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From the Lands of Figs and Olives: Over 300 Delicious and Unusual Recipes from the Middle East and North Africa [Paperback]

Habeeb Salloum , James Peters
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Feb 1996
This cookbook on Middle Eastern and North African cuisine provides a wealth of new recipes as well as some of the best traditional ones, carefully tested and adapted for the Western kitchen. The authors are Canadians of Arab descent, and their familiarity with both Western and Arab cultures produces accessible recipes and anecdotes. Everyday basics such as pitta bread and homemade yoghurt, as well as the familiar kebabs and special-occasion dishes, like the Moroccan "basteela" are all to be found.

Product details

  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: I.B.Tauris (Feb 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860640389
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860640384
  • Product Dimensions: 25 x 17.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,352,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a no nonsense book. Practical easy recipes that real people eat and make on a daily basis. It's not fancy or particularly well illustrated but the author tells you about the history of certain ingredients or foods and their cultural significance. I have bought this book over and over again as a present for various people
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad.... 15 Oct 2006
By halalchickennugget - Published on
...but I am still looking for the best Arab cookbook out there, and I havent found it.

I made the Iraqi date cookies.....those were good. I also made katayif.....the filling was nice but the batter was chewy.

The baklawa turned out nicely, and the spinach pies were alright.

However I made something called "chicken milina" which supposedly is from the end, chicken mixed with sliced onion and tomatoes made for a rather mushy, and visually unappealing dish. I thought Moroccan cuisine was supposed to be the most sophisticated? This recipe didnt do much to support that idea.

The Iraqi "meat pies" were similarly disappointing. It was basically hamburger mixed with rice, no spices except S&P, and cilantro...but the cilantro's flavor is cooked out of existence, leaving me with a glorified hamburger patty.

Kufta bis Sayniya was another disaster. Ground beef layered with tomato sauce and onions and a few spices....and then 1/4 inch thick potato slices that never cook all the way through even if you follow the directions and then give it additional time.

So far, Im not "wow'ed" by the actual entrees, but most of the desserts have turned out well.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars for those who love to cook or plainly just love to eat 17 Sep 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Excellent and easy to follow directions have made me a gourmet cook from all of the recipes I've tried. There are a myriad of recipes and selections for anyone who loves to cook and of course, for anyone who loves to eat. The variety of dishes gives one an excellent view of the palate of the Arab world and the preparation instructions make one a gourmet cook each time a recipe is made. Excellent results from an encyclopediatic recipe collection! No kitchen should be without it!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Cross-Section of Middle Eastern Cuisine 5 Feb 2002
By Wendy A. B. Whipple - Published on
This is a great cookbook, with anecdotal information that makes it feel like you're sitting down with the authors over hot Turkish coffee, reminiscing about their travels.
Each recipe has the country/ies of origin, and what it's called in Arabic (which could come in very handy next time you're in a Middle Eastern restaurant!). The instructions are clear, and it has a great index.
My one complaint is that it has only a few photos. I like to know what it's supposed to look like when I'm trying a new recipe. I know that's not a deterrent for many cooks, but for those of you like me, that is a drawback. The varied selections and the cultural tidbits between the covers more than make up for that lack, though, and I recommend this cookbook heartily.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very cool cookbook, and I hate cooking 22 Jan 2010
By Soldat - Published on
I'm usually one who prefers to eat instead of cook, but the recipes in this cookbook are easy enough to follow, and many dishes are given a brief history of their origin, which more books should do. I consider it very important to understand how what you are eating came to be. Many of the ingredients are common enough, and the few that aren't are not too difficult to find. Definitely recommend this for anyone interested in making their own Middle eastern meals.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Introduction 6 April 2009
By P. Preston - Published on
If no more I could eat any but one fruit it would be figs or perhaps olives. It is a choice that would strain me to make. Figs have filled the bellies of many but olives have fed the world. The choice is difficult.
I met a family from Iran 30 years ago they shared their cooking with me and I have loved Middle Eastern and North African foods since. I found this book while living in Chicago nearly 8 years ago and have been cooking from it since. While, as some here note, the recipes lean to less spice, it is appropriate to increase those you find appealing.
Here you will find that humus is more than what you might find in your stores refrigerator case. Here there are ways to use lamb and of course olives and figs. What ever you cook from this know that this book is only an introduction to these cuisines. Perhaps a trip to these distant lands would offer the best way to experience them but until then this book will do.
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