Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Since living in Istanbul for three years, I’ve enjoyed cooking Turkish food usually once or twice a week at latest home in London.


Sometimes, I need to find some special ingredients or Turkish products that I enjoy using such as Turkish olive oil, beyaz peynir, pomegranate molasses, spices etc. Fortunately, we actually do have two small Turkish markets in our neighborhood of Battersea where we live. One of the owners even proudly displays a Turkish flag in his small shop.


But awhile back, I decided to venture out to a special Turkish market called Cheam Arena, located in North Cheam, about an hour south of where we live by bike. This store also is close to the London neighborhoods of Morden, Kingston and Epsom. My Turkish friend, Ozlem of Ozlem’s Turkish Table, had recommended going to Cheam Arena. But if you don’t live in this area and don’t own a car, then it’s not so easy to reach.

Store front of Cheam Arena in London
Bodrum brand Turkish products

But during the past year of the pandemic, I’ve biked my way around a lot of places in London, so I loaded up my bike with my paniers and went shopping. The first thing I noticed when I arrived at Cheam is that a lot of the produce was a bit cheaper than my part of London. For example, lemons cost 5 for 1 pound in Cheam vs 2 for 1 pound in Zone 2 London. The only way I can buy cheaper lemons or any produce is the Saturday street market on Battersea High Street.


lemons and limes

But Cheam Arena also sold special produce like sivri biber and dolma biber (great for stuffing), which I don’t often see in more central London.

Turkish sivri and red peppers

The lovely produce alone is enough to make the trek down here.


But inside the store, there are tons of other Turkish products that I like such as sucuk, cheeses, less expensive pine nuts and pistachios and olive oil (1 litre for 6 pounds). I also couldn’t resist the freshly baked baklava section and the tubs of olives. Yum!

By the time, I left the store, my backpack was stuffed and so were my paniers. My bike definitely weighed more going back home. I mean, check out my amazing haul!

 Turkish products in London
With all these delicious ingredients, I couldn’t resist putting together a favorite Turkish recipe: 

Ozlem’s Lamb kebabs with pistachios. I served the kebabs with some roasted vegetables and a Turkish-style tomato-herbed salad. If you can find inexpensive, preshelled pistachios, then the recipe comes together more easily.

Turkish pistachio kebabs

Afiyet olsun!