Turkish pizza with spicy mince (lahmacun)
This oval-shaped flatbread topped with spicy lamb or beef mince is Turkey’s take on pizza. Originating in the country’s south-east province of Gaziantep, it’s topped with salad or pickles and lemon juice, then rolled up and eaten on the go.
Village-style feta börek
The secret to making these spicy sausage and feta stuffed pastries is to brush a mixture of water, oil and a little bit of salt over the top before baking. This really is the difference between the amazing börek I had in Turkey and the ones I’d been cooking at home. It’s worth seeking out the yufka pastry, too – while filo is an okay substitute, it just isn’t the same! The smoked eggplant mayo will make more than you need, but trust me, it’s so good it won’t go to waste.
Stuffed eggplant with lamb or beef (karniyarik)
This is everyone’s favourite in Turkey. I know it is another eggplant (aubergine) dish, but it is simply exquisite. Long, slender purple eggplants are ideal for this recipe, if you can get them — just leave them whole for the pan-frying step, rather than cutting them in half. Here I’ve used the round chubby ones; make sure yours don’t have seeds in them, as these can make the flesh taste bitter. You can also make this dish using boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of the lamb or beef.
Rosewater sütlaç, pistachio crumble
This sweet dish has to be one of the best things I ate throughout all my travels in Turkey. It was so cold in the Trabzon mountains that all I wanted to do was rug up next to a fire and toast marshmallows. This dessert combines the best of both worlds! The secret to making the sütlaç so creamy is to reduce the milk and slowly add it to the rice as you would a risotto. At the restaurant, we serve it warm, but it is equally delicious cold. You can make the marshmallow ice-cream and pistachio…
Prawn and feta pide
This is the perfect snack to share with friends and a few beers. Once you’ve got the dough sorted, you can pretty much fill it with anything you like. If pastirma is not really your thing, use any other cured meat, such as Spanish jamon or chorizo.