourite flavour and I liked it right away. Believe me, it's good to know people somewhere out there make an effort to make cinnamon-freaks smile!