Hidden within the narrow streets of Yafo – Jaffa – in Israel is a tiny family-run restaurant. It’s one of those places where the patina of time makes its presence felt. Where, as you pull out a chair, it’s impossible not to think of all those who sat there before. Where the animated chatter from the brightly lit kitchen echoes around the room as the birds chirrup upon the crumbling window sills as they happily wait for a rare crumb or two. The breeze slides in through the open door, a blessed relief from the brutal the mid-summer heat. Here the food is simple, nutritious and unpretentious. This salad is one of my winter favourites; its robust and earthy flavours are perfect against the backdrop of citrus and zingy feta cheese.
200g bulgur wheat
A generous handful of pumpkin seeds
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
4 beetroots, scrubbed and cut into wedges
Extra-virgin olive oil
30g fresh basil, leaves picked
2 clementines, segmented
1 orange, zested and juiced
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground mixed peppercorns
100g pack of wild rocket
100-200g feta, crumbled
Fresh chives, for garnishing
How I make it
Heat an oven to 200C.
Make the bulgur wheat according to the instructions on the packet. Drain and set aside.
Spread out the pumpkin seeds on a baking tray and roast in the oven for five minutes until they start to change colour. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Place the prepared sweet potato and beets in a bowl, toss with 2tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes until they’re soft. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Finely slice the basil leaves and add to the juice and zest of the orange and 3tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil. Pour the mixture over the cooled bulgar wheat, gently combine and season to perfection.
Mix all the remaining ingredients together and add to the bulgar wheat. Snip in some fresh chives and serve at room temperature.