Cadouin Tarte Paysanne

Throughout our lifetimes, we occasionally stumble upon experiences that change the way that we think about food. It could be beachside shack serving up the freshest of grilled fish, or a market stall in an exotic bazaar that fills our eyes with wonder and awe; it could be fine dining by an open fire in…

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…

Turkish Yoghurt with Mint, Pul Biber & Lemon Zest

Yoghurt is one of the most important components of the modern Turkish diet and, certainly in my experience, there is rarely a table where it isn’t featured in some form or other; as part of a main dish, or as a dip mixed with a copious amount of chopped herbs, in a dessert or even…

Acre Amba Sauce

Amba sauce. When I think about it, I feel utter love because it’s such a beautiful thing. If Amba were a man, I would run away with him. My first experience of this Iraqi sweet and sour mango condiment was as I sat on the harbour wall in the Crusader town of Acre north of Haifa in Israel….

Jerez Caramelised Shallot Tarte Tatin with Oloroso Sherry

It may seem crazy talking about Easter as we quietly start the dance with autumn but we’ve just returned from Italy and all I had in my kitchen was a pack of frozen puff pastry, some slightly bedraggled banana shallots and a half a bottle of Oloroso, the sweet robust fortified wine of Jerez de…

Turkish Ezme Salad

Eager to shake off the cold of an early spring evening, we literally fell through the doorway of Asmalı Cavit, a treasured wooden-fronted traditional meyhane (tavern) in the centre of Pera in Istanbul. Here, the raki flows like the waters of the glittering Bosphorus; never ending and always a sight to behold. Our friends are known to the…

Italian Herb-marinated Bocconcini

In spring, the meadows of Parque del Monte Subasio near Spello in Umbria are smothered with a carpet of flowers and aromatic herbs; over 80 specimens of them in fact. It is here that peasants used to come after the harsh winter to forage for seasonal pops of flavour to brighten their soups, stews and rustic…

Kasbah Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus

As the sun dipped down above the High Atlas mountains, the pink plaster walls of the kasbah shone like bronze. The call to prayer from the Medieval Kasbah Mosque fell softly from its glorious minaret, the flickering lights from the Moroccan lantern threw jewels onto our table and, in the streets below, dozens of men and women…

Leyla’s Lyutenitsa (Spicy Red Pepper & 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…

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…