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By Chilli

 

So we obviously had that lovely holiday feeling. You know what I mean: Stepping off a plane into a wall of heat, sunshine and possibility...

 

This was not your normal holiday though, we were here to eat! And eat we did.

 

Our first stop was in the new town, outside of the old city walls, Al Fassia. A long-established restaurant, classic and traditional, and run entirely by ladies. This was quite a revelation to me, and was a humbling reminder that feminism and strength in women is not just a western concept. The decor was royal, clean and luxurious. The service discreet, polite and comforting.


By Chileshe Chisanga

Day 1.

I have really been looking forward to this trip. Not only do I have 2 ½ days of pure eating ahead of me, but I’ve never been to Istanbul before, indeed anywhere in the Middle East. Probably the closest I’ve ever got is Mangal in East London, which I love, but I know that I’m in for a quite a few edible surprises

 

We touch down in Istanbul and head straight to the apartment in Beyoglu. The adventure begins immediately as we hear the sound of prayers from the mosques echoing down the quiet back streets around our apartment. We come up to a busy side street where we are bombarded with all sorts of amazing food, such as deep-fried mussels on a stick with tarator (walnut and tahini sauce) and curious-looking kokorec (intestine sandwich). We spot a man with a cart piled high with roasted lamb heads and it is clear that one of these absolutely must be eaten. He splits them carefully, pulls off the meat, places it neatly in a container and tops it with dried oregano, Turkish chilli and salt. This for me was a real highlight.

 

We get a sweet tooth and decide to hunt down the local sweet shop. We find them serving slow-roasted quince and kaymak (fresh buffalo milk cheese), and what a treat it is. This something we want to eat every day in Istanbul.

 

Day 2.

We head to a famous breakfast place, Ortaköy Kahvaltı Evi, for the Turkish breakfast, also known as the full Turkish. This consists of a variety of different dishes: fried eggs with dry Turkish sausage; honey and kaymak and tomatoes, cucumber, olives, & sheep’s cheese. The most exciting moment, however, was when they present us with two savoury fresh doughnuts each – one to eat with strawberry jam, the other to eat with homemade chilli sauce and sheep’s cheese. Unbelievable. And of course, the legendarily powerful Turkish coffee, a great way to start a big day of eating. 

 

We head to Karakoy Fish Market where they proudly display the pumping red gills and shiny eyes to show how fresh it is. This gets us in the mood for the local fish soup, so we move on to the famous Karakoy Balikcisi that is right by the market. The soup is thickened and flavoured with yoghurt and Turkish chilli flakes and has just small flecks of fish - so simple and delicious.

 

The rest of Friday’s eating consists of cag kebap, a horizontal lamb breast kebab with buffalo yoghurt, grilled peppers and lavash bread, liver kebabs, and salep (orchid root) pudding with mulberry syrup and tahini. Finished off, of course, with more industrial strength coffee.

 

Day 3.

The final morning in Istanbul. Stevie and I both feel this day has to be started simply, so we opt for kaymak, honey and strong black tea.

 

We go for a wander through the streets in Bospherus (North of the European side of Istanbul) and get a bit lost looking for a restaurant that no longer exists. On the up-side however, we come across (and consume) a really amazing lamb and egg pide (flatbread) that is made by a guy who puts an extraodinary amount of care and love into what he is doing, even down to the way he puts the egg on the pide.

 

We then take a quick cab ride to the seaside where we eat manti, teeny tiny little Turkish pastas stuffed with wild greens and topped with yoghurt and a buttery tomato sauce. We decide that this absolutely had to have pride of place on the Dock Kitchen Turkish set menu.

 

For our last meal in Turkey, we catch the ferry to Kadikoy where the first stop is Ciya Kebab. We sit and watch the chefs use the bread oven with unbelievable skill (no mean feat) and of course, we have to have a cheeky pre-dinner snack of an amazing pistachio and beef kebab. Another thing we will be trying to recreate at the Dock very soon.

 

We then go to world-famous Ciya Sofrasi, where the chef Musa Dağdeviren kindly orders for us. We eat some really delicious food, and it really helps us finalize the menu. My stand-out dish is the quince stuffed with lamb and sweet onions, which I have to eat after spotting them cooking them across the road at Ciya Kebab. Yet another thing we will be recreating for the Turkish menu…

 

 All in all, Istanbul is an amazing city if you want to eat well (and we really ate well).

 


By Eliot Thomas

Niamh, our lovely Anglo-Irish waitress is away travelling in South and Central America. She sent us this very interesting essay on potatoes after a particularly long bus journey in Peru....I assume she had wi-fi on the bus to look up all the facts!

 

I have always been a fan of potatoes. Who could say no to a baked potato? Filling and warming, yet healthy and nutritious, and open to such variation.. Who doesn’t enjoy a healthy blob of buttery mash alongside their pie and gravy? And where would the lonesome fish be without his chips? I hail from an Irish background where spuds on the dinner table is a given – not an option, but a must.

 


by Mike

 

Upon arrival at Santiago de Compostela we were met by the relentlessly energetic and utterly charming Mariola Varona Bayolo who is officially the Export Manager for Martin Codax Wines but as we discovered over the course of the next two days, also takes a delight in representing the region of Galicia in a broadly ambassadorial manner with great pride and dedication.

 


by Nick

 

On Tuesday night we welcomed our good friend Anissa Helou to Dock to cook a nose to tail lamb extravaganza...


by Nick

 

A couple of weeks ago we hosted journalist Fiona Beckett’s inaugural Natural Wine Challenge. I believe there had been a bit of a debate going on in Twitter land about whether Natural Wines were all that they have been hyped up to be. Fiona invited a couple of the more vociferous naysayers to come along and try some of her favourite Natural Wines to see if she could win them over


By Ben

 

Whilst I am sure Milanese Nonnas are some of the best home cooks in the world, I am now equally as sure that, despite their renowned food heritage, Milan has one of the worst restaurant scenes of any major city in the world. 

 


Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

By Stevie


 

I recently went to Australia for the first time to go to the Melbourne food and wine festival.


Some photos from my short honeymoon trip to Japan, where time was mainly spent eating and drinking.

 

Nick

 


Delicious Osaka ramen with black sesame oil. Tiny restaurant with enough seats for ten people tops.

 


The world's largest gyoza (NB that's a large beer in the background!)


How the supplier makes sure the fish is delivered fresh to the restaurants of Osaka.


Kaiseki dinner at Kansuiro Ryokan in Hakone. You spend your whole time in a dressing gown....fantastic!


How we found our luggage and shoes when we went to leave the Ryokan.


Karage....mmm fried chicken.


Japanese love hotels have some very unsexy themes


by Tom

 

It became apparent very early on that food was going to play an important part in my recent holiday to Thailand and Malaysia. An extra piece of hand luggage loaded with snacks joined us on our flight to Bangkok as my girlfriend, KK, assured me that “Jet Airways never feed you enough”. She was right: she generally is. From the first, very over-priced Pad Thai at Bangkok airport, the food was amazing. So good, that by about day 2 of our trip we were trying to arrange our days to accommodate four rather than three meals. A (generally disappointing) hotel breakfast would be followed by an early lunch, another meal around 4pm and dinner in the evening.



Malaysian Tamarind and Tuna Laksa (note the unwiped bowl...this would never happen on Tom's shift at the Dock!)


by Alex Jackson

 

Spanning two continents and sprawling   for miles over steep hills, in 38 degree heat, with 10 million people, Istanbul can sometimes feel a bit oppressive.  

 

 


3rd Annual Truffle Extravaganza

Our third annual truffle extravaganza was a huge success. 3kg of truffles sold at market price over two weeks complemented by a fantastic Piemonte (ish) set meal and lots of delicious Nebbiolo!


Entry by Neill 23/11/11

 

It started like a bit of a small Stag do–

Four lads meeting at the Airport and having a few beers before the flight, Oi-Oi!  We were however off on a whistle-stop tour of some of the most brilliant Olive Oil and Wine producers in Tuscany.

 

Read recipe for Ribolita below


Our good friend and bon vivant Emily O'Hare came to our Burns Night Dinner and had this to say...

When I was younger I was always a reluctant part of this celebration. I used to be a Scottish Country Dancer. I got all the cups, the medals and I've still got the shoes. On Burns’ birthday every year, from 89 – 97, Id have to go down to the golf club and dance. While I was stressing out about Dashing White Sergeants, the lassies at the tables were singing to sacks of meat and getting toasted. I couldn’t wait to grow up and get off the dance floor and get into the single malts.


Entry by Nick  24/11/11

 

Dock Kitchen Tandoor Tent at Jimmy’s Harvest Festival

 

Q: How many chefs does it take to fill up a van?

A: Mainly one Irish one called Ed.