#TeamHaloodieFoodie joined up with the wonderful people at Halalgems.com to visit Hill Farm and sample some amazing prime Aberdeen Angus Beef!
Perfect Sunday Roast: From the talented Devine Delights
18 hour Smoked Brisket with www.halalgirlabouttown.com
Stoke Newington has a thriving Turkish community, and with its grand domed mosques, it’s coffee shops selling freshly baked Anatolian delicacies, and it’s traditional Turkish Hamaam tucked away in a side street, I sometimes feel as if I’ve been transported to Turkey itself.
I’ve been to Istanbul once before, and during the Autumn half term Team Haloodiefoodie decided to revisit the land where East meets West; the land of the Sultans and the Ottomans. Istanbul is a short 3.5 hour flight from London, so if you catch an early morning flight, you’ll still have plenty to explore on your first day.
The Sultan Ahmed area is the cultural heart of the city. It’s only a 30 minute taxi drive from Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, and has many hotels. I would suggest you stay in a 3-star hotel, which usually serves a simple but hearty Turkish style breakfast of cheese, sour cherry jam, honey, eggs and bread.
The hotels in Sultan Ahmed are within walking distance of the main Istanbul attractions: Topkapi Palace, Sultan Ahmed Camii (the Blue Mosque) and the Hagia Sophia.
I recommend getting a Muze Card for 85TL (£20), which gives you access to a range of attractions including Topkapi and Hagia Sophia. More information can be found here:
Topkapi Palace housed the Ottoman Sultan, his family and various service personnel. It is by far the most popular attraction with beautiful Ottoman Architecture and ornate furnishings. I recommend starting your tour of Istanbul here. I was in the ticket queue for 2 hours during my first visit!! This time, I avoided the queues by reaching the palace at 9am, and I was one of the first to purchase our Muze cards. Topkapi contains 4 main courtyards, various receiving rooms, and the Sultans private quarters. It also contained mosques, kitchens, the Treasury, bathing pools and a hospital!
The views overlooking the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus are breathtakingly beautiful!
The Palace also houses the Sacred Relics which include the cloak and Sword of Rasullah SAW, as well as other relics such as the Staff of Musa AS and the Turban of Yusuf (AS). No photography is allowed in the Sacred Relics section.
There’s so much to more see, you can easily spend a few hours in Topkapi, soaking up life in Ottoman Times!!!
Hagia Sofia was originally a Greek Orthodox cathedral with Byzantine architecture. It was converted into a Mosque and is now a museum. It has high domed ceilings, marble pillars and Mosaics depicting Jesus, the Virgin Mary, John the Baptist and other nobles.
The Blue Mosque is also in the same vicinity, I suggest you visit at a prayer time to hear the call to prayer echoing around the high domed ceilings. Stay after the prayer for the impressive recitation of the Imaam.
The sunset tour of the Bosphorus was another highlight of our trip. The most picturesque time to start the tour is about an hour before sunset. We boarded from Eminonu (A few stops on the tram from Sultan Ahmed). Eminonu is a busy transport hub, with ferries to the Asian Side of Istanbul and a bus station. (You can also take the 99A bus to Eyup Sultan from Eminonu).
Eminonu is very busy, with many sellers of Hamsi (Fried Anchovy Sandwiches). You can also buy freshly fried Lokma, (Turkish doughnuts).
The Mosque is built next to the grave of the famous companion of Rasullah Muhammed SAW
The Grand Bazaar is the perfect place for retail therapy. You can buy almost anything within its winding streets!!
The Spice Bazaar is where you can pick up all manner of spices, teas and the occasional love potion! You can get Urfa Pepper for your adana kebabs here! See my recipe for further details. http://haloodiefoodie.com/haloodiefoodies-adana-kebab-live/
The museum contains many ancient Quran manuscripts and relics of the Kabah
You are spoilt for places to eat in Istanbul, with all manner of cuisines available. We made a conscious effort to sample both the traditional and modern cuisine. Here are some of our highlights.
Situated near Sultan Ahmed’s tram stop is the famous Tarihi Sultan Ahmet Koftecisi which was established in 1920 and is, therefore one of the oldest Kofte houses in Istanbul.
These beef kebabs were cooked over charcoal, the lack of spice was substituted by the super succulent and unctuous kebabs!
I found out about Virginia Angus during my internet trawl for steak places in Istanbul. So after reading Isha prayer in Sulaymani Mosque, we walked through some narrow roads to finally get to the burger eatery. I was surprised to see what looked like takeaway from the EastEnd of London (no disrespect to the EastEnd!!). Nevertheless, the promised lure of Black Angus beef took us inside. As soon as I saw the aged meat on display, any doubts about the eatery soon disappeared. Virgina Angus is not your usual steak and burger joint, they farm their own Black Angus in the lush fields of Eastern Anatolia.
We ordered The Leave it to the Chef Platter, which started with thinly sliced subtly smoked beef. Served with soft and buttery bread rolls.
The burger and steaks were cooked over charcoal and were served medium, the steaks juicy and succulent. The french fries were a little underdone and lacked seasoning. The beef served on the platter wasn’t aged, although the quality of the black Angus beef was apparent.
As part of the platter we were also supplied with a cute mini Virginia burger, with smoked veal, double cheese and caramelised onions!! Totally luscious!!
After eating half of my the mini burger!! I just had to order another one!!
The Virginia burger came sliced in two, with grill marks on the inside of the patty! This patty was cooked rare and juicy. The smoked veal added a salty, smokiness to the juicy beef and the subtle sweetness of the caramelised onions came through in every bite. Mrs HF had a bite and commented that the patty texture was too rare for her liking. That was good news for me, as she concentrated her attention on the french fries while I enjoyed the burger!!
Cag Kebab is a horizontally rotating Lamb kebab cooked over a wood fire. The marinated lamb slices are stacked with layers of lamb tail fat, which help maintain the kebabs juiciness.
Kasab Osman is along the road from Sehzade. Established as a Butcher ‘Kasab’ in 1964, Kasab Osman opened as a restaurant in 1990. The doner kebab uses good quality lamb and is cooked over a wood fire! It’s nothing like the doner found in most takeaways in the UK, utilising lamb shoulder. Also try the amazing Iskinder Kebab here!!
Hafiz Mustafa is Istanbul’s premium dessert parlour. Established for over 150 years, Hafiz Mustafa serves a variety of Turkish sweets including Baklava, Kunefe, Turkish Delight, Creamy Rice puddings and all manner of sweet treats!
The quality of the Baklava was outstanding, and they don’t compromise on the quality (or quantity) of the nuts. The vividly green pistachio Baklava is a must.
If you prefer a more refined meal, then make your way across the Bosphorus to Chef Mehmet Gurs’ acclaimed Mikla Resturant. Situated on the rooftop floors of The Marmara Pera Hotel.
A modern take on Hamsi (Fried Anchovy Sandwiches) found in Eminonu. This was a creative dish which married the intense flavour of the anchovies, with the texture of crispy olive oil bread and the subtle coolness of the lemon dip. Very clever!!
Bonito served with Salicornia, Fennel, Sunchoke, Caper and Apple vinegar. The Bonito was firm and its taste was highlighted by the sharp vinegar dressing.
For my second course, I ordered the Pistachio crusted Grilled Lamb, served with Liver, Mushroom, bulgar and cornelian cherry. The presentation of the dish blew me away. The lamb was cooked medium rare, as requested, succulent and well seasoned. The pistachio crust gave the dish much need texture and the liver added a subtle earthiness.
Mrs Haloodiefoodie went for the fish dish as her second course. The monkfish was perfectly cooked and really meaty. The sauce with the red beans perfectly complimented the fish.
I wasn’t expecting this dessert to look so stunning, amazing colours and textures. I’m glad it tasted as good as it looked. The buffalo yoghurt was sweet and had a Khoya/Mava type of creamy smoothness. The sharp strawberry sorbet gave the contrasting freshness to the rich yoghurt. The fennel sauce added a hint of liquorice flavour to the dish.. I was a happy diner!!
The sharpness of the blackberry sorbet contrasted and cut through the richness of the bittersweet chocolate. This dessert was thoroughly enjoyed, and one of the best I’ve ever had.
The night ended with breathtaking 360° views of Istanbul from the Rooftop terrace!
I have uploaded some key places that we visited during our trip. I hope you find it useful!
We really enjoy our short trip to Istanbul. It’s the first time Mrs Haloodiefoodie has been away from all the children for an extended period of time! Don’t worry we have set a firm resolution to bring the Junior members of Team Haloodiefoodie to sample the cultural and culinary delights of this wonderful and unique city!
Prior to the Launch of Brioche Burger 2, Walthamstow. Team Haloodiefoodie spoke exclusively to Restaurateur Farhad Chowdhury and new head chef Florent Fabulas.
Haloodiefoodie Beyti Kebab and Grilled Onion Salad with Pomegranate Molasses dressing was recorded live for The Best Halal Burger Group on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/groups/halalburgers/
2 tablespoons Pomegranate Molasses
1 tablespoon Fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sumac
Salt to taste
The weather was really temperamental and the video quality suffered. The recipe for my Adana kebab can be found here:
I hope you enjoyed the recipe, please feel free to snapchat your wonderful cooking to Team Haloodiefoodie. Snapchat ID: Haloodiefoodie
Do you have problems cooking the perfect steak? Are your steaks always overcooked, dry and chewy!
I saw a article by Craig ‘Meathead’ Goldwyn about the afterburner method, which involves searing at super high temperatures (400°C+). Meathead’s Afterburner technique achieved a wonderfully caramelised crust, yet a super moist and juicy ‘pink’ centre. Additionally he only used a simple Charcoal Chimney Starter and a grate!
This technique can be used for steaks with thickness between 1-2cm. Salt your steak prior to searing, this allows the salt to dissolve into the meat improving the taste of the steak. Just before searing your steaks, brush a little oil onto your steaks, this will aid the Caramelisation process. Don’t add any seasoning including pepper, as you risk scorching the spices which will result in a bitter tasting steak.
Half fill the charcoal chimney starter and light the charcoal according to a the usual instructions. When the coal is covered with a white ash, you are ready to cook.
Place your grill grate on top of chimney starter, make sure that the grate sits on top of the chimney starter and there’s little or no risk the grate falling. I usually use my BBQ to house the chimney starter.
Place the steak on the grate directly on top of the chimney. You will be cooking for around 3-4 minutes whilst flipping every 30 seconds to get an even sear. Be careful the flames will rise around the steak, especially during the final parts of the searing process. Once you achieve a dark Caramelised crust remove from the grate and set aside for 2 mins before you eat.
The high temperatures allows the crust to develop at super sonic speed. The internal temperature doesn’t rise as fast, thus allowing a perfectly medium and juicy interior. Finally, I added a little herby garlic butter to complete the indulgence.
See my video demonstration below:
Steaks should be cooked to medium rare/medium. Many people of my cultural background may feel that the meat juices from a medium cooked piece of meat is filled with blood! The red liquid comes from the breakdown of the protein myoglobin which is found in muscle fibres.. it’s certainly not blood, cooked blood would become become congealed and have a dark complexion.
Many people would cook and cook their meat until there is no liquid left and the meat becomes grey, dry and chewy.
Why do you want to spend good money on a steak and then cook all the moisture out of your steaks? We then have the audacity to complain that beef is chewy!!
My advice is to cook your steaks to medium well.. around 65°C and slowly move (up!) to medium at just below 60°C. I cannot emphasise the use of a good quality digital thermometer such as a Thermo-pen from Thermoworks.
I hope you get to enjoy perfectly cooked steaks. Please feel free to forward pics of your amazing steaks and other cooking via our social media channels.
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During my recent visit to Turkey, we visited Antalya bazaar. The men of the household very quickly decided to make a strategic retreat and leave our wives to the insane bartering of the market. Whilst Mrs Haloodiefoodie happily spent our hard earned cash, my thoughts turned to the picture a friend posted of his KFC Triple Zinger Burger!
After making enquiries in the local shops, we were told the KFC could be found in Antalya’s newest shopping centre, MarkAntalya. Following the tram tracks, we made it through the various shopping districts, food, textiles, lighting, and eventually found the glass clad building.
As we entered MarkAntalya we were informed that KFC could be found on the top floor. Going up endless escalators we finally saw the Colonel smiling countenance from afar.. Unfortunately (for KFC) we got diverted by these rotating slabs of beef and our eyes popped out!!
We had inadvertently found Mark-et Premium Butchers who prepare dry and wet aged meats. Conveniently, Mark-et also has a modern chic restaurant attached. We could see glowing ambers of charcoal through the large viewing glass. Our grins exceeded that of Colonel Sanders, as we began to salivate over the thought of the premium aged beef cuts available.
After much deliberation we chose two 60 day aged T-Bone steaks and a huge 60 day aged Argentinian Steak and requested the beef to be cooked medium. The beef was cut off the bone, the hardened outer surface was trimmed, it was seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked on a red hot charcoal fired cast iron griddle all in front of our eager eyes!!
Whilst we were waiting the friendly waiting staff brought us an intriguing Beef Broth Palate cleanser served in shot glasses. Unusual yes, but it served to increase our anticipation of the impending meal. We could taste an undertone of the umami beefiness, which was subtle and thus perfect as a palate cleanser!
Our food arrived with roasted veg, spiced mash and other accompaniments. The T-Bone steaks had a deep crust with fantastic grill marks. They were cooked slightly more than requested to Medium well and so wasn’t as tender as we anticipated. Next time, I’ll request medium rare!! On the plus side the meat was seasoned correctly and had the intense savoury umami goodness associated with aged meat.
The Argentinian steak didn’t have a deep crust, but had wonderfully rendered fat especially due to the high level of intramuscular fat marbling which resulted in a unctuous and succulent piece of beef. This steak was also slightly overcooked although the high fat content made up for this. Personally, I felt the steaks lacked a sauce and would like to have had a deep full bodied beef jus or gravy served with the steaks to take the dish to another level.
Mark-et’s regional manager came to ask us about our dining experiences and was fascinated to learn that we were ‘foodie’ tourists from the UK as we explained our great difficulties sourcing good quality aged Beef. He promptly ordered free desserts on the house!
We were expecting a plate of Baklava. And we’re pleasantly surprised to see a traditional Turkish pumpkin dessert called ‘Kabak Tatlisi’ brought to the table. The candied pumpkin was served with tahini sauce and chopped walnuts.
The dessert was lighter and less sweet than I had expected and the tahini sauce and walnuts complimented the subtly sweet and soft texture of the pumpkin.
The steaks were 150TL/Kg (Approx £37.50/kg) cooked with all the accompaniments. Total cost excluding the complimentary desserts was around £50 for three carnivorous diners and young Master Haloodiefoodie! A very reasonably priced meal for the aged beef steaks on offer.
Overall, Mark-et is an unique dining experience. If you want to select cuts of aged beef and have them cooked all in one place, then look no further than the finger licking good beef at Mark-Et, Antalya.
http://www.mark-et.com.tr/ (website under construction)
Halal Status: Confirmed by owners. No alcohol is served at Mark-Et.
You’ll be a recluse if you don’t enjoy cooking over smouldering coals or a red hot gas grill.
The bane of cooking chicken al-fresco is that fact that we tend to over-cook our meat.
I’ve even heard…’If its not burnt, it not BBQ!!
Ok – so here are the typical challenges of a good BBQ:
BBQ chicken should be succulent and juicy. There should be no need to douse your chicken in all manner of sauces in an attempt to rehydrate!!
In this post I will aim to tackle both of these issues and show you method that my family has perfected over the years.
Introducing Beer Can Chicken… Er… OK before I get lynched on Social media… and Edward Snowden leaks my name and address on WikiLeaks… Lets re-brand…
Introducing ‘Ginger’ Beer Can chicken….
For 4 whole chickens, with skin. The chicken skins seals in the moisture and the meat remains juicy.
Blitz everything in a blender to reveal a bright, smooth orangey marinate.
-10 whole Chicken Wings with (I prefer them with the skin left on) – 1 teaspoon Garlic paste – 1 teaspoon Ginger paste – ½ teaspoon Chilli paste – ½ teaspoon Dried Red chillies – Salt and Pepper to taste – 1 large spoon Olive Oil After cleaning the wings. Make small incisions on wings and marinate for an hour or preferably overnight. Place in a oven tray and bake on gas mark 6 until 80% cooked. (around 45mins depending on the size of your wings).
Combine the following ingredients and bring to a boil. Then reduce for a few minutes, until you get the consistency of double cream. Ingredients: – ½ cup Tomato Ketchup – ½ cup water – ⅓ cup strong vinegar – ½Teaspoon Garlic paste – 1 Teaspoon Ginger paste – ½ Teaspoon Chilli paste – ½ teaspoon Dried Red chillies – 1 Teaspoon Chilli powder – 1 Teaspoon Smoked paprika powder -2 Teaspoon Dark Muscovado Sugar – 1 Teaspoon Runny honey – 1 Star anise (You could use Chinese Five Spice mix). -Splash of Good quality Soya Sauce (I use Kikkoman) -Salt and Pepper to taste
You may want to put under the grill to ensure even browning.
Garnish with freshly chopped Spring onions. Serve with freshly salted thick potato chips and a side salad.
Hot and Sweet wings on the BBQ
There is nothing more delightful than dining Al-fresco. These chicken wings serve as a moreish appetizer. The recipe is similar to the oven-baked version. if you are cooking over hot coals or over a gas grill. Ensure that the grill is at an optimum temperature (the coal has a white covering of ash). Cook the marinated wings until the juices run clear. Then simply brush a liberal coating of the glaze and cook on each side for a few minutes. Pleasedo not overcook the chicken, dry BBQ chicken is criminal! Asian cooks usually remove the skin from the chicken. However, the chicken skins seals in the moisture and the meat remains juicy.
These famous savoury appetizers are a stapleof Indian restaurants, but are notoriously difficult to replicate at home. I’ve experimented with different mixes and, through trial and error, have perfected a simple and effective method of producing batch after batch of piquant, melt in the mouth Sheekh Kebabs.
1. Finely chop the two onions and squeeze out the excess liquid using a muslin cloth.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and knead very thoroughly until the meat has the consistency of chappati/bread dough. You could use a food mixer with a dough hook to ensure an even mix.
4. Load the skewers with the kebab mix.
I use 8mm metal skewers in my tandoor, the kebab mix can stick to the 8mm sides easily and the kebabs are not too dense.
4b. Make a ball of kebab mix and poke through the end of the skewer until you reach approximately 10cm from the tip of the skewers.
4c. Squeezing with the tips of your fingers work your way down the skewer until you have an equal spread across the skewer. Make sure you leave space on the handle side of the skewer.
6. Once cooked, slide off the kebabs ensuring that the skewers are cleaned at the tip end this will allow for an easy removal of the sheekh kebab.