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"Significantly, the charge (if it is a charge) has been levelled at the gastronomic essay and the 'learned' cookery book that they have an affinity with pornography. Certainly, both gastronomy and pornography dwell on pleasures of the flesh, and in gastronomic literature as in pornography there is vicarious enjoyment to be had." 

Stephen Mennell

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Saturday
Feb212015

Ezogelin çorbası

Red lentil and bulgur soup with dried mint and Aleppo pepper

This soup was the first course in the five course meal my sister and I helped cook at Cooking Alaturka in Istanbul. It sounds plain, but it is hearty, wholesome and delicious. The people at Cooking Alaturka say:

This heartwarming soup, named after the bride Ezo, is so delicious and simple to make that you will want to make it all the time! You can use a chicken stock, but we prefer it with plain water, so that the other flavors come through more clearly. Don’t forget to squeeze a little lemon juice into it at the table. 

They also advise that there are pros and cons to serving it straight away versus leaving it overnight. If you serve it on the day it has a nice granular texture from the bulgar. However, the flavour is better the next day.

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Tuesday
Feb102015

Cooking Alaturka

On our trip to Istanbul, I took my sister to a cooking class at Cooking Alaturka. I was mainly in it for the five-course meal with wine at the end – surprise! – and that was definitely the highlight.

The cooking class is fun. My first impression of Chef Feyzi was that he seemed like a typically surly exemplar of the species, but he turned out to have a great sense of humour.

The class is aimed at beginners. Students are involved in simple tasks like peeling and chopping. Chef Feyzi does the rest. However, this should not deter more advanced students; if you are a good cook you will probably get more out of it in the long run, since you will find it easier to recreate the dishes at a later date. 

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Sunday
Jan182015

Istanbul Eats

I have been putting off this post for a while now. Months in fact. 

In early November  I took my sister to Istanbul for her birthday. We had a fantastic, food-filled fling with a sexy city that never sleeps and both fell a little bit in love. I was so caught up in this short romance that I didn’t bother much with foreplay, I just wanted to dive right in.

This is a metaphorical apology for the seriously shocking photos that follow. I really ought to have pressed some of my cameras buttons… but I was too busy pressing my own.

If you are visiting Istanbul and you love food, I highly recommend buying a copy of Istanbul Eats, an English language guide to “the best undiscovered local eateries you might not always find on your own”. We lived by it and we weren’t disappointed.

Ciya

Friendly chefs at Ciya

Red pepper and walnut paste, hummous, celery yoghurt and stuffed aubergine

Celeriac stuffed with minced lamb, lentils and caramelised onion

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Monday
Dec292014

Christmas fare and a recipe for beurre blanc

A belated Merry Christmas to you all! I am just awaking, bleary eyed and pot bellied, from a food coma.

My sister and I spent Christmas with our dear friend Chrissie and her family in Cambridge. Chrissie makes a fantastic roast and was responsible for convincing me a few years back that turkey doesn’t have to be a dry and dull affair when treated correctly. Still, I was very excited to discover a few weeks ago that we’d be having crown of pork instead; I’d choose fatty, juicy pork and crispy crackling over turkey any day.

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Saturday
Nov292014

Smoked mackerel and sorrel omelette

I’m supposed to be having a productive Saturday. I got excited about all the produce on Bloomsbury Farmers’ Market on Thursday, bought as many vegetables as I could carry and made a date with my sofa last night so I could spend all day cooking them today.

Nothing has gone to plan. I stood up my sofa in favour of pints at Lock Tavern, got up at midday and all I have managed to cook so far is this omelette, which uses just one of the many ingredients I bought at the farmers’ market and takes about 10 minutes.

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