Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean Feast: Istanbul

Ottolenghi's Lahmacun

Ottolenghi’s Lahmacun

On Friday night, after a particularly crazy week at work, I finally collapsed into bed to watch the episode of Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean Feast where Yotam visits Istanbul. I’m a big fan of this series, even though the miles-long ingredient lists in his recipes annoy the pants off me. On an icy November night, an hour of drooling over Ottolenghi’s pick of Istanbul’s cuisine brought some sunshine back into my life.

First up was kokoreç. Ottolenghi’s excitement over offal sandwiches was nearly enough to tempt me into trying it, next time I’m in town (here’s another review of kokoreç designed to get even the most reluctant tastebuds going). His general enthusiasm for Istanbul, a city which I love so much, was palpable.

Most of the recipes he tried out on the show seemed to involve, as usual, a lot more ingredients than I’d ever usually cook with. Although I appreciate carefully and creatively flavoured food, I’m definitely a girl of simple tastes. But this does make me wonder if I’m doing something wrong? This dish, for example, of fried vegetables with a garlic yoghurt dressing, is one I’ve made before– but probably with a quarter of the ingredients. Maybe next time I’ll try something more like this… but I do wonder how he sources all of those bloody ingredients!

My personal highlight of the episode were:

  1. The incredible dish made out of courgette-flowers – something I’m going to be hunting down come next year’s courgette season!
  2. The bit about how baklava is made. M constantly tells me that making baklava is easy and something I could definitely learn. Well. This is the first time I’ve seen the process, rather than read about it, and I think I can conclusively say that I will not be making baklava myself any time soon. I did love the pouring of the butter and honey though… nom, nom, nom.

Finally, I added some new restaurants to my list of places to visit: