Introducing Turkey!

This is a (potentially brief) return to the ordinary format of this blog, so you ca expect recipes from Turkey this week, rather my pictures and reviews about visiting Turkey, which I do in about three weeks time.

Where is it?

Turkey, which straddles Europe and Asia, lies between the Black Sea, the Agean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. It has borders with Bulgaria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Georgia (that’s where I am atm!).

Facts and Figures

  • Population: 78,785,548
  • Ethinic groups: Turkish 70-75%, Kurdish 18%, other minorities 7-12%
  • Religions: Muslim 99.8% (mostly Sunni), other 0.2% (mostly Christians and Jews)
  • Languages: Turkish, Kurdish, others
  • Median Age: 28.5 years (That’s a lot younger than Australia, at 37, but a lot older than Afganistan, at 18)
  • Births per woman: 2.15
  • Life expectancy at Birth: 72.5
  • Gini Index (Fairness of wealth distributon): 39.7, which means it is less fair than Japan and India, but fairer than the USA or Venezuela
  • Unemployments: 12% total, 25% for youth
  • GDP per capita: $12, 300
  • Government: Parliamentary representative democracy.

Did you know?

The capital, Istanbul, is the only city in the world to span two continents.

Istanbul was at times the capital of the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Byzantine Empire and the Latin Empire, but it isn’t the capital of Turkey.

In the Noah myth, the ark landed at Mount Ararat, which is in Turkey.

The train line Orient Express terminated in Constantinople (now Istanbul).


While I have been told that eating out in Turkey is centered around meat and bread, home cooking seems to have quite a significant number of vegetable, rice and bean dishes, which I am keen to try. Among the dishes I want to have a crack at this week are:

Mezze (usually eaten with alcohol)

  • Stuffed Peppers
  • Stuffed cabbage leaves
  • The Imam Fainted (and eggplant dish)
  • Eggplant in olive oil


  • Red Lentil soup

I’m not making any others due to my lack of blending apparatus and dairy substitues.


  • Shepherd’s salad
  • White Bean Salad
  • Lentil and cabbage salad

Rice, grains

  • Various rice pilafs

Vegetable and Bean dishes

  • Raw Kofte
  • Chickpeas in tomato

I might try vegetable kofte, or a bean version of a meat kofte. I sadly can’t do any borek, baklava, or breads, as I can’t find yeast or pastry in Tbilisi.

Wish me luck!


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