Boston star Ana Sortun of Oleana uses Turkish and Eastern Mediterranean spices to produce food described by The New York Times as ‘rustic-traditional and deeply inventive’. She insists that traditional spice blends can make our food rich,exciting, satisfying, comforting and provocative without the need for butter or cream.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tbsp butter

  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic

  • 4 cups canned, chopped tomatoes

  • 1 heaped tbsp hawaij

  • 1 cup water

  • salt and pepper

  • 20 brussel sprouts, trimmed and blanched in boiling water for five minutes

  • 1 cup diced butternut squash

  • 1 cup Israeli style couscous, boiled until tender like pasta

  • 700g of boneless, skinless cod fillet, taken from the end that is closest to the head

  • zhoug to serve


  • 1.

    In a large saucepan, heat the oil and butter until the butter begins to brown. Add garlic and stir to coat.

  • 2.

    Add tomatoes, hawaij, water and simmer gently for about 20 minutes.

  • 3.

    Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  • 4.

    Chop brussel sprouts and mix with butternut squash. Toss with a little extra virgin olive oil, the Israeli couscous and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  • 5.

    Stir into tomato sauce and add the water. Dish into casseroles.

  • 6.

    Pre-heat oven to 220°C.

  • 7.

    Cut cod into 175g portions and season both sides with salt and pepper.

  • 8.

    Place in centre of casserole dish and bake until bubbly and cod is just cooked through.

  • 9.

    About 20 minutes, depending on the thickness.

  • 10.

    Serve with zhoug.

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