Saturday, October 29, 2011

Istanbul Part II - Street Food

Istanbul - the Grand Bazaar

Before we left for Istanbul I did a lot of research on the local food scene. Having travelled in Turkey before we had a pretty good idea that you don't necessarily find the tastiest and most interesting food in chic restaurants (and there are more and more of those to be found in Istanbul) So in order to find truly authentic places I looked at foodblogs about Turkey and/or Istanbul. This is one adress I found on Delicious Istanbul , written by Olga Tikhonova who also offers cooking classes that I absolutely intend to book next time I am in Istanbul.

Taking a break shopping at Istanbul's fabulous Grand Bazaar (where you could spend not only fortunes but also days and days) it took us a while to find "Aynen Dürüm", but was it ever worth it! Dürüm are food wraps and the only question we were asked when we got there was "Beef, Chicken or Lamb?" We opted for lamb and after grabbing one of the little stools along a double sided outdoor counter studied what else was on offer:
Flatleaf parsley, dill pickles, grilled peppers

Ismail, King of the BBQ

And as soon as Ismail, the master of the grill had handed over the juicy lamb kebabs stuffed into the wraps we took our cues from our fellow lunchers and went to work adding all the fresh and delicious bits on offer. For the princely sum of 5TL (€ 2; $ 2.86) we had one of our Best.Lunches.Ever. Thank you, Olga!
Best lamb wraps ever: Aynen Dürüm at the Grand Bazaar

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cuisine de Provence - Summer 2011

The cooking season 2011 has ended, my kitchen in Provence is closed until next spring and I just want to say a big "Thank You" to all the lovely, enthusiastic and fun people (click on the photo to enlarge) who came to explore the cooking of Provence. It was great having you visit and we hope you liked our beautiful corner of Provence so much that you want to come again!

PS: Right now I am nursing the mother of all colds but will be back soon with some more culinary adventures from Istanbul.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Istanbul - a feast for all the senses - Part 1

If the earth was a single state, Istanbul would be its capital
Napoleon Bonaparte
If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul
Alphonse de Lamartine

Ever since we first went to Istanbul quite some years ago and "did" the sights (Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, The Cisterns, The Grand Bazaar etc.) we fell in love with this wonderful, amazing, vibrant, lively, energetic, overwhelming town. So back we went, this time concentrating on exploring the street life and culinary wonders of Istanbul. As you can see above, Istanbul greeted us with pouring rain and very low temperatures, so we had to adjust our program somewhat, looking as much as possible for shelter and warmth.
One adress that gave us both was Takanik Balik where we found all the delectable fish dishes I had just seen on Anthony Bourdains "No Reservations". You will find these fun and very watchable episodes on YouTube when you google "Anthony Bourdain Istanbul". But be warned: you will want to pack your bags and fly to Istanbul asap!

I don't think I have ever had mussels as good as these: stuffed with a very moreish mixture of rice and spices - there was some cinnamon in there and they are served at room tempearture.

And then there was Hamsi of course. These tiny Black Sea anchovy, known as the "little princes" of fish, were just coming into season and all along the Bosporus we saw men fishing for them. The way Hamsi are served couldn't be simpler - dusted with some flour and panfried - an absolute delicacy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Food For Thought

We had two wonderful evenings at our friend's Olli and Sabine. The first night we were invited Olli had prepared such a delicious and generous seafood spread as a first course that we never managed to eat the main course. So we were reinvited for the next night to have the rabbit stew and dessert and that is when I found this card in their kitchen: "Love yourself and you can eat anything you want."
Food for thought? See for yourself: don't our friends just look as if they live by this?
Sabine and Olli

Monday, October 3, 2011

Easy, fast but so delicious - Chicken Liver Pâté

Do you also do this? Whenever I stumble upon a recipe I find real interesting, be it at the hairdresser's, in the dentist's waiting room or some café, I can't help but rip it  out, coughing somewhat noisily to mask the ripping noise. Those steals and other perfectly legitimate ripouts then find the way into my kitchen drawer where all those recipes I mean to try out go. To tell you the truth: only about 10 % do eventually get tried. This Chicken Liver Pâté is one of them and as far as I am concerned it is a keeper! It couldn't be easier to prepare and is absolutely delicious, do give it a go!

To serve 4 persons you need:
300 g chicken livers
150 g salted butter at room temperature
2 shallotts, 5 cl port wine
a tbsp of cognac
pepper fresh from the mill

Clean the chicken livers, peel and finely mince the shallots.  Out of the 130 g of salted butter take a generous spoonful and on moderate heat soften the minced shallots in a pan. Turn up the heat, and cook the chicken livers, taken care not to brown them, stirring all the time. Add the port wine and continue cooking until the port has reduced to a syrupy consistency. Season with a few turns of the pepper mill and let the mixture cool down. In a food processor add the chicken liver, shallot and port mixture to the rest of the butter, add the cognac and process to a smooth consistency. Transfer into a pretty pot, cover with plastic wrap and let the flavors develop in the fridge overnight. Serve with crusty baguette, cornichons and a rustic red wine.

Claudia, a big thank you to you!!! Claudia of A seasonal cook in Turkey  explained to me how to get the watermark on my photos. I was getting really fed up of finding them all over the internet without credit given.