Meliz’s Kitchen (Simple Turkish-Cypriot Comfort Food) – Meliz Berg grew up watching her mum and aunt cook delicious, traditional, Turkish-Cypriot food and spent her holidays visiting family in Cyprus. Now the food content creator @MelizCooks with a blog and a massive Instagram following has just published her first book – and it’s fabulous! Meliz’s family recipes had never been written down, just passed through generations via observation and participation. Now she has her own children, it became important to her to preserve these recipes and family traditions and back in 2013, she started her blog, adapting these family recipes to suit her own busy kitchen. And now Meliz’s Kitchen (£25 Ebury Press) is a celebration; a celebration of the food that influenced her childhood plus some new twists on favourites. Meliz is a self-taught cook who is loved for her easy-to-follow recipes. If you want to bring some more sunshine into your life, do buy yourself a copy.
Here’s a delicious recipe from Meliz’s Kitchen to tempt you and it’s perfect for this BBQ weather we’re enjoying now:
Izgara Jumbo Karides ve Galamar (Grilled Tiger Prawns & Squid)
“I absolutely adore the tender flesh of beautifully barbecued tiger prawns, my preference being Madagascan tiger prawns (pictured opposite) as they are so much bigger, and this has been one of my most cooked recipes on the mangal (barbecue) in the past couple of years. The marinade is warmed through first so that the flavours really get a chance to infuse together, and once cooled, half of it is used to marinade the seafood and the other half is reserved to slather all over the prawns as soon as they come off the mangal.”
2 tbsp Turkish sweet red pepper paste (tatlı biber salçası)
4 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tsp clear honey
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus extra to serve
1 tsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus extra to serve
1 tsp dried oregano
In a small pan over low heat, add the olive oil, and once hot, add the smoked paprika, pul biber and garlic, and cook for 30 seconds, before adding the sweet red pepper paste. Spread out the sweet red pepper paste with the back of a wooden spoon so that it starts to sizzle, then add the pomegranate molasses, honey and lemon juice and cook until it begins to bubble. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.
Prepare the prawns. Do not peel, but gently score along the back of one prawn with a sharp knife, slicing through the shell and a little into the flesh. Remove the vein, discard it, and carefully open the back of the prawn slightly to half-butterfly it; this will enable the marinade to soak through into the flesh. Repeat this with the remaining prawns.
Score the squid tubes slightly in a criss-cross pattern with the sharp knife and keep the tentacles whole.
Take two tablespoons of the marinade and gently rub over the prawns and squid. Season the seafood with salt and pepper. Add the parsley leaves and oregano to the remaining marinade.
On the Barbecue
Light your barbecue. Make sure that the coals are at high heat and the grill is very hot as the prawns and squid need fast cooking.
Barbecue the seafood for 3–4 minutes on each side until the prawns turn pink inside and the squid is chargrilled on the outside. Slice the chargrilled squid into rings, and coat everything in the reserved marinade. Serve with an extra squeeze of lemon juice, fresh parsley and cracked black pepper.
On a Griddle Pan
Brush a griddle pan with some sunflower oil and heat on the hob until very hot. Cook the seafood for 3–4 minutes on each side until the prawns turn pink inside and the squid is chargrilled on the outside. Slice the chargrilled squid into 1-cm (½-inch) rings, and coat everything in the reserved marinade. Serve immediately (as above).
Extracted from Meliz’s Kitchen by Meliz Berg (Ebury Press, £25)