Meet Süley and Özge Özden, two cypriot sisters living in Lapta, Cyprus. Süley is a classical music pianist, who loves to travel the world and has a degree in Viennese Apple Strudel Making. 

 

Özge has her PhD in agriculture and is the head of the department of landscape archistecture at Near East University in Nicosia. She loves being a mentor to her students, the outdoors, tending to her garden, and hanging out with her British husband Wayne and cute-as-a-button daughter, Layla. Wayne is a sea turtle researcher and consvervationist. They met while she was studying abroad at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom. 

 

How did we meet Ozge and Suley?

When volunteering at GROL Garden, a cheerful, smiling Cypriot guy would come help out every so often.  We quickly became friends. His name is Dervish Ali and he is a PHD student in agriculture. His infatuation and knowledge with plants and his passion for teaching and helping others resonates with us to this day. When we told him about The Recipe Hunters he started to think about friends of his who make traditional Cypriot food. The first people that came to Dervish’s mind were his former professor Ozge and her sister Suley. They immediately said yes. Lunch was set for Saturday to cook in their traditional oven!

THE ÖZGEN SISTERS

Captured by The Recipe Hunters in Cyprus 

SULEY

ÖZGE

How did Süley and Özge learn to cook?

 

They learned most of their cooking from their grandma and mom. “Our grandma was not a kitchen specialist but when she met our grandfather, she moved to his village and she learned how to make all the local recipes that he loved. She learned little by little from the people of the village and these were the same recipes that we use today.” Living in the same house to this day, Suley and Ozge love to cook for each other, their father, Ozge’s husband, Ozge’s daughter, and friends and family whenever they have the time. They still utilize their traditional oven. Cooking is so important to Suley and Ozge that when we were invited over, they couldn't decide who would make the chicken so instead they had a friendly competition and said that whoever cooks the chicken better, cooked it with more love!

 

Additionally, Suley’s favorite meal as a child was the Helim borek that her mom made using her grandma’s recipe. She was fortunate enough to learn it from her mom and share it with us! 

LAYLA & WAYNE

HELIM BOREK RECIPE

CHEESE, MINT & ONIONS

Helim Borek aka Hellimli
hellimli dough with nigella seeds
Kneading cheese into dough
Mint
mint on halloumi and dough
Hellimli out of the oven
layla watching the olive oil fall to the pan
Salad ingredients
chopped romaine lettuce for salad
thyme