Life has been very hectic. We have just returned from a delicious ten days in Istanbul. Eating out in Istanbul is like a Grand Tour of Turkey. We enjoyed imperial dishes cooked from the original Topkapi recipes in the garden of Asitane and savoured succulent kebabs and breads from the Hatay province near the Syrian border sitting safely in the city, a taxi ride from our hotel. In my favourite Zubeyir and Antiochia we could enjoy a delicious bottle of Turkish wine but we reluctantly gave up this extra pleasure to eat lamb cooked in a salt crust at Hatay Sofrasi in the traditional Moslem area of Fatih. The three cooks were very amused by the spectacle of four unaccompanied ladies eating with their fingers.
At the Ciragan Hotel restaurant I had a lamb dish cooked in a sealed pottery bottle. The waiter slashed off the top just before serving and the heavenly aroma made our mouths water. We ate sea bass on an elegant terrace over the Bosphorus and snacked on delectable Black Sea anchovies cooked by Hassan in his simple street stand and served straight from the pan. We shopped for edible goodies in the Egyptian bazaar and sourced out the best pomegranate molasses in Kadikoy. When we flew home it was not only our cases which were over-weight.