REVANI; A DELICIOUSLY MOIST, SEMOLINA CAKE IN SYRUP
Revani has been a popular dessert with us Turks since the Ottoman Period; it is believed that the name Revani is given when the Ottomans conquered the city of Yerevan in today’s Armenia. Revani has many versions and been enjoyed in various cuisines especially in the Eastern Mediterranean countries, as well as in Turkey. I have seen the addition of rose water, orange flower water and orange zest to revani, all sounds delicious.
Serves 6 – 8
Preparation time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking time: 25-30 minutes for the cake and 15 minutes for the syrup
165 gr/ 6oz / 1 cup fine grain semolina
200gr/7oz/1 cup (not too full) sugar
45ml/3 tbsp. plain flour
5ml/1 tsp. baking powder
225gr/8oz/1 cup plain (whole milk) yoghurt
3 medium eggs
60ml/ 4 tbsp. olive oil (regular or light)
10ml/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon and Juice of ½ lemon
For the syrup:
300gr/10.5oz/1 ½ cup sugar
375ml/12 fl. oz. / 1 ½ cup water
Juice of ½ lemon
Ground pistachio nuts and desiccated coconut to serve
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4
First make the syrup, as it needs to cool down. Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan (at a medium heat). Stir and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to low and let the syrup simmer for about 10 minutes, uncovered. Add the lemon juice, mix well and simmer for another 3 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the syrup cool down while you make the semolina cake.
Stir in the vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix well until you have a smooth batter.
Grease a square or rectangular baking dish (mine was 20 cm x 27 cm – about 8”x 10”) with 2 tbsp. olive oil. First beat the eggs and the sugar in a large mixing bowl briskly for a few minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Then add the remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil, yoghurt, semolina, flour, the baking powder and beat well. Stir in the vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix well until you have a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the greased baking dish and bake in the preheated oven for about 25 – 30 minutes, until the cake is golden brown. To check; insert a toothpick to the center of the cake, if it comes out clean, that means the cake is cooked. If not, bake for another 3-5 minutes.
Let the cake absorb the syrup and cool down
Using a large spoon, drizzle the cooled syrup all over the semolina cake. Let the cake absorb the syrup and cool down. Once cool, cut the revani in square or diamond shapes; you can serve revani with ground pistachio and desiccated coconut over the top like they do in Turkey.
Turkish Recipes Turkish Meatballs
2 tsp olive oil
12 British organic beef meatballs
2 banana shallots, chopped
1 crushed garlic clove
½ tbsp plain flour
2 tsp ras el hanout spice mix
300ml chicken stock
150g natural yogurt
Handful of freshly chopped mint
Handful of freshly chopped parsley
3 tbsp pomegranate seeds
3 tbsp toasted pine nuts
Put 2 tsp olive oil in a flameproof casserole (with a lid) over a medium heat and brown 12 meatballs all over.
Add 2 chopped banana shallots and 1 crushed garlic clove and cook gently, stirring, for 8 minutes or until the shallots are soft and the meatballs are cooked through. Remove the meatball/shallot mixture with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Whisk ½ tbsp plain flour and 2 tsp ras el hanout spice mix into the oil, then gradually whisk in 300ml chicken stock to form a smooth sauce.
Combine 150g houmous and 150g natural yogurt in a bowl, then stir half into the sauce and heat through.
Return the meatball/shallot mixture to the casserole, cover with the lid and cook for 2-3 minutes to reheat.
Serve the meatballs topped with the remaining houmous/yogurt mixture, a small handful each of freshly chopped mint and parsley, 3 tbsp pomegranate seeds and 3 tbsp toasted pine nuts. Serve with couscous or flatbreads.
Another day of our travel diaries - today we are remembering our boat trip exploring the islands and coves around Kalkan and our adventures with dolphins and turtles on board a boat trip.
Whenever we visit Kalkan our plans always involve a day on the water. The night before with our towels, snorkelling kit and other supplies packed we set an alarm for the following day and book our taxi to go to the marina with our local taxi driver Yusuf Ay
A good sleep and a very quick Nespresso coffee for the adults (our rental villa has a Nespresso machine so its home from home) means that we are ready to go - but not before a stop at Marina Restaurant Kalkan!!! where we receive a warm welcome from the team and treats for the children. Orders are made and we relax and enjoy a leisurely family breakfast whilst observing the activity of the boat owners get ready for the day ahead
After our relaxed breakfast, its time to go...hugs and warm wishes exchanged with the amazing team and we make our way across the road to Falcon Boat Kalkan. Captain Jack (yes genuinely!!!) greets us and welcomes us aboard Eclipse our private charter for the day (there were 9 of us last time so it is cost effective to do hire Eclipse rather than go on the big Falcon boat which we also love)
Everyone grabs their preferred places on the boat (and maybe a little Titanic photography moment) and we settle down and eagerly anticipate that moment when we sail out of the harbour with lots of boats beeping horns and happy guests wave to all the other boats and watch as Kalkan gets smaller and the open water greets us and the day really begins
Our day is full of excitement, the first stop is a beautiful cove and it involves everyone launching themselves into the Turquoise waters for a refreshing swim and encouraging younger family members to nervously jump in and enjoy the feeling of a refreshing dip. Once back on board, a small motor pulls up alongside with beautiful coloured wraps and bikini cover alls with details of tiny shells and crochet sewn onto the hems - after making a few purchases to take home we are on the move again
Later we explore more coves and make another stop near Mouse and Snake Island but on the way there are shouts of excitement and delight when some wild dolphins are spotted ahead and then full steam ahead Captain Jack carefully gets the boat near the dolphin pod and we are able to watch them play and jump in the water - seeing them in their natural environment is incredible and a memory to treasure for all
Before we know it, Captain Jack has presented a beautiful lunch of fish, chicken, fresh Turkish salads, bread and other delights and we relax into a lunch at sea with laughter and a little wine maybe
With full tummies again a laze in the sun whilst the boat takes us off to another cove where we are presented with 'The bucket' and Captain Jack gives us instructions on how to administer a natural beauty treatment with the local clay. Everyone jumps into the sea and swims to shore and joins a few other boat trippers who are also covering their bodies and faces with the mud/clay treatment. With hoots of laughter we then bake the clay in the sun until it is dry before swimming in the sea to wash it all off (a word of advice do not wear a white swimsuit!!!) and return to Eclipse to dry off, administer more sun tan lotion and relax with a drink before being told by Captain Jack that we are off to look for Turtles in a secret cove
With eyes peeled we arrive at the cove and sure enough we are greeted by 3 beautiful huge turtles who elegantly bob up and down in the water searching for food - this was the icing on the cake - the turtles shared their lives with us for 20 minutes before vanishing into the sea and leaving us feeling elated at sharing those moments. Another swim is followed by Captain Jack telling us we are home bound and reluctantly we all get back on board and slowly but surely the white iconic lighthouse appears and we sail back into the marina happily chatting about the events of the day and realising memories that will last forever have been made....