I have been back from my holidays for just under 2 weeks, yet it feels like I have been back for much longer. Unsurprising really, given that in the short time since flying back from Italy I have spent a couple of days in Zurich at a work conference, danced my socks off till the early morning hours after seeing two friends get married in Copenhagen and been on an overnight trip to London for a meeting.
And this weekend I am travelling again – this time back home to Germany to celebrate my grandma’s 94th birthday. While I am certainly in need of a little downtime to shake off that first bout of flu that I seem to have caught, thankfully, sleeping in my own bed in my parents’ house and waking up to the sound of my dad grinding the coffee beans for the first of many espressos that day, is one of the most relaxing ways to spend a weekend.
Before I pack my bags for this weekend, I wanted to just say hi and talk about this Turkish Delight. Until my first trip to Turkey with Alessandro about 6 years ago, I thought Turkish Delight only came in a lurid shade of pink and a flavour reminiscent of hotel soap bars (I blame Cadbury’s Turkish Delight filled chocolate bars for that misunderstanding). Once in Istanbul, I quickly learned that Turkish Delight comes in a myriad of colours, shapes and delicious flavours.
In Istanbul we tried bright pink cubes of pomegranate Turkish Delight studded with pistachios and rolled in crushed rose petals, chocolate-filled rolls of a white type of Turkish Delight that reminded me of soft Italian Torrone, and tiny cubes of Turkish Delight, the colour of the rainbow, flavoured with orange or rose blossom water or mastic and dusted with a mix of icing sugar and starch. The flavours of these little morsels were delicate and well-balanced. Their consistency a far cry from the tough and gelatinous versions of Turkish Delight I had tried before – here, the sweets were softer and had quite a bit of give (while at the same time being unmistakably chewy). Sweet, yet not overwhelmingly so.
While you can find Turkish Delight outside of Turkey with ease, it is not always easy to find real Turkish Delight (rather than the brightly coloured gelatine-set cubes full of artificial flavouring and artificial colouring often sold under its name). However, you can make the real deal at home. I will be honest, making Turkish Delight is a labour of love as it requires one’s undivided attention at the stove to stir the mixture for the better part of an hour. Yet, the recipe itself is simple enough (provided you correctly follow the various steps) and requires only a handful of ingredients, most of which you will likely already stock in your pantry. Besides, one batch will yield enough Turkish Delight to feed a small army and Turkish Delight keeps rather well – enough for me to make up for the somewhat lengthy preparation.
I shared my recipe for Pistachio and Orange Blossom Turkish Delight as part of Food52’s Small Batch Column – you can find the recipe here.
Before I forget, if you recently picked up a copy o the UK’s Guardian newspaper on a Saturday, you might have come across another recipe of mine. As part of their reader recipe series, I sent in a recipe for pears poached in chamomile with goat’s cheese yoghurt and shortbread fingers. If those pears sound familiar, you are right – I first made the poached pears to serve alongside a Kamut cake. I have since discovered how wonderful these delicately flavoured pears taste alongside some thick yoghurt and something crunchy like shortbread fingers or oatmeal cookies. Here is a link to the recipe.