Warm Cumin-roasted Squash, Wild Rice and Black Bean Salad with Cranberries

After a somewhat tumultuous couple of weeks preparing to close my beautiful little restaurant at Spark: York, I am back in my kitchen pondering the attraction of salads in the autumn when many are reaching out for carb-heavy cheesy comfort. Here’s the thing, I believe that, if you stay nutritionally focused, warm salads such as…

A’isha’s Lemony Hummus with Cumin and Oregano

We sat under a pomegranate tree for shade. Our table was dappled with the shapes of leaves and ripening fruit as the sun played with the gentle breeze to create moving patterns that could never be captured. Laid across its white cloth were several large hand-painted plates and bowls within which vibrant food beckoned invitingly;…

Spiced Labneh and Roasted Tomato Tartine

Yoghurt is one of the most important components of the modern Mediterranean diet and there is rarely a table where it isn’t featured in some form or other; as part of a main dish, as a dip mixed with chopped herbs, in a dessert or even as a drink. On Mondays, our evening meal often consists of various…

Florentin Roast Garlic Hummus

‘Garlic is divine. Few food items can taste so many distinct ways, handled correctly. Misuse of garlic is a crime. Old garlic, burnt garlic, garlic cut too long ago and garlic that has been tragically smashed through one of those abominations – the garlic press – are all disgusting. Please treat your garlic with respect….

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 great quality Greek yoghurt getting it on with little cubes of crunchy cucumber, lots of finely chopped garlic, briny sea salt, a glug of grassy Kalamata olive oil, a generous…

Sicilian Peperonata with Lemon-infused Labneh

A lovingly nurtured peperonata – a classic Italian stew of red and yellow peppers, onions and plum tomatoes – is not only a thing of beauty, it’s incredibly versatile. I use it as a salad in the summer; a warming stew in the winter; as a topping on a crispy pizza or bruschetta; stirred into…

Israeli Slow Roasted Beetroot, Lemon and Mint Hummus

Beetroot is one of my all time favourite vegetables and I just can’t get enough of its earthy sweetness. Sure, it’s messy to prepare but don’t let that put you off. As you will probably know, hummus – a thick paste made from ground chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon and garlic – originally came from the Middle…

Lebanese Batata Harra, Turmeric Spiced Potato Salad

Across the eastern Mediterranean – and, indeed, the whole of the Middle East – vegetable-based dishes are as much revered as any that may contain meat or fish. They are the heroes of mezze-based feasts; they are stuffed, they are stewed, deep-fried, sautéed and steamed. Above all, they are always in season and often purchased on…