Monthly Archives: September 2016

Yashim Steps Out

I’m told that tickets for my first Yashim Cooks Istanbul gig have sold out, which has to be good news. Although I remember being told the same thing by the nice people at Faber at the launch party for The Janissary Tree, and wondering if publishers lived on the same planet as the rest of us.

Picture the scene: I assemble a hundred or so of my closest friends and relations, along with the great and the good of Fleet Street, Grub Street and the BBC, hire splendid Georgian rooms in Fitzroy Square, lay on everlasting fizz, engage professional belly dancers, no less – and half an hour into the jamboree the publishers come up smiling and rubbing their hands to tell me ‘We’ve sold out of books! Congratulations!’

Sold out! Jolly well done!

Sold out! Jolly well done!

Anyway, no more tickets for November 12th at the Bridport Literary Festival: but we have other things planned for later, elsewhere.

If anyone wants to pre-order Yashim Cooks Istanbul, you can get signed copies here, free of postage. Also you can pre-order them on Amazon in the UK for £19.99, although they won’t be signed. I expect in the US will offer something similar very soon. Yashim Cooks Istanbul makes a really good present, with a whiff of Ottoman spice.

Many of you have asked when Yashim will emerge from his retirement and engage in a new adventure. Well, he has one rather short adventure chronicled in a collection of stories entitled SUNSHINE NOIR, all mystery stories by crime writers who eschew the frigid wastes of Scandinavia in favour of southerly heat and sweat (not but that it usually snows in Istanbul, but we will let that pass). My story is called Chronos and Kairos, about an occasion when Yashim borrowed a watch. Some of you may remember young Compston, of the British Embassy in Istanbul, bleating about his father’s Hunter in An Evil Eye: it’s that watch. Different occasion.


Print editions are on their way, apparently, but if you use Kindle then it’s available there already.

Yashim’s cookbook available to pre-order!

“What is there not to like about a detective who enjoys cooking as much as he enjoys eating?” The Financial Times
Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 14.12.15
“Crammed with mouth-watering descriptions of creamy pilafs and delicate meze.” The Washington Post


Readers of the Yashim mysteries, set in Istanbul, like the way Yashim cooks and they’ve been calling for these recipes. Yashim Cooks Istanbul is designed to work in the kitchen, but it’s also a feast of a hardback, crammed with glimpses into the gorgeous world of 19th century Istanbul – costume, street scenes, some really early photographs – and cooking scenes from the Yashim books.


There are more than seventy five delicious and original recipes. They aren’t complex and they don’t need to you to go out and find wildly exotic ingredients. Turkish food isn’t like that – it’s more about simple spices, vegetable dishes, pilafs. There are recipes for lamb and fish, lots of salads, and little meze for snacks or starters. In Istanbul, it’s all about freshness and produce in season. Sometimes the simplest things are the most delicious.


More than one hundred Yashim fans generously volunteered as testers, trying out the recipes from Albania to Pakistan. Their feedback was fantastic, meaning that while the recipes are firmly rooted in the soil of the eastern Mediterranean – with a brief foray to the Veneto, and another into the grasslands of Poland – they have been cooked and approved all around the world!


Yashim Cooks Istanbul is divided into five chapters, each one built around a book in the Yashim series, and announced by a Yashim-era map of Istanbul, just to put you in the picture. We have soups, meat dishes, stuffed dishes, fish, vegetable (and vegetarian) dishes, and puddings, with measures in US style and metric. Everything the hungry cook needs to make a proper Ottoman feast…

There are all sorts of easy, traditional recipes in the book – simple and delicious family dishes like Greek fisherman’s stew, pumpkin soup or aubergine chicken wraps, alongside more unusual recipes like stuffed mackerel, hazelnut and lemon pilaf, or fish poached in paper.


I hope you’ll read the cookbook, enjoying the scents and tastes of old Istanbul conjured up by the short extracts from the novels, and use it to create Ottoman feasts, an everyday supper, or even a delicious picnic!


 To pre-order a signed copy, visit The price includes postage, and books will be dispatched in mid-October.