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on 16 April 2012
Pomegranates and Roses is an exceptionally beautiful book. It is superficially similar in design to several that are in the market now but the attention to detail with the finish, the backgrounds, delicate and intricate illustrations by Alice Chadwick, the props in the photography (shot by Lisa Linder), Farsi calligraphy and the overall layout means that it manages to stand out and would be worth the money just to decorate your coffee table. However, it is not just highly decorative - as a very precise guide to Persian cooking it is excellent. Ariana Bundy has used her chef's training to translate 'a bit of this and a bit of that' family recipes into ones that are easy to follow and work really well. Also all of the methods are manageable - she's retained authenticity with an eye towards today's modern families and kitchens.

Most ingredients are easily obtainable and I would recommend the effort of getting barbarries by mail order just to make Zereshk Polo - a classic subtley, saffron-scented chicken dish - which is beautiful served with Mast o Khiar - a combination of yoghurt, cucumber, raisins, walnuts, mint and spring onions.

I had never understood the unani principle of serving hot and cold foods - not temperature but humours or categories - until I read this book. It also puts Iranian food in context of it's influences and influencers in the region as well as being a family memoir.
One of the most interesting and useful books on another cuisine that I have bought in a long, long time.
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on 16 April 2017
It is alright
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on 17 July 2013
Good cookbook with some different and appealing recipes. Need to try some more to check out how good they are.
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The culinary memoir seems to be a growing sub-genre in a saturated cookbook market - works describing the author's wonderful better-than-yours-could-ever-have-been childhood in far off exotic lands, with a few recipes thrown in here or there. As an avid collector of Middle Easter cookbooks, I had feared from the publicity that this new release would be firmly within that camp. However the family history part is in fact relatively unobtrusive and the food comes to the fore. Despite the subtitle "My Persian family recipes", the recipes here go beyond author Ariana Bundy's own family with ones which are regional or are Jewish for example (Ms Bundy confesses in the introduction to "gathering recipes by email, phone and travelling").

There are many classic dishes in here to be found in most if not all Iranian cookbooks - khoresht-e fesenjan, tas kebab, shirin polow, and zereshk polow for example. There are however plenty of recipes here dissimilar to what I have seen before despite my large collection - to name a few, zeytoon parvardeh (olives in pomegranate molasses and crushed walnuts), haroset (a Jewish-Iranian sweet involving fruits, nuts and spices), morabayeh bademjoon (an aubergine preserve flavoured with cardamom and rose water), faloudeh (rice noodle granita with lime and rose water), belderchineh too por (quails stuffed with rose petals), and gheymeh nessar (lamb with barberries, tomatoes and rose water).

The book is arranged by categorisation into fruit, nuts and pulses, vegetables, grains, dairy, meat, fish, herbs, and spices. Some recipes find themselves in odd places to my mind though - similar rice dishes will find themselves categorised according to a particular ingredient therein rather than coming gathered together under the grains section.

Recipes for the most part steer clear of hard to find ingredients, though there are still a few here and there which will be easier to find if you live down the Edgeware Road rather than in deepest Devon like myself. Many dishes are accompanied by an excellent photograph of the end result, though sometimes when there is a photo it is just of one or more of the ingredients. As someone who eats with eyes as well as mouth, I do like to see what the finished article ought to look like, and I would have liked more of this.

Ariana Bundy has given us a welcome addition to the corpus of Iranian cookbooks, wonderfully presented and suitable for novices to the region's cuisine. If looking for a first Iranian cookbook however, it's also worth considering the possible alternatives; my recommendations would include for example New Persian Cooking: A Fresh Approach to the Classic Cuisine of Iran, plus the older and less glamorous but excellent The Legendary Cuisine of Persia (which is where I began with Iranian and indeed Middle Eastern cooking), A Taste of Persia: An Introduction to Persian Cuisine and Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies. There is also the visually stunning but not necessarily so practical coffee-tablish Saraban: A chef's journey through Persia.
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on 22 April 2017
Top Marks. This is by far the best and most authentic contemporary Iranian / Persian cuisine cookery book out there. Ariana writes with effortless ease and everyone of her dishes works!
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on 15 December 2015
I have many Persian Cookery books as my husband of thirty four years is Iranian.
We lived in Isfahan for several years so I learnt a lot from my beautiful Mother in Law.
This book is now one of my favourites.The recipes are easy to follow and the photographs are so beautiful enticing you to make them there and then
Ariana captures life in Iran on a plate with her anecdotes about her relatives.
If you love aromatic food trying new flavours and would like to impress your friends this is the book for you.
Also Persian food unlike Indian dishes are not hot but fragrant with subtle gentle flavours.
A friend bought this book for my birthdayand now have bought it for my Daughter in Law for Christmas.
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on 15 January 2013
Pomegranates and Roses is by far the most beautiful book I bought in 2012. I hesitate to call it a cook book or a recipe book because Ariana Bundy has filled it with so much more. The stories and the romance behind each recipe is a joy to read!

I bought this book - my first ever Persian purchase - to impress a boy. He is Persian and I organised a dinner party for him and his Persian friends. It seemed like a very good idea until I realised that I had absolutely no taste reference for any of the dishes I was about to embark upon. To make my life more difficult I inadvertently chose to make one of the more difficult dishes in the book - the Fassenjan.

Once I got over the long ingredient list I realised all I needed was to patiently follow Arian's detailed recipe. Through Twitter I was also able to contact her directly and she virtually held my hand through the recipe. Needless to say the dinner was a massive hit. The Persian boy is long gone but I am thrilled to have invested in this gorgeous book that is a friend for life. Thank you Ariana!
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on 1 May 2013
I gave this book as a present to my husband (he cooks - I bake!). We have already tried a few of the recipes and they have turned out just fine. If you have never cooked Persian before, this is a good book to start with, although we would prefer more photos of the actual recipes instead of arty pics of radishes and watermelons etc.
I took off one star because my husband felt that the way the recipes are sorted into categories is a bit all over the place e.g. under dairy you will find a couple of salads, a soup, a chicken dish and a (pretty much international) yoghurt cake.. thus making it time consuming to find a specific recipe unless you've marked it beforehand.
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on 16 August 2015
Probably the best Persian (Iranian) cook book I've ever read. It’s not just a recipe book; the writer also tells you some interesting facts about each food and also her family history which is very interesting. I bought one for a friend and like it so much I also got one for myself and my mum.
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on 13 April 2015
What a gorgeous book. Beautifully written with little personal touches and stories throughout. It will become a tried, tested and much loved addition to my kitchen over the coming years.
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