Friday, December 05, 2008


My many visits to Ankara between 1989 and 2003-ish are filled with good memories - of the many wonderful people I worked with; of the fascinating excursions I made to see the cultural, historical and geographical wonders of Turkey; of the endless fascination of trying to learn Turkish; and, I won't say above all, but at least not least, of the delicious variety of food I ate and wine I drank.
Ankara reminds me of Madrid in one respect - they are both as far from the sea as they can be, and yet they both have a reputation for excellent fish restaurants, with fish brought in daily from the coast.
Iskele, Deniz Yildizi and Yakamoz - memorable fish restaurants; only wish I could remember the names of all the dishes and fishes I sampled over the years.
But one I do remember:- a dish called hamsi, although it was a long time before I knew what hamsi were.

This note is prompted by a marvellous discovery I made today while doing my weekly shopping at Tesco's in Ely: they now stock hamsi in their delicatessen section! Except that, of course, they call them anchovies. I bought a portion and am now having great difficulty in refraining from eating them all in one go.

Many years ago, one of my teachers, about 30 years old said "I sometimes think that the pleasures of the table are preferable to the pleasures of the bedroom", and I thought, what a pillock. But as I approach my seventy-third year to Heaven, I have to say it will take an incredibly buxom woman on an incredibly shiny tractor to lure me away from my dish of Tesco's hamsi.

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