Poolside BBQ – Turkish Cuisine!

Today was mostly spent on preparing and then enjoying a bbq with friends around the pool this evening.  Bob and I headed off first thing to the butcher – kasap in Turkish – to get the meat, and a few last minute things from the supermarket.

My village bread dough mix had risen substantially overnight so when we got back I transferred it into the oiled baking tin to rise further.  There is no kneading with this bread, it’s dead easy to make.  More on that later.

We then spent the day around the pool, interspersing sunbathing and swimming with a bbq prep job.  After lunch on the terrace, the chaps chopped up all the veg for me to make a shepherd’s salad.  We were recreating some of the recipes we enjoyed when we were sailing down the Turkish coast a few weeks ago.  The village bread and shepherd’s salad were on offer everywhere and just beyond delicious.  We had to give them a go.

Bob lit the wood oven at about 4ish and then we raked it down to reduce the temperature to a steady 250C at about 530.  Put the bread in.  It took about 20 minutes to bake the enormous round loaf.  I left it for about half an hour and then we got it out of the tin in order to avoid a “soggy bottom”.  I also assembled the salad at this point.

Our friends arrived at about 7pm: Pamela and Eddie, David and Deborah, Mick and Christine, Ruth and Ryan.  It was nice for them to meet Joe as no doubt we will all meet up in Patnem in January.  Bob bbq’d the meat and did a really good job.  We had chicken portions, lamb steaks, adana (lamb) kebabs.  I’d done hasselback potatoes in the wood oven and of course we had the salad and the bread.  I have to say that the bread was a bit of a triumph.  It was at least as good as the best we had when we were in Turkey, and so easy to do.  I will give you the recipe at the end.  Just very easy and unbelievably YUM!

Deborah and David had brought up a tray of chocolate and cream profiteroles on special request from me.  We’d had them before at a previous shindig, and they are just the best ever.  That was dessert.

Of course there was a great deal of yakking, catching up, swapping of tales.  We all sat out under the full moon till about 1am when departures began.  Joe, Bob and I cleared up in about 15 minutes flat!!!!! What a great night.  Enjoyed it so, so much.  Lovely to see everyone again and also to be able to entertain around our pool on such a warm, clear night.


Village Bread.  Makes one enormous loaf or several smaller ones.

800ml tepid water
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 tsp salt or to taste.
½ tsp sugar
1kg plain flour or strong bread flour
2 Tbsp olive oil

In a large bowl (a washing up bowl works well) sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and sugar.
To check that yeast is still fresh and active, wait 10 minutes for frothing to occur. If you know the yeast is fresh continue on to next step without waiting.
Add flour and salt and work into a dough.
Once it gets thick, tip it onto the counter if your bowl is too restrictive. Continue mixing.
When all combined, add the olive oil and mix through.
This bread does not need to be kneaded.
Leave to stand for 4 hours or preferably overnight.
The next day gently shape it into a loaf or small rolls, whichever you want and place it on either a greased tray or a large cake tin or metal tin.
Leave to rise another 4 hours and place in an oven preheated to 220C for around 20 minutes.
The key is to watch the colour and remove once it is a deep golden colour.
Remove from the tray after 5 mins, if left any longer, the bottom might go soggy.

This bread is somewhat like ciabiatta but has an airy texture not unlike a crumpet.  It’s absolutely the most delicious bread EVER!!

Shepherd’s Salad

1 red cabbage

3 white onions

1 kg ripe tomatoes

1 red chilli

3 green chilies or 1 green pepper

Dressing made from olive oil, wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper

sumac if you can get it.


Chop the red cabbage (no stalk) into tiny shreds.

Chop the onion into small dice.

Chop the tomato into small pieces.

Deseed the chillies and chop small

Assemble the salad.  Tomato on the bottom.  Then the chopped cabbage.  Then the chillies, red first, then green.  Dress with the dressing.  Sprinkle powdered sumac over the top, to taste.