Book Review: Persiana

Monday 1 December 2014 by

Persiana, Recipe, Book, Sabrina Ghayour, WBOTY14, Waterstones Book of the Year, Mitchell BeazleyPersiana: Recipes from the Middle East and Beyond by Sabrina Ghayour

Published by Mitchell Beazley

BEST COOKBOOK OF THE YEAR – Observer Food Monthly Awards 2014

Persiana: the new must have cookbook.

A celebration of the food and flavours from the regions near the Southern and Eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, with over 100 recipes for modern and accessible Middle Eastern dishes, including Lamb & Sour Cherry Meatballs; Chicken, Preserved Lemon & Olive Tagine; Blood Orange & Radicchio Salad; Persian Flatbread; and Spiced Carrot, Pistachio & Coconut Cake with Rosewater Cream.

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Is your mouth watering already? The moment I read the blurb after seeing it on the Waterstones Book of the Year shortlist, I knew exactly why Persiana was there.

There is a new trend for Eastern Mediterranean food, with an influx of recipe books and restaurants. The rich, intense flavours of their dishes – made from simple ingredients and a clever dabble of spices – means they are quick and easy (or slow and easy depending on which recipe you pick!) recipes that are suitable for everyone.

Persiana is one such newcomer to the kitchen. Featuring everything you would want from a cookbook, right down to the beautiful images of the food (just to really get you hungry). And they can even be adapted to your choosing! I attempted the lemon and olive tagine with different kinds of meats, but that’s the beauty of these recipes, they can evolve in to anything you wish.

I have yet to try some of the sweet treats (it takes some thought to adapt to gluten free due to the nature of the flour!) but I can’t wait to give them a go.

It’s hard to review a cookbook besides deciding between YUM and BLEUGH. The nice thing about this book is that it most certainly falls in to the YUM category. I have yet to find a recipe that I don’t like (or don’t want to try). The only trouble is – as with a lot of recipe books – some of these require unusual or hard-to-come-by ingredients (I have yet to find blood oranges and rosewater in my local Tesco) and so might require some hunting around or digging out your local boutique-y shop. Bear with it though, once you have some of the spices, you will be able to return to these recipes time and time again until they become second nature.

What I love about Persiana is that it has that lovely combination of impressive dishes, and layered flavours to give you huge enjoyment. My next plan is to work through the salads and sides as part of my lunches!

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