Istanbul—The Crossroads

Where Europe and Asia collide

By Sebastien Centner

hf_sebsumr3Flavours of Istanbul
Bold, fresh and varied

Sebastien’s suggestions:
Istanbul is teeming with history, stretching back to its days as Byzantium and Constantinople. Situated on the Silk Road, it has long had access
to the very best from east and west. Spices, teas, nuts and indigo dyes were all widely traded at the Grand Bazaar. Ottoman rulers passed laws
pertaining to fresh food, which is evident in the dishes served in modern, cosmopolitan Istanbul. Discover why the locals say “Come for the history,
stay for the food.”
• A selection of meze often begin meals; serve a mix of pistachios, olive, figs, apricots, dips, cheeses and dolmas.
• Stuffed foods are staples in Turkey; grape leaves, vegetables and seafood are all commonly stuffed.
• Fish is very popular and best when simply prepared.
• Desserts are a mix of the sublimely sweet; Turkish delight and baklava are traditional items.
• Tea is served in tulip glasses throughout the day; hot and black, with sugar on the side.
• Bright colours, simple preparations and the appropriate use of spices will help you bring the flavour of Turkey to your table. Afiyet Olsun.

Thanks to Executive Chef Christopher Matthews for the outstanding menu.

Sebastien Centner’s,
Homefront Entertains recipes:

hf_sebsumr2Meze Platter

In small serving bowls place any variety of the following items:
• pistachios
• variety of olives
• figs
• watermelon
• almonds
• onion
• pickled mango
• roasted pepper
• pickled onions
• bread
• baba ghanouj (see recipe below)
• hummus (see recipe below)
• roasted peppers
• fried halloumi (see recipe below)
• beyaz peynir (or feta) with lemon zest
• grape leaf dolmas


• 400 g cooked chickpeas
• 2/3 cup tahini
• 1/2 cup lemon juice
• 4/5 cup olive oil
• 4 garlic cloves
• salt & fresh ground pepper

• olive oil
• ground red chili pepper
• fresh, chopped parsley

1) Combine all ingredients in a food processor
2) Blend until creamy and smooth; add water if needed to thin
3) Add more lemon juice or salt to taste
4) Place in serving bowl
5) Drizzle olive oil, sprinkle with ground chili pepper and freshly chopped parsley

Baba Ghanouj

• 3 medium eggplants
• 1/2 cup tahini
• 1 1/4 tsp coarse salt
• 3 tbsp lemon juice
• 3 cloves garlic, blanched and pureed
• 1/8 tsp red chili powder
• 1 tbsp olive oil

1) Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F)
2) Cut eggplant length-wise, place the pulp side up on a baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes, until completely soft
3) Remove from oven and let cool
4) Scrape out the pulp and coarse chop, place in mixing bowl
5) Add other ingredients and stir together well
6) Place in serving bowl
7) Add additional salt and lemon juice to taste, drizzle olive oil

Fried Halloumi

• 250 g halloumi
• 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

1) Drain the halloumi and pat dry
2) Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the halloumi and cook for a few minutes, until the bottoms are golden brown
3) Flip the halloumi to brown the other side
4) Transfer the halloumi cubes onto a plate along with any oil in the pan.


• 3 medium size eggplants
• 200 gr minced beef
• 1 medium yellow onion, minced
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 tomato, chopped
• 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
• 1 tsp granulated sugar
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 1 tsp dried mint
• 1 tsp dried basil
• 1 tsp cumin
• 1 tsp paprika powder
• 1 cup olive oil
• fresh parsley to garnish
• 6 green chili pepper
• vine tomatoes

1) Preheat oven to 220°C (430°F)
2) Wash and cut the eggplants in half, soak the eggplants in salty water for 15 minutes, drain and pat dry
3) Oil a roasting pan and place the eggplants skin down
4) Cut 15 strips 2-3 cm deep into flesh of the eggplants
5) Add olive oil to each piece and roast for 30 minutes
6) While eggplants are roasting, start preparing the mixture for stuffing
7) Add a spoonful of olive oil in a saucepan and heat
8) Sauté onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes, add the tomato paste and mix well.
9) After one minute, add the minced meat mix well and cook for 6-7 minutes on medium heat
10) Stir the minced meat with the onion, garlic and tomato paste well, cook for 6-7 minutes
11) Add the chopped fresh tomato
12) Season with salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, cumin and basil, cook for 1-2 minutes and set aside
13) Once eggplants are roasted, remove from the oven, keep oven on
14) Gently mash the core of each eggplant with a fork careful not to pierce skin
15) Stuff the eggplants with meat mixture, top with half a chili pepper cut lengthwise
16) Add oiled vine tomatoes to roasting pan
17) Put back in the oven 20 minutes more
18) Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and serve warm

Stuffed Sea Bass with Tabbouleh

• 1 tsp allspice
• 1 cinnamon stick, crumbled
• 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
• 3 tbsp chopped pine nuts
• 2 tbsp chopped almonds
• 1/4  bunch of dill, roughly chopped
• 1/4 bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
• 4 sea bass, butterflied
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 2 lemons sliced

1) Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F)
2) On cooktop, heat olive oil in a heavy frying pan, slowly fry the onions and spices for about 15 minutes until soft.
Season with salt and add nuts, cook until nuts are coated and hot
3) Add herbs then remove from heat
4) Once cool, stuff the Sea Bass with the nut mixture
5) Season the fish on the outside and bake for around 10 minutes
6) Serve on bed of Tabboulleh with slice of lemon


• 2 cups fine bulgur
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 1 lemon juiced
• 3 tbsp tomato paste
• 2 tbsp hot red pepper paste (to taste)
• 2 cups boiling water
• 8-10 green onions
• 4-5 sprigs fresh mint
• 2 tomatoes
• 1 bunch of parsley, chopped
• 1 onion, minced
• 1 cucumber, chopped
• 1 red pepper, chopped
• salt, red pepper flakes

1) Add bulgur, olive oil, lemon juice, tomato paste, pepper paste, and salt to a large bowl.
2) Mix until the pastes are evenly distributed, then pour on hot water.
3) Let sit for 30-45 minutes until bulgur is soft
4) Add remaining ingredients, mix well and serve.

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