Nigel Slater continues his Middle Eastern culinary adventure by visiting Turkey, home to one of the world’s grandest cuisines. Travelling from the bustling megacity of Istanbul to the rural heartlands of central Anatolia, and through the mountains of the Black Sea, Nigel discovers a vast and varied landscape, rich with tradition and local flavour.
Nigel starts in Istanbul, previously Constantinople, the capital which at its height was the epicentre of some of the most exciting food in the world. Here Nigel gets a taste of the exuberant dishes of the sultans, but Istanbul also ignites his curiosity to find out about the home-cooked dishes of rural Turkey.
Turkey is one of only a handful of nations that has the ability to be self-sufficient. Its hugely diverse landscape produces a spectacular range and quantity of produce that defines its local cuisine. Nigel travels to central Anatolia where he meets families who are working hard to preserve their traditional food culture in the face of mounting modernity. He also explores the eastern Black Sea region of Turkey, where he discovers the truly mosaic-like quality of Turkish culture and cuisine.
Nigel arrives in Trabzon, to find misty mountains covered in tea plantations, before he begins a journey through the Kackar mountains, discovering the transient life of the pastoral nomads whose culture still dominates these parts. Turkey is set to yet again become one of the most influential nations on earth and by cooking and eating with a diverse range of people, Nigel gets a fascinating insight not only into the food but also life in modern Turkey.
Nigel Slater’s Middle East – Turkey ep.2 dishes:
1. Sucuk pide
Homemade Turkish bread studded with spicy Turkish sausage and melting cheese.
2. Mussel pilav
Orzo (or Turkish arpa sehriye) is a short-cut pasta that looks a bit like rice. Here it’s combined with plump Turkish baldo rice to make a delicious seafood pilav.
3. Lokanta stew
A lokanta or ‘tradesmen’s restaurant’ is where you can find delicious home-cooked style food in Turkey – such as this roasted vegetable stew with butterbeans.