• Food & Drink

    winter feast

    Sometimes I find it hard to think of a more satisfying adventure than the sharing of food. The sight of the table ready, the expectation of guests, the stories that will be shared, the glances hovering over the cheese and charcuterie, the beginning, the rich wine and garlic aroma wafting from the oven, the clink of the glasses, and the slow, steady devastation of the table that follows are all as important as the food itself. May the New Year bring us many such a feast.

  • Food & Drink


    Just wanted to share with you a sample of some photography I recently did for Cochine in Beyoglu. It’s a cozy spot halfway down Kumbaracı Yokuşu I first mentioned in a separate post last year that serves French-influenced Vietnamese cuisine and is run by a super great couple, Melis and Chris Maxwell (immediately above). This year there’s a new menu and some fantastic new talent in the kitchen, which is why they called me in to take some shots. I really love the place as it’s one of the few venues in town I will continue to hang around in after a great dinner. At most places, you might eat a good meal but won’t feel an inclination to linger once the plates have been cleared. That’s not the case here. With live music on many an evening and some quite nice cocktails being whipped up behind the bar, it’s…

  • Food & Drink

    chef sof and the gingerbread men

    At three-years-old there’s a certain someone who has begun to take the arrival of December very seriously. As parents, therefore, it seems we must as well. Yet since only one of us comes from a land that fully embraced Christmas — at least once upon a time — it has become incumbent upon him to creative direct the proceedings. Fortunately, the other parent is an enthusiastic convert to the festive season. Especially now that she’s seen just how magic certain traditions can become when you have a small but significant believer in your life. So this year, we are trying to make it more of an event than ever before. And after a certain someone arrived home disappointed to miss out on the cookery class the other day it seemed like a good idea to kick the season off with a new tradition, the tradition of baking Gingerbread men ……

  • Food & Drink

    super spices, heroic herbs

    Today I decided to celebrate some of my favourite über herbs and spices while setting up some lights in the studio. These guys not only pack a punch in terms of flavour but also add — if you believe their press — a host of health benefits. That’s why I decided to give sage, turmeric and ginger the spotlight for today. Call me crazy but I like to think of these guys as comic book heroes, surging through our bodies and making a meal of such malicious villains as free radicals, mutant cells, and toxic contaminants. Ka-pow!

  • Places

    roundabout the thames

    Polite nods. Leaf-strewn paths. Moss-veined brickwork. Winding paths. Posturing swans. Groomed trees. Cottage-sized homes. Good to be back in England. There’s nowhere else quite like it. Still, I miss you, Sof.

  • Mind / Body

    bosporus tree tops

    Ever notice that tree tops resemble diagrams of the capillaries in our lungs? Lately I’ve spent a lot of time considering tree tops against a naked autumn sky. Perhaps it’s the fact that they really are the lungs of a great smoky city like Istanbul. They’re working their trunks off to provide us with oxygen, shade and a whole bunch of beauty in an increasingly concrete and asphalt landscape, despite the fact we treat them no better than obstacles to a new underpass, overpass or some other ugly piece of infrastructure meant to carry more polluting, carbon-emitting exercises in vanity and wasteful personal expenditure — sorry got into a little rant there … so let me put it another way: ever conceived of an urban paradise that didn’t involve more trees? More green space? Didn’t think so. This post is dedicated to Nicolas Delsol who has been enduring the conditions in…

  • Art / Design / Craft

    anish kapoor at sabancı

    If you haven’t ventured out to see Anish Kapoor’s exhibition at Sabancı Museum in Emirgan you’re really missing something. I think the only somewhat negative comment I have about this exhibition is that it might have made even more impact if there had been fewer works included. This might be a case where more really is less. There’s really something quite ‘epic” about the scale of many of Mr Kapoor’s works and it sometimes felt they deserved a bit more room to breathe and be navigated. I’ve visited twice now and even though I didn’t have my junior art critic with me — who, incidentally, got a lot out of the experience for a three-year-old — I passed over some of the pieces much more quickly because I want to spend a bit more time with some of the ones I was most taken with the first time. I’ve only…

  • Mind / Body,  Places

    mercury in retrograde

    This week the Marmaray Project opened. While I was away, I missed a chance to do a BBC radio interview and publish a photograph in the Globe and Mail. Must admit there’s a side of me which is inclined to curse. Another part of me, instead, looks back at the good people, good food and lengthy dose of extended summer I found in the Aegean region. Mercury is in retrograde.

  • People

    best friends

    As a parent, few things give me the same pleasure as to see my daughter delight in the company of animals. Anyone who follows this page already knows that animals make regular appearances on this blog as I somehow have greater hope for humanity when I see acts of kindness towards pets, strays or beasts of burden. Perhaps it’s that small recognition of just how much more they add to our lives, and how bereft some of us would feel without them.