Turkish Flavours is a cooking class held in a swish Istanbul apartment that's filled with Persian rugs and expensive ceramics, and located in the upper east side of town, where the likes of Burberry and ladies who lunch reside. The class is led by Selin, who was born in the apartment and has now converted the former dining space into a second kitchen, suitable for ten or so people to work in. She has a fabulous no-nonsense attitude and quickly sends back dolma that are not up to scratch - 'no no no, too big!'- to be reworked by her charges.
Above: dolmas, cooked in tomato sauce
On our menu was borek filled with fetta; dolma stuffed with beef; carrot and tahini salad; green olive salad; spiced rice; green beans with onion; and apricots with clotted cream, pomegranate molasses and candied eggplant.
Above: rose borek filled with fetta cheese
As well as the delicious food, recipes and advice Selin doles out, a big part of the appeal of this class is the fact that she is keen to introduce ingredients and flavours, encouraging tastes of cheese, spices and explaining the origins of Turkish ingredients by pointing to her handy in-kitchen map to indicate where the wine came from, and where the olives came from and so on.
Above: apricots stuffed with cream and rolled in pistachio
And of course, eating Turkish morsels under a glittering chandelier in a lavish space as Selin dishes out her wisdom isn't a bad way to spend a lunchtime.
The class runs from 10.30am and ends with a four-course lunch with wine (as you sit down to taste your spoils). There is a €75 price tag and no experience is needed; recipe booklet included. They also run tours of the spice market and other goodness.