So what did I think of the book? I wasn't too sure of the title as it meant nothing to me but don't let that put you off one of the most interesting cookery books I have seen in a long time.
The book is written by Sharon Salloum, a name I was not familiar with, who together with her sister runs a Syrian restaurant in Sydney, Australia called the Almond Bar, hence the title of the book. As you would expect all the recipes in the book are based on Syrian traditional cooking and food.
When I was in my early teens I was lucky enough to be friends with a young Syrian boy for a couple of years. We were both away at boarding school, which is something you do not associate with good food. From time to time, during the term, we would get parental visits or days out. Returning to school we would come back stocked up with all sorts of goodies to eat. The food my friend brought back was very different to what the rest of us did. These occasions were the only time I have ever got to try any Syrian cooking. I have lasting memories of helping him to scoff his supply of Kibbeh. Imagine my delight on looking through the index to Almond Bar to find several different recipes for this Syrian dish, often thought of as the national dish of Lebanon (something I did not know).
If I don't try anything else from the Almond Bar I will be trying to make my own Kibbeh, and bring back memories from long ago!
Leaving Kibbeh aside this is a wonderful book of recipes and just reading the descriptions and ingredients makes your mouth water. The recipes are very clearly laid out with easy to follow instructions. What adds a nice touch to each recipe of the comments or descriptions that Sharon has added, as well as the classy photography.
Whilst I'm sure the book only covers a small part of Syrian cooking and food it certainly gives you an insight into what it is all about. I don't think anyone looking at this book will be disappointed as it is beautifully put together, well-written and will give you some new and refreshing ideas to try either on your family or your friends.
I certainly highly recommend this book . . . and if I ever found myself in Sydney, Australia I would make a beeline for the Almond Bar restaurant.
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