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Cooking Alaturka

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This idea all started with a meeting with my cousin Maggie. She was telling me about her trip to Turkey and mentioned she had met this woman who just happened to run a cooking school. Well, since I was going to do one in Italy, it only seemed right to balance it with one in Greece (already told about), one in Turkey.

So Saturday morning I got up, showered, caught the funikular, then the tram, and then a short walk between the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia and arrived at the door of Cooking Alaturka - early. Please come back in ten or fifeen minutes Fayse told me. So I wandered, had on overpriced portokale suyu (fresh squeezed orange juice - on this side of the Golden Horn is was usually 1TL, but at that place it was 5!

I went back on time and met Eveline, Fayse, and the other participants - Emma who is a singer on a cruise ship that had docked, but as the morning went on became ill and left, and Takshi and Eri who are living in London and just traveling in Turkey. It is so cool, because from Kevin's apartment, I can hear the horns of the ships in the GH.

Eveline introduced us to the menu and gave us some pointers on how the day was going to proceed. We divided the labour. I got to cube the lamb, others got to dice and slice onions and peppers, while others learned how to skin tomatoes. They make so much less noise than cats.

We worked hard on creating a five course meal in little time. The excess food was used to feed the small group of ten, so I guess I have officially cooked in a restaurant. Does that make me a qualified chef now?

Once again, as in Italy, the use of spices and timing made the dishes colourful and flavourful. Today at the Spice Bazaar I bought one kilo of the pepper flakes - half for my cousin as a thank you, and half for me because they are so darn good. 

In little time, we had prepared a red lentil soup, vegetables in olive oil, zucchini pancakes, lamb stew with smokey eggplant, and walnut stuffed figs in light syrup. I think I would have put a bit of lemon zest in the syrup to give it a bit more flavour. 

Afer we cooked, we ate. And ate. And ate. Then with a couple of glasses of wine under my belt and a full belly. it was time to say good-bye. It was a wonderful experience and has helped me to appreciate the flavours and cuisine of yet another culture. 


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