Enjoy Adventures in Turkish Cooking – Anatolia with David Dale and Somer Sivrioglu »

Travel the food regions of modern Turkey in culinary style

By Laura McKinnon
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Anatolia - Adventures In Turkish Cooking by Somer Sivrioglu and David Dale

Anatolia - Adventures In Turkish Cooking by Somer Sivrioglu and David Dale


Turkish cooking is amazing and Anatolia showcases some of the best. So why Anatolia? It's a traditional name for the region that encompasses Turkey,  and the authors believe it best reflects the history and diversity of the land that has inspired this book.

Arab, Armenian, Assyrian, Balkan, Greek, Jewish, Kurdish, and Romany cultures have all played a role in shaping the food of modern Turkey, and Anatolia has something of them all.

As the media release describes: "Turkish-born chef Somer Sivrioglu and co-author David Dale re-imagine the traditions of Turkish cooking, presenting recipes ranging from the grand banquets of the Ottoman empire to the spicy snacks of Istanbul's street stalls. In doing so they explain their take on the classics and reveal the surrounding rituals, myths, jokes and folk wisdom of both the old and new Turkey".

Sounds fascinating, doesn't it? Anatolia gives you

  • an overview Turkish history especially as it relates to food
  • a discussion of the food regions of Turkey
  • the wines of Anatolia, and
  • the fifteen core ingredients of Turkish cooking.

Modern Turkey is made up of seven distinct food regions each with their own specialities, and as Anatolia notes you will find good examples of all these in Istanbul. However if you are able to travel further afield you will be treated to a culinary tour unlike any other.

The Greek-influenced Aegean Coast Region is a wine-making region that also draws on the flavours of the amazing olives, herbs, wild weeds and seafood found there in their cooking.

On the Mediterranean Coast you will find the best fruit-growing region in Turkey, in particular citrus and fig. In the South-eastern Region you will find a food culture influenced by the bordering Syria and Iraq, producing the world’s best pistachios and by default the world’s best baklava.

Anatolia instills a longing to visit Turkey, with its beautiful descriptions of these and the other regions, plus the amazing photography of the people and sights.

After you have been drawn in the food culture of Turkey, the book details the equipment you will likely need to replicate your own taste of Anatolia, and provides a glossary to help in dealing with Turkish terminology. It also provides the top ten techniques to be used in Turkish cooking.

And then the cookbook begins. There are over 150 recipes divided into the following sections: breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, meze (small plates to drink with) and dinner. Every section is accompanied by fantastic photography of food, the Turkish region and people associated with it.

There are so many mouth-watering dishes it is hard to know which to choose!

The recipe for Simit (Sesame Rings) is 600 years old, with bakeries in Turkey that cook nothing but Simit. This is where Anatolia begins and so shall I. There are recipes for Pides, Brioches, and Rolled Pastry with various fillings. The Pistachio Pancakes with Clotted Cream are a real winner.

There are the classics like Kebaps (varying versions of course), Turkish Delight, Baklava, and the absolutely sensational Pide with Four Cheeses. However, you may want something a little different – something like Water Pastry with Feta and Kale perhaps? Or Wild Thyme and Blood Orange Salad, or Sour Cherry-stuffed Vine Leaves.

And on the fabulous recipes in Anatolia go. The Whiting Sandwich with Tarator is a winner; the Home-style Veal Doner Kebap is a real hunger stopper; the Ottoman Donuts are sure to impress anyone who comes around for afternoon tea; the Aegean Stuffed Zucchini Flowers seem too good to be true; the Crunchy Prawns will not last at any party or dinner; Leeks stuffed with Chicken and Chestnuts are wholesome; the Pastirma Boreks are subtle but devastatingly tasty; and finally, the Zuppa Turca with Chocolate Custard would be a fitting end to any main meal.

Also included are feature spreads on local Turkish chefs and producers and their specialities, adding another fascinating layer to Anatolia.

Am I in love with this book? Clearly!

One extra impressive and very traditional Turkish drink recipe is the Never-ending Sherbet (it lasts for about three months as long as you keep refreshing it with water). And when it is done just use it as vinegar and then start off with a whole new batch.

Turkish cooking can be described as innovative, sustainable and tasty. Anatolia displays these attributes beautifully. If you have ever been inquisitive about Turkish cooking, want to visit Turkey, have been there or tasted Turkish and now want to give it a go yourself – or just like the idea of cooking something a bit different – then this book is definitely for you.

Anatolia is a real winner and as a bonus is presented to a high standard. It would make a great gift; for yourself or for someone you think highly of, who likes to cook, travel or both. Perfect for Mother's Day, perhaps?

Anatolia is published in Australia by Allen & Unwin (Sydney, 2015; hc, 360pp ) and retails for A$79.99. It is available at good bookshops and via the publisher »

Watch an ABC video of Turkish-born Sydney chef Somer Sivrioglu chating about Anatolia and  the history and food of Gallipoli »

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April 12th, 2015
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