December, 2018

September, 2018

August, 2018

  • Cracking the code on cheffy terms

    28 August, 2018 Cracking the code on cheffy terms

    Sometimes fine-dining menus can seem like more of a maze than a relaxing pre-dining experience. Here, we breakdown some of the cheffy terms you’re likely to come across and include recipes so you can test them out at home.
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  • Cooking the classics

    27 August, 2018 Cooking the classics

    We consider those classic recipes we go back to time and time again.
    Read more…

  • IGNI: The first year

    06 August, 2018 IGNI: The first year

    VIDEO: Acclaimed chef Aaron Turner's stirring account of love, loss and starting again.
    Read more…

May, 2018

February, 2018

  • How a chef cooks for those he loves

    13 February, 2018 How a chef cooks for those he loves

    Skipping the crowds in favour of a lovingly prepared meal at home is your best bet for a romantic Valentine’s Day. This is chef Jock Zonfrillo's idea of a nice night in.
    Read more…

January, 2018

December, 2017

October, 2017

September, 2017

  • Win a pro toastie pack

    18 September, 2017 Win a pro toastie pack

    Indulge in the ultimate comfort food with this kit, including a no-mess Breville press, a copy of Darren Purchese's Chefs Eat Toasties Too and a subscription to Cooked.
    Read more…

August, 2017

July, 2017

June, 2017

  • Winter entertaining with Gill Meller

    08 June, 2017 Winter entertaining with Gill Meller

    Gill Meller is in the country, his first time to Australia, showcasing his beautiful book Gather with a series of dinners and classes. We caught up with him to find out what's on the menu for his Aussie guests.
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April, 2017

February, 2017

January, 2017

December, 2016

October, 2016

September, 2016

August, 2016

July, 2016

June, 2016

May, 2016

April, 2016

March, 2016

February, 2016

January, 2016

December, 2015

November, 2015

  • Christmas basics: the perfect custard

    27 November, 2015 Christmas basics: the perfect custard

    We're looking at those staple recipes that can make or break your Christmas spread. First up, the much-misunderstood sweet seductress, custard.
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  • Halfway Home

    16 November, 2015 Halfway Home

    I’ve been sugar-free for a total of two weeks, and things are going surprisingly well...
    Read more…

  • Bubbles or nothing

    11 November, 2015 Bubbles or nothing

    Out to impress this party season? To take your entertaining game to the next level, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Halliday Wine Companion to share tips on matching sparkling wines to a range of show-stopping canapes.
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  • The anatomy of the perfect burger

    11 November, 2015 The anatomy of the perfect burger

    Looking for your next weekend challenge? Why not have a crack at making your own cheeseburgers from scratch? Chef Daniel Wilson shares the secret recipe to recreating his famed Huxtaburger, from bun to patty and everything in between.
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  • No Sugar November

    04 November, 2015 No Sugar November

    This month while the boys are growing staches, I’ll be growing a conscience about all the confectionary I consume.
    Read more…

October, 2015

September, 2015

May, 2015

April, 2015

March, 2015

February, 2015

January, 2015

December, 2014

November, 2014

October, 2014

September, 2014

August, 2014

July, 2014

June, 2014

May, 2014

April, 2014

March, 2014

February, 2014

  • Margaret Fulton's expert guide to preserves

    27 February, 2014 Margaret Fulton's expert guide to preserves

    Jams, pickles, chutneys, sauces, compotes and conserves are the best way to preserve abundant produce so you can enjoy your fruit and veg all year round. Margaret Fulton shares her guide to the art of preserving.
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  • Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2014 | Our picks

    27 February, 2014 Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2014 | Our picks

    The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, running from February 28 to March 16, begins in just over a week. We’ve put together our picks of the fest.
    Read more…

  • Philippa Sibley's expert guide to sweet pastry

    24 February, 2014 Philippa Sibley's expert guide to sweet pastry

    Master of the dough Philippa Sibley shares her step-by-step guide to making sweet shortcrust pastry, taking you through everything you need to know to perfect the art of peerless pâte.
    Read more…

  • In season | Eggplant

    21 February, 2014 In season | Eggplant

    The unsung hero of the nightshade family, eggplant is found in cuisines the world over. From Sicily to South East Asia, the Middle East to the Mediterranean, many signature dishes feature the versatile aubergine. We sing the praises of the humble eggplant.
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  • Everything you need to know about cuts of pork

    17 February, 2014 Everything you need to know about cuts of pork

    Meat expert and chef Adrian Richardson explains the different cuts of pork, and what you should use them for.
    Read more…

  • Sticky business | A guide to meat on sticks

    14 February, 2014 Sticky business | A guide to meat on sticks

    Skewers, kebabs, shaslicks, yakitori … Whatever you call them, meat just tastes better when cooked on a stick. We share our tips to help you ace the skewers at your next barbecue.
    Read more…

  • In season | Figs

    06 February, 2014 In season | Figs

    Figs evoke the flavours of exotic decadence. Sweet and visually striking, figs make for a decadent tart topper, a sumptuous sticky jam or a delightful savoury venture with cold meats. We share some of our favourite fig recipes.
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  • Guide to styling handmade edible gifts

    05 February, 2014 Guide to styling handmade edible gifts

    There's nothing more thoughtful than a handmade edible gift. April Carter shares her tips and tricks for making beautiful and delicious treats for those you love.
    Read more…

January, 2014

December, 2013

November, 2013

The flavours of Istanbul

Rebecca Seal
28 November, 2013

Rebecca Seal and photographer Steven Joyce take us on a food tour of Turkey’s ancient former capital.

No matter how many times I visit, Istanbul remains a fascinating place. A city of 17 million people covering 2000 square miles and straddling the border between Asia and Europe, it is an incredible mixture of the very old – traces of Neolithic settlements were recently discovered near the Old Town, Sultanahmet – and the very new, as shiny modern towers leap up next to domed mosques or stone churches.

Istanbul’s food culture is as diverse as its architecture, with influences coming from the Persians and Ottomans of the past; its Middle Eastern neighbours, the Greeks, Armenians, Turks and Kurds; nearby Asian and European countries; and Christian, Orthodox, Muslim and Jewish communities. The result is a riot of tastes, in dishes cooked using the best of local and seasonal ingredients from both the surrounding countryside and the sea.

tea and fruit

Whenever I visit Istanbul and start to ask questions about Turkish food, someone always reminds me that it doesn’t really make sense to talk about ‘Turkish’ food as every dish is connected to the specific place it came from.

A particular meal may be made different ways in different streets in the same neighbourhood, depending on where the cook or the cook’s family come from. Like the Turkish language, food is seen as a carrier of culture. What each community here shares, however, is a love of strong flavours – whether it’s the heat of spice, the tang of salty pickles or the sticky sweetness of honey.

Food is at the centre of everything here, whether in upmarket areas like old-money Nişantaşı, where you’re perhaps more likely to catch a whiff of truffles than charcoal-grilled meats, or on the waterfront at Galata Bridge buying a fish sandwich and beer taken from a bucket of ice.

turkish spices

Celebrations and meals out usually start with a selection of meze dishes, some hot and some cold, for everyone to share. Many restaurants don’t have menus, but instead bring round huge trays laden with mezes for you to pick from, or beckon you to choose from the counter. They can be anything from dishes of pickles and dips to fried vegetables, salads, cheeses, fish, meat and poultry dishes. Meze are not meant to be rushed – have two or three per person, plus some breads for scooping, and nibble them alongside some excellent Turkish wine, a cold glass of aniseed raki or a Turkish beer.

In Istanbul you are never far from a bakery. Wherever you are in the city, there will be a neighbourhood store close by, and people visit two or three times a day so as to have fresh, warm bread with every meal. As well as bread, Turkish cooks make wonderful versions of pizza, lahmacun and pide, one thin and one softer and thick, topped with spiced meat, buttery melted cheese or sucuk sausage.

turkish bread

Turkish food is almost always served with garnishes, like little bowls of flaked chilli pepper. But other extra flavours are also much loved, like the mild green peppers that are grilled and served with meat, or the white onions that are salted and dusted with sumac to go in wraps, alongside kebabs or with chops. Even more important are the sharp-sweet pickles, served with rice, vegetables or even alone, and the deeply flavoured red pepper paste, used in every possible dish.

In Istanbul, there’s always time to stop for something sweet, whether for a late night snack, a pudding or a mid-morning treat. On the streets you can buy anything from wedges of melon, sharp green plums and bags of ripe cherries, to boxes of sticky, flaky baklava, filled with pistachios. Here you’ll find rich semolina cake and traditional sweet pastries and puddings, all perfect with a cup of thick Turkish coffee, or for something fresher, a light melon sorbet.­­­

Cook the recipes from Istanbul.

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