A Middle Eastern Feast...

We went over to our dear friends in Kennington at the weekend for a veritable gourmet extravaganza. My friend Helena is a Product Developer for Marks and Spencer, she pioneered the introduction of Sushi and I still maintain her bento boxes should make a reappearance. M&S powers that be, if you're reading please bring them back! If you've had a delicious salad from M&S today for your lunch, chances are Helena has been responsible for them. She looks after one of the most successful lines in M&S foods. Food is not only her job but her passion and life. She eats, breathes and lives food. So it's always a challenge cooking for her, but always a pleasure to be cooked for by her. We met at university and have remained best friends ever since, last weekend was all about old Uni friends catching up, reminiscing and putting the world to rights.

Helena provided the starters and main course for Saturday, whilst I made pudding from my newly acquired Tea in the Medina book, which is quite simply glorious. It's been a bed time favourite since I got it. Not only is it passionately written with jaw droppingly good recipes, the photography is a feast for the eyes.

So, for starters we had a delicious creamy canellini bean dip with a hint of lemon and tahini. We had Mushrooms, a wonderful sesame Turkish bread for soaking up the delicate Mushroom juices. A platter of cured meats and Manchego cheese moved us into the Western Mediterranean. The main course was marinated Prawns in a rich smokey tomato sauce served with delicate carrot rice. A big green salad with roasted courgettes flavoured with mint tahini dressing accompanied this, just heavenly.

Fresh mint tea cleansed the palate served in the most beautiful glass teapot.

For Pudding I made Halva soaked in Rose water syrup with chocolate figs and dates stuffed with almonds. So easy to make and rather moreish, definitely a great dinner party treat - recipes will follow! I felt a real explosion of my taste buds that night (in a good way!). The combination of the spices, the bite of the herbs and textures all came together so beautifully It feels like the healthiest and freshest kind of food you can eat, which just confirmed my complete devotion to Middle Eastern cuisine. Off I go to crawl back into my Tea In The Medina book and imagine myself wandering lost through the hot souks and spice markets sipping mint teas, eating syrupy sweet cakes, fighting off the sellers but succumbing to that beautiful necklace, oh inshallah...

What's your favourite cuisine?