Last Saturday Pacifica Institute Utah held another international cooking class, with dishes from three countries.

Our three teachers were Josie Stone of Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable from England, Sam El Fajri from Morocco, and Zeynep Kariparduc from Turkey.  I was able to bum a ride from my friend Ammon and his fiance Mandy, as they wanted to go, too.  They took pictures because I’m technologically devolved.  We also took part in a contest to make a salad in under 2 minutes – the gentleman who took charge of our team is a cooking enthusiast, and was grooving along so fast chopping things he caught his finger, too.  Luckily he is also a nurse, so knew exactly what to do.

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Photography by Ammon and Mandy

Shepherd’s Pie (Cottage Pie)

Josie from UK


  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground lamb (halal)
  • 1 Onion chopped
  • 1-2 cups vegetables – chopped carrots, corn, frozen peas (optional)
  • 8 Tablespoons butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • Salt, white pepper, other seasonings of choice (fresh chopped parsley, Italian seasoning, rosemary)
  • Gravy flour or Bisto


1.            Peel and quarter potatoes, boil in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes)

2.            While the potatoes are cooking, melt 2 Tablespoons butter (1/4 stick) in large frying pan

3.            Saute onions in butter until tender over medium heat (10 mins).  If you are adding vegetables, add them according to cooking time.  Put any carrots in with the onions.  Add corn or peas either at the end of the cooking of the onions, or after the meat has initially cooked.

4.            Add ground lamb and saute until no longer pink.  Add salt and pepper.  Add Worcestershire sauce.  Add half a cup of vegetable broth and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes, adding more broth as necessary to keep moist.  Sprinkle in Bisto or gravy flour to thicken.

5.            Mash potatoes in pan with remainder of butter, reserving 2 Tablespoons; season to taste.

6.            Place lamb and onions in baking dish.  Distribute mashed potatoes on top.  Rough up with fork so that there are peaks which will brown nicely.  You can use the fork to make some designs in the potatoes as well.  Dot potatoes with small pieces of butter to assist with browning.

7.            Cook in 400 degree oven until bubbling and brown (about 30 minutes).  Broil for last few minutes if necessary to brown.

Bulgar Pilaf with Green Lentils

Zeynep from Turkey


  • 1 stick butter or 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 brown onions (finely chopped)
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups extra coarse bulgur, uncooked
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 5 cups boiled water (still hot)
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • Tomatoes and green pepper
  • 2 teaspoons pepper paste (optional)


  1. Boil washed lentils in water.
  2. Saute onions with oil.  Add tomatoes and peppers.  Saute 5 more minutes.
  3. Add tomato paste, and then bulgur and lentils.
  4. Stir it one more time, and then add boiled water and salt.
  5. Cook until the water evaporates.  Let the Bulgur Pilaf stand for about 5 minutes.
  6. (Other tasty bits can be added to Pilaf to taste, too.)

Chocolate Decadence

Sam from Morocco


  • 24 oz. chocolate, semi-sweet, dark, milk Ghiradelli or Callebault (mix and match)
  • 1/2 lb. unsalted butter, do not even think about salted
  • 1 teaspoon Folgers instant coffee crystals
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl place chocolate, butter and instant coffee.  Place in microwave on no more than medium power and cook 1 minute.  Remove and stir.  Repeat process until chocolate, butter and coffee are all melted and mixed to smooth.
  3. In large mixing bowl, whip eggs and sugar until smooth and frothy.  Should just begin to thicken.
  4. Add warm melted chocolate to whipped eggs and whip until eggs and chocolate are completely mixed and bowl has been scraped to mix everything evenly.  Should be pretty thick mixture.
  5. Spray a 9 or 10-inch spring-form pan with butter-flavored spray or lightly coat the pan with butter.  Line bottom of pan with parchment paper.  Pour batter into pan.  Place on center shelf of pre-heated oven.
  6. After light goes out when oven reaches temperature again, reduce heat to 300 degrees.  Cook 20 minutes.  A light crust will form on top, a toothpick will never come out clean, so do not think about using that as an option.  It should be lightly firm with the center being just a little sunken.
  7. Place on cooling rack until it reaches room temperature.  Then wrap lightly with plastic and place in refrigerator until chilled.

When ready to serve, run a knife around pan to loosen from sides, remove side of spring-form pan.  Turn onto platter and remove bottom of pan and paper.  If you let the cake set at room temp for about 15 minutes before removing bottom, it could be easier.  Cut with a heated clean knife.  A pitcher of hot water works great, then dry the knife before touching the cake.  Enjoy!

Josie Stone has resided in Utah for 10 years and really loves being here.  She grew up in England.  She currently has her own consulting business for teaching clinical practice and conducts education programs both nationally and internationally.  She has 4 children, loves cooking, delights in all different types of food, especially vegetarian, and enjoys experimenting with recipes from all over the world.

Zeynep Kariparduc was born and raised in Turkey.  After marriage she has been in different countries, earned a BA degree in Kosovo and ended up in Utah in 2010.  She has 4 children, is currently working as a toddler teacher and volunteer of Pacifica Institute, and enjoys being familiar with different cultures and cuisines.

Sam El Fajri is from Morocco.  She came to USA in 2007 to pursue a degree in Health Care Administration.  She works with University of Utah Hospitals.  She decided to settle down in Utah, got married, no kids yet!  She enjoys cooking, traveling, and learning about other cultures.