Want some food inspiration?


Miles Kirby, co-founder and executive chef of Vardo, Duke of York Square, gives us some easy recipes.


Charred aubergine, saffron buttermilk dressing, grilled Turkish chilli.


If you’ve got the BBQ out, this recipe becomes a touch easier.

Nevertheless, it’s a great dish, packed with flavour, to accompany fish or meat, or as part of a vegetarian feast.

It’s summer in New Zealand, and around Christmas my BBQ juices always start flowing and I need to grill.

If you are not brave enough to grill outside, switch the oven on and roast away.



200g aubergine, cut into thumb-sized pieces
2 long green Turkish chilli peppers
100m olive oil
5g cumin seeds
Salt, to taste


For the dressing:

100g mayonnaise
100g buttermilk
1 pinch saffron threads
1 lemon, juiced
1 clove garlic, crushed


To serve:

2g fresh parsley leaves
5g fresh mint leaves
2g sumac

In a bowl, combine the aubergine, peppers, olive oil, cumin seeds and salt.

Toss the ingredients together to ensure the vegetables are coated in olive oil.

Place on a tray and roast in the oven at 200°C for 15–20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked and nicely browned. Allow to cool.

For the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, buttermilk, saffron, lemon juice and crushed garlic in a bowl.

To serve, combine the aubergine with as much dressing as you like (any extra will keep in the fridge for a week). Gently toss in the parsley and mint leaves.

Place the dressed aubergine in a serving bowl and top with the peppers, another dollop of dressing and a sprinkling of sumac.


Baharat-rubbed lamb cutlets, green harissa, tahini



As a New Zealander, lamb chops are never far from my mind.

I grew up eating them simply roasted or grilled with a squeeze of lemon from the tree outside and lots of salt.

Middle Eastern flavours match so well with the fattiness and the deep flavour of the lamb.

The green harissa recipe makes more than you will need, but it will keep in the fridge for weeks and is a great addition to cheese on toast.



2 tbsp Baharat spice mix (you can buy this from the local market or a spice vendor)
8 lamb cutlets (allows for 2 each)


For the tahini:

100g tahini
100ml water
1 clove garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper, to taste


For the green harissa:

12g cumin seeds

6g coriander seeds
400g green chilli, roughly chopped
15g spring onion, sliced
10g garlic, minced
125ml olive oil
50g fresh parsley leaves
50g fresh coriander leaves
5g Maldon sea salt
1 lemon, juiced

Rub the Baharat spice mix on the lamb cutlets, then place them on a baking tray.

Set aside until everything else is ready, then cook under the grill until pink.

In a bowl, mix together the tahini, water and crushed garlic. Season to taste.

Toast and grind the cumin and coriander seeds. Place in a blender with all other ingredients and blitz to a paste.

Serve the tahini and green harissa in small bowls alongside the cutlets.


Za'atar-roasted kuri squash, sour onion, feta, mint, kale



Make the most of winter veg with squash and kale freshened up with mint and creamy, salty feta.

The savoury za’atar spice brings simple vegetables to life.



200g kuri squash
10g za’atar spice mix
100g red onion, sliced into 2mm rings
75ml red wine vinegar
100g kale, blanched


For the dressing:

10g fresh mint leaves, chopped
80g feta cheese, crumbled
100m olive oil
1 orange, juiced
Salt and pepper, to taste


Cut the squash into wedges and toss in a large bowl with the za’atar, a splash of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Place on a tray and roast in the oven for 45 minutes at 180°C.

Place the red onion rings in a bowl, then splash on the red wine vinegar. Allow to stand.

In a separate bowl, combine the mint leaves, feta, olive oil and the orange juice.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Mix the kale and squash gently together and place on a serving dish of your choice.

Scatter over some of the sour red onion and spoon on the feta and mint dressing.