• Food & Drink,  Places

    the farm store: 83

    Farmer’s markets are something special, something not to be missed if you love food. But somewhere between Hirshtals and Hjørring in a place called Tornby in Jutland, there’s a long gravel lane crowded by soaring pines which leads to a store which looks fit to supply Valhalla. Fresh doesn’t do this farmer’s market justice — food is plucked from the ground or the vine about 100 metres from where it’s sold. It’s also displayed in an eye-catching, uncluttered way, on broad tables in colourful clusters, dirt still spilling off the root vegetables, while in among the produce are imported and local delicacies, such as French lemonades, gourmet English potato chips and local craft-brewed bottles of beer. Meanwhile, lightly humming coolers are stocked with everyday staples such as milk, butter and cheese. Here they grow potatoes worthy of a potato sandwich — and a sandwich is serious business to a Dane.…

  • Food & Drink

    dissident lemonade

    For some reason we’ve been a little overstocked on lemons. Perhaps we misjudged our shopping?  Perhaps they’re really good first aid when you’ve been tear-gassed in Turkey, Greece or Brazil? Couldn’t say. Anyway, there’s nothing wrong with having a few extra lemons around. However, since here in Istanbul we’ve now moved to a less street-side juncture in these times of dissent, those lemons need to find new purpose or they’ll moulder away in silence like a good journalist in jail. So when life gives you too many lemons, I say make sage lemonade. Why sage? Simply because we need our wits about us these days. In addition to adding a pleasing tartness, sage or adaçayı (here in Turkey) has well documented benefits as a stimulant for heightened brain function, and its latin name, Salvia officinalis, suggests its panacea-inducing properties. While the powers that be act with more and more aggressive stupidity than ever,…

  • Food & Drink,  Places

    garden of earthly delights: asma yaprağı

    Down a village alley, pumpkins stacked in a barrow. With bowed heads the wayfarers pass through the gate. They raise their faces to the shelter of a fig tree swelling with fruit which filters the last hot light of a dying day. The crunch of white gravel underfoot, the skitter of stones. A cat watches, superior, slanty-eyed from its vantage up on the surrounding stone walls. Blue chairs, baby tubs bursting with pink flowers. Candles being lit. They are greeted by a woman in black, her face as warm as the late day sun. Platters crowd the long table. Gleaming white counters. Pots hanging from hooks. A village woman works the stove. Another stands just back waiting to plate the wayfarer’s food. The day’s menu is displayed, artichokes with lentils, nettle salad, marinated beets, minced meat in vine leaves, stuffed courgette flowers … everything crisp, and vibrant as if the…

  • Food & Drink,  Places

    the right wake up call

    I don’t know about you, but I’m the kind of person who looks forward to breakfast before I’ve started my supper. And for me the acid test of any hotel is its breakfast. Now I’ve had some pretty fine breakfasts in Alaçatı, but the last two mornings have been so good that I’m not sure I’m ever going to want to stay anywhere else. That’s if I can still get a reservation. Top marks to Morro. Think farm fresh eggs. An array of homemade jams. Tapenade and spicy pastes. Like cheese? Let’s just say, wow for now. Nutty good gevrek — what we less well fed Istanbullu call simit — all washed down with some black coffee. I’m seriously considering migration.

  • Food & Drink

    favourite foods

    It seems to me that taste is only one small part of what makes us decide on a favourite food. It can’t simply be flavour, but the rich associations it brings to mind every time we bite into something. What makes pizza really just delicious — the right tomatoes, cheese and crust and the right interplay between them, or is it those ingredient combine to summon just the right echoes of comfort, happiness and safety? Just what are we really experiencing every time we indulge in our favourite meal, dessert or drink? Perhaps it’s one of the few ways we can safely revisit a past that would otherwise be lost to us. What will your favourite meal of the future be, Sof? I really wonder.

  • Food & Drink

    kantin dükkan bebek

    There’s not much I miss about living in the Nişantanşı area, except perhaps when it comes to the lunchtime value of an eatery like Kantin. What always impressed me about this lunchtime spot was the quality of its ingredients and its clean, flawless service. That same level of professionalism has now been brought to its take-out store opposite Bebek Park. The same thoughtful presentation, incredibly clean kitchen environment — and most importantly — delicious food are all available. As for seating … the park awaits, and if the weather ever decides to cooperate, there are few better places than the seaside Bebek Park to take an impromptu picnic. Don’t forget to sample the homemade ginger ale — it’s been added to my list of elixirs.

  • Food & Drink,  People

    beyoglu anonymous

    The most talented people in any profession don’t need to advertise. In fact, advertising or drawing undue attention often does more harm than good. If you not only know your trade, but have mastered it, your reputation will be more than enough. Last night I checked out a bar in Beyoglu that doesn’t even have a name. It doesn’t need one. Most people will probably end up calling it Alex’s Bar, as its proprietor, and his personality, are the driving force behind the experience. Not only is Alex a man who knows his drinks, he’s a man unafraid to refuse an order if he feels he can’t prepare it to his professional satisfaction. He’s not about to make a mojito out of season, especially if he doesn’t have the proper mint to create it. He will also mix single malt whisky as he puts it to, “Simultaneously defy ridiculous convention…

  • Food & Drink

    a new tradition: carluccio’s in istanbul

    Although I’m a bit leery of most brands, there are, nonetheless, a few that I can’t help but favour. For instance, every time I’m in London, I seem to end up having lunch with my mother at least once at Carluccio’s. Why don’t we do something different? Probably because with family, you like to recreate history, and you have a few favourite spots to do so. And more than that, once you find something good, something you know you can count on, you can enjoy the other good things that come with a meal, such as the talk around the table — and in my family there are big sprawling conversations that require an equally robust meal. That’s why I was a bit reluctant at first to experience Carluccio’s in Istanbul which has been open a few months now. Would it be the same? I wondered. Well thanks to my…

  • Food & Drink,  Places

    şişhane sweetspot: the kamondo mansion

    If I were to plan an indulgent escape for adults, without leaving the city limits, I would stay in the slightly spooky, somewhat spare restoration of the Kamondo family’s 19th Century mansion. Home to the Adahan Hotel, Comedus, Baylo and Gram, there’s something particularly louche about this street corner, especially in the evening hours. 18:00 – 18:15 … check into the Adahan Hotel. 18:15 – 19:45  … for your discretion. adult only content. 19:45 – 20:05 … compose yourself, make yourself respectable — at least briefly. 20:15 – 20:30 … go down to Comedus and stock up your room with some essentials (for later). 20:35 – 21:00 … take in the view at the Adahan restaurant upstairs with an aperitif 21:00 – 23:00 … enjoy some more Mediterranean delights. restrict yourself to those on the menu, for a while, anyway. 23:00 – 02:00 … indulge at Baylo, a New Yorkistan…

  • Food & Drink

    Granny Gillian’s Coriander Carrot Soup

    INGREDIENTS (for eight servings) 1.8 kilos carrots /  4 red onions / 8 garlic cloves / thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled / 2 medium potatoes / 2 heaped tsps each of ground coriander and cumin / cayenne or chilli pepper to taste / sea salt and ground black pepper / 2 litres of chicken or vegetable stock / zest and juice from one large orange / olive oil INSTRUCTIONS Pre-heat oven to 180 C.  Peel and cut carrots into chunks.  Peel and cut one onion into similar sized chunks.  Toss lightly with olive oil.  Salt and pepper well.  Place in a single layer on baking sheet  and cook for 30-40 minutes until soft and slightly charred. Meanwhile, chop remaining onions, ginger and potatoes finely and fry gently in a large pot for 10-15 minutes then add minced garlic.  After  two minutes or so, add coriander, cumin and hot pepper to taste and cook, stirring constantly until the spices are…