Malouf is the latest book by Greg and Lucy Malouf; Greg is executive chef at MoMo in Melbourne, and has now taken charge of the cafe at Petersham Nurseries, while his former wife Lucy is a food writer and editor. New Middle Eastern Food is their latest book, giving a wide ranging overview of recipes from all over the Middle East, particularly including Lebanon, Syria, Iran, North Africa and Turkey.
The book is formatted around the Middle Eastern eating style of sharing dishes; it’s divided into seven main chapters; each chapter being further subdivided. There are chapters on soups, small dishes, large dishes, side dishes, bakery, sweet and larder. So, for example, the “large dish” chapter is split into seafood, and meat and poultry sections.
Flicking through this book, it’s hard to know where to start. The flavours used look enticing, but as Middle Eastern cuisine isn’t our daily cooking style, so it’s a real treasure of new flavours and textures. Choosing what to cook is made slightly harder, as not all of the recipes are pictured, but it does mean that the final dish is a lovely surprise when served!
I would highly recommend this book for those who are looking to expand their repertoire, although it must be said that the influences shown in the book aren’t just restricted to the Middle East: cock-a-leekie with dates and croques monsieurs is a dish that doesn’t strike me as something from the depths of the souk. Sounds delicious, though. As does Portuguese marinated quail, whole salmon fillet in fragrant salt, tarator-style, yoghurt-baked fish with walnut-herb crumbs, barbecued young chicken scented with cardamom and thyme, chicken cooked on coals, Aleppo-style, with crushed walnuts, lemon zest and mint, crisp Egyptian pigeon with coriander salt, roast leg of lamb with spiced pumpkin… I could go on, but you get the idea. However, as the recipe names indicate, the food is more towards more complicated the restaurant type dishes.
This is a book that’s well worth adding to our cook book library; we have nothing like it on the shelves, so it’s gained a rare space. If you want to expand your cooking horizons, I suggest you have a look.