Volós Lentil Salad with a Garlic & Lemon Dressing

‘Volós! Anyone for Volós?’ the holiday rep called. ‘Anyone for Volós?’ she repeated. Again and again. For some reason, this caused my son, who must have been 11 years old at the time, to fall to the floor crying with laughter. That memory still amuses him to this day so I repeat it often just…

Greek White Peach & Orange Blossom Spoon Sweets (Gliko Koutaliou Rodakino)

When I was a little girl, I had a babysitter named Barbara. She fell in love with a Greek musician called Costa who used to feed me and my little brother a style of preserved fruit originating from the Byzantine kitchen that is traditionally served as a gesture of hospitality in Greece, Turkey and the Balkans, usually on special…

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 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…

Aya Yorgi Fasulye Piyaz (Turkish Bean Salad)

An early morning walk through the dusty streets of Istanbul down to the banks of the Bosphorus, a long and choppy crossing over the Sea of Marmara, a death-defying ride on a horse-pulled phaeton (there are no cars on Büyükada, the largest of the Princes Islands, just mad horsemen) followed by a hot and steamy mile-long climb…