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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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In this book Arto der Haroutunian introduces us to the food of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. He starts his book with an introduction to the people and the cultures of the region which gives us an insight into how the cuisines developed. This is fascinating and we can see the almost contradictory influences of the simplicity of the medina kitchen and French colonialism. This could all be very dry and erudite, but Arto der Haroutunian is an amusing writer who is a joy to read.

But what about the food, which is after all the most important part of any cookbook? The recipes are divided into courses such as soups, entrees and everyday dishes. There is an index and an excellent glossary which will tell you how to make ingredients that are not so readily available in British shops, for example khli which is a dried meat and might at first sight sound daunting, but if you have a petproof larder, is not difficult to achieve. The quantities given are quite large but could easily be reduced.

Other recipes are less alarming and all work well. My one argument with the book, is that some of the text is in orange ink which I find hard to read in artificial light.

This is a book to read and enjoy as well as to cook from. It is wonderful in the winter because it transports you to a land of heat and spices and yet can provide fabulous food to warm you up. In the summer there are loads of recipes to enjoy outside.
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VINE VOICEon 21 October 2010
Now this is a real exotic cuisine cookery book. Arto makes everything easy and the authenticity of his recipes is unassailable. If you are interested in learning about other cuisines in a really "in depth" way, don't hesitate to buy this book. Arto prefaces the book with historical information about the people and cuisines he showcases and fascinating it is, too. Did you know that "The most important influence on the Algerian cuisine . . . was that of France" ? I didn't but Arto tells me that "this is most obvious in the use of tomato puree, sweets and starters that have more than an accidnetal touch of metropolitan France". The recipes are clearly described and rarely contain ingredients that would be hard to find in England.
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on 19 August 2009
Having enjoyed the previous two releases by this author I had no hesitation to pre order North African Cookery without reading any reviews!! Packed full of recipes that are easy to follow, flavoured with history and anecdotes. Fantastic tagines and stews have helped introduce me to a part of the world that I knew little of before now! This is another fantastic book from the author and the publishers Grub Street and I have no hesitation recomending this book!
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on 22 December 2011
The author Arto der Haroutunian was lost to us cookbook lovers far too soon. He died in 1987 at the age of47. His books have always been sought after by a discerning and loyal following of those who prize authenticity and style.

North African Cookery is a classic of this so-far underestimated cuisine. The author, Arto der Haroutunian, shows us once again why he has never been surpassed as the authority on food of this region. This will be a worthwhile addition to any serious cookbook collection but I counsel using it rather than just reading it. You'll add many recipes from this volume to your repertoire. Great value for money.

Lamb is the meat of choice in all North African countries and it's no surprise to find a good selection of recipes here. If you want to try your hand at cooking a whole lamb then this book will serve you well. There are several methods of cooking offered as well as a marinade. A whole lamb is the ubiquitous centre-piece of any North African celebration and it's striking, delicious and memorable.

Vegetarians are well served here. There are salads and vegetable dishes aplenty. Chalda Loubia Khadra (green beans with almonds) is a surprisingly western-seeming salad as it has a mayonnaise dressing. Chalda Bartogal wa Jazar (orange and carrot salad) is Moroccan and often found on restaurant menus as well as in homes.
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on 1 September 2009
North African Cookery
This is a superb book, in which Haratounian explains the background to North African food and how it has developed through history with the merging of cultures through conquest and reconquest. The recipes are mouth-watering! Haratounian decries the current problem of not being able to purchase authentic North African food in restaurants in the area as French influence is all-pervading. As a long-term customer of the Armenian restaurant in Manchester which Haratounian and his brother set up, I know this is a man who knows his food. I warmly recommend it.
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This is more than just a recipe book despite it being that - a book crammed full of over 300 traditional North African recipes. Confused? Well the quality of the book's endearing, explanatory text makes it just appear different - and there are not any scene-setting colour photographs either.

The author provides a fairly good overview to the rich, diverse cuisine of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya and the reader is encouraged to try these relative simplistic, flavour-rich dishes at home in their original, unexpurgated glory. Leafing through, the reader can learn possibly new ways of food preparation that could even stand them in good stead when cooking other cuisines and even lead to some fusion inspiration. However, it must be stated, this book stands for tradition rather than modern change. You can make a lot of good dishes from these traditional recipes yet, should you desire and have the inquisitive nature, you are able to customise things further and with a fair degree of confidence thanks to the grounding this book gives.

This is a revised paperback edition (the hardback was published in 2009) and one must question the point of this paperback issue other than cost grounds. The book's bindings are flimsy and even after light handling by the postal services and then a YUM reviewer it looks like it has been sitting on the shelves of a charity shop for many years. The book feels cramped due to the narrow margins, the relatively small fonts and general design. A classic case of spoiling the ship for a little bit of tar. One doesn't expect the high production values that a hardback may command, but a little more care and attention may have made this look less like a mass produced paperback. This book deserves more. The content is good but the casual browser might not even give it that much chance to prove itself.

If you are prepared to persevere then this book will be a good little gem for your culinary exploration and exploitation. That much we can say. If you do find that this becomes a favourite, you may want to see what the older hardback book has to offer as it should be more robust and less prone to falling to pieces after a short time. This would have been a good "four YUM" book if not for the poor "packaging."

After a plethora of recipes and perhaps a bit of eyeache for good measure, a very good, comprehensive index rounds the book off with a bit of dignity.
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on 16 October 2013
An excellent book full of amazing meals.

I bought this on a whim a fortnight ago and have already made five or six different dishes from it. Everything has been incredible, the sort of food that's so tasty you want to just sit back and start quietly swearing at the plate. Most dishes are simple and pretty cheap to make too, just stock up on certain herbs and spices and you're good to go.

There's loads of interesting info about the origin of various recipes all interspersed with amusingly nonsensical proverbs from the regions involved. The author doesn't skimp on authenticity either, I can't imagine I'll find the time to cook lamb's head, but should I ever feel so desired, I have everything I need to make it a success. The complete lack of imagery is a bonus too as you often don't have an idea of what the finished product will look like until you've cooked it. I quite like that.

If you're interested in north African food, buy this book.
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on 30 November 2010
I bought the paperback version of this book many years ago, and used it so much that it was falling apart. I was therefore delighted to find that a new hard-back edition had been issued, and bought three - one for me and one for each of my two daughters. The recipes are clearly explained, and the background information very interesting. Highly recommended!
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on 24 August 2011
Very interesting reading. The introduction tells you in a short way the origins of 4 country's and the foods that came from those.

The detail regarding the products, their use and utility is superb.

Have done with success several of its dishes, its a well written book.
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on 30 May 2014
I'm Moroccan looking for genuine books about Moroccan and North African food to use as documentation for a something I'm working on.

I just discovered Arto Der Haroutunian very recently. I've got this book from a public library and I loved it so much that I ordered my own copy. I just received it today. I love everything about it: the history, the stories, some recipes (ok, there are some small mistakes but it does not really matter).

I also ordered the other books about Turkish cookery and Middle Eastern cookerie.. It's sad he left us! It's also sad he's not as famous as other cookbook writers..His books definitely stand out of the crowd out there in a very positive way..
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