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Vegetarian Dishes from the Middle East Hardcover – 5 Jun 2008
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I found it hard to put this hard-backed recipe book down. My eye was instantly drawn to Suma-flavoured kufta, a traditional recipe from Southern Turkey consisting of bulgur, fresh herbs and finely chopped vegetables; the addition of sumac powder lifts the dish out of the ordinary. The lack of any photographs does not detract from the appeal of this book which will give a real boost to any vegetarian food enthusiast looking for something a little more unusual. For example, take 20 lemons, salt, paprika, and olive oil, follow the method and after 4 weeks you have beautiful orange-coloured lemons in oil to use as a pickle. The origins of these recipes are diverse and include Iran, Turkey, Armenia, Greece, The Lebanon and more. --The Vegetarian
About the Author
Arto der Haroutunian was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1940 and grew up in the Levant, but came to England with his parents as a child and remained here for most of his life. He studied architecture at Manchester University and established a career designing restaurants, clubs and hotels. In 1970, in partnership with his brother, he opened the first Armenian restaurant in Manchester which eventually became a successful chain of six restaurants and two hotels. Given his passion for cooking it was a natural progression that he should then begin to write cookery books as they combined his love of food with his great interest in the history and culture of the region. It was his belief that the rich culinary tradition of the Middle East is the main source of many of our Western cuisines and his books were intended as an introduction to that tradition. All the many cookbooks written by Der Haroutunian have now been out of print for many years and second hand copies fetch hundreds of pounds. He died in 1987 at the untimely age of 47. He is survived by his wife and son who still live in Manchester. As well as his passion for cooking, Arto der Haroutunian was a painter of international reputation who exhibited all over the world. His other interests included composing music and translating Turkish, Arab, Persian and Armenian authors. He was a true polymath.
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Top customer reviews
The recipes themselves - backed up with serving suggestions, proverbs, anecdotes and reminiscences - sound mouth-watering and are easy to follow.
The author's obvious love of his subject makes this book a delight.
This publication has a couple of negatives for me. Firstly the lack of any photography. OK, in a book this size and this many recipes it could end up being an infeasibly large book, but I always like to see what I am trying to make, as well as it being an aid to choosing candidate dishes to make when you are flicking through - appearance is as important as taste for me when composing menus. The latter issue of difficulty choosing easily while flicking through is compounded a bit by the use of a 'quasi-Armenian' font in a light green colour in the recipe titles which is sometimes hard to read.
Nevertheless despite my gripes, this is a good resource and a welcome addition to the bookshelf of anyone cooking Middle Eastern food, whether an old hand like me or a newcomer to the region's cuisine.