HOT PLATES: Chris Bookless aka the Conscious Cook

Newcastle / Ankara

A true believer in the healing properties of both music and food, Newcastle-born DJ and cook Chris Bookless is this week’s guest in The Carvery kitchen. Under the DJ duo Blackhall & Bookless, alongside friend Chris Blackhall, they formed Jaunt which has been running as a night and a label for the last 12 years in Newcastle and London, as well as holding residencies in Ibiza and at various festivals worldwide.

With a focus on mindful eating practices and gut-friendly food, Chris launched his own food blog and catering services under the name Conscious Cook about 2 years ago. The project was born out of the need to fix his own gut issues and the desire to find creative, flavourful alternatives to food that he was no longer able to eat. As a child, Chris spent some years living in Ankara where he inadvertently picked up many of the culinary and cultural tendencies present in his recipes.

This week’s Hot Plates is no exception with a totally vegan, gluten-free and delicious recipe for courgette & chickpea koftes, cacik and a herb salad with sumac onions.

Music and food are my two main passions so it’s exciting to begin to weave these creative expressions together. I have always had a broad taste in music but in recent years my musical tendencies have moved away from the dancefloor and towards a more eclectic approach, mixing all styles. This mix was recorded in my kitchen where my decks are set up. I was cooking at the time which inspired me to pick quite long, energetic, global rhythm tracks.

My unfolding venture as the Conscious Cook allows me to give people an exciting take on healthy food and wellbeing – whether I’m providing Conscious Catering, supper clubs, teaching Cookshops (cooking classes) or at my pop-up TACÖ LÖVE. Food has, and always will, be a way of life for me. I’m excited to share my trademark, flavoursome and healing food with you all!

Ingredients for 2 servings

Kofte Ingredients

Yields 8

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • ½ cup filtered cold water
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large courgette (grated)
  • 2 sprigs coriander (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 teaspoon cumin turmeric
  • 3 teaspoon dry mint
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons rapeseed oil (frying)
  • Himalayan salt
  • Black cracked pepper

Cacik Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons coconut yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon dry mint
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint
  • ½ garlic clove (minced)
  • ½ juice of 1 lemon
  • Himalayan salt

Herb Salad with Sumac Onions

  • 4 sprigs of mint, dill, coriander
  • 4 romaine lettuce cups (chopped)
  • ½ small onion (finely sliced)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt


  1. For the koftes, add all of the dry ingredients, chopped coriander and lemon zest to a large bowl and give it a good mix through.
  2. Grate the courgette, add to a tea towel, fold the edges in, then twist the tea towel to squeeze out the water from the courgette. Add this to the bowl with the water and give it a good even mix.
  3. Form 8 koftes from the mix, they need to be about 4 cm wide 2 cm high and in a round oval shape.
  4. Put a frying pan on medium-high heat along with the rapeseed oil, once the oil is hot add the koftes, fry these for 5 minutes on each side until golden.
  5. Slice the onion, top to bottom, thinly. Dress with sumac and lemon juice. Set aside.
  6. Add lettuce, mint leaves and four nice sprigs of dill and coriander add to a bowl and dress before serving with olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and sumac.
  7. For the cacik, finely chop mint leaves, mince garlic and add to a bowl with other ingredients and give it a good mix.
  8. Serve in your favourite bowl and garnish with isot biber, tatli biber and sumac.