The Mezze Cookbook is a gift-quality volume which reflects how most of us eat… or would like to.
There are 135 recipes suitable for the home chef, and they cover the Middle East with its tradition of delicious sharing plates. These recipes are perfect for intimate evenings as well as for larger gatherings, for vegetarians and card-carrying meat lovers alike.
The recipes hail from Lebanon, Iran, Turkey and Syria. They are a diverse bunch and likely to have broad appeal. There are plenty of beautiful photographs to inspire and tempt and to give a bit of confidence to the novice cook. There is nothing too taxing and one won’t be expected to buy any specialist equipment. These dishes rely very much on the quality of their ingredients.
The recipes are divided by type to allow for easy navigation and there is everything here from dips to drinks. The mini flatbreads with various toppings are appealing. These are simple to prepare, as shop-bought breads are used here. These would be great for a party or cut into triangles and served with drinks.
Perfect for the cooler weather
I love shakshuka and the recipe in The Mezze Cookbook is perfect for the cooler weather. It’s a classic Middle Eastern breakfast dish but it also works as a light lunch or supper. Eggs are deftly poached in a rich and flavourful sauce of spiced peppers and tomatoes. The secret to success here is getting the eggs to cook to set-white perfection with still-runny yolk. Delicious at any time of day.
Large Lamb Kibbeh was new to me. This is a more practical version of the filled kibbeh which is so labour-intensive. This version has all the familiar ingredients but is assembled in a fraction of the time. This makes a wonderful starter. Homemade Spicy Lamb Sausage also takes advantage of the favourite Middle Eastern meat. These would be perfect finished on a barbecue.
The Mezze Cookbook: Sharing Plates from the Middle East is an ideal gift for any keen cook who could be looking for easily achieved dishes which are a little different from the usual fare. They would be stunning as a mezze spread, but many work as side dishes or light meals. This will become a well-used volume.
The Mezze Cookbook: Sharing Plates from the Middle East
Author: Salma Hage
Published by: Phaidon Press