Lebanon has stood at the crossroads of history for many millennia. From the Phoenician traders who used its harbours to propagate its trade throughout the Mediterranean, bringing back an eclectic mix of ingredients, to the French colonisers who some (especially the French!) often argue coalesced and perfected these eclectic flavours into the superior modern cuisines we find today, Katayama inspired by this, has used its own take on this quintessential yet ever changing cuisine to bring you the flavours of the Levant in a convenient accessible format.

Featured Recipe: Basil Hummus

6-8 servings

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Passive Time: 8 hours

2 cups dry chickpeas soaked in water to cover +one inch overnight
1 tablespoon garlic paste (more, to taste)
1/2 cup tahini
3 medium lemons
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup (or more, to taste)
fresh basil leaves
salt, to taste
1/4 cup chopped pistachios, to garnish

Drain the chickpeas and transfer to a large pot and fill with fresh tap water. Cook until soft, about 2 hours. (Conversely, save time by using canned chickpeas, about 3 cans for the equivalent).

Meanwhile, make the pesto by mixing the basil with garlic paste and olive oil till creamy.

When cooked, save the cooking water and transfer most of the chickpeas to the bowl of a processor and cool a bit. Add the tahini, pesto and lemon juice and process, tasting to adjust some ingredients to your taste.

When it has reached the right texture and the taste that you like, transfer to a serving plate and garnish with the pistachios and some fresh basil leaves or extra chickpeas. Serve with pita bread or chips.