I had never been to Turkey before this episode and what a shame I waited so long! Istanbul is quite beautiful; everywhere you look you see mosques and minarets. The city is surrounded by water with the Sea of Marmara to the south, the Bosphorous running through the middle of the city and the Black sea to the north. It is a fascinating mix of the old and the new, straddling the continents of both Europe and Asia.
And for the foodie, this is paradise. I have never seen such markets, filled with pristine produce, dried fruits, nuts, pickles, olives, charcuterie, cheeses and above all spices. In this episode I visit several markets with an extremely knowledgable food and cultural historian, Aylin Oney Tan. Then I take a trip to the west of Turkey to the Aegean to visit Hande Bozdogan who runs a farm, right on the water, to supply produce for her cooking school in Istanbul. We make pumpkin fritters, quince liqueur and simit (cracked wheat) and lamb kebabs.
Finally I visit one of the oldest neighborhoods in Istanbul, Kuzguncuk, to cook with Refika Birgul, a Turkish chef with her own tv show. We buy fresh bluefish from a fisherman off the dock and dough from a local bakery and then head back to her studio to prepare marinated bluefish, walnut poppyseed bread and a sauteed beef dish with tomato sauce and thyme yoghurt.
Visiting the Markets
Click here to read about my visit to the markets
Cooking on the Farm with Hande Bozdogan
Click here for recipes and to read about my trip to the farm
Cooking with Turkish Celebrity Chef Refika Birgul
Click here for recipes and to read about my experience cooking with Refika Birgul