Try a taste of some proper Turkish cuisine

Murc Salata
Murc Salata

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This year has been one big, long, celebration. In the past month alone, thousands of people from all over the world have arrived in the UK to join in with the London 2012 Olympic Games.

With the Paralymics nearly at a close – and with hundreds of cultures having left their mark on our country – it’s about time we tried some of the wide range of foods that can be made so easily.

With millions of us heading on holiday there every year, Turkish cuisine is proving to be a particularly big hit here in Britain.

Think Turkish food and what comes to mind? A greasy kebab and chips, hastily scoffed on the street on a Friday night, perhaps? But there’s so much more to the cuisine from this historic country, where fresh fish and abundant vegetables are as much a part of the diet as meat.

Kathy Fitchett is launching a cooking school on September 29. Based in Hayling Island, it specialises in international cuisine – and she says Turkish food is great for families.

‘Families want to eat good food that’s not expensive, is nutritious and it’s still interesting to eat.

‘It’s great at this time of year too because it’s nice to eat al fresco.

‘People don’t have a lot of time to prepare meals and with Turkish food, the meat and the salads take no time at all.’

A report by Glorious! Foods found Turkish to be one of the biggest food trends for late 2012, prompting the company to go on a fact-finding expedition to Istanbul to source ideas for new flavours of soups and dips.

Kathy believes the rise is down to people being more adventurous.

She adds: ‘Turkish food doesn’t take a lot of time to do and it is trying out something new. With meat you just squeeze a bit of lemon juice onto it, there’s hardly any fat involved in Turkish food either. It’s very good for you.’

For more information about Kathy’s cookery school go to foodfiendexp.com

MURC SALATA

A salad from the Kurdish heartlands around Bingol, Murc (meaning ‘chisel’) features little chipped shards of walnut.

(Serves 4-6 as a side salad or in a mezze selection)

1 large mug coarse bulgur wheat

1 large mug of hot vegetable or meat stock

50g walnut pieces, lightly toasted then broken into little pieces (tip - let the walnuts cool before breaking into pieces)

1 large tomato, finely chopped, sprinkled with 1 tsp sumac

A small bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

4 tbsp pomegranate molasses

Method

Rinse the bulgur under a running tap until the water runs clear.

Place the rinsed bulgur in a bowl, pour over the hot stock and cover. After 15 minutes, it will have absorbed all the liquid.

Fork the bulgur through with the sumac-sprinkled tomato and the parsley.

Check for seasoning, then fork through with pomegranate molasses. Place in a serving bowl.

Sprinkle with the walnuts and serve at room temperature.

By Simon Gamble for gloriousfoods.co.uk