Top positive review
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Not really 'Moorish', but a decent book nevertheless
on 12 May 2009
This book, like another book by the Maloufs, Arabesque is mistitled. You might think that you are getting a book of north African cuisine, but it actually also (in fact mostly) covers the wider Mediterranean, Europe, middle East and beyond, involving an almost excessive amount of 'fusion', a modern culinary obsession especially among Australian chefs it seems.
So, you get such recipes as cock-a-leekie with dates and croque monsieur, gazpacho, Hungarian mushroom soup, mussel mulligatawny with preserved lemon risotto, Greek rocket salad, French onion pizza with Turkish sausage, Spanish omelette, taramasalata, tzatziki and middle Eastern tiramisu; and ingredients such as halloumi, kataifi, chorizo, parmesan, mozarella, gruyere, juniper and sumac.
However, I think that they successfully get away with the fusion aspect on the whole - the recipes are generally not overly chi-chi nor ill-conceived (though flavouring something with a combination of cardamom and thyme as in one recipe herein sounds extremely odd indeed if not downright grim, but I haven't tried it). The book is simply and traditionally laid out and well presented - one recipe to a page with the occasional photograph of a recipe on the opposite page - certainly no padding with lots of arty photos of middle eastern locations. In these respects it serves as a cookbook much better than the Maloufs' Arabesque and Turquoise. The section at the front with various spice mixes, relishes, dressings, dips and preserves indicating which recipes in the book they can be used with is an excellent addition.
As long as you appreciate that it's not "Moorish", this is actually a quite decent cookbook.