OMG (Oh My Gözleme)
So here we go, the first of my reflective honeymoon posts. We began our 5 week adventure in Turkey, so that is where these posts shall commence.
While I appreciate and love my present, I always long to be lost in some exotic corner of the world, breathing foreign air, drinking in new cultures and discovering new dishes. If you're like me in this sense, I dearly hope for these posts to be a nice little escape for you, for your hungry traveler soul. And I hope you're inspired to plan future travels, as well as spontaneous cooking adventures. That would be nice.
Let's begin in Istanbul, Turkey.
The Saturday we arrived, Ben and I checked into our hotel, Med Cezir, just before 8am. The staff here were lovely, as was the room, however personally I’d favour staying around Beyoğlu, rather than Sultanahmet (which is where Med Cezir is located). Tip: while being in Sultanahmet is prime location for visiting many tourists sites, we preferred the somewhat less touristy area of Beyoğlu (plus it was close to all the good eats and bars). When we returned for the final night of our trip, we stayed in Beyoğlu.
Craving inspiration the morning we arrived in Istanbul, this gözleme satisfied. After a little time *cough* hours *cough* spent researching foodie destinations in Istanbul, I decided Ben and I simply had to catch a train to a local Saturday market to try gözleme (a thin, stuffed Turkish pancake). Luckily I have an equally minded husband who encourages such adventures for food.
And so, after checking in, we caught a train in search of Bakirköy market, where this article promised authentic gözleme. After wandering around searching for said market for a short while, we realised we were in fact in the wrong suburb (similar name).
A short cab ride fixed things and we found ourselves right in the middle of a clothing market – t-shirts, underwear, dresses, socks...many socks. Surely this wasn’t right? However tucked away behind rows of fluorescent tank tops and cheap strapless onesies we saw it, a little corner of joy...the sweet sight of hard-working Turkish ladies rolling out gözleme dough, and the heavenly sight of that blessed convex griddle cooking the beauties.
After a short and undoubtedly perplexed assessment, the chirpy stall owners jumped up off their stools and offered us a seat (at 9:30am it seemed we were the early first customers) and some tea.
Always tea in Turkey…always.
We chatted with the gözleme crew, who were delightfully fascinated with us. This gentleman communicated that he wished to travel back to Australia with Ben and I in our suitcase. Whenever we mentioned we were from Australia we received strong welcoming smiles and applause.
While our gözleme cooked we communicated with our new Turkish friends as best we could, discussing this culinary treat and watching as much of the process as we could. The ladies were more than happy for us to take pictures, playing up to the camera and telling us what to capture. They were genuinely warm and welcoming.
Waiting to go...
These ladies rolled their dough with effortless precision. Ben and I bypassed the potato option and ordered one spinach and one lamb gözleme. An eager portion of cheese was added, before stunningly fresh spinach was added to the first and then pre-prepared spiced mince to the other. The gözleme were then folded over and oiled - well oiled, my friends - before finishing up on the griddle.
And there you have it.
Deliriously thin dough with superbly fresh ingredients that were clearly and simply fabulous in their own right (that spinach!), all heated and oiled together (oiled, and then oiled some more)…It’s a beautiful thing.
Gözleme perfection, right there.
I’m yet to re-create this dish as, well, we’ve only been home for one week and surviving said week at work took all my mental and physical effort. But I will, oh I will make my own gözleme (possibly starting with this recipe). Although I can’t help but think if only we did bring the friendly gözleme gent home in our suitcase, we might be eating gözleme right now…