Aya Yorgi Fasulye Piyaz, Turkish White Bean Salad with Tomatoes and Herbs

An early morning walk through the dusty streets of Istanbul down to the banks of the Bosphorus, a long and choppy crossing over the Sea of Marmara, a death-defying ride on a horse-pulled phaeton (there are no cars on Büyükada, the largest of the Princes Islands, just mad horsemen) followed by a hot and steamy mile-long climb…

Greek Island Tzatziki with Dill and Mint

Originating from the Ottoman Empire, this is my version of the popular Greek dish, tzatziki (known as cacık in Turkey). It’s simply a bowl of authentic Greek yoghurt getting it on with little cubes of crunchy cucumber, lots of finely chopped garlic, briny sea salt, a generous glug of grassy Kalamata olive oil, an audacious…

Greek Kritharaki with Feta, Tomatoes, Olives and Wild Oregano

‘Each day had a tranquility a timelessness about it so that you wished it would never end. But then the dark skin of the night would peel off and there would be a fresh day waiting for us glossy and colourful as a child’s transfer and with the same tinge of unreality’ – Gerald Durrell. I…

Souk el Tayeb Freekeh, Borlotti Bean and Pomegranate Salad

The vibrant and colourful Souk el Tayeb – literally translated as ‘the good market‘ – in central Beirut is famed for the way it showcases the produce of local farmers and the very best of Lebanon’s organic ingredients; it’s literally a deep dive into the rich and inspiring culinary traditions of the Middle East. The peoples of Lebanon…

Valencian Saffron Rice with Asparagus, Orange and Carne de Ñora

Since the beginning of the 19th century Valencia has been a major grower and trader of oranges largely down to the fact that the long daylight hours of brilliant sunshine combined with mild winter temperatures produce the perfect balance of sweet and tart flavours. Oranges were originally introduced to the city by the Moors in…

Pera Garlicky Spinach with Yoghurt and Biber Salçası

After a dark and stormy day we literally fell through the doorway of Asmalı Cavit, a treasured wooden-fronted traditional meyhane in the centre of Pera in Istanbul. Here, the walls are lined with photographic portraits of people from a more glamorous age alongside vintage posters promoting wine, long forgotten theatre productions and the seaside resorts…