Barbunya Bean Therapy

22 June 2017

Last week in Datça market piles of psychedelic pink-podded barbunya beans arrayed against their green-podded cousins caught our eye. In Turkey these distinctive beans, also known as borlotti or cranberry beans, are made into a starter called barbunya pilaki, which is always high on our list when ordering a spread of mezeler.

Psychedelic pink barbunya beans piled high in Datça market

There’s something very therapeutic about podding these beans, like a beanish mindfulness moment!  Our kilo of beans in their pods yielded around 600 g of pink-marbled white beans.

Bean therapy!

When cooked and allowed to cool, the pink colour leaches out and the beans take on a delicate brown hue. They’re delicious stewed with olive oil, onion, carrot, potato and lemon juice, served with a sprinkling of fresh parsley and a chunk of lemon. Some recipes omit the potato, but we think this gives the dish more oomph and means you don’t need to cook up any additional carbs.

Barbunya pilaki all ready to go

They can be served hot as a less sugary take on baked beans, or served cold as part of the aforementioned selection of starters – Knidos Cookery Club recommends its carrot and walnut tarator, creamy almond and courgette dip, peppery muhammara and stuffed courgette flowers for a scrumptious feast of Turkish mezeler.

Ingredients (for 4-6 servings)

600 g shelled barbunya beans (or dried borlotti beans soaked overnight)

1 onion (around 100 g)

100 g carrot

100 g potato

100 g tomato

1 garlic clove

1 lemon

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon red chili flakes

Fresh parsley to garnish

50 g olive oil

400 ml hot water


Heat the olive oil into a heavy-based pan, chop the onion and garlic finely and fry over a medium heat for five minutes or so. Add the chopped tomatoes, lower the heat and cook for another five minutes.

Dice the carrot and potato into small cubes and then add these along with the beans, the juice of half a lemon, the honey, chili flakes and hot water to the pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans are cooked but not going mushy.

Serve hot or allow to cool and garnish with fresh parsley and lemon slices.

Red Green Bean Feast

12 May 2016

This week, Knidos Cookery Club is returning to the zeytinyağlı style of cooking to cook up a real bean feast with freshly-picked, tender green beans and juicy tomatoes.

Around this time of year, markets in Turkey are teeming with fresh beans in a variety of shapes and sizes. For a quick and easy meal, Knidos Cookery Club likes to chop the beans up and chuck them into a boiling pan of pasta and serve it all up with some generous dollops of pesto and shavings of parmesan.

For a traditional Turkish twist, combine your green beans with tomatoes to make zeytinyağlı taze fasulye and serve it as a side-dish alongside other seasonal, vegetable dishes. Serving this dish on top of a bowl of steamed rice makes for a more substantial main meal.


Recipes for this bean feast often call for the addition of some sugar, but you can replace this with honey. For a richer sauce, I found some pekmez, molasses (usually made from crushed grapes), in the store cupboard and poured a bountiful slug of this into the mix, giving the onions in the finished dish a deep burgundy hue.

Another use for pekmez is to mix it with tahini, sesame seed paste, and this fabulous combination frequently features in a full-on Turkish breakfast; more on this in a later edition of Knidos Cookery Club.

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

500 g fresh green beans

One medium-sized onion

One or two garlic cloves

Four medium-sized tomatoes

50 ml Olive oil

One teaspoon of honey or pekmez

 Juice of one lemon

Pinches of salt, pepper and cumin

One bay leaf

250 ml warm water


 Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan and add the finely chopped onion and garlic when the oil’s sizzling.

When the onions are looking translucent, add the green beans,  topped and tailed and sliced into 3-5 cm lengths, the chopped tomatoes and the bay leaf, salt, pepper and cumin and mix well.

Pour in the lemon juice, water and a dollop of pekmez or honey. Bring to the boil and then put the lid on the pan and cook over a low heat for 30 minutes or so until the beans are tender.

Serve with other vegetable dishes, bread and/or steamed rice.


King Celeriac Meets the Olive Oil Uptown

7 April 2016

This week Knidos Cookery Club turns its attentions to celeriac – a knobbly root vegetable of the same family as celery. Celeriac bulbs impart an earthy, nutty flavour with a strident undernote of celery.


Celeriac, kereviz in Turkish, is found all around the Mediterranean and grows in the cooler months of autumn and winter. It can be used raw and grated into a salad, roasted as a main course, boiled as a side dish, served as mash or in a tasty soup.

In Turkey it’s often served up as a cold side-dish in the zeytinyağlı style, which means it is braised in a generous portion of olive oil, a key ingredient of Turkish cooking.

Zeytinyağlı dishes can be made with any seasonal vegetables that are to hand – from green beans to leeks, and from artichokes to courgettes.

In this week’s recipe, based on Elizabeth Taviloğlu’s, we’ll show you how to get from this …


… to this


in a few easy steps using lemon and orange juice, and plenty of olive oil.


One celeriac bulb, peeled and cleaned, retain the stalks and leaves

Two medium carrots

One medium onion

Juice of half a lemon

Juice of two medium-sized oranges

125 ml good quality olive oil (extra virgin if you have it)

100 ml water


Top and tail the celeriac then peel off all the dirt-covered hard outer skin to expose a white bulb. Wash the bulb to remove any lingering soil. Keep the stalks and leaves for later use.

Cut the celeriac in half and then into 0.5 cm slices. Place the slices in a heavy-based saucepan and cover with lemon and orange juice – this is to stop it discolouring.

Next cut the carrot into thin slices, and chop the onion and stalks from the celeriac roughly. Place the carrots, stalks and onion on top of the celeriac.

Pour 100 ml olive oil and 100 ml of water into the pan and bring to a boil.

After the mix boils, reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender – 20-30 minutes or so.

Allow to cool and then arrange on a plate and sprinkle with more chopped celeriac stalks and leaves. Add a generous drizzle of olive oil and serve.