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…

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 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…

Umbrian Rocket & Walnut Pesto

‘When we first started cooking, dishes like lasagne and cannelloni were treated with suspicion. Few people knew what to expect. Thirty years ago these dishes were virtually unknown to the British population; only a few who had travelled to Italy had tried them. These dishes always had to be described in great detail before people…

Jaffa Orange Blossom-infused Labneh

In his book, 88 Short Stories, the writer Guy de Maupassant wrote, ‘Did you ever sleep in a field of orange trees in bloom? The air which one inhales deliciously is a quintessence of perfumes. This powerful and sweet smell, as savoury as a sweetmeat, seems to penetrate one, to impregnate, to intoxicate, to induce languor, to bring…

Tuscan Borlotti Bean and Vegetable Soup

Our favourite time to visit Italy is during late Spring just before the searing heat of the summer. Not that I’m averse to sitting in shady cloisters with an icy beer, it’s just that we can do so much more when we’re not overcome with the heat. Even in the summer though, the clouds above Assisi gather…