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Eat Istanbul: A Journey to the Heart of Turkish Cuisine Hardcover – Illustrated, 5 Jun 2014
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'This travel-cookcook takes you on a trip to meet the city's street vendors, bakers and fishermen. There are more than 100 recipes and the photos will transport you. First-class.'--Sunday Times Travel Magazine, 1 June 2014
'Part cookbook, part travelogue, this is an evocatively illustrated culinary exploration of Turkish cuisine.' --The Bookseller, Friday 14 March 2014
'In their breathtaking new book, Eat Istanbul, food and travel writer Andy Harris and photographer David Loftus have captured the essence of one of the world's most fascinating cities.' --Bristol Post (Weekend), Friday 20 June 2014
In their breathtaking new book, Eat Istanbul, food and travel writer Andy Harris and photographer David Loftus have captured the essence of the world's most fascinating cities. Part cookbook, part travelogue, they meet the characters behind the wonderful tastes and aromas that permeate the city, thanks to its artisan bakers, traditional chefs, fishermen and street food vendors. More than 90 delicious recipes, beautifully photographed by Loftus, reveal the heart and soul of Turkish cuisine and range from breakfasts through to salads, soups, easy lunches and fast suppers, to celebratory dishes for special occasions.' --Bristol Post, 20 June 2014
Eat Istanbul is an Australian take on Turkish cooking by food writer Andy Harris and it's a really good, really accessible introduction to a distinctive and sophisticated cuisine - which isn't to say that some of the dishes aren't winningly easy. --The Tablet, 9 August 2014
About the Author
Andy Harris was the Editorial Director of Australian Gourmet Traveller, and is the founding editor of Jamie Oliver's Jamie magazine sold in over 46 countries. Known for getting to the heart of some of the world's great cuisines, he fell in love with Istanbul 25 years ago. Seduced by its brilliant streetfood, fascinating markets and eclectic cuisine, he tries to visit on a regular basis.
David Loftus is a well-known food and lifestyle photographer who was recently voted the 65th most influential photographer of all time. His food photography has been described as 'still life works of art, where the food is just begging to be picked off the page and eaten'. He has worked on books with Jamie Oliver, Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray, and Heston Blumenthal amongst others.
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This cookery book is also part travel guide, with lots of interesting information on Istanbul and some well-chosen photography of the city that gives the reader an idea of the colour and bustle. It is a modern cookery book, so often the photographs are chosen, I think, more to give a general feeling of the kind of food you're making rather than illustrating exactly what a finished dish should look like. (A double-page spread of the typical Turkish breakfast laid out in an Istanbul café is mouthwatering, but not particularly useful for the home cook.)
But the recipes are truly the best of Turkey: samphire and pomegranate salad, pide, imam bayildi, all wonderful, and there is a recipe for the divine Turkish pancake, gözleme, which really should be available to buy in kebab shops across the UK! I am a vegetarian and, although the book is not vegetarian (by a long way!), the veggie-friendly recipes are many and wonderful. Dishes like the green beans stewed with tomatoes and the börek really bring back happy culinary memories of holidays in Turkey and I look forward to making my own gözleme this weekend (washed down, naturally, with some pomegranate juice).
The book is well presented with excellent colour photography - the location photography is not too excessive unlike some 'ethnic' cookery books, and here many of such location photographs include a restaurant recommendation or two should you be visiting the city itself.
It would make a decent introduction to newcomers to the cuisine including those returning from the country desiring to recreate dishes they have eaten, but since they are all common dishes with nothing whatsoever more modern, inventive or out of the ordinary, for the more seasoned middle-eastern cook there will be nothing at all new of interest here.
I have owned the book for nearly a week and have cooked from it every day. I have some knowledge of Turkish cookery but I thought I would try recipes, ingredients or techniques that I was not familiar with - something of a leap of faith, but I do admit glancing at some old favourites to check his methods. Cooking these recipes also meant that I was not necessarily using my favourite ingredients either, so the recipes have had to work harder to please me. So far, it has all turned out brilliantly. My two favourite are Pathcanli pilav (aubergine and veal layered pilaf, although, as suggested in the recipe I substituted lamb for veal) and Lamb Stew with wild greens and egg-lemon sauce. The recipes were straightforward and easy to follow and the results were delicious. I had been worried that the wild greens would be bitter and the sauce sickly but it worked really well and I think you could omit the meat and have an excellent veggie dish.
The book is divided into sections:
• Streetfood and snacks
• Meat and poultry
• Fish and seafood
There is also a comprehensive illustrated ingredients glossary and it is well indexed so it is easy to navigate.
However, this is not just a recipe book. It is also a travel book. Andy Harris writes well and his stories, anecdotes and bits of history are fun to read both for pleasure or while you are waiting for something to come to the boil.
It should be noted that the photographer, David Loftus, has equal billing on the title page. He deserves it. The book is full of the most glorious photographs of people, places and food.
This is a gorgeous book on all levels and I heartily recommend it - and - if you don't have it already - buy A Month in Marrakesh too.
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