Istanbul cult recipes

 

Red-faced confession! I have never been to Turkey. Yet. I want to go, and every traveller I ask the question 'what was your favourite country?' has told me, instantly - 'Turkey'. They smile, and you can see their minds heading towards food as they lick their lips and smile again.

So if you can't take the food-lover to Turkey, now at least Turkey has come to food-lovers here. Better still, these are the 'cult recipes' of various parts of the country's capital. More than this, readers will 'meet' some of the locals, like restaurateur and film director Ezel Akay whose tavern is reviving old customs, or Hande Bozdogan, chef and founder of the Istanbul Culinary Institute. You will find out what they eat, where they go when they want to celebrate, and of course, then, how to prepare those things yourself.

Of course some dishes require time (and would best be made as they are there, using the hands of a full family of sisters and aunts) but others are as simple as a no-bake chocolate cake, or Turkish pizza.

What's more, with the many full page colour photographs in this delightful book, the city comes alive. There are maps of the various neighbourhoods and notes explaining techniques and history of various dishes. The appendices round out your introduction to this cuisine by explaining in photographs all the ingredients you will want to find and use as you recreate the dishes.

Author Pomme Larmoyer is a food writer, editor and traveller. She believes you can learn  everything you need to know about a country from its kitchens, and with this book has set about proving her point.

As in the city itself, street food is tasty, portable and surprisingly healthy. In fact Turkish food as a whole is high on nutrition, full on flavour. That's unless you go for kunefe (cheese pastry) a dairy-rich panfried sweet treat that is worth every decadent mouthful!

So whether you want to spend hours creating the perfect mastic Turkish delight, or whip up zucchini fritters to serve with yoghurt dipping sauce, there will be more than enough to at least let you feel you have 'tasted' Istanbul, even if you haven't made it there. Yet!

 

Istanbul cult recipes, by Pomme Larmoyer, published by Murdoch Books, 2016, hardcover, rrp A$49.99. ISBN: 9781 7433 68466

- reviewed by Sally Hammond

 

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