Quartieri Spagnoli Aubergine Parmigiana (Melanzane alla Parmigiana)

Deep in the heart of of the Quartieri Spagnoli – the Spanish Quarter – in the centre of Naples sits a tiny family-run restaurant called Hosteria Toledo. It’s one of our favourites and our go-to place when we arrive in (and leave) this glorious chaotic city. The family are justifiably proud of their long-held faith in…

Ratatouille Niçoise with Saffron and Lemon

In respect of creating the classic Provençal dish of ratatouille, the monumental culinary reference book, Larousse Gastronomique states that ‘according to the purists, the differenut vegetables should be cooked separately, then combined and cooked slowly together until they attain a smooth, creamy consistency’. I couldn’t agree more. For so many years, I had to endure so…

Lokanta Mercimek Çorbası (Red Lentil & Bulgar Wheat Soup)

‘Hüzün, which denotes a melancholy that is communal rather than private. Offering no clarity, veiling reality instead, hüzün brings us comfort, softening the view like the condensation on a window when a teakettle has been spouting steam on a winter’s day. Steamed-up windows make me feel hüzün, and I still love getting up and walking…

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…

Sicilian Peperonata with Lemon-infused Labneh

A lovingly nurtured peperonata – a classic Italian stew of red and yellow peppers, onions and plum tomatoes – is not only a thing of beauty, it’s incredibly versatile. I use it as a salad in the summer; a warming stew in the winter; as a topping on a crispy pizza or bruschetta; stirred into…

Warm Tarnais Le Puy Lentil Salad

The term Le Puy green lentil can only be used to describe lentils that come from Le Puy in the Auvergne region of France where they have been grown in the nutrient-rich volcanic soil for over 2,000 years. Highly revered for their refined peppery flavor and ability to retain their shape after cooking, they stand head and shoulders…

Turkish Menemen

Menemen, a traditional Turkish dish made from eggs, cheese, tomato, green peppers, onions, herbs and spices – is one of the mainstays of the rich Turkish culinary repertoire that pretty much everyone interprets in their own way. Just this week, for example, I’ve been served an incredibly spicy version scattered with hot red chillies as well…

Kadiköy Market, Istanbul

Last month we travelled to Istanbul to set up an exhibition of the second edition of The Gift Project at Marmara University so we were regularly travelling between the European and Asian side of the city. This was my first visit to the latter and, I have to say, I loved it just as much as its glittering…

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…