Our trip to Istanbul over Easter 2010 was wonderful. I had heard that Istanbul was a fantastic city, but what I found exceeded my expectations. We stayed in a small hotel near the Blue Mosque which was a great location. Almost everything we wanted to explore was in walking distance. We explored mosques and museums, had lunch and dinner in small authentic restaurants and enjoyed a "juice break" of freshly squeezed pomegranate juice in a little juice stall not far from our hotel. We spent one windy day on a boat going up the Bosphorus to where it connects with the Black Sea. On our return we visited the fabulous Spice Market (see Spice Market in Istanbul post) which is a feast for the senses. I purchased a variety of spices, herbs, some dried tea flowers, apple tea and a traditional Turkish tea set.
Before leaving for Istanbul I had searched the web for Turkish cooking classes held in English and found Cooking Alaturka - Turkish cooking courses and a restaurant run by Eveline Zoutendijk, who together with her chef Feyzi provides novices and experienced cooks alike with an insight into Turkish cuisine. The establishment was located very close to our hotel, so on Friday morning I set out with my two daughters to attend the 5-hour class. Twelve other students from all over the world joined us for this class. We prepared a five-course meal - spicy red lentil soup, zucchini patties with cheese, green beans with tomatoes and a lamb stew on an eggplant puree. For desert we had walnut-stuffed figs. The cooking course is very hands-on, the chef demonstrates and assists, but the students prepare the whole meal.When lunch was ready, we all sat down at a beautifully set table and enjoyed a delicious meal. Unfortunately, the photos I had taken did not turn out well, but please check out their web site at http://www.cookingalaturka.com/ for more information.