Archives for posts with tag: samphire

I have unfinished business in Istanbul.  All of it is to do with eating. Eating more. Eating more of exactly what I ate at the charming restaurant in the Çiçek Pasajı where Andy and I were filming a group of young Istanbul residents, call them our subjects if you like. I’d specially like to eat more of the deniz börülcesi or samphire that I was so excited to see was one of  the huge selection of hot and cold meze that they ordered.

The numerous bottles of  raki that were also ordered were the perfect accompaniment to the meze.  Not that we were tempted to join in after accepting just one glass of the anise flavoured drink, since this was after all a normal working day for us. Andy filmed the entire meal – and here are a few frame grabs from the footage.

And then there was the kaymaklı lokum from Ali Muhiddin Hacı Bekir.

Hacı Bekir opened in 1777 and is currently run by the fifth generation of the Hacı Bekir family from the same location. Although the shop is filled with every flavour of Turkish Delight imaginable, the kaymaklı lokum – filled with clotted cream  – was what our subjects bought. We couldn’t fault them on their choice of  meze the night before and we most certainly could not fault them on this choice.  The cool, slightly tangy, creamy filling that seeped into my mouth as I ate the kaymaklı lokum was such a surprise, and such a joy,  that it is now on my top ten best foods of all time list. 

I definitely have unfinished business in Istanbul.


Take a look at this video to see how kaymaklı lokum  is made.




When I went into the supermarket in Northampton to buy the sugar for the hedgerow jelly I noticed they had samphire in the fresh produce section. I’ve been reading about samphire for some years now and had always wanted to try it so although I was supposed to be running down the food supplies aboard narrowboat Patience I decided I HAD to buy some samphire. Of course I had no clue how one was supposed to cook samphire – if one even cooked it at all. But what I did know was that I was definitely going to make it work with the ingredients we had on the boat.

Another quick Google search told me that samphire mixes really very nicely with spaghetti(which we had in the galley) and Hugh came up with ideal  cooking method –  ‘Add the samphire to the pasta pan for the last two minutes of cooking time.’ I improvised with the rest of the recipe by frying bacon, garlic, a shallot  and red peppers to which added a little leftover cream and let it bubble and reduce. I then tossed the sauce lightly with the spaghetti samphire mix and served it with some parmesan and lots of black pepper.


And what I do know now is that I love that salty, crunchy, green gem of a plant. I have to get back to the UK for the next samphire season!