Tag Archives: pasta

Around The World: Turkey – Köfte, Cacık & Pirinç Pilavı

Around The World: Turkey – Köfte, Cacık & Pirinç Pilavı
Around The World: Turkey – Köfte, Cacık & Pirinç Pilavı

Hey there!

Today I have a Main Dish from Turkey for you: Köfte, Cacık & Pirinç Pilavı. It is a classic!

Around The World, Week by Week: Turkey - Köfte, Cacık & Pirinç Pilavı by gingerlemonandspice

But let’s talk a bit about the country first. Around The World, Week by Week: Turkey - Köfte, Cacık & Pirinç Pilavı by gingerlemonandspice

The Republik of Turkey is a transcontinental country located in Europe but mostly in Asia. It is surrounded on three sides by water, the Mediteranean, Aegean and Black Sea. It is a rather big country with only 75 million people living in it, which makes some areas very rural. Turkey has a very rich history. There are a lot of sites from the time of Alexander the Great, the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire. I am not much of an expert in any kind of history but it is very impressive to visit the ancient ruins with or without a guided tour! I love doing that, even if I’m more interested in architecture and lifestyle than in the politics of those times!! 🙂

Around the World, Week by Week: Turkey by gingerlemonandspice

Around The World, Week by Week: Turkey by gingerlemonandspice








Well the Republik of Turkey as it is called today was only founded 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, how also was the first president. Until today he is adored by many and you can find his statues and picture everywhere, some men even have tattoes on their arms or cars of his name and signature! 🙂

Most of the people in this country are Turks, but there is also a minority group called the Kurds. Most of the people have Turkish as their mother tounge and their money is the Turkish Lira. The weather varies very strongly in the different parts of the country; it can get really cold like -40°C (-40°F) in winter in some areas but also really hot in summers (always above 30°C/86°F).

So that’s enough of the formal stuff for me by now, I have some more pictures for you to click through to get your own view!

If you got any questions about Turkey or my stay there, or made your own experiences just leave a comment below!! I would love to read about it!!


Now on to the food: Meat balls (in Turkish Köfte) can be found in many variations in the Turkish Cuisine. It might even be that every family does them a bit different! What I have here is a very classic recipe for Köfte that can be fryed in a pan or better grilled on a charcoal barbecue!

They are accompanied by the traditional yoghurt dip with cucumbers and garlic called Cacık. It goes with a lot of dishes and can also be found on a Meze (Appetizer) Table! Also I have some rice for you called Pirinç Pilavı. Like with the meatballs there are so many ways of preparing this!

Around The World, Week by Week: Turkey - Köfte, Cacık & Pirinç Pilavı by gingerlemonandspice


I found all the recipes for these in one of my favorite cookbooks, ‘Sofralar’ by Orhan Tançgil of the blog ‘KochDichTürkisch’. They also have a lot of videos to the recipes on the blog, so even if you can’t speek German you might find something you like! Hop over and say hi from me!

Around The World, Week by Week: Turkey - Köfte, Cacık & Pirinç Pilavı by gingerlemonandspice

Köfte, Cacık & Pirinç Pilavı
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A recipe for yummy turkish meat balls with rice and a yoghurt dip with cucumbers and garlic!
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Turkish
Serves: 4-6
  • 500g mixed minced meat (lamb and beef)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 slices of stale white bread
  • 1 egg
  • 1 handfull of parsley
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • pepper, pul biber spice (chili flakes)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • oil for frying
Pirinç Pilavı
  • 60g butter
  • a small handfull of soup noodles (şehriye)
  • 1 cup of rice, washed in a sieve
  • 2 cups of water or chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 250g süzme yoğurt (turkish yoghurt with 10% fat)
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 2 small turkish cucumbers or 1 usual
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 handfull of fresh dill
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • pepper, pul biber spice (chili flakes)
  • olive oil
Köfte Mix
  1. Start bei preparing the mixture for the Köfte. Just put the meat, the finally chopped onion and parsley, the spices, the egg, the olive oil and the pressed garlic in a big bowl. Cut the bread in small chunks and add to the bowl too.
  2. Now mix very well! It works best if you use your hands. Form small balls and pat them down flat and set aside on a plate or chopping board. Use wet hands while forming the Köfte so that the mixture doesn't stick to your fingers!
Pirinç Pilavı
  1. Melt butter on a pot on the stove on high heat and add the noodles. Fry and stir well until they get a golden color. Then add the rice and fry for 2-3 minutes more.
  2. Pour water or stock in and add the spices. Stir once then cover with the lid and wait until the water boils.
  3. Turn the heat down to very low for about 15 minutes then turn it off and let the pot just sit where it is. The rice will soak up more of the moisture and will get done without sticking to the bottom with this method.
Frying the Köfte
  1. Meanwhile heat one or two big pans and add some frying oil. You don't need much as the meat releases some fat as well. About one tablespoon for each pan! Put the meatballs into the pan and fry them on medium heat until they are half through then turn around and do the other side. It is even better when you have a charcoal barbecue and grill them there! You can also bake them in the oven on 200°C for about 25 minutes if you want to retain some fat. But that's not the most typical way 😉
  1. Mix yoghurt and milk in a bowl with an egg whisk until smooth. Chop the cucumbers as finely as you can or grate them. But on the secon method make sure to press some of the water out!
  2. Add the cucumber, the spices (minus the chili), the finely chopped dill and pressed garlic to the bowl and mix well. Taste and reseason as you like.
  3. Pour the Cacık in a nice bowl and decorate with olive oil, chili and some dill sprinkles!
The cumin spice is essential for the typical taste in the Turkish Cuisine! Don't miss it!

Around The World, Week by Week: Turkey - Köfte, Cacık & Pirinç Pilavı by gingerlemonandspice

Afiyet olsun!! – Enjoy your meal!


Here are the other recipes I shared during this series:

An Introduction to the new series

Appetizer – Sigara Böreği

Dessert – Künefe

Drink – Ayran

Salad – Kısır

Pastry – Kurabiye

Snack/Fast Food – Lahmacun

Guest Post – Acılı Ezme


~ Kathrin

Pasta With Mushy Aubergine & Tomato Sauce

Pasta With Mushy Aubergine & Tomato Sauce
Pasta With Mushy Aubergine & Tomato Sauce

Hey there! 

It’s me again 🙂

Pasta With Mushy Aubergine & Tomato Sauce  from gingerlemonandspice.com

We’re planning a big grilling party today with friends! So I’m a bit out of the normal 😉 Usually I am all for planning big and complex, but this started out as just a wish to turn on the grill… I talked to one of the girls I am living with and we decided we wanted to grill since it’s summer and all. Well, needless to say I was all in! I thought yeah, let’s do this as we don’t do it often in the ‘big’ city. We only have a very small backyard.

At my parents we have a big backyard and in summer time we kind of live outside. We grill nearly everyday and it usually goes without planning! When my relatives that live next to us want to do it too, they just come over with their stuff or we go to their house and then we just have a good time. It is all very SIMPLE! The basic ingredients for salads and the stuff that will be grilled we usually have at home or we create something out of the things we have.

Pasta With Mushy Aubergine & Tomato Sauce  from gingerlemonandspice.com

But this thing here in the city with my flat-mates – it got kind of out of hand 😉 It is all very planned out, like a week planned ahead, who brings what so that there won’t be two kinds of pasta salad or something else that ‘horrible’. 😉 We   even hat to delay the party for a week! There are some friends coming too. All this exact planning leaded to me being a wee bit stressed out… At some point I was quite annoyed that it wasn’t the easy thing I was used to!

I feel quite sorry for that now! I know it will be an awesome evening and we will have lots of fun! I guess everybody plans very different and I have to learn to tame myself and be more tolerant! 😉 I just look back on all this with a big smile now.  Can you relate to that? Do you have sometimes feelings you’re not proud of? 😉

Pasta With Mushy Aubergine & Tomato Sauce  from gingerlemonandspice.com

The recipe I have for you today is my newest invention: Mushy Aubergine & Tomato Pasta! I dreamed it up after watching Donal Skehan’s newest episode on Jamie Olivers Foodtube. He was cooking Smashed Tomato Pasta and used the word ‘mushy’ a lot 😉 Watch the video! He really is a great cook and he explains the way that you feel that everybody can do it! And his accent really is the best! So very irish 🙂 Read here why I love Ireland!

Well, I had an aubergine in the fridge to use up. So I started cooking a quick meal and while I went on stiring and stiring I was singing ‘mushy, mushy, mushy’ in my head. 😉 I think the video really got to me! At first I didn’t really plan to take pictures and put the recipe on the blog, but it tasted soo awesome and flavorful, that I just had to take the minute to shoot some pictures!! I don’t like aubergines very much usually. Only since last year when I stayed in Turkey I realized that aubergines really CAN taste great! In this recipe the flavor comes out beautifully, you will love it!

Just give it a try 🙂 Enough talk, on to the recipe we go!


Pasta With Mushy Aubergine & Tomato Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A very tasty and comforting pasta dish made in the time the pasta needs to cook! Tastes like summer because of a secret ingredient!
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: mediterranean style
Serves: 2
  • 250g spaghetti
  • 1 big aubergine (eggplant)
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Bratwurst - optional
  • 3 tomatoes
  • lime juice of 2 limes
  • freshly ground pepper
  • some parmesan if you like
  1. Fill your kettle with water and turn it on. If you don't have a kettle heat a pot big enough for the pasta with water on the stove.
  2. Meanwhile preheat a non stick pan to high heat. Chop your aubergine in cubes with sides about one centimetre of length. Put them in the pan and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and stir until the salt is distributed. Let the aubergine roast (without oil!) and stir often. There will be a bit of a coat on the bottom of the pan - just stir it loose. We want this, it is full of flavor! Just don't let it go black 😉
  3. When the water kettle is finished just pour the water into a pot on the stove and reheat on high heat until it boils. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and the pasta and set your timer on the time it says on the box of the pasta. Turn the heat down to low-medium.
  4. Now you can add the bratwurst (cut into thin slices) if you have it and add the olive oil. mix well. The aubergine should now start to soften up!
  5. Chop your tomatoes roughly in cubes and don't forget to stir your aubergine once in a while.
  6. Add the tomatoes to the pan when you have about 5 minutes left on your timer. You want the aubergine and tomato mixture to get really mushy!!
  7. Just before pasta is cooked, add pepper and lime juice to the pan. Turn the heat off. You don't need to drain the pasta, just put the pot and pan close together, take a pasta fork and fish the pasta out of the pot, let it drain a little and put it directly into the pan. We want a little pasta water to get into the pan!
  8. Now mix it all together well and serve directly. Sprinkle parmesan on top if you like! Dig in 🙂

Pasta With Mushy Aubergine & Tomato Sauce  from gingerlemonandspice.com 

Have a great day!

~ Kathrin

Speedy Shrimp Pasta

Speedy Shrimp Pasta
Speedy Shrimp Pasta

Good evening out there!

This weekend I was all alone in the flat by myself, so I took the chance to make a very big mess in the kitchen over and over again 😉

I should be studying as my exams are getting closer and closer and I have really difficult ones to pass this semester – but I just couldn’t let the chance go by!

During all the testing, picture taking and recipe studying I was getting hungry. I was stumbling on a recipe of a blog I am reading: Speedy Sauteed Shrimp & Pasta from dinners, dishes and desserts.


It had pasta, shrimps and sun-dried tomatoes, which especially of the last I am a big fan at the moment. I usually eat them plain or with cheese  but I was already wondering what else I could do with them! On top of it all the package I have right now is very special to me, as it says the tomatoes are from Izmir region in Turkey!! That was where I stayed last summer – and we also went on the fields, ate fresh tomatoes and saw the people laying out the tomatoes in the sun to dry. You see – I had no chance but to make something special with them!

This and that I had already pre-cooked shrimps in the fridge that needed using made this a no brainer for me. Shrimp pasta it was!

Of course I had to give the recipe some twists, as I didn’t have everything on hand. But it was very delicious!!


Speedy Shrimp Pasta

adapted from dinners, dishes and desserts (see for exact messurements, I just did it roughly for one person)

Speedy Shrimp Pasta

Speedy Shrimp Pasta

Speedy Shrimp Pasta

Speedy Shrimp Pasta










spaghetti for one person

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 piece of onion

1 piece of garlic

a few red chili flakes

about 7 shrimps (I had precooked ones, but fresh or frozen ones would work to – just cook them through)

about 3 sun-dried tomatoes

juice of 1/2 lemon

parsley (I used frozen), salt, pepper

parmesan to taste



1. Cook the pasta according to directions on box.

2. Meanwhile heat a large skillet on medium heat and put the oil inside. Chopp onions and put inside. Saute for a little bit, then crush garlic in a garlic crusher and add with chili flakes  to the onions.

3. Put shrimps into the skillet and after 2 minutes add the chopped dried tomatoes and lemon juice.

4. Season with parsley, salt and pepper.

5. Put the cooked spaghetti in the skillet and mix well with shrimp mixture. If you want you can drizzle with additional olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan.

6. Enjoy preferably with a glass of white wine!

Speedy Shrimp Pasta

~ Kathrin