Thursday, February 18, 2010

Turkish Turquoise .....

Greg and Lucy Malouf have written a few cookbooks, all influenced by the Middle East and North Africa. From what I’ve read Greg grew up in Australia with his Lebanese parents. His childhood exposure to the rich culinary wonders of this region explains his love affair with this part of the world and its cuisine. Greg and Lucy were at one time married, however are now divorced but continue to collaborate when it comes to authoring these wonderful books. Their titles include Saha, Arabesque and Moorish.

When flicking through their cookbooks, you get a feeling that you are actually reading their personal travel diaries, featuring intimate accounts of their adventures complimented by exquisite photography and a recipe or two! Their books provide a wonderful insight into the delights of countries that are often shrouded in mystery, intrigue and in more recent time’s political controversy. The authenticity makes for books that aren’t necessarily your 'mid-week go to' type cookbooks. However, the recipes are well put together and the recipe I’ve chosen this week is from their Turkish delight: Turquoise.

I fell in love with Turquoise as Istanbul is one of the cities on my ‘top 5 places to visit’ list, and this book has lovely section on Istanbul. On page 268 there is a recipe for Puf Borek with cheese and dill - basically crescent shaped pastries that are filled with feta, parmesan and dill.

The real genius of the recipe (in my opinion) is actually the rich Greek/Natural yoghurt pastry. The yoghurt provides a rich, substantial foundation for this flaky pastry and its sourness provides a nice contrast to the salty combination of feta and parmesan filling.

100g thick Greek/Natural yoghurt
125g melted butter (at room temperature)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 free range egg
220g self-raising flour, sifted
Pinch of sea salt
Finely grated zest of half a lemon

Combine the yoghurt and melted butter, with an electric mixer followed by the egg. Tip in the flour, salt and zest and mix for 5 minutes until silky and soft. Cover and refrigerate for an hour, allowing to firm up.
You then knead and work the dough into a ball, dividing into 2 equal sized portions that can then be further divided into numerous equal portions. I decided to make 4 large Pufs initially. I would recommend that you be the guide as to how many you want to achieve by adjusting the size of each puf. (Bigger for picnics – smaller for canap├ęs etc).

Combine 200g feta, ½ cup finely grated parmesan, 1 small onion (grated), 1/3 cup of chopped dill, 1 free range egg, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, zest of half a lemon and black pepper, until smooth.
Your aim is to finish with circles of pastry that can be filled, then folded into a half moon shape, ready for frying or baking – I baked mine on 180 degrees for about 25 minutes.
I serverd the Puf's as a light lunch with a bottle of Rose Moet & Chandon Champagne, and the end result was simply put - Superb!


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