Kitchen Stories – Harun Gencerler at Ahmet’s Turkish Restaurant
Vibrant rugs and lanterns adorn the walls as Harun Gencerler, owner of Ahmet’s Turkish Restaurant, articulates his memories of growing up on a farm in Mildura. The jangling Turkish music accentuates the feeling of sitting in a bustling grand bazaar and punctuates his jovial explanations of the regional nature of Turkish food. “Turkish cuisine is very regional and our region is the Aegean. So, some of our menu items relate to Greek cuisine, for example – moussaka, vine leaf roll and our jajik dip. We share all of that with the Greeks. Where you come from in Turkey dictates the style of cuisine, how you make the food, which spices and herbs you use,” Harun explains.
With recipes handed down from generation to generation, it’s little wonder the exact lineage can be somewhat murky. “The bread we make [here] is the bread my family has been making for over 100 years. Through family in Turkey I am told it’s my great-great-grandfather’s recipe. Turkish bread is similar across all regions but there are small changes,” he says. Speaking of change, Harun says using Queensland produce has been very easy but there have been some small adaptations. “The core of it is definitely Turkish but we have had to adapt some of our style due to availability of ingredients and customer familiarity with traditional Turkish dishes. But most of our produce is locally sourced and we always look to a regional option first.”
The bread we make here is the bread my family has been making for over 100 years. Through family in Turkey I am told it’s my great-great-grandfather’s recipe.
|12 firm but ripe small figs
1/2 cup clarified butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1L vanilla ice-cream
150mL pomegranate molasses
150g pistachios, crushed
|In a mixer (you can mix by hand if you don’t have a food processor), add the ice-cream, pistachios and pomegranate molasses and blend quickly until combined, the ice cream should have a slight purple colour.Return the ice-cream to a bowl and cover, put in the freezer and allow to re-freeze.Wash figs and pat dry. Cut in half lengthwise, and season the cut sides with a small amount of salt (this will set the enzymes and intensify the flavour). Place figs, cut sides down, on a plate and allow to rest for 30 mins.
Heat the clarified butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add figs (cut side down) and cook for about 2 minutes or until the fruit and butter begin to brown. Add brown sugar. Cook for about 5 minutes or until figs begin to soften and the butter and sugar mixture is golden and syrupy.
Place 4 fig halves cut side down, in a shallow dessert bowl or soup plate. Pour syrup over figs and serve with pomegranate and pistachio ice-cream.