Though this is my fav day of the week because it is Woman Crush Wednesday, today is a tough one for me. I just heard the news of the tragedy in Istanbul. I could do what most foodie/beauty/fitness/lifestyle bloggers are doing on social media. Ignore it. Which makes me wonder… why do other places where hate plays its ugly hand get more attention (such as Orlando) and not Istanbul? It is beyond me. But since Hubby and I were literally just there nearly a week ago, it really hit home.
I don’t even watch the news, but received some messages from Snappers who had seen my snap stories from Turkey. So they commented that I was so lucky to have gotten out before this happened. Why was I lucky? To then remain silent? No! I posted a few snaps last night sharing my feelings about it. And I decided I am not going to ignore it on here either. I am praying for Istanbul and all the victims of hate in this world. Today I am going to focus on an amazing female chef who just so happens to be half Turkish. She grew up eating foods with flavors of the Ottoman Empire and it is reflected in the recipes of her books and menus of her restaurants. So I am celebrating, honoring and loving all things Turkish today!
Today’s incredible gorgeous gourmet gal is Silvena Rowe. Though she was born in Bulgaria, her Turkish father instilled in her a passion for the great foods of the country that is half in Europe and half in Asia. There is an ill conceived notion that all Turkish food is simply kebabs. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes there are kebabs, but it is the delicious and stunning ingredients that make up the palette of this fresh, flavorful and diverse Mediterranean cuisine.
Silvena Rowe moved to London at the age of 19 and shared her talents as a private chef to celebrities and royalty before opening her own restaurant. Now she is in Dubai and with her numerous award winning cookery books and television appearances, this chef is making her ancestral homeland proud! Many of her recipes she directly credits to her family, such as her beloved father. Today, I’ll be doing a cooking tutorial live on Snapchat (username: blissbakery) and sharing the pics on here. I hope I do her and her family proud, and show the hate mongers that LOVE can and will still go on!
I normally only do one recipe, but I am making an exception today. I am preparing three very simple dishes. A main chicken dish with a side of rice pilaf and salad. Pretty much my favorite meal combo. So let’s get to it!
Honey and Coriander Glazed Chicken
80ml (3fl oz) clear honey
4 tsp coriander seeds, coarsely ground
4 tsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp grated fresh root ginger
4 chicken thighs
4 chicken legs
salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 200C/390F/Gas Mark 6.
First make the glaze by combining the honey, coriander, fennel and ginger.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place skin down in a very hot sauté pan to brown for about 2-3 minutes. Turn over and brush with the glaze.
Transfer to the oven and cook for a further 20 to 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
Serve with rice pilaf and salad (recipes below)
Pilaf Rice with Vermicelli, Chickpeas and Pistachios
2 shallots, sliced
olive oil, for frying
80 g (2.8 oz)vermicelli
3 tbsp dried berries, such as blueberries and/or cranberries
100 g (3.5 oz) cooked or tinned chickpeas
80 g (2.8 oz) dried apricots, chopped
300 g (10.5 oz) baldo or basmati rice
400 ml vegetable or chicken stock
80 g (2.8 oz) shelled pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
½ bunch mint, chopped
½ bunch coriander, chopped
½ bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1. In a medium saucepan, sauté the shallots in olive oil for 2 minutes over a moderate heat. Add the vermicelli and, stirring continuously, cook until golden, keeping a sharp eye on it because the colour changes quickly.
2. Add the dried berries, then the chickpeas, apricots and rice. Stir well to ensure the rice is coated with the oil.
3. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and add some salt and pepper. Cover and cook over a low heat for 10-15 minutes, without stirring.
4. Remove the pan from the heat. Lay a cloth between the lid and pan so that the pan is tightly covered and leave the pilaf to steam for 15 minutes off the heat.
5. Once the rice is fully cooked, add the pistachios and chopped herbs. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
3 large tomatoes, cut into cubes
1 cucumber, cut into cubes
1 green pepper, cut into cubes
6 spring onions, roughly chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
150g (5oz) Feta cheese
Small bunch parsley, finely chopped
Mix together the cucumber, spring onion, pepper and tomato in a large bowl.
Pile up the mixture in a salad dish.
Drizzle with the olive oil and vinegar.
Grate over the feta cheese to form of a “snow cap”.
Garnish with the olives and the parsley.
Even though there were three dishes, they can be easily coordinated to finish at about the same time. If I can do it while snapping, then anyone can do it. A simple supper to make for family or friends this summer. And it is really a menu indicative of the Turkish mentality, let the spices do the talking! Bursts of distinct flavor that work in harmony creating a peaceful summit on your palate!
Thanks Silvena! You are not only beautiful and talented, you know how to marry food with LOVE!
Love with all my heart and soul,
P.S. Props to Jamie Oliver, who funny enough I was slagging only a few days ago. He posted the gorge flower (first pic at the top of this post) in memory of the victims of the Istanbul tragedy.