Barbunya Bean Therapy

22 June 2017

Last week in Datça market piles of psychedelic pink-podded barbunya beans arrayed against their green-podded cousins caught our eye. In Turkey these distinctive beans, also known as borlotti or cranberry beans, are made into a starter called barbunya pilaki, which is always high on our list when ordering a spread of mezeler.

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Psychedelic pink barbunya beans piled high in Datça market

There’s something very therapeutic about podding these beans, like a beanish mindfulness moment!  Our kilo of beans in their pods yielded around 600 g of pink-marbled white beans.

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Bean therapy!

When cooked and allowed to cool, the pink colour leaches out and the beans take on a delicate brown hue. They’re delicious stewed with olive oil, onion, carrot, potato and lemon juice, served with a sprinkling of fresh parsley and a chunk of lemon. Some recipes omit the potato, but we think this gives the dish more oomph and means you don’t need to cook up any additional carbs.

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Barbunya pilaki all ready to go

They can be served hot as a less sugary take on baked beans, or served cold as part of the aforementioned selection of starters – Knidos Cookery Club recommends its carrot and walnut tarator, creamy almond and courgette dip, peppery muhammara and stuffed courgette flowers for a scrumptious feast of Turkish mezeler.

Ingredients (for 4-6 servings)

600 g shelled barbunya beans (or dried borlotti beans soaked overnight)

1 onion (around 100 g)

100 g carrot

100 g potato

100 g tomato

1 garlic clove

1 lemon

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon red chili flakes

Fresh parsley to garnish

50 g olive oil

400 ml hot water

Method

Heat the olive oil into a heavy-based pan, chop the onion and garlic finely and fry over a medium heat for five minutes or so. Add the chopped tomatoes, lower the heat and cook for another five minutes.

Dice the carrot and potato into small cubes and then add these along with the beans, the juice of half a lemon, the honey, chili flakes and hot water to the pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans are cooked but not going mushy.

Serve hot or allow to cool and garnish with fresh parsley and lemon slices.

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Taking the Lor into Your Own Hands

15 September 2016

This week on Knidos Cookery Club we’ll be looking at  lor – Turkey’s answer to ricotta cheese. Drier than its Italian cousin,  lor is made from whey after it has been separated from the curd. It’s used in Turkish dishes such as börek or mixed with herbs and nigella seeds as part of a breakfast spread.

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Lor stuffed aubergine slices in a spicy tomato sauce

It’s peak season for aubergines at the moment and we found that this adaptable vegetable paired excellently with lor cheese. We stuffed some slices of aubergine with the cheese, adding some spinach or sorrel leaves to the parcels to give the lor a bit more oomph. The dish was finished off by submerging the aubergine wraps in a spicy, gingery tomato sauce.

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Line up the aubergine slices, add a sorrel leaf and a dollop of lor, then roll

For some reason, this combination of aubergine, white cheese and tomato just works so well.

If you’re having trouble sourcing the lor cheese, it’s dead easy to make yourself from milk or yogurt – here’s some easy-to-follow instructions from Binnur’s Turkish Cookbook.

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

Two large aubergines cut lengthways into 0.5 cm thick slices (this should yield 8-10 slices)

250 g  lor cheese (or ricotta)

Eight-ten sorrel or spinach leaves (one for each aubergine slice)

500 g tomatoes

One medium-sized onion

One or two garlic cloves

3 cm fresh ginger

One teaspoon paprika

One teaspoon chili flakes

One teaspoon turmeric

50 ml olive oil

Method

Brush the aubergine slices on both sides with olive oil, sprinkle some salt and black pepper over the slices and bake for 20 minutes or until turning a golden-brown colour in an oven pre-heated to 220°C or gas mark 7.

While the slices are cooking, prepare the sauce. Heat a glug of olive oil in a frying pan and add the finely chopped onion to the pan along with the minced garlic and ginger.

Cook over a medium heat for ten minutes then stir in the paprika, chili flakes and turmeric. Chop the tomatoes or grate them and pour into the mix. Cook for twenty minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced by about half.

Allow the aubergine slices to cool and then make the wraps – put a sorrel or spinach leaf, with the stem removed, and a dollop of lor in the middle of the slice and roll it up.

Pour the sauce into a baking dish and place the aubergine parcels in the spicy sauce. Bake in the oven at 220°C or gas mark 7 for twenty minutes or until the sauce is bubbling.

As usual, serve with a green salad and some crusty bread.

 

 

Red Green Bean Feast

12 May 2016

This week, Knidos Cookery Club is returning to the zeytinyağlı style of cooking to cook up a real bean feast with freshly-picked, tender green beans and juicy tomatoes.

Around this time of year, markets in Turkey are teeming with fresh beans in a variety of shapes and sizes. For a quick and easy meal, Knidos Cookery Club likes to chop the beans up and chuck them into a boiling pan of pasta and serve it all up with some generous dollops of pesto and shavings of parmesan.

For a traditional Turkish twist, combine your green beans with tomatoes to make zeytinyağlı taze fasulye and serve it as a side-dish alongside other seasonal, vegetable dishes. Serving this dish on top of a bowl of steamed rice makes for a more substantial main meal.

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Recipes for this bean feast often call for the addition of some sugar, but you can replace this with honey. For a richer sauce, I found some pekmez, molasses (usually made from crushed grapes), in the store cupboard and poured a bountiful slug of this into the mix, giving the onions in the finished dish a deep burgundy hue.

Another use for pekmez is to mix it with tahini, sesame seed paste, and this fabulous combination frequently features in a full-on Turkish breakfast; more on this in a later edition of Knidos Cookery Club.

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

500 g fresh green beans

One medium-sized onion

One or two garlic cloves

Four medium-sized tomatoes

50 ml Olive oil

One teaspoon of honey or pekmez

 Juice of one lemon

Pinches of salt, pepper and cumin

One bay leaf

250 ml warm water

Method

 Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan and add the finely chopped onion and garlic when the oil’s sizzling.

When the onions are looking translucent, add the green beans,  topped and tailed and sliced into 3-5 cm lengths, the chopped tomatoes and the bay leaf, salt, pepper and cumin and mix well.

Pour in the lemon juice, water and a dollop of pekmez or honey. Bring to the boil and then put the lid on the pan and cook over a low heat for 30 minutes or so until the beans are tender.

Serve with other vegetable dishes, bread and/or steamed rice.