Turkish food has been popular for decades and that love has increased over the past years as more holiday-makers have been heading to those sun-kissed shores. I have heard that those vacations are more popular than ever this year due to the ‘Brexit effect’. Those visitors will likely return with a taste for many dishes and flavours found in The Turkish Cookbook.
There are 550 recipes for Turkish plates, from an authority on Turkey’s culinary heritage, Musa Dagdeviren, as featured in the Netflix documentary series Chef’s Table. This huge tome seems to cover all aspects of this vibrant and mostly healthy cuisine. There are family favourites as well as smart dinner party fare, and those with a sweet tooth will not be disappointed. Much here will be familiar but there is a lot that will probably be new to most home cooks from outside Turkey.
This is a stunning and worthy volume, with a red linen and gold cover making this a gift-quality cookbook. There is a wealth of pictures, but the text has the air of a classic ‘proper’ recipe book. The Chapters list starts with soup and then progresses through every course to breads and pastries, and then on to the drinks section.
Delicate pastries stuffed with both sweet and savoury fillings
There is the celebrated Taramasalata (most people think that is uniquely Greek) but also some less common dips such as Lentil Dip which is flavourful as well as being economic. One could create an impressive starter platter with just the dips listed here along with some of the breads from later in the book. That section also offers delicate pastries stuffed with both sweet and savoury fillings, and they will be perfect with a cup of Turkish tea or coffee.
I do have some favourites from The Turkish Cookbook. Stuffed Chicken would be a change from the usual Sunday roast, with its dressing of nuts and fruit. The recipe for Courgette Fritters will be welcomed by any cook with a vegetable garden this summer. Spicy Kofte Kebab will definitely be a regular chez nous during the al fresco dining season. I would use a rather fatty minced lamb for this recipe as some of the cuts mentioned might not be available at your local butcher. Custard Slice is attractive and comforting and the delightful sweet finale to a Turkish meal.
The Turkish Cookbook is a treasury of authentic regional recipes that will encourage even the timid into the kitchen.
The Turkish Cookbook
Published by: Phaidon Press