May Cookery Book Club - Middle Eastern month

(116 Posts)
HuevosRancheros Sun 03-May-15 20:30:05

This month we are having a vague Middle Eastern theme - Jerusalem (Ottolenghi) and Persiana (Sabrina Ghayour) have grabbed our imagination, but other books can definitely be shared - let us know what you like cooking grin
give us more books to buy

TwoLittleTerrors Sun 03-May-15 20:37:09

I have both books. I love Jerusalem. And I need an excuse to crack open Persiana (figuratively as I have the kindle version).

Still lusting after sesame and spice. If I succumb it would be the kindle version so DH won't notice. He made comments about Polpo, as I bought Dim Sum and Made in India the previous one.

pregnantpause Sun 03-May-15 20:58:34

I'll be cooking from Claudia roden arabesque and the jewelled kitchen by Beth someone. As well as Jerusalem

And off topic but two- is polpo worth it? It's been in my wish list for months

Onykahonie Sun 03-May-15 21:40:07

Veggiestan (Sally Butcher) is a great cookbook...all vegetarian recipes from the Middle East.

ScienceRocks Sun 03-May-15 21:49:09

Checking in. Have Jerusalem and plenty by ottolenghi, plus the jewelled kitchen from a previous month (I think).

Will lurk for more ideas.

glorious Sun 03-May-15 21:57:48

Mmm Jerusalem. Not much cooking for us this month as we're away.

Cantdothisagain Sun 03-May-15 22:11:40

I have all the Ottolenghi books bar the first. I also have the Jewelled a Kitchen and I also have Persiana on Kindle.

Looking forward to meal planning!!

TwoLittleTerrors Sun 03-May-15 22:18:45

pregnantpause I have only cooked a courgette, mint and chilli pizzetta from it and it was excellent. I planned to make more of the pizzetta from the book. I have also marked many of the recipes to make.

If you need any persuasion, the notes on EYB are very very positive.
www.eatyourbooks.com/library/103145/polpo-a-venetian-cookbook-of#notes

ancientbuchanan Sun 03-May-15 22:46:15

What is Persiana like?

Pantah630 Sun 03-May-15 23:04:25

Signing in, thanks for the new thread Huevos

whois Mon 04-May-15 15:16:54

What is Persiana like?

I like it a lot, lots of food that I want to cook and eat but it has some really terrible measurements and sometimes a lack of clarity about the processes.

Eg often says a tablespoon of salt but apparently she means a table spoon of massive very expensive chunky crystal salt not normal salt. I just do salt to taste and not per her measurements.

whois Mon 04-May-15 15:19:13

Vegistan is worth throwing into the ring here.

www.amazon.co.uk/Veggiestan-Vegetable-Lovers-Tour-Middle-x/dp/1862058849

I love love LOVE Middle Eastern cooking of all varieties. The flavours, meats, breads and salads etc so tasty!

Haywire Mon 04-May-15 21:03:46

Got Jerusalem from the library at weekend ooooh looks lovely, enjoying perusing. Looking at a few others on Amazon too.

JamNan Mon 04-May-15 21:35:54

I have Persiana and it's very good. Lots of unusual and healthy ingredients (apart from the salt and the butter).

I have tried these and they are delicious

Chicken pomegranate and walnut stew
Lamb butternut squash prune and tamarind tagine
Rice with lentils and crispy onions
Barley salad with griddled broccoli and za'atar
Red Rice salad with barberries, grilled veg and toasted almonds
cumin roasted carrots with honey lemon dressing with goat's cheese

The desserts are also very nice but very sweet.

Haven't got Jerusalem only his first book.

Others I'd recommend are Sultan's Kitchen a Turkish Cookbook by Ozcan Ozan and you can look inside on Amazon.

I also use Moro by Sam and Sam Clarke quite a bit. And Claudia Roden's A Book of Middel Eastern Food becasue it's such a good read. It has recently been updated and added to.

McKayz Tue 05-May-15 07:24:54

I really want to expand what we eat so is it ok if I join in? I have reserved the 2 books in the OP from the library.

Are there any good middle eastern books for novice cooks?

glorious Tue 05-May-15 08:23:12

Of course McKayz, welcome. I don't have many middle Eastern books so I can't really answer your question except to say that most of it is pretty straightforward so the ones you have are probably fine smile

TwoLittleTerrors Tue 05-May-15 08:34:36

I found Diana Henry and Nigel Slater very good for quick dinners. However they are more British than Middle Eastern. But if a recipe is well written, it should be possible to follow even for inexperienced cooks. Just remember to taste the food, all through cooking and especially before serving.

TwoLittleTerrors Tue 05-May-15 08:35:04

I mean they do have the odd Middle eastern recipe but not entirely so.

MaddingCrowd Tue 05-May-15 08:40:55

I've had Jerusalem for ages but barely cooked from it even though have used the other Otto ones loads.

But my friend made the herb pie and the pitta and date salad the other day for a big group and it was lovely. The dates were sort of pickled which made them divine. My youngest two DC (3 and 8mo) love love loved the herb pie.

MaddingCrowd Tue 05-May-15 08:43:14

Also have Persiana and have yet to cook from it. Borrowed Honey and Co recently
From a friend and made loads. The muhamra was so so good. We also made the chesnut cake which was rank.

HuevosRancheros Wed 06-May-15 13:49:54

Yesterday I made the spicy freekeh soup from Jerusalem (thanks pregnant for the inspiration smile).
I was making it veggie, so no meatballs and no meat stock, it could have gone very wrong, but was absolutely delicious smile. My only niggle would be that I thought it could have done with a bit more cooking (I needed lunch, so ate it anyway) - the veg were still a bit al dente, I prefer mine more mushy. Depends on how you like your soup, I guess. I can imagine the soup would work really well with butternut squash.
I took the cinnamon out pretty soon after it went in, and wouldn't bother putting it in at all next time, as it was going too cinnamony for my liking.
Made the baharat from the book, a very good blend

Last week, for the first time, I made the baby spinach salad with dates and almonds, as mentioned by MaddingCrowd (welcome, by the way! smile)
It was so amazing I made it twice more that week!!
I wasn't even sure I would like it, I thought the dates would be too sweet. But because you marinate them in vinegar with onions, they go lovely and tangy, and work wonderfully with the spinach and crunchy buttery pittas and almonds. I urge you all to make it grin

On the menu for the coming week are burnt aubergine and mograbieh soup, and stuffed onions smile

My library had Veggiestan in, so I've brought it home. I've gone from not really fancying much in it (didn't seem that much more to offer than Jerusalem), to being really annoyed at her writing style ("slotty spoon", "natch", "chilli wuss", all drive me mad), to wanting to make quite a lot of it actually, now!
So I shall have a proper read later and make some plans - anyone recommend anything in particular?

Things that I love from Jerusalem, that I would highly recomend are:
Na'ama's fattoush
Chermoula aubergine with bulgar and yoghurt
Roasted cauliflower & hazelnut salad
Spicy beetroot, leek & walnut salad
Split wheat & swiss chard with pomegranate molasses (but if you are eating it on its own, go easy on the molasses, or serve with extra yoghurt as it is very tangy. But delicious!)
Conchiglie with yoghurt, peas and chilli
Mejadra

Didn't really like the couscous wih tomato and onion, or the semolina, coconut and marmalade cake

MaddingCrowd Wed 06-May-15 13:57:34

Sorry should have introduced myself more formally before bundling in! grin

Yes make the date salad everyone. So good!

I was thinking of doing the tomato cous cous but maybe I won't now if you didn't rate it.

DH objects to a lot of the cornerstones of this kind of cooking (dates, yoghurt etc) so don't get to cook this kind of thing as much as I would like!

HuevosRancheros Wed 06-May-15 15:50:59

My DH is similar Madding, so I often just make it for myself sad

The tomato couscous wasn't awful, just a bit bland and not particularly worth the effort

Pantah630 Wed 06-May-15 15:55:42

Pretty sure I've got enough dates for the salad at home, there was spinach in the veg box and pitta in the freezer so I'll make it tonight with some grilled chicken breasts. We have a school trip meeting tonight so need something quick and easy.

Hello McKayz Jam and Madding Jerusalem is fantastic you'll love it..need to press go in my Amazon order for H&co

pregnantpause Wed 06-May-15 17:49:00

Huevos - you're a far better reviewer of recipes than I am- I omitted the cinnamon stick altogether and cooked for at least fifteen extra minutes, which , had I included in the first place you'd have some forewarning on the timing.

Tbh both me and dh aren't raving fans of middle eastern flavours, and prior to this thread ( well not this actual thread, but the cookbook club) I would never have bought a middle eastern inspired book , but over time I have come to love it. Keep working at your dhs - they may come around toogrin

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