Sam’s inspiration for our Turkish Masterclass…
Many of my earliest and fondest memories are of my grandparents. My Nan was Irish and my Dede (grandad) was Turkish. Dede owned a kebab shop called The King Kebab House and I always looked forward to visiting with my mum and twin sister. I’d become absorbed watching the chef working, from his speedy slicing of red cabbage to the preparation of one of my absolute favourite dishes, shish kebab. If we were well behaved, my sister and I would be given a rum baba to share as a treat – a bit like a doughnut, its hole is filled with cream and covered in a gloriously sweet and sticky syrup. They are wonderful memories.
I grew up, not surprisingly, eating an eclectic combination of English and Turkish food and I’m sure that my mixed cultural heritage gave me my love of food and cooking. Whilst I’ve yet to try making rum baba, dolmas is a family staple that is readily devoured. Variants of these delicious stuffed vine leaves can be found throughout the Mediterranean, Central Asia and the Middle East. The word dolmas itself can be traced back to the pre-Ottoman period and the Persian variety of dolmas dates back to at least the 17th century.
Best prepared and cooked the day before, dolmas improve when they’re given time to absorb all the lovely flavours they are packed with. I tend to warm them up and serve with bulgar wheat and a dollop of natural yoghurt, but they can also be eaten cold. The beauty of Turkish food is that it’s best made in large quantities – perfect whether you’re entertaining or just feeding the family – so one cooking session can provide several meals and very tasty leftovers!
Try your hand at making some wonderful Turkish dishes
Many of us spend time flicking through recipe books and watching food programmes for inspirational dishes to try. That’s one way of finding new recipes, but how about taking part in our food masterclass instead! It’s an idea that came out of wanting to share with others my own foodie experiences and all those fond memories that make me feel so happy. It’s a happy feeling that seems to rub off on the people I’m cooking with, and that has to be a good thing!
During the class, you’ll learn how to master three classic Turkish dishes – dolmas, Turkish chicken soup and baclava. Plus, I’ll teach you how to make Turkish coffee, the perfect accompaniment to a rich, sweet dessert such as baclava. Take your new knowledge home with you and spread a little Turkish delight amongst your family and friends.
Choose a fully-catered cookery weekend or book a cooking day as part of a longer stay, we’d love you to join us!