For this menu, we walk through the vibrant markets of the Levant where you will find a rich abundance laid out for you to savour: hemp sacks overflowing with an astonishing variety of dried fruit and nuts; mountains of seasonal fruit, vegetables and herbs; tiny kiosks housing spice masters and bakers selling warm pastries and halva; barrels of mature white cheeses garnished with herbs; nuts, seeds and colourful spices all piled high and literally zinging with colour, flavour and aroma; street hawkers, florists, fishermen and precious boxes of jewel coloured sweet treats decorated with pistachios, almonds and dried rose petals. As always, this menu features the very best in quality Mediterranean products personally selected by Zoi, the founder Raphael’s Mediterranean Deli Products as well as expertly paired wines from Ben, Director of Novel Wines, one the UK’s most exciting wine retailers specialising in the truly unique and wonderful. Share the load and invite your friends to cook along with you to create beautiful communal tables in the garden this summer. Recall your own adventures and weave new stories into those that inspired this beautiful celebration of the rich culinary history of an extraordinary region.
The Main Event
Elena’s Greek spanakopita featuring baby spinach leaves, peppery rocket, barrel-aged feta, Cypriot anari cheese, mint, dill, lemon zest and freshly grated nutmeg all encased in crispy filo pastry served with amba sauce, a dizzying mix of Alphonso mangoes, lime, lemon and spices
Greek roasted red peppers with cannellini beans, beluga lentils, Kalamata olives and freshly made basil oil
Greek island tzatziki with garlic, lashings of garlic, dill and mint
Aleppo muhammara, a spicy red pepper and roasted walnut dip with an Egyptian toasted hazelnut, almond and thyme dukkah
Kadiköy market dried apricots, golden sultanas, almonds, pistachios, walnuts and pine kernels soaked in apricot leather juice and orange blossom water served with a rosewater cream and garnished with rose petals and fresh mint leaves
For the main course’s medley of flavours, Ben has chosen the Lebanese wine Chateau Oumsiyat Cuvee Memliarus Assyrtico 2018. He says: “This wine is bursting with citrus alongside hints of spice and a juicy, mineral finish. It has plenty of zing to charm the spanakopita, without compromising on body and mouthfeel, key when you have such a quality olive oil in the dish.” Winemaker Joseph Bou Sleiman is behind Oumsiyat and oversees their 78 hectare estate, situated 1,000m above se level in Lebanon’s stunning Beqaa Valley. Nestled between Mt Lebanon and the Anti-Lebanon mountains, Sleiman’s planting of the Greek grape variety Assyrtico is a first for the valley and gives a distinctly different style of wine. Expect white peach, passion fruit, melon and grapefruit, alongside floral and citrusy aromas. Vegan-friendly, 13.0% abv, £11.79 Novel Wines
For the dessert, Ben recommends Benvenuti Corona Grande 2015, a sweet wine from Istria in northern Croatia that blends together the Ulovina, Malvasia and Muscat grape varieties. This wine takes its name from the single vineyard in which it’s grown, Corona Grande, situated 350m above sea level with its own microclimate of light winds and long sunshine hours. The Malvasija Istriana grape dominates, giving apricot and peachy notes over acacia honey, while Ulovina and Muscat add blossom, orange and raisin aromas. Ageing in wood, which the winemaker does lightly, adds complexity with hints of cinnamon, clove and barley sugar. Ben says: “I picked this wine to complement the fruit and nut notes in Kiki’s dessert, but its acidity is what makes it special, adding freshness and ensuring it doesn’t overpower the more delicate rose and mint notes in the dish.” This nectar is vegetarian friendly. 14.5% abv, £26.99 Novel Wines
Raphael’s Mediterranean Deli
Through the course of my culinary journey, I have spent a huge amount of time travelling and carefully researching authentic recipes from across the Mediterranean and demand very high standards when it comes to choosing ingredients. This is what regular guests of my Supper Club expect of me and I wouldn’t dream of offering them anything less. For this reason, I have chosen to partner with Raphael’s Mediterranean Deli Products who provide a range of products from their award-winning olive oil through succulent olives, the most beautiful organic herbs and sweet Greek honey. Details of the products that feature in this menu’s recipes are included with links designed to enable you to go on your own journey with them.