Pide Ekmeği (Turkish Flatbread)

We used to live by Broadway Market in Hackney and pretty much every day, I would call by the local Turkish store to pick up a loaf of this Turkish flatbread known as pide ekmeği or ramazan pidesi. I love its light, chewy texture, the natural sweetness of the dough and the nutty, super-umami finish of…

Turkish Ezme Salad

Eager to shake off the cold of an early spring evening, we literally fell through the doorway of Asmalı Cavit, a treasured wooden-fronted traditional meyhane (tavern) in the centre of Pera in Istanbul. Here, the raki flows like the waters of the glittering Bosphorus; never ending and always a sight to behold. Our friends are known to the…

Leyla’s Lyutenitsa (Spicy Red Pepper & Tomato Spread)

Leyla is a beauty and one of the most nurturing and interesting women I have ever met. She lives in a huge Bohemian apartment on the top of a quietly crumbling building with views of the Bosphorus and the Dolmabahçe mosque beneath. Books – and there are hundreds of them – are piled high upon ornate…

Aya Yorgi Fasulye Piyaz (Turkish Bean Salad)

An early morning walk through the dusty streets of Istanbul down to the banks of the Bosphorus, a long and choppy crossing over the Sea of Marmara, a death-defying ride on a horse-pulled phaeton (there are no cars on Büyükada, the largest of the Princes Islands, just mad horsemen) followed by a hot and steamy mile-long climb…

Turkish Biber Salçası & Yoghurt Dip

Whenever we are in Istanbul, I make a point of buying several hundred grams of biber salçası, a popular red pepper paste available in both hot (aci) and sweet (tatli) versions. It keeps in the fridge in a sealed container for weeks and weeks; just make sure that you label them correctly because when the…

Turkish Tahini & Carob Molasses Spread

Last month, we arrived in Istanbul slap bang in the middle of the holy month of Ramadan and, one evening, our friends invited us to help with the preparations for an iftar dinner for 40 people. On the menu was a spinach and yoghurt soup dressed with caramelised onions and mint-infused butter, spiced veal and…

Turkish Menemen

Menemen, a traditional Turkish dish made from eggs, cheese, tomato, green peppers, onions, herbs and spices – is one of the mainstays of the rich Turkish culinary repertoire that pretty much everyone interprets in their own way. Just this week, for example, I’ve been served an incredibly spicy version scattered with hot red chillies as well…

Kadiköy Market, Istanbul

Last month we travelled to Istanbul to set up an exhibition of the second edition of The Gift Project at Marmara University so we were regularly travelling between the European and Asian side of the city. This was my first visit to the latter and, I have to say, I loved it just as much as its glittering…