Gonul Paksoy's Turkish Delights

Artists and Designers Exhibitions Fashion Historical textiles Selvedge shows and workshops

In issue 64 we re-visit Turkey where Tristan Rutherford goes in search of genuine Kilims.  If you don't get as far as Konya in Anatolia there is plenty to see in Istanbul: including the exhibition of embroidered shoes at the Sadberk Hanim Museum. A must see on any textile enthusiast's itinerary is the Gönül Paksoy  store at Atiye Sokak Genç Apt. No.1/3-4, Nişantaşı, Istanbul T: +90 212 236 0209, Renowned fashion designer, artist and author, Gonul Paksoy takes a modern approach to her collection by dying and re-interpreting original Ottoman fabrics. She stocks couture garments in her shop, and on the opposite side of the street she has a second shop where she offers a more affordable ready-to-wear collection. As well as dresses and jackets she also offers   shoes, bags and jewellery. Initially inspired by the garments worn by Sufi dervishes, she gradually developed a style of her own. PastedGraphic-1 copyAs well as a textile designer Gonul is also an alchemist in the kitchen, regularly hosting dinners for up to 200.  In her latest  book, Çiçek Yemek/ Flavours & Flowers, she makes flowers the main ingredient of the food. She says: "I wanted the other ingredients to be in a delicate harmony with them, to create a different flavour, to add new tastes to those our palate could not forget. Like a symphony. Without trying to push the flowers aside. And that is what happened. The flowers stood at the fore and the food was tasteful. My aim in preparing this book was not to write a book of recipes, it was to write a book of designs of dishes containing flowers. Just a small heartfelt expression of thanks to flowers."
Here are a couple to whet your appetite.
[caption id="attachment_11628" align="alignright" width="299"]_DR50101 photography by Reyhan EkşiRed Rose Rosa[/caption] Red rose! The luckiest flower in the world. One cannot keep away from it in spite of its thorns. The symbol of love and affection. The source of inspiration to so many poets, so many writers, so many painters. There are so many stories about the love of the rose or its lovers. But the rose was in love with the nightingale only. As the poet said: ‘’A rose opens every day with its colour of blood, a nightingale sings every evening.’’ I am sure many people in the kitchen are also in love with it. Who knows what flavours have been created with this love? From now on, my favourite dessert will be ‘’Rice halva with red roses.’’ A fantastic flavor. Rice Halva With Red Roses 80g rice flour ½ almond flour 25g butter 1 teaspoon olive oil 5 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon rose water 1 glass water Red roses as required       Put the butter and olive oil in a frying pan and add rice flour when they melt. Saute carefully over moderate heat. Add the almond flour and sauté for one more minute. Slowly add the water, mix in the sugar. Add the rose water when the sugar has melted and remove from range. Cover and leave to rest 20 minutes. Place a teaspoon of the dessert on a rose petals and squeeze with your fingers to give it a shape. Serve lukewarm.   [caption id="attachment_11629" align="alignright" width="299"]_DR50141 photography by Reyhan Ekşi Red Rose Rosa[/caption] Madonna Lily: Lilium Candidum The whitest, the most perfumed, the most elegant of all the lilies. It symbolizes innocence, purity. There is an amusing anecdote on the lily. It is about using white lilies to hold lamb chops at a dinner party. A very special dinner party, for only two guests. It is a flower that has been growing naturally for long years in most regions of Turkey. It is the only plant the bulbs of which are exported legally from Turkey. White jam is mentioned in sources on Turkish cuisine. Apart from jam or syrup, try also lemonade with white lilies. Pudding with Madonna Lily 5 tablespoons rice flour ½ l milk 600g sugar 1 box labne 1 teaspoon poppy seeds 1 teaspoon lemon juice 3 glasses water 25 madonna lilies         Separate the lily petals, put them in a container. Add half a kilogram of sugar and keep them in the refrigerator for  2 days. Boil the water. Add the lilies and the sugar and cook over moderate heat until the lilies soften and become translucent. Add the lemon juice and bring to the boil again, turn the heat off and keep in a glass container when cold. Mix the rice flour and the milk, cook over moderate heat stirring until the mixture acquires the consistency of a pudding. Add 5 tablespoons of sugar, remove from the range when the sugar melts. Add first the poppy seeds, then 2 tablespoons of lily jam and then the cream cheese. Transfer to any container of your choice. Add a little more lily jam when cold and serve.    

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