Culinary Anthropologist


  1. Turkish poached apricots with clotted cream

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    Turkey is the world’s leading apricot producer, and the town synonymous with their production is Malatya, in eastern central Anatolia.  The orchards around Malatya provide some 95% of all of Turkey’s dried apricots.  I try to buy the dark brown dried apricots as the bright orange ones have been treated with sulphur. If you can […]

  2. Baklava


    The best baklava in Turkey comes from the southeast, notably the town of Gaziantep, which is surrounded by pistachio groves and known for its master baklava makers.  Traditionally it would be made with yufka, which is a super-fine dough rather like filo, and baked in a round dish called a tepsi in a wood-fired oven.  […]

  3. Elderflower Delight

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    This recipe is adapted from John Wright, the River Cottage forager.  It seems like it must be difficult and prone to problems, and half-way through you won’t believe it’ll ever work, but have faith – the final product will come good and taste remarkably elderflowery.

  4. Green bean zeytinyağlı


    I learnt this dish while staying with Zeliha İrez, an amazing cook who runs a guesthouse in Turkey.  Zeliha uses a pressure cooker to speed things up.  If you don’t have one, try to leave the beans gently cooking for five or more hours.  Zeytinyağlı foods are a family of vegetable dishes which are cooked […]

  5. Turkish style stuffed greens


    In Turkey all kinds of things get stuffed with delicious rice – aubergines, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage leaves, vine leaves and more.  ‘Dolma’ are stuffed things and ‘sarma’ are rolled or wrapped things, so strictly these parcels are sarma.  They work really well with spring or summer greens, which arrive in my weekly veg box. Versions […]

  6. Wild garlic cacık

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    Cacık (pronounced ‘jajuk’) is the Turkish equivalent of Greek tzatziki – a garlicky yoghurt and cucumber dip/soup/salad, depending on what it’s served with.  It’s a fantastic accompaniment to kebabs, meatballs and cooked vegetable dishes, and there is some evidence that eating yoghurt with meat is good for us.  It’s usually made with pounded garlic cloves, […]

  7. Ayva tatlısı

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    Reaching Turkey last April, after two months of meandering through France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria to get there, was cause for celebration.  So we scoured guide books to find a suitably smart restaurant in the old quarter of İstanbul, where we had just managed to navigate our chunky Land Rover […]

  8. Kabak tatlısı (candied butternut squash)

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    Here’s an unusual alternative for using up a butternut squash or two.  Or you could use pumpkin.  We first enjoyed kabak tatlısı in Istanbul as a dainty dessert at Musa Dağdeviren’s wonderful Çiya restaurant.  After that we spotted it in various places as we travelled around Turkey and had the good fortune to learn how […]

  9. Spinach and cheese pie

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    We found ıspanaklı ve peynirli börek to be as common in Turkey as spanakotyropita is in Greece, and made a point of sampling as many as humanly possible, purely in the name of research of course.  They are essentially the same dish – a savoury pie made of multiple layers of ultra-thin pastry with a […]