A’isha’s Lemony Hummus with Cumin and Oregano

We sat under a pomegranate tree for shade. Our table was dappled with the shapes of leaves and ripening fruit as the sun played with the gentle breeze to create moving patterns that could never be captured. Laid across its white cloth were several large hand-painted plates and bowls within which vibrant food beckoned invitingly;…

Turkish Smashed Cucumber Salad with Late Summer Berries and Herbs

Just behind our home there is a wild country path that connects the river Ouse to the historic centre of York. Hardly anyone knows about it so nature rules and has created a paradise for city foragers. Right now, we have flowering baby nettles – the old ones were cut down after the heatwave and…

Livorno Cannellini Bean, Tomato and Ricotta Salata Salad

On a recent trip to Tuscany, I was astonished to discover that the covered markets in both Lucca and Pisa had been closed down. It seems that even the Italians are succumbing to pre-prepared food that can be grabbed on the go. Indeed, one man I spoke to who reminisced fondly about the dishes his…

Sheinkin Fattoush with an Aromatic Green Olive and Za’atar Tapenade

When I used to work there, Sheinkin was one of the coolest streets in Tel Aviv. It was where the beautiful people came to meet with friends, talk about life, listen to music, drink coffee in one of the myriad café-bars and to shop the funky independents (I have a treasure chest bursting with glittering Michal Negrin…

Souk el Tayeb Roasted Freekeh and Pomegranate Salad with Parsley and Mint

The vibrant and colourful Souk el Tayeb – literally translated as ‘the good market‘ – in downtown Beirut is famed for the way it showcases the produce of local farmers and the very best of Lebanon’s organic ingredients. As you may have observed on Nigel Slater’s recent BBC series featuring the rich and inspiring culinary traditions of the…

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…

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…

Neapolitan Buffalo Mozzarella with Zucchini alla Scapece and Borlotti Beans

‘Italian food is all about the ingredients, and it’s not fussy and it’s not fancy‘, so says Wolfgang Puck and this classic dish of Naples is a testimony to that. Zucchini alla Scapece is a zesty summer salad which, whenever I taste it, immediately transports me back to long lazy lunches sitting around a table heaving with…