Turkish-style eggs: menemen

menemenCats laze on empty chairs, stylish 50s furniture populates the spacious room and plants faintly swing to the chilled jazz music that floats through the air. This is one cool-cat cafe.

Just two blocks away, police fire water-canons into a peaceful but determined crowd; for now they are giving tear gas a rest. One block away police are lolling on the footpath with their riot gear at their sides, waiting to be called back in. If I hadn’t have just walked past it, I wouldn’t have believed that chaos hummed mere metres away.

Iistanbul catt’s June 2013 and I’m in Istanbul. In the bohemian and delightful Beyoglu area to be specific, which is filled with antique stores, galleries, stylish cafes and currently an array of people who are moving in and out of the protests in Taksim Square above. The bristling excitement of the square is lessened here, but you can feel something momentous is happening, something that is being portrayed by the government as terrorism, but from what I can see is a people unifying in peace to say, ‘we’ve had enough’.

Istanbul menemen

My first viewing of menemen

Why is this relevant? Because looks can be deceiving. I am in a place that’s being judged as violent and dangerous to outsiders, but I know it isn’t. I am about to order a meal and judge it to be disgusting and it’s not. (Something many people fall victim to when they travel.)

Back to the cafe. It’s gorgeous – and gives Melbourne a run for its money for its unassuming coolness. I’m writing in my journal and my friend Bea is drawing her spectacular drawings. I order what I think is baked eggs and I’m a little surprised by what arrives. Actually, my first thought was: have the cats I see in every corner just regurgitated on the plate? Oh yes, I’m all class.

But I’m hungry, so I close my eyes and have a taste.


raw ingredients


I’ve been waiting until tomatoes came into season to make this recipe. They’ve been late this year due to Melbourne’s erratic weather, but they are very much worth the wait.cook the onion

I’m not sure if this recipe could be made vegan – silken tofu may work but more seasoning would be needed: paprika, chilli flakes, up the oregano. Without the eggs it would make a simple but tasty addition to baked or roasted potatoes, a light pasta sauce or a topping for bruschetta (with the tomatoes just heated rather than cooked for long).

100ml olive oiladd the capsicum
½ small onion
2 green capsicums (peppers)
2 large, ripe tomatoes
4 eggs
sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to tastecook 'til soft
1 tsp dried oregano

  • Beat the eggs with a fork and season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat the oil in a fry pan and add the onions and oregano, cooking for two minutes.
  • Add the capsicum and cook for five minutes, making sure they don’t brown.
  • Add the tomato and a pinch of salt and cook until the vegetables are soft and the liquid has mostly evaporated.stir in the eggs
  • Add the eggs and quickly stir through, making sure you keep the eggs moving so they don’t cook solid.
  • You can either stir them a few times and remove (the eggs will be quite soft) or cook for a minute or two, stirring continuously until you are happy with the texture.
  • Serve with crusty bread and don’t be put off by how it looks!






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