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Gastro Istanbul

I hope this is what heaven smells like. I could smell it even before I could see the entrance. A wave of delicious aromas wafting through the air and I immediately knew I would be happy on the inside. And happy I was! For five blissful hours I smelled, ate, learned, watched and discovered all … Read more

Vegetable Musakka (Sebzeli Musakka)

Tray of roasted vegetable moussaka, golden cheese crust over the top

This dish is surprisingly tasty and wonderfully delicious. I have cooked different versions of mousakka on a number of occassions, but none as easy as this one. Since cooking this, it has become a regular favourite on our dinner table. Ingredients: 2 potatoes 2 zucchinis 2 eggplants Vegetable oil for frying Cheddar cheese for topping … Read more

Purslane Patsa Salad (Semizotlu Makarna Salatasi)

Bowl of pasta with fresh purslane topped with Turkish red pepper flakes

Most of us in Western countries don’t eat purslane or ‘pig’s weed’ (semizotu, in Turkish). But in fact it’s wonderfully tasty and full of things that are good for you. Turks eat it quite commonly in salads and other dishes, and it can be found in every market and süpermarket in the country. Having never … Read more

Potato & Leek Borek (Patatesli Pirasalı Börek)

Plate of golden filo pastry rolls (börek) filled with potato and leek sprinkled with sesame seeds

Borek is definitely one of the most popular of all Turkish foods. Even though borekci’s (börek shops) are found all over Istanbul, I wanted to try making it for myself. Borek is most commonly enjoyed as a breakfast food, however this can be a side-dish to lunch and dinner also; and is also a popular … Read more

Parmesan-Crusted Peppers (Parmasenli Biber Pane)

Stuffed long green peppers roasted in oven with parmesan cheese crust

I love capsicums (peppers) and these are a real treat with the parmesan on the outside. A great side dish to any dinner meal, these are easy and tasty – who doesn’t love a bit of parmesan? Admittedly, I think the longer, thinner Charleston peppers work better as they tend to hold the crust better, … Read more

Chocolate Cheese Cake (Cikolatalı Peynir Kek)

About 6 months after moving to Turkey, I was desperately craving one of my favorite foods that I ate regularly in Australia – cheesecake! Since I couldn’t find cream cheese in Istanbul (well, not the kind I was familiar with) I was at a bit of a loss. Until I visited with my mother-in-law who … Read more

Bean Fritters (Fasulye Mucveri)

Golden fried bean fritters (taze fasulye mucver) on a white plate

A great snack food, a light lunch or an accompaniment to dinner, these bean fritters are easy to make. As beans are always plentiful in Turkey the versatile vegetable is a staple at most Turkish dinner tables, year round and can be found in various forms. Originally I made these to serve at breakfast, as … Read more

Semolina Halva (İrmik Helvası)

Conical portion of irmik helvasi (semolina dessert) on blue plate sprinkled with cinnamon and pine nuts

Semolina halva or irmik helvasi is a classic Ottoman dessert and Turkish people have been cooking this dessert for centuries in their houses. Sometimes semolina halva is cooked with milk, sometimes with pine nuts but it is always a very light dessert. Semolina halva (irmik helvasi) is also a dessert in Turkey cooked after a … Read more