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Tamarind and Saffron

by Claudia Roden

(Penguin, ISBN 0-140-46694-0)

Claudia Roden is an incredible food writer. She took sixteen years to write The Book of Jewish Food. Sixteen years! In the run-up to that definitive tome came Tamarind and Saffron, a fabulous book of Middle Eastern recipes also published by Penguin. Most of the recipes come from Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon, with influences of other countries in the region such as Iran, Iraq, Israel, Syria and Egypt. The book is filled with healthy food ideas that are as tasty and easy to prepare as they are wholesome. A clear design adds to the feeling of easy preparation, with one recipe per page and just enough photos without being too lavish.

Here are the things that spring to mind when you think Middle East — hummus and tagines, baklava and couscous. Old favourites are clearly explained, family home cooking coming alive in your kitchen. But get ready for modern and unusual dishes, too, dishes you simply haven’t come across before. Artichoke Omelette (why not?!), Egg and Lemon Fish Soup, Ghorayeba, and Lamb with Quince will inspire new aromas to fill your kitchen. Guaranteed to deliver new tastes even for the most inexperienced cook.

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