Jale Balci Olives & Olive Oil: Riches From Deep Roots

By Sophie Gayot
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Los Angeles, October 2022

Jale Balci was born and raised in Antakya, Turkey. She went from the world of finance to the world of food. Balci is more than a chef and a restaurateur, she is also a storyteller. With the weight of history, and proud of the heritage from her native city, historically known as Antioch, “the city of civilizations,” she is eager to pass on the local culinary traditions with her books.

In her sixth publication, Olives & Olive Oil: Riches From Deep Roots, we learn all we need to know about olives and olive oil, essential ingredients in all the kitchens of the world. After going through the 284 colorful pages, we will have learned all we need to know about green and black olives and the “liquid gold.” It encompasses the 4,000-year history of the noble tree, its cultivation, the fruit and its transformation (yes, olives are fruits), the health benefits and tips on how to best use olive oil in the kitchen. Embark on a journey to the world of olive and orchards with the photos.

The teaching is quite pleasant. Most of it is done in the form of easy questions, with very clear answers, such as “Can you use olive oil as frying oil?” (the answer is on page 79). In the middle of the book, there are fifty recipes, each with its own photo — always a great help for guidance in our own kitchens.

I got to sit with the prolific author while she was visiting Los Angeles. Watch my exclusive video below.

> Balci released her first book in the Turkish language, titled “Keyifli Sofralar İçin 50 Pratik Mönü” (“50 Practical Menus for Delightful Tables”), in 2006. Now in its 12th edition, it remains Turkey’s bestselling cookery book of all time.

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Publisher: Remzi Kitabevi
Originally Published: January, 2022
Authors: Jale Balci, Müge Nebioğlu

> I selected one recipe from the book, so you can start having fun in the kitchen until you get the book. Find it below.

Avocado Muffin Recipe by Jale Balci

Avocado muffin recipe Jale Balci Olives & Olive Oil
Photo © Remzi Kitabevi

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS:
– 1 whole ripe avocado, mashed
– 4 tablespoons late harvest olive oil
– 2 whole eggs
– 2 tablespoons zucchini pesto
– 1 dessert spoon granulated sugar
– ½ teaspoon salt
– 6 heaped tablespoons flour
– 10 g (1 tablespoon) baking powder

Topping:
pumpkin seeds
– flaxseed
walnuts, chopped
– sesame, roasted
chia seeds

METHOD:
• Preheat the oven to 180°C (375°F).
• Using a mixer, blend all the ingredients except the flour and the baking powder together.
• Add the flour and the baking powder to the mixture, and blend for another minute.
• Pour the mixture into a muffin tray.
• Top with seeds and nuts as desired.
• Bake in the oven. To check whether the muffins are thoroughly cooked, insert a small knife into the dough. If it comes out clean, your muffins are ready.