May 2010 Archives

Secret Kitchen menu, 15th May 2010

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a Turkish dinner

Pide with zahter and olive oil, dried mulberries, pistachios
Wet and wild garlic cacık
Muhammara - walnut & pomegranate molasses spread
şuka - mixed vegetable salad
Sarma - stuffed spring and summer greens
Baked humus with pine nuts
Mercimek köftesi - red lentil patties
Bakla - broad bean puree with dill
Seasonal greens (nettles, chard, mustard, sorrel)
Firik - green wheat - with slow-roast mutton
Sigara böreği - cow’s cheese & herb pastries
Green bean zeytinyağlı
Leek & carrot zeytinyağlı
Eggs with yoghurt, maraş pepper & sage

Kısır - bulgur & sumac salad
Apricots poached in mulberry molasses with clotted cream

More than just kebabs

This dinner was inspired by two great cooks we met in Turkey - Zeliha İrez and Erhan Şeker - who both hosted us extraordinarily generously, presenting exquisite dish after dish night after night. 

Neither of them cooked us kebabs.  Sure, there are plenty of kebabs in Turkey of all kinds, and many are delicious.  But it was Zeliha and Erhan’s easy use of wild greens, seasonal vegetables, unusual grains, fruit molasses, nuts and mountain herbs which caught our imagination.

Turkey is huge and its styles of cooking are diverse.  In the west, for example, you will find abundant use of olive oil, greens and vegetables.  The northeast is famous for its hazelnuts, little fish, honey and tea.  And in the southeast everything is that much spicier and sweeter.  Tea - always taken with at least two cubes of sugar - is the national drink.

May 12, 2010 status: My first book is published! Look out for 'Eat Slow Britain'

Warka Workshop, Sat 8th May 2010

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Places at this special North African cookery class are limited, so email me now if you're interested.  Cost is £80 per person, which will include a full day of hands-on cooking class and a delicious Moroccan lunch.  The venue is a beautiful kitchen in north London.

Smwarkamaking0001.JPG"But what's warka?" I hear you ask. 

It's North Africa's version of Greek filo pastry, or Turkish yufka.  But rather than being rolled, these paper-thin leaves of dough are made in the most unusual way.  Basically, you smear daubs of sticky dough over a super-hot metal plate, while trying not to burn your fingers.  We learnt all about it in Morocco - see a video clip of Khadija demonstrating her craft here.  (The video takes a few minutes to load, but have patience, it's worth it.)

Smbstila0001.JPGWarka is wonderfully versatile.  It can be used to wrap, roll and layer all kinds of sweet and savoury dishes, from little fried pastries ('briwat'), to large baked pigeon and almond pies (Morocco's famous 'pastilla'/'bstila'), and honey-drenched nut-filled tea-time treats. 

I have been lucky enough to meet a fantastic French chef called Sylvain Jamois.  Sylvain is the only person I know outside Morocco who can make warka.  Even in Morocco it's a dying skill.  Sylvain learnt how to make warka while working at Moro restaurant in London and remembers his Moroccan uncle using it to make delicious tuna and egg parcels. 

During the class Sylvain and I will teach you how to make warka from scratch and how to use it in several different North African recipes, including Moro's delicious crab brik - Tunisian spicy fried parcels.  We'll even show you how to cook live crabs and pick out the meat. 

smrawbriwats0001.JPGThis class will be a rare opportunity to try making warka, and bound to be an experience you'll remember, if never repeat!  Don't come in your best shoes...

And if you don't see yourself ever slaving over the warka hotplate again, don't worry.  Filo pastry works in all the recipes too, and we'll tell you where to buy ready-made warka in London. 

Smahmedtea0001.jpgThe class will end with a quick lesson in making Moroccan mint tea the traditional way, and of course sampling all your freshly made warka dishes.  There will be lots of recipes to take home.

For more information and to book your place, please email Anna.    


Culinary Anthropologist