On Monday afternoon, I had booked into a cookery class run by a Dutch chef called Eveline Zoutendijk at “Cooking Alaturka” and spent a very enjoyable four hours with a veritable mix of nationalities – Russian, Spanish, Canadian & Alaskan. We prepared five different dishes: red lentil soup, courgette pancakes, stuffed aubergines, stuffed vine leaves and some little syrupy biscuits (I’d give you the proper names but the recipe sheets are already in the mail back to England! Flat parsley, dill and mint were the herb mixtures du jour. Watch out for these dishes in West London next year…). Everyone got stuck in with the chopping and mixing and our Russian friends looked particularly happy with the very large mezzaluna knife. At the end, we all ate the meal together with some wine and were quite amused to see that the results of our labour was the set menu for the other restaurant guests for the evening! No wonder Eveline and very humorous Feyzi were so particular about the details and presentation.
Later that evening, the great luggage purge occurred and the following morning a 3,5kg package was wending its way to Marie-Helene by ship – it could take some time. I found the camping shops of Istanbul in Karakoy and acquired a more modestly sized (but still warm) sleeping bag and a more suitable daypack – the same size but a lot more accessible (thanks to the man at Ellis Brigham for selling me the unsuitable, essentially snowboarding daypack). The nice man at the Post Office “Kargo” office found a suitable box for my stuff and then wrapped it all up very expertly. I feel lighter just thinking about it.
Snow hit Istanbul in a windy kind of way and much of the rest of my time was spent between Mosques and museums with plenty of tea / Turkish coffee stops to avoid the chill.