Santorini Tomato Keftedes with Feta and Wild Oregano

At the beginning of my adult life, I spent a lot of time exploring the Greek Islands. I did pretty much all of them from Paxos and Corfu to the North to Santorini and Rhodes in the South. I was drawn to the azure sea, the oregano-covered mountains, the tiny beaches, the glamorously bearded Greek academics…

Orecchiette with Pistachios, Hazelnuts, Parmesan and Mint

Sometimes I yearn for a pesto sauce that packs a bit more of a punch that the regular basil and pine nut version especially when the quality of shop bought basil can be patchy – who else has splashed out on a packet recently only to find that the leaves are all pretty much too…

Pera Garlicky Spinach with Yoghurt and Biber Salçası

After a bone-chilling 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 that were…

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…

Old Town Feta, Watermelon and Kalamata Olive Salad

This beautiful salad is inspired by a backstreet grocery store in Corfu old town whose frontage is a cornucopia of fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables piled high in rickety old wooden crates. Tiny sweet apricots, velvety flat peaches, glossy nectarines, huge watermelons, bright gnarly lemons, green figs and dark juicy cherries. Two girls, gloriously plump…

Greek Gigantes with Tomatoes, Wild Oregano, Dill and Mint

I’ve just read this passage in Katherine Wilson’s wonderful book, ‘Only in Naples, Lessons in Food and Famiglia’: “In Neapolitan culture, foods that could potentially damage children’s health include crackers, ketchup, hot dogs, cold milk, anything in a can, anything that has ever been frozen and anything that has ever been in a microwave. Oh,…

Turkish Yoghurt with Mint, Pul Biber and 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…

Amirim Lemon-scented Labneh with Zhoug

Labneh is a beautiful soft cheese simply made from strained yoghurt that can be eaten with pretty much everything but which is an especially good friend to rich and spicy mezzes. The first time I tasted it I was sat at a little linen-covered table on the edge of a vegetable garden in Amirim, an entirely vegetarian organic…