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Berrin Torolsan is a writer, photographer, picture editor and the publisher of Cornucopia.
Her cookery features explore the history as well as the nutritional properties of the dishes, all beautifully photographed and with easy-to-follow recipes.
Centuries ago, travellers to Turkey were amazed by a new, uplifting taste sensation: the sherbet, flowery or fruity, and served with ice. Berrin Torolsan traces the history of sherbets and the sorbets made from them, and serves up an irresistible array of cooling summery treats
Once ubiquitous and widely valued for its medicinal powers, the medlar has been neglected for more than a century as it calls for patience and cannot be mass-marketed. So take advantage of this ambrosial amber-coloured fruit wherever you find it – in street markets, in country gardens or in the wild. Text and photographs: Berrin Torolsan
The age-old ambrosia of nomadic herdsmen, there is still nothing to beat a really good white cheese made from fresh ewe’s milk. Silky-textured, yet firm and piquant, it is ideal at breakfast with olives or with a glass of raki at the end of the day – and brilliant for cooking
The beet family – beetroot, chard and sugar beet – are celebrated as health foods today. But these tasty, vibrant plants have been enjoyed for centuries, and for good reason: they make gorgeous soups, salads and pickles, and add richness and colour to so many other dishes. Text and photographs by Berrin Torolsan
Beloved of birds and bees, prized by Ottoman sultans and Bourbon kings, pears are a particular joy eaten ripe from the tree. But cooking coaxes the flavour out of even those mass-market varieties grown for a long shelf life and ripened in cold storage
In a chilly spring the apricot trees of Cappadocia were frothing with white blossom. By early summer the boughs would be heavy with fruit, to be eaten fresh from the branch, dried in the sun – or made into conserves like bottled sunshine for the cold winter months. Text and photographs by Berrin Torolsan
And the award for most versatile, most nourishing and best-loved ingredient goes to… the humble chickpea. Berrin Torolsan explores its history and its limitless talent to entertain us in a multitude of different roles
Oozing delicious juices, irresistibly moreish, the ‘tirit’ covers a range of traditional Turkish soups and stews, both savoury and sweet, with slices of bread at their heart. Berrin Torolsan serves up the ultimate in comfort food
The beautiful broad bean is far more than the sum of its seemingly simple parts. It has almost magical restorative powers. It’s delicious too. Berrin Torolsan shows how to make the most of these bundles of joy
The potato was a latecomer to Turkish cookery, but today it is hard to imagine life without it. The humble spud, the ultimate in comfort food, is endlessly versatile,and also comes packed with goodness. Berrin Torolsan serves up some favourite dishes
Whether or not it originated with Alexander the Great, pasta, in all its shapes and sizes, is a food that has known no boundaries of class, country or time, nourishing babies, delighting emperors and keeping armies on the move. Berrin Torolsan celebrates the Turkic take on a practical staple
From a trusty staple to the stuff of feasts, beans are at the very heart of Turkish cuisine. How did we ever live without them? Text and photographs by Berrin Torolsan
Mulberries come in an array of hues: black, white, pink, purple; some enticingly sweet, others astringent and healing. As Berrin Torolsan can testify, having grown up with them in her Istanbul garden, all are adored – by man, mallard and pine marten alike. Here she traces the history of this lucious fruit
Grapes may be Anatolia’s most ancient crop but the birthplace of Dionysus still produces an abundance of tempting varieties – from succulent bunches of fresh fruit to the sweetest of sultanas, and even world-class wines. Grapes also play a vital role in Classic Turkish Cuisine. Text and photograph by Berrin Torolsan
Marbled rind and coral flesh… the watermelon, essence of summer.
Text and photograph by Berrin Torolsan
Adored through the ages by farmers and sultans alike, peas lend a subtle sweetness to everything from Turkish stews to Russian salad.
Strawberries growing in the wild are gems of mouth-watering delight that bear little relation to the showy, insipid-tasting fruit on supermarket shelves. But there are still good garden strawberries to be found. Berrin Torolsan encourages us to seek out locally grown, seasonal fruit bursting with fragrance. Her simple recipes celebrate the best of berries
Plums grow in all colours of the rainbow, and bring a delicious magic to sweet and savoury dishes alike.
Pungent and piquant, mustardy or mellow, radishes and turnips deserve more respect. Underrated in most of the West, they are still a valued staple in Turkey, where in winter they appear raw, cooked or pickled on every table.
Some liked it hot, others liked it sweet. Either way the pepper revolutionised the Old World’s tastebuds like nothing else.
With its gnarled head and earthy aroma, celeriac is a food for grown-ups, eaten all over Turkey at tables high and low. Berrin Torolsan’s traditional recipes make it a taste that’s easy to acquire
What would summer be without fragrant melons and their honeyed, juicy, cooling flesh? Hundreds of varieties ensure that this most luscious of fruits – a favourite for a thousand years or more – is there just when you need it most. Text and photographs by Berrin Torolsan
Plaits and rings, coils and crescents – freshly baked çörek are the treats of high days and holy days.
The Mongols were the masters of one-pot cooking. Berrin Torolsan hails one of their most lasting legacies, the yahni – a steaming, succulent, slow-cooked stew.
Kurabiye have been a part of family life for generations and are best home-made. Every child has sweet memories of coming home to the heavenly aroma of freshly baked kurabiye. Every mother, every aunt, every grandmother, every neighbour has her own speciality.
More cookery features
Some like their asparagus translucently white, others prefer crunchy and green. Whatever your choice, it takes lightness of touch to reveal the delicate flavour.
Okra was so well established as a food in Turkey by the fifteenth century that Mehmet the Conqueror’s formidable horsemen adopted it as an emblem for their jousting tournaments.
It can be the star at family feasts or the perfect fast food. Berrin Torolsan serves up ten irresistible recipes. Photographs by Berrin Torolsan
Surrounded by four seas and generously endowed with rivers and lakes, Turkey has a huge abundance of fish. But for the Istanbullu, nothing can compare with the fish of the Bosphorus.
All truffles conceal heady charms beneath a rough exterior. But Turkey’s truffles are a democratic luxury – far less costly than France’s precious and more pungent tubers.
There’s nothing grand about the Jerusalem artichoke. The plant thrives on benign neglect, and its gnarled tubers look humble enough. Do not be deceived: its flavour is a revelation – subtle, sweet and quite irresistible.
Red peppers, chillies, maize and sunflowers set the Mediterranean ablaze with their pungent flavours and fiery colours. But of all the Aztecs’ gifts, it is the tomato, above all, that tastes of the sun
Carrots have a colourful past and the gift of making us see in the dark, but there’s more to them than meets the eye.
DNA tests prove that Alma-Ata in Central Asia – literally ‘Apple Ancestor’ – is indeed the birthplace of the apple
Simple, smooth and soothing, they satisfy the child in everyone. But milk puddings can also be gorgeously sophisticated.
Sweet chestnuts, autumn’s bounty, spread from the forests of Anatolia to feed the Roman legions and provide daily sustenance to most of Europs. Today they are reserved for festiviites.
Berrin Torolsan brings a taste of the Steppes into the urban kitchen with ten surefire, no-fuss recipes
For sheer sensual appeal, the peach has no rivals: its velvet skin and fragrant, juicy flesh are irresistable.
From Alaska to Australia, from Mongolia to Mexico, meatballs come in a thousand guises.
Berrin Torolsan works magic with mincemeat
The sweetmeat of kings, the fuel of warriors, spinach is bursting with colour. The brighter, tangier purslane is a delight still waiting to conquer the West. Berrin Torolsan eats greens with relish
Offal recipes for the stout of heart
The leek, friendly and fragrant, is about to enter its fourth millenium as a favourite ingredient of cooks around the globe.
What plant can match the bounty of the vine? For thousands of years man has enjoyed the succelence of the grape, the headiness of its wines, its capacity to heal. But the fruit is not its only gift. Its lush green leaves, which offer dappled shelter from the summer sun, also create the perfect wrapping, bringing their delicate, delectable tang to the simplest foods.
The cabbage and the cauliflower are the Old World’s culinary warriors, arming high tables and low with essential vitamins and minerals.
It is hard to improve on the intense fragrance of the fabled fig, oozing with honeyed, nutty succulence.
A glorious thistle, the globe artichoke merits better than the usual simple boiling, especially if it is the giant Turkish globe, with its huge mouth-watering centre. Berrin Torolsan reveals how to do it justice
There is more than a touch of the fairytale about the humble pumpkin. Berrin Torolsan conjures up a feast of gleaming dishes that bring a golden glow to winter.
A hint of mint, a pinch of basil, a sprinkling of thyme, a garnishing of dill - one light touch is all it takes for the common herb to release its ancient magic.
The egg is the most flattering of partners. Berrin Torolsan makes light work of Turkish classics, from succulent meatloaf to silky meringues, from tangy sauces to honeyed crêpes.
Radiant orbs of sunshine, oranges bring delight to the senses with the heady scent of their blossom, the spice of their frasgrant peel, the mouth-watering tang of their juicy flesh.
Elegrant, mysterious, like a plant from another planet, the aubergine is the sultan of vegetables
Nothing from the supermarket shelf can compare to home-made autumn pickles.
Elixir of sovereigns, libation of the gods, secret of longevity, the timeless taste of yoghurt has the right cool, fresh tang for summer.
Whether plain or exotic, pilav is deceptively simple to prepare yet the ultimate test of the accomplished cook
Shining crimson globes bursting with tongue-tingling juices… Cherries, the trophy brought back to the West by Lucullus, are truly fit for a feast. Berrin Torolsan’s recipes capture the sweet taste of summer
Long enjoyed for their succulence and their inner beauty, pomegranates have been credited with uplifting properties. Berrin Torolsan presents a selection of recipes using these fascinating jewelled winter fruits
Summery herbs transform the versatile marrow into light succulent dishes.
Capsules of concentrated energy, nuts are healthful as well as delicious
Capture the taste of summer. Berrin Torolsan suggests recipes using rose petals and rose water.
Daffodil yellow, downy texture with a strong musky aroma the quince can scent an entire room.
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