Claudia Roden's beautiful new book, Tamarind and Saffron
, marks a return to the food of her origins and of her first book, the ground-breaking Book of Middle Eastern Food
. It also signals something of a return, after the historical and cultural investigations of the acclaimed Book of Jewish Food
, to food pure and simple. Perhaps half of the recipes in the new book are favourites from that first volume but, in recognition that Middle Eastern food is a complex and living tradition subject to national, regional, local and even family variation, many of these are given in new forms. These new versions may represent a lighter form, with oil instead of butter, with shorter cooking times and baking instead of frying; or they may illustrate the different view another national tradition might take of spicing, with Moroccan garlic, saffron, ginger and preserved lemon replaced by Syrian allspice and cinnamon, or Tunisian harissa. So, for example, you might care to try the ravishing succession of "Celeriac and Carrots with a Hazelnut and Yoghurt Sauce", "Moroccan Pumpkin Soup", "Spinach Pies with Raisins and Pine Nuts", "Squid with Garlic and Chillis", "Quails with Grapes", "Lamb with Quince", "Iranian Sweet Jewelled Rice", "Prunes Stuffed with Walnuts in Orange Juice", "Pistachio Ice Cream". This really is one of the great world cuisines, at its best representing fantastically sophisticated cooking. Claudia Roden is rightly regarded as one of its greatest exponents. --Robin Davidson
About the Author
Claudia Roden has won many prestigious prizes including six Glenfiddich awards, including the Glenfiddich Trophy for "having single-handedly introduced the Western palate to Middle Eastern cuisine". Her seminal books include A BOOK OF MIDDLE EASTERNFOOD and THE BOOK OF JEWISH FOOD. She lives in Finchley, North London.
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