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…

Lebanese Slaw with Mint, Oranges and Pomegranate Molasses

This gorgeous autumnal salad is one of those versatile recipes that has it all – sweet and sour flavours, texture and a fresh herby zing. It’s perfect on its own, as part of a mezze table, piled atop a bowl of creamy hummus or served as part of a sabich open sandwich (pictured above) or with a vegetarian Greek souvlaki.  Ingredients 2 large carrots, unpeeled…

Lebanese Lemon-infused Labneh with Zhoug

Labneh is a beautiful soft cheese made from strained yoghurt that can be eaten with pretty much everything but is especially good alongside rich and spicy mezzes and falafel. The good news is that it’s dead easy to make. All you have to be mindful of is the quality of the yoghurt you use so don’t be tempted…

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…

Spanish Paprika-baked White Beans with a Sourdough and Manchego Cheese Crust

Here’s another recipe inspired by the cooler evenings. This is a simply delightful dish served alongside a salad of crisp romaine leaves adoringly dressed with a zesty lemon vinaigrette. This is wonderful served alongside my Arabic-inspired roasted peppers (use the winter adaptation under the main recipe). Ingredients 1 red onion, finely chopped A splash of extra-virgin olive oil 1 large…

Greek Island Feta and Tomato Saganaki

Last week, it was so hot I could barely face going into the kitchen let alone cooking in it so our evening meals had to be supper simple and quick to make such as this Greek feta and tomato saganaki (a term used to describe a variety of small dishes made in a frying pan) finished with a roasted…

Amirim Kasundi, a Spicy Tomato Chutney

This is my take on a traditional Bengali condiment known as ‘kasundi’ which I first tasted in a tiny vegetarian village in Israel called Amirim, a special place in the world quietly positioned in the mountains high above the wondrous Sea of Galilee. Here, one can vanish from the pressures of daily western life (leave…

Shuk Ha’Carmel Pea and Mint Falafel with Tahini and Lemon Sauce

“Wait. You’re telling me that you have never – NEVER! – eaten falafel?” he exclaimed, narrowly missing the turning onto Boulevard Rothchild as we made our way to dinner one impossibly hot and humid evening in downtown Tel Aviv. “No!” I replied, “I have never – NEVER! – eaten falafel!“. He looked at me with that…

Lokanta Mercimek Çorbası (Red Lentil and Bulgar Wheat Soup)

‘Hüzün, which denotes a melancholy that is communal rather than private. Offering no clarity, veiling reality instead, hüzün brings us comfort, softening the view like the condensation on a window when a teakettle has been spouting steam on a winter’s day. Steamed-up windows make me feel hüzün, and I still love getting up and walking…

Leyla’s Lyutenitsa (Spicy Red Pepper and Tomato Spread)

Leyla is a beauty and one of the most nurturing and interesting women I have ever met. She lives in a huge Bohemian apartment on the top of a quietly crumbling building with views of the Bosphorus and the Dolmabahçe mosque beneath. Books – and there are hundreds of them – are piled high upon ornate…