Lebanese Tabbouleh


¼ cup fine bulgur wheat

1 small garlic clove, minced (optional)

Juice of 2 large lemons, to taste

3 cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (from 3 large bunches)

¼ cup chopped fresh mint

½ pound ripe tomatoes, very finely chopped

1 bunch scallions, finely chopped

Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 romaine lettuce heart, leaves separated, washed and dried



1. Place the bulgur in a bowl, and cover with water by 1/2 inch. Soak for 20 minutes, until slightly softened. Drain through a cheesecloth-lined strainer, and press the bulgur against the strainer to squeeze out excess water. Transfer to a large bowl, and toss with the garlic, lemon juice, parsley, mint, tomatoes, scallions and salt. Leave at room temperature or in the refrigerator for two to three hours, so that the bulgur can continue to absorb liquid and swell.

2. Add the olive oil, toss together, taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with lettuce leaves.





Classic Basil Pesto:

1 cup of basil leaves, loosely packed
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove of garlic
A pinch of salt
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In a food processor add first 5 ingredients except olive oil. Pulse a few times to coarsely chop. Turn the food processor on low and slowly add EVOO until mixture becomes a paste. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt.



Olive Oil Dip
2 garlic cloves, or more depending on how garlicky you want it

2 tablespoons capers, drained

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

3 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese

Pinch sea salt, if you have it try truffle salt

Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes, optional to make it spicy

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

Crusty bread, cubed



Finely mince the garlic and capers. Add to a bowl along with the oregano, rosemary, thyme and cheese. Season with a small pinch of salt and pepper. Use the back of a spoon to smoosh the herbs into the garlic and capers.

Make one or two mounds of the garlic-herb mixture on a rimmed plate. Drizzle the olive oil on top. Serve with cubes of bread.



Crisp rosemary and olive oil flatbread


230g plain flour
1 tbsp chopped rosemary, plus 2 sprigs
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
¾ tsp salt
125ml water
75ml olive oil plus more for brushing


1 Preheat the oven to 220C/450F/gas mark 7. Stir together the flour, chopped rosemary, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in the centre, then add the water and oil and gradually stir into the flour with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Knead it gently on a work surface 4 or 5 times.

2 Divide the dough into 3 pieces, cover 2 of them with clingfilm and roll out the other on a sheet of baking paper into a 25cm round (the shape should be rustic, the dough thin).

3 Lightly brush the top with additional oil and scatter small clusters of rosemary on top, pressing in slightly. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake on a preheated oven tray until pale golden and browned in spots – about 8-10 minutes. Transfer the flatbread to a rack to cool, then repeat with the other more rounds.

4 Flatbreads can be made 2 days ahead and cooled completely, then kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

Source: Recipe supplied by Deb Perleman, (Adapted from Gourmet, July 2008)


Shaved brussels sprouts, olive oil, lemon and pecorino


450g brussels sprouts
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp salt
3½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
½-1 tsp whole black peppercorns, crushed
115g pecorino cheese, grated or shaved



1 Rinse the sprouts, then pat dry with kitchen roll. Remove any discoloured outer leaves, then cut the sprouts in half, lengthways. Very thinly slice them the sprouts crossways, transferring to a large, shallow serving bowl as you go.

2 Drizzle the oil over the sprouts, sprinkle with salt and toss well. Add the lemon juice and pepper and toss again. Lay the cheese on the top of the salad and serve immediately.


Source: The Perfectly Tossed Salad by Mindy Fox (Kyle Books)


Spaghetti with olive oil, chilli and garlic


400g spaghetti
200ml extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
A large handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped


1 Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente.

2 Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a low heat, and fry the garlic for 1-2 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to spread the flavour through the oil. Add 2 tbsp cooking water to the pan and stir in the chilli and parsley. Season with salt and cook for 3 minutes, mixing occasionally.

3 When the spaghetti is ready, drain it quickly so it is still rather wet and add it to the sauce. Gently toss to coat, then leave for a minute over a low heat before serving on hot plates.

Source: The Art of Pasta by Lucio Galletto and David Dale (Grub Street)

Ribollita (tuscan bean soup)


For cooking the beans
225g dried cannellini beans, soaked for about 12 hours in cold water
1 onion, cut into quarters
1 small celery stalk, cut into pieces
3 garlic cloves, sliced
Sprigs of fresh sage, rosemary and parsley

For the soup
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, sliced
½–1 tsp crushed dried chillies
Salt and black pepper
2 ripe fresh tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and coarsely chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
3 potatoes, cut into small cubes
2 carrots, cut into small cubes
1 small leek, white and green parts, cut small
3 celery stalks, cut into small pieces
250g cavolo nero, shredded
200g savoy cabbage, shredded
2 garlic cloves, sliced
3 or 4 sprigs fresh thyme

To serve
1 or 2 mild onions
6–8 slices of country-style bread
2 garlic cloves, cut in half
Extra virgin olive oil



1 Drain and rinse the beans, then put them in a large, heavy pot with all the ingredients for cooking the beans. Pour in enough cold water to cover the beans by about 5cm, and bring slowly to the boil. Cover the pan and cook very gently until they are very tender – about 1½ hours.

2 Using a slotted spoon, lift the beans out of the liquid (leave the herbs and vegetables in the stock). Puree ¾ of the beans coarsely in a food processor, then turn them into a bowl. Leave the remaining beans whole and set aside. Strain the cooking liquid into another bowl, discarding the herbs and vegetables.

3 Put the olive oil into the pot in which the beans were cooked. Add the onion and chillies, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and fry for about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and tomato puree and cook for 2–3 minutes, then mix in the bean puree. Stir for a couple of minutes to let it take up all the flavours, then add all the other vegetables, plus the garlic and thyme.

4 Measure the bean cooking liquid and add enough water to make it up to about 1.5 litres. Add this to the pot with salt, and bring to the boil, then cook over the lowest possible heat for about 2 hours. Add in some pepper and check for seasoning. Remove from the heat and leave overnight.

5 The next day, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Mix the whole beans into the soup. Slice the onions very finely and arrange in a thin layer over the surface of the soup. Put the pot in the oven and cook until the onion is tender; this will take about 1 hour.

6 Rub the bread with the halved garlic cloves, then toast under the grill. Put the bread into individual soup bowls and ladle the soup over it. Drizzle good quality extra virgin olive oil over each bowl and serve.

Source: Anna Del Conte’s New Gastronomy of Italy (Pavilion)


Patatas a lo pobre (poor man’s potatoes)


1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 medium potatoes, such as maris piper or red king Edward, peeled and cut into 1cm slices
1 large green pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
200ml olive oil
Salt and black pepper



1 Mix the onion, potatoes and pepper, season with the salt, pepper and vinegar.

2 Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the vegetable mixture. Cook for about 20 minutes, turning over occasionally. The vegetables should be soft, but not too crispy.

Source:Tapas Revolution by Omar Allibhoy (Ebury)