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Gozleme

Yesterday, I decided to make a trip out to Stoke Newington in North London, quite far away from my Central London home but known to have one of the best South Indian restaurants in the city. Coming from my part of town with Starbucks and Pret A Manger at every corner, the quaint and charming Stoke Newington blew me away. Tiny stores selling toys and mugs and pottery and not a single chain store in sight. I didn't know places like this still existed. The restaurant alas, was a lot less impressive and when I left, the bland food was still half uneaten, I still a little hungry.

Then I remembered a sign I'd seen from the bus on the way. Right opposite Newington Green, a tiny hole in the wall promising gozleme. I first heard of gozleme on Masterchef Australia last year when a Turkish contestant made them. I've been intrigued by this filled flat bread ever since but this was the first time I've seen it being advertised in an actual store.

So I got off the bus at the right stop and entered this little patisserie called Basak. They had shelves of cakes and desserts on display and right at the shop entrance, a woman sat rolling dough into pastry so thin and into a circle so big it was fascinating. She then put some fresh spinach and some feta cheese on one half of the pastry and folded the other half over to make a semi-circle. On to the hot pan, where the gozleme cooked until golden on both sides, getting brushed with either oil or butter on the way.

Basak Patisserie is a takeaway but that shouldn't bother you because you can take your gozleme and sit in the park right opposite. I found myself a bench and bit into the very hot pastry. It then gave way to fresh spinach and then I discovered there were other flavours too. I spotted onions first and then some chilli. The whole package was like a stuffed parantha but so much different with a plain flour pastry rolled real thin and cooked out so crisp.

It was nothing fancy but out in a cold day, on the park bench, the gozleme somehow became the most sublime food experience I've had in a long time.

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