Classic Turkish Cooking
By Ghillie Basan


Although I've only been there once, Turkey is one of my favourite destinations. Istanbul is a beautiful city and the food is fantastically varied and delicious, including street-food kebabs (with the fried potatoes stuffed into the sandwich, rather than being served alongside it), wonderful fresh seafood, and desserts and sweets such as Turkish delight (which Turks call " lokum").

Unfortunately, I can't replicate here the setting we enjoyed so much in Istanbul (eating a meal while overlooking the Bosphorus is an incomparable experience - something the Hong Kong government should bear in mind when deciding what to do with our harbour), but with Classic Turkish Cooking I can at least make some of the dishes I enjoyed.

Recipes include chilli tomato paste; simit (sesame bread rings, which we bought from street vendors); yufka (very thin, unleavened bread); stuffed aubergine in olive oil; chicken liver pilaf with pine nuts and almonds; mackerel stuffed with nuts and spices; shredded chicken with walnuts and coriander; chewy ice cream (it gets its unusual texture from mastika, an edible resin); and, of course, lokum.