Recently a group ( well more a bunch, we were 22) went off to Southern Turkey to play golf. We were near Antalya, and a long way from both Istanbul and Syria.
The hotel we stayed in ( the same as last year and the same one where the G20 was held last year) is Enormous! With about 530 rooms, several restaurants, a water park,at least 2 100 metre swimming pools, plus beach side cabanas and docks, and a beautiful golf course. It is luxury beyond belief and on top of all of that, everything is included, and I mean everything. From the chocolates and champagne, when you enter the front door, to the Help-yourself “Magnum”ice cream on the beach, to the Gummy bears in the Mini bar ( Plus all the contents of the mini bar). One could be forgiven for overindulging here.
We tried all of the restaurants.There was a Turkish restaurant (obviously), a Seafood one, an Italian, an Asian and a Brazilian. For breakfast, there was the self-service buffet. The choice on this buffet was unbelievable , any thing that you could wish to eat for breakfast was here. There was one stand that was fascinating. It was where a pastry chef, made Turkish pastries, both sweet and savoury and baked them there on the spot. He made his own Filo pastry as well. The choice was meat, cheese, spinach or pistachio.
I was impressed with his skill, with the filo pastry, I must admit I have never made it myself, but is essential when making Baklava or Apfel Strudel, but then I also have to say, i do not usually make deserts like these.
However I did decide to try something along these lines as an experiment. Firstly I cam unstuck, I went to an Upmarket, grocery store and they did not have Filo pastry, and I was not about to undertake making my own, so I compromised and used chinese spring roll pastry. Tis is similar to filo, but not so fine, but there again, is not in danger of drying out, like Filo pastry.
Doing my research, the only recipes I could find that were Turkish or Middle Eastern for any thing vaguely similar to those above, were in fact for baklava, which is totally different, very sweet and sticky.
So I used 400 grams of pistachios and walnuts mixed together, along with 1/2 cup liquid honey to mix it into a sort of paste. I then used Ghee ( indian melted butter) to brush each layer of pastry and put a layer of filing in the middle of each and rolled it up. gave them another brush with butter and baked at 225 C for about 10 mins. until golden brown.
I admit to them not being the same, but I think filled with Spinach and cheese would make a wonderful snack and as they are, served as a dessert with a crème anglaise,or ice cream, Perfect!
Oh and did I mention Chocolates ?