All posts filed under: Exploring Turkish Cuisine

Spring Tradition: Goat Kid Caul Fat with Liver and Fennel (Ciğer Sarması)/ Firriato Wine

Spring is all round and farmers’ markets are once again vibrant with the colours and smells of spring. Despite my ongoing laments for Turkey’s lack of gastronomy, one thing I did miss while I was in London was this fresh seasonal local produce. All the wild plants started to come out, wild asparagus, fennel, ebegumeci, stinging nettles and what not. I’ve written an article about Turkish wild plants for Koreans since they are very keen eaters of wild plants. I might replicate it in English this spring. Anyway, I put together a classic tasting platter using the goodies I’d brought; Jambon Iberico with Asparagus and Brie, Smoked Salmon with Fennel and Avocado. Yummy as always… In my in-laws’ house, on the other hand, a different culinary tradition was happening. The Thracian region has a tradition of eating lamb liver but Canakkale has a very special delicacy, which is eaten once a year in spring months. Goat Kid… That tradition is the consequence of goat dairy production and, as the article says, it’s better to use it rather than waste it. I tasted kid meat for the first time 2 …

New Year, New City, New Life of an Oenophile

I hope everyone had a lovely new year celebration. As you know, 2017 didn’t start well in Istanbul and there’s a palpable sense of confusion and dismay. I had a strange feeling while watching the news from another city, sadness and relief. One day before the incident, we moved, moved permanently from Istanbul, which stole my heart 5 years ago. “Istanbul must be wonderful if it’d kept you with itchy feet for that long.” People would say as I have a history of changing a country every 4 years. Yes, Istanbul WAS and still IS a wonderful place to live. But it was time to move on for my life long dream, the dream to live in a city where fresh produce and good wine is abundant along with history. Mr.O and I had talked about moving to his hometown when we start a family because we believe that the best education for kids is nature. But it came earlier and suddenly so I didn’t even had the time to inform all of my friends about our move and some of them will learn …

Palamut(Bonito) Freekeh Sarma with Tahini Soy Sauce

Let’s have a break from the Sicilian story and talk about what I’ve been cooking. I’ve been cooking more Asian foods lately and experimenting a combination of Korean and Turkish flavours. I have affinity  to everything wrapped or rolled, which is ‘sarma’ in Turkish. It sounds even similar to the Korean word for wrapping, ‘ssam’! You’ll see this stuffed leaves or stuffed vegetables everywhere in Turkey, and they are usually made with rice and meat. Of all, the most common type is stuffed vine leaves and I have a very funny story to tell. We had a big row over the vines in our garden over the summer. Some friends of an upstairs granny came around to pick vine leaves from time to time but I ignored them, finding it rather cute that people even in the city go around foraging. Also, the vines needed pruning anyway. But then one day I came home to find the ladies in the garden and the vines stripped naked of leaves so I told them not to pick the leaves from inside. One day while our helper lady was …

Turkish Korean Wedding and Wine

When your friend is a reputable photographer and you hire him on a friendship base, it’s hard to be demanding. I’d been dying to see the wedding photos because it was such a special event, and it’s been almost one month and they finally came through. Not quite but still good enough to take a glance at what happened. The first time I stood on top of the temple of Athena in Assos three years ago, I said to myself, “I’m going to have my wedding here.” Despite everyone trying to dissuade me from going there early in the morning and getting exhausted under the beating sun, I stood firm and made it happen. It’s about 1.5 hours drive, total 3 hours, from Çanakkale, Mr.O’s hometown, where our wedding took place so they had a reason to object. But I WE DID IT! I did everything from makeup to hair because I didn’t trust Turkish hairdressers after my disastrous last experience. We did a very casual shoot, laughing and giggling – I feel sorry for …

cigar borek

Cigars two ways, savoury and sweet

Börek is a big part of Turkish cuisine and there is a börek shop(börekçi) at every corner. It is the cheapest way to fill oneself up but bad for the waistline. “If you don’t like pizza, you’re not human. If you don’t like börek, you’re an alien.” I just made that up. Ah, those good old days when I was eating spring rolls and beer, spring rolls for a starter, spinach ricotta filo for lunch…. now that I’m cutting down on carbs, it’s nothing but an occasional treat. However, it is always a crowd-pleasing finger food at parties but the frying part I’m not so keen on. Also, the problem is the dough, and my type of börek isn’t easy to find here among a myriad of börek shops as most of it has too much dough than filling. The closest I’ve found is Çengelkoy Börekçisi, which has generous filling and is not too greasy. One evening Mr.O’s parents came to help me put up wallpaper because Mr.O wiggled out of the job again, saying he …

chocolate raspberry cake

My first book and the kids cake

Knock, knock… are you still there? It’s been a long break once again. My apologies… You can guess why I’ve been away, right? I got married and left for honeymoon without the ‘honey’. I spent 5 weeks in London for a wine course! Am I crazy? Yes, maybe I am. You need to be crazy in order to follow your heart and dreams, not money and fame. It’s challenging but more rewarding, no doubt. So I left the unpacking the boxes to Mr.O, the now-hubby, after moving to our new love nest, and off I went. I’ll share my experiences and discoveries in London soon. When I came back, I had loads of work to catch up on including the book. In addition, I had to organise the wedding – yes, I got married in May but the actual wedding ceremony was held last week – and also had to spend time with my family, who came earlier to travel around Turkey before the wedding. When my publisher sent me a photo of the book …