Monday, December 26, 2011


This year, my daughter Eren decided to help with Christmas dinner and added her creations.  She made  centre pieces in the shape of Christmas tree using magazines, Ginger breadhouse mug decorations, napkin holders using candy canes, cupcakes in the  shape of hot coco (with candy canes for handle), wreath appetizer using Pillsbury croisant dough and cream cheese & dill mix, I added the feta filled roasted red peppers to create our colourful Christmas dinner table.

What was on the menu?

Stuffed Turkey.  This year, I bought prestuffed Butterball on the recommendation of a friend.  This was a great time saver and turned out nice and juicy.  It went from freezer to the oven (no defrosting required).  The only thing I had to remember is to cook it 1 hour less than the instructions on the packaging.  For example,  I had an 8 kg Turkey.  It was to cook for 7 1/4 hours at 325 defgree F.  I cooked it for 6 1/4 hour at 325 degree F.  I'd highly recommend this when you have so many other things to cook.

Mashed potatos
Mashed turnip
Roasted red peppers stuffed with feta cheese and dill
Mixed salad
Borek (Pastry filled with ground beef and vegetarian kind filled with potato and cheese)
Dolma (grape leaves filled with rice)
Cheese sticks with pasta sauce
Fried green beans

For desert, chocolate cake, cup cakes and cookies

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


There are many versions of this dip on the internet.  I tried all of them.  This is my favorite.  It has cream cheese in it which gives it a special flavour.  For new years or Christmas parties, this is a very good option... I had a small get together this time so I served with crackers, but  for a bigger party, the best way to serve it inside a hollowed round pumpernickel bread.  You can serve the carved out pieces on the side.  Most important part of this recipe is that it must be done a day ahead and sit in the refregirator over night.

1 package frozen spinach (300 gr)
   OR 400 gr. fresh spinach cooked in a little bit oil in a wok/frying pan
1 package cream cheese (250 gr)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 package Knorr swiss vegetable or herbal soup mix.
   (I find a whole package too much for salt content and use only 1/2 package)
  • If you are using fresh spinach, wash and clean the spinach and cut into small pieces.  Stir fry in a little bit of oil.  This only takes a couple of minutes.  Let it cool.  I prefer freshly cooked spinach.  Stores sell fully washed spinach in bags which work really well for this recipe.
  • If you are using frozen spinach, make sure it is defrosted and fully dry before using in this recipe
  • Mix together all except soup mix in a food processor.  Add the soup mix a little at a time to find the desired salt content.  As I outlined in the ingredients section, I find a whole package is too much to use.
  • Cover and let it sit in the fridge over night
  • When it is time to serve, carve out the bread and fill with this dip.  Put pieces of the bread on the side for dipping.  You can use other vegetables for this dip as well like carrots or celery.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Strange name for a recipe but translation from Turkish is a challenge sometimes.  Even in Turkey, this borek has many different names like Ci borek, Sirborek.  Wikipedia has a pretty good explanation of all these different names and how they came about.  I called it "patties" because the shape reminded me of Jamaican patties.  I called it "fake" because I modified the dough to make it easy on myself when it came to rolling it out.  Also, I cooked it on a hot plate rather than frying in lots of oil due to concerns over extra calories.  Nevertheless, it turns out pretty close to the real taste.  You can modify further with additional spices like chili peppers if you enjoy spicy foods.

1 cup milk (room temperature)
1 cup water (room temperature)
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
Flour (approx 4 cups)

1/2 kg lean ground beef
3 onions
3 tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper

Cooking: either fry in lots of oil or brush with cooking oil if cooking on a hotplate
  • First make the dough... Mix together egg, oil, water, milk and salt
  • Add flour a little at a time until you have a dough that does not stick to your hands.  Softness should be a little soft (like your ear lobes)
  • Cover dough with Saran Wrap and let it rest for a couple of hours at room temperature
  • Make the filling by mixing all the ingredients.  Onions and the tomatoes need to be grated.  It should be a little watery to allow you to spread a thin layer.  If the onion and the tomatoes are not too juicy you can add some water.
  • Take small pieces of the dough and make them into small balls (size of a large walnut)
  • On a floured surface, roll out a thin round piece
  • Spread filling in a very thin layer
  • Close in the shape of a half moon
  • Cook on a hot plate that is preheated to 350 degrees making sure that the hot plate is covered with a little bit of oil.  If necessary, brush more oil before turning over
  • Cook until golden brown on both sides