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Persiana: Recipes from the Middle East & Beyond: From the Sunday Times no.1 bestselling author of Feasts, Sirocco and Bazaar: Recipes from the Middle ... author of Sirocco, Feasts, Bazaar and Simply Hardcover – 6 May 2014
Sabrina Ghayour is a phenomenal Persian chef.
Sabrina cooks the kind of food I love to eat: lots of flavours distilled out of love and generosity. In this book Sabrina demystifies the use of spices. The Eastern promise is definitely delivered in her book and it will have a place on the shelves of my kitchen.
This is Ottolenghi with rocket fuel (The Times)
The Golden Girl (Observer Food Monthly)
Completely dispels any notion that this style of cooking is long-winded and intimidating...brilliant for the novice, the time-poor and even the seasoned cook. (Guardian)
Will have you salivating with Pavlovian gusto on page after page. (Independent)
Worthy of becoming a kitchen shelf staple. (Food & Travel)
This book will delight fans of Ottolenghi-style food. (Waitrose Kitchen)
- ASIN : 184533910X
- Publisher : Octopus Publishing Group; UK ed. edition (6 May 2014)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 240 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781845339104
- ISBN-13 : 978-1845339104
- Item Weight : 1 kg 20 g
- Dimensions : 19.2 x 2.8 x 25 cm
Best Sellers Rank:
#241,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #4,031 in Food, Drink & Entertaining (Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Excellent Middle Eastern cookbook with a focus on (but not exclusive to) modern Persian recipes. Instructions are clear & results are dependable.
I picked up Ms Ghayour's book in Kindle format after downloading the free sample and liking the available content. I'll admit that I was initially drawn in by the gorgeous photography, as I already have a fairly hefty collection of Middle Eastern cookery books, and several that are specific to Iranian food.
The Kindle version features interactive tables of content (so critical for a cookery book and yet often missing, especially from older Kindle books) arranged by course (ie appetisers, mains, desserts etc) and then individually broken down with links to each recipe contained within that section. The layout is simple to use across devices (tested on iPad, Win & Mac desktop, Android).
The photos which accompany each dish are compelling and bright, without being over-styled: in essence, getting your dish to look like the one pictured is actually attainable without a Michelin star to your name. Each recipe has a photo and the book doesn't contain excess 'ingredient' photos (you know the type; the macro shots of a lemon, scattered cloves, etc etc) which makes it very usable indeed.
To date, I've made the following:
Batinjan al Rahib, a (very!) garlicky eggplant dip that goes perfectly alongside rich/fatty meat dishes, with a nice play on texture between the soft eggplant and the crisp peppers;
Cacik, a Turkish staple, fantastically fresh with loads of herbs;
Spiced Lamb Kefta, which smell as amazing as they taste, with sweet notes from the currants (try these with the Cacik, as we did all three times we made them);
Butternut Squash with Pistachio Pesto & Feta, which makes a really gorgeous vegetarian main but is (as with any recipe, of course) very dependent on excellent butternut squash (the first time it was so-so, the second time fantastic) and very ripe, sweet pomegranate;
Karniyarik, stuffed eggplant, have become a staple in our home, the flavour combination is amazing and while they take a long time from start to finish, you can make a big batch and they keep very well in the fridge for several days; top with plenty of labneh or Greek yoghurt and try to convince yourself going back for thirds is a bad idea... (it isn't);
Spice-Perfumed Shoulder of Lamb is gorgeous and so, so simple; I did find I needed to turn down the oven slightly to cook for an extra hour at a lower temperature for fall-off-the-bone texture (while retaining moisture), but this of course is a commentary on my oven rather than the recipe;
Blood Orange and Radicchio salad, a beautiful flavour combination of sweet, tart & bitter; goes very well with the lamb shoulder and would stand up well to any robust meat dish, with the hint of fresh dill really elevating it above a simple salad (do yourself a favour and track down a good pomegranate molasses with only 'pomegranates' listed in the ingredients, as often the syrups available are too sweet).
I would honestly happily pay the price of the book for just the karniyarik recipe, but I'm really pleased with this purchase, and look forward to trying many more dishes. This really is a fantastic, accessible cookery book and should appeal to a broad range of palates. As evident by the answers, comments & other reviews, Ms Ghayour is very responsive to questions that may crop up; while I've not asked any myself, I always find it reassuring when an author (or publisher) makes an effort to provide assistance.
Persiana is truly inspirational - with foods such as soups, mezze, breads, soups, tagines, grills and salads. Her puddings are also a triumph. She tends to provide a modern twist on some classic and also becomes your go to recipe for standards such as hummus and jewelled rice. You will find that Perisana recipes make their way into your regular repertoire - delicious food for daily fare of for dinner parties and feasts alike.
There were a few recipes I would have liked to try but not enough to justify the price
With Persiana, we have a perfect balance: the ingredients are generally more straightforward and accessible, recipes not hard to follow, and importantly each of the meals from the book so far has been flavoursome and delightful (as Middle Eastern cuisine is meant to be!). I thoroughly recommend to those normally sceptical of recipe books - it certainly won't end up dusting on far-away shelves like most of the other recipe books I've got.