Spiced Persian chicken skewers (serves 4)

1/2 red onion, peeled and finely chopped

100g Greek yogurt

2 pinches of saffron strands

1/2tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 nutmeg, grated

3 green cardamom pods, seeds finely ground

Pinch of chilli flakes, or to taste

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

1tsp salt, plus extra to season

About 800g skinless boneless chicken (thighs are best) cut into 4cm dice

1tsp sumac, or a good squeeze of lemon juice

Freshly ground black pepper

1. In a food processor or blender, blend the onion with the yogurt, saffron, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, chilli, garlic and salt to create a marinade.

2. Put the diced chicken in a large mixing bowl, add the marinade and give it a good stir to ensure all of the chicken is well coated. Cover and refrigerate for two to four hours to marinate.

3. Preheat the grill to medium-high and line a baking sheet with foil.

4. Thread the chicken onto skewers and cook under the hot grill for about 10 minutes, turning the skewers midway to ensure the chicken cooks evenly, until cooked through and lightly charred all over.

5. Remove from the grill and onto a serving plate, sprinkling with sumac or lemon juice.

Spiced roasted courgette with lime, avocado and broken tortilla (serves 4)

4 courgettes, diced

Vegetable or olive oil

1-2tsp hot smoked paprika or chipotle chilli flakes

1tsp ground cumin

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced

80-100g tortilla chips, broken up

2 avocados, flesh cut into bite-size pieces

100g feta cheese, crumbled

Small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

1-2 green chillies, finely sliced (optional; remove the seeds to reduce heat, if you like)

1 lime, cut into wedges, to serve

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/425°F/Gas 7 and line two baking sheets with baking paper.

2. Put the courgette in a bowl with a good measure of oil, half the paprika or chipotle and half the cumin. Season with salt and pepper, and mix until well coated. Spread evenly in a single layer on one of the prepared baking sheets and roast for about 10 minutes. Distribute the garlic in among the courgette and continue cooking for a further five minutes, until the courgettes are golden in places and tender throughout.

3. Mix a good measure of oil in a small bowl with the remaining spices. Spread the broken tortillas on the second baking sheet, pour over the spiced oil and turn through to coat evenly. Bake in the oven for about five to eight minutes, until toasted. Remove from the oven.

4. Scatter half the toasted tortillas over a large serving dish. Top with the cooked courgette and the avocado, then distribute the feta, coriander, remaining tortillas, and the sliced chilli (if using). Serve with the wedges of lime to squeeze at the table.

Dark chocolate, pistachio and dried cherry torte (serves 8)

130g light brown soft sugar, plus 2tbsp for sprinkling

1/2tsp ground cinnamon

1/2tsp ground cardamon

100g plain flour

Pinch of salt

50g cold unsalted butter, diced

1tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

120ml sour cream, plus extra to serve

1/2tsp baking powder

1 egg

80g dark chocolate, finely chopped, or use the same weight of dark chocolate buttons

40g shelled pistachios or chopped almonds

40g dried cherries

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F/Gas 4. Line a 24cm round cake tin with baking paper.

2. Combine the sugar, spices and flour with the pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl. Rub in the butter using your fingertips, until you have a sandy texture. (Alternatively, you can do this bit in a food processor, pulsing until you have the right texture.) Tip half the mixture into a separate bowl and stir in the cocoa. Transfer the mixture to the prepared cake tin and press down slightly to form an even base.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, baking powder and egg. Add this to the remaining our mixture, then stir in the chocolate, pistachios and dried cherries, and pour the whole lot over the pressed base. Sprinkle the mixture with the two tablespoons of sugar.

4. Bake for 40 minutes, until golden on top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow the torte to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and slice.

New Kitchen Basics by Claire Thomson, photography by Sam Folan, is published by Quadrille, £25. Available now.