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4.2 out of 5 stars
Orient Express
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Following on from last year's innovative Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume, Silvena Rowe's "Orient Express" is subtitled "Fast food from the Eastern Mediterranean". By "fast food", don't expect too many recipes which can be quickly whizzed up - many will require time such as overnight marinading, setting in the fridge and so on. The phrase here refers to the fact that this is the kind of grub which you would expect to find on sale at street stalls and markets and delis for instant consumption, but here almost recreated anew by Ms Rowe with exotic and daring flavour combinations plus a good dose of cross-cuisine fusion too. Much here is suited to mezze style eating, ideal summer food, especially for barbecues.

The division of the book is by highlighted ingredients and flavours. So we have, with some sample dishes which have already caught my eye (apologies to seafood lovers here - I don't eat seafood myself, but be assured that there are plenty of seafood recipes in here too):

Za'atar and saffron
- Duck and black sesame za'atar kleftiko
- Spiced lamb filo cigars with za'atar and pistachio cream
- Orange and za'atar marinated halloumi with tomato and za'atar dressing

Chilli and cumin
- Duck, halloumi and green chilli spring rolls with sweet potato and almond skordalia
- Suzme and chilli marinated chicken shawarma with aubergine and red pepper salad
- Lamb moussaka rolls
- Spiced pork and cumin sausages with fennel and preserved lemon salad
- Spiced duck rillette with courgette and chilli pesto

Sumac and fresh herbs
- Chickpea, sweet potato and spinach cakes with creamed parsnip and coriander dip
- Pistachio dukkah-crusted duck with sumac onion jam
- Skordalia cavolo nero cakes topped with shredded duck confit and pomegranate
- Crushed broad beans and avocado with Parmesan and sumac biscuits
- Cardamom duck with orange and sumac infused sauce
- Lemon balm sorbet, black sesame macaroon crumble and lemon balm oil

Cardamom and honey
- Honey mashed broad beans with capers and spring onions
- Pistachio and cardamom lamb manti
- Kadaifi wrapped goat's cheese and cardamom figs with thyme flowers
- Honey and ginger roasted apricots with ricotta on green peppercorn and za'atar spiced filo
- Nine spice lamb with honey, red onion and fig compote
- Lemon thyme infused burrata with honey, berries and balsamic vinegar
- Orange and honey glazed aubergine rolls with apricot and cottage cheese

Cinnamon and flowers
- Lemon vanilla custard baklava with orange blossom syrup
- Roasted figs with orange blossom, passion fruit and mint sauce
- Rose water infused saffron and cardamom spiced lamb wraps with tahini sumac mayonnaise

The photography of dishes is excellent - not all recipes have a photograph, but most do. The book is well laid out, one recipe to a page for the most part, with clear instructions.

If Silvena Rowe keeps this up, she'll knock Diana Henry off the top spot of my favourite food writers. What delights will she come up with next?
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Whilst most people would automatically think that this title is a quick and easy way to create Asian dishes, it's not. It brings the flavour and culture of the eastern Mediterranean to the palette of the western world and whilst some of the dishes may seem quite exotic they have a wonderful taste sensation all of their own.

Taking influences from as far afield as North-Eastern Africa as well as Turkey, it has something for all palettes. It's accomplished, it's easy to follow and above all else it will give you a set of flavours that are not matched anywhere else in the world where savoury dishes vie against the sweetness of some of the ingredients. Its creative, it will give you something special for a dinner party and with a quick turn around on their creation, can be something that will wow a surprise party that very few will have experienced before.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2012
Having watched some television programmes I was keen to get the book as it would be nice to try something which looked a little different. Many of the recipes involve frying food which doesn't appeal or putting the oven on for what seems like a small quantity of food. None of the recipes are really that straight forward with speciality ingredients that need to be sourced. All in all having read all the recipes there was not one that jumped out at me enough to say cook me. Very disappointing.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 15 November 2011
Really well written book, lovely photos and plenty of exciting recipes. However, I only found a few that were actually practical or worthwhile for a homecook. Bit too much on the flamboyant, pie-in-the-sky side for me.
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on 4 April 2015
I purchased this book for a present. I know she was pleased with it and uses it.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 29 May 2011
I adored her last cook book, and now have got my hands on her new one today. Lots of well crafted and thoughtful recipes that build on her past repertoire most successfully. I love her style of writing, the set out of the books and really do recommend this as a must have purchase for a cook's (or in my case, professional chef) 'turn to' collection - particularly with summer coming up get the grill out and start cooking!
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on 5 December 2014
Excellent, looking forward to making lots of the recipes.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 30 June 2011
This is a glorious book that introduced me to lots of new combinations of food with truly delicious outcomes! Her passion for food and love of cooking shine through on every page. It is easy to follow, colourful and mouthwatering to read - I thoroughly recommend it to any foodies!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 October 2011
Just what I have come to expect of Silvena Rowe - wonderful aromatic recipes full of oriental flavours that you can almost smell as you leaf through the beautiful pictures. Her recipes are always jam-packed with flavour and are easily made. I have made the Pistachio and Cardamom Lamb Manti and the Orange and Honey Glazed Aubergine Rolls and they were simply delicious, whilst being original, a little different.

It is so nice to see recipes that are truly inspiring. Another winner from Silvena Rowe.
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