Cihangir Potato and Asparagus Salad with Kalamata Olives, Dill and Mint

High above the heart of the richly historical neighbourhood of Cihangir in Istanbul there is a restaurant of unparalleled beauty complete with a wonderful terrace from which one can enjoy panoramic views of the mouth of the Bosphorus and the first bridge. Here the elegant wooden furniture is bleached by the sun and the tables are covered with…

Pera Garlicky Spinach with Yoghurt and Biber Salçası

After a dark and stormy day we literally fell through the doorway of Asmalı Cavit, a treasured wooden-fronted traditional meyhane in the centre of Pera in Istanbul. Here, the walls are lined with photographic portraits of people from a more glamorous age alongside vintage posters promoting wine, long forgotten theatre productions and the seaside resorts…

Aleppo Muhammara, a Spicy Red Pepper and Roasted Walnut Dip

It was coming to the end of a long and sultry day as I languidly lay upon a heap of vintage embroidered cushions, the candle-lit lanterns flickering in the warm early evening breeze. The music in the background was haunting and exotic as if it were calling me from a far away place. I learned…

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 and 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…

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…