Mezze by Ghillie Basan
Small plates to share
Ireland is currently battling both Storm Emma and the Beast from the East, with a lot of snow all over the country but that’s not going to stop me from bringing some sunshine into your kitchen with my new book tip of the month! Mezze, with recipes by Ghillie Basan and photography from Jan Baldwin is the latest masterpiece published by Ryland, Peters and Small. There is an incredible charm and coziness in being able to share little bites with other people around the table, which is exactly what this book will offer you. This way you’ll be able to experience all kinds of flavours in one meal and everyone can have their own favourite mezze.
The book starts off with the basics, as Ghillie explains: “When it comes to cooking dishes from a culture that is not your own, it is a good idea to become familiar with some of the basic store-cupboard ingredients and methods, as they can make all the difference to the taste of the end product. Here I have included all the basics of my kitchen. I prepare them for my family and for my cookery workshops which means I can rustle up authentic mezze quickly and with the greatest of ease.“
One thing I love about this book is that each recipe has an introduction, giving you some background information about where it comes from, what it is or even just what it means. Another big plus of this book is that a nearly all of the ingredients can be found in any basic supermarket making these recipes really easy to make, with the exception of for example vine leaves and raki – which you can of course find in any Mediterranean or Middle-Eastern shop. The recipes themselves are really easy to follow, but look really impressive! The photography of the book is simply stunning and will give you some really good inspiration for setting your table as well.
What is Mezze?
Mezze is an ancient tradition, enjoyed by the Greeks, Romans, medieval Arabs, and Ottoman Turks, and is the heart and soul of modern culinary life in the Middle East. The word mezze (meze in Turkey and mazza in Syria and Lebanon) is thought to have derived from the Persian maza meaning ‘taste’ or ‘relish’ and was designed to be savoured alongside tea, wine, beer, or a yogurt drink with the aim of pleasing the palate, not to fill the belly. It is a relaxing custom that can be enjoyed at any time of day as an appetizer, snack or as a buffet spread, served in small quantities and shared at a leisurely pace.
At its simplest, mezze can be a bowl of gleaming olives marinated in lemon juice and crushed coriander seeds, or a blend of roasted nuts and seeds tossed in salt and dried thyme. At its most elaborate, it can be a lavish feast comprising a myriad of little colourful dishes, each the bearer of something savoury or sweet, but always utterly delicious. Add plenty of fresh, crusty bread to dip, mop and devour all of the flavours and you will discover the true magic of mezze.
The beauty of producing a mezze feast lies in the chance to mix and match different recipes to create your own balance and blend of tastes and flavours. You could choose to serve the cold mezze first, including something to whet your appetite from the divine collection of Dips, or perhaps a refreshing, fragrant salad from Salads & Stuffed Vegetables. Or you could jump straight in to Hot Mezze and savour a baked treat from the Pastries & Pies chapter or sample the delightfully aromatic offerings in Kebabs & Pan Fries. Round off the feast with a delectably fruity offering from Sweet Fruit & Vegetables or a heavenly indulgence from Sweetmeats, Pastries and Desserts.
Mezze features a mouth-watering collection of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dips, bites, salads and other small plates to share, to enjoy as appetizers or light meals. At its simplest, mezze can be represented by a bowl of gleaming olives marinated in lemon juice and crushed coriander seeds, or a mixture of roasted nuts and seeds tossed in salt and dried thyme. At its most elaborate, it can be presented as an entire feast comprising a myriad of little colourful dishes, each the bearer of something savoury or sweet but always delicious. In this edition you’ll discover such exciting recipes as Orange and Date Salad with Chillies and Preserved Lemon; Hot Hummus with Pine Nuts and Chilli Butter; Baby Saffron Squid stuffed with Bulgur and Zahtar; and Stuffed Dates in Clementine Syrup – nothing beats the magic of mezze.
About the author and photographer
Writer, broadcaster, and food anthropologist, Ghillie Basan has been dubbed ‘The Original Spice Girl’ and ‘World Food Expert.’ Her informative and internationally acclaimed books have been nominated for the Glenfiddich, the Guild of Food Writers’, and the Cordon Bleu World Food Media awards; they have appeared regularly in the ‘Best of the Best’ and ‘Top 50’ lists; and she has been described as one of the ‘finest writers on Middle Eastern food’. Her food and travel articles have appeared in the Sunday Herald, Scotland on Sunday, the Sunday Times, the Press & Journal, BBC Good Food Magazine, TasteTurkey, Eatinmagazine, Diet & Nutrition USA, and various internet sites and magazines.
She has also been short-listed ‘Pasta Journalist of the Year’ and is a member of the Guild of Food Writers. She is the author of the bestselling Tagine, Flavours of the Middle East and Vegetarian Tagines and Couscous for Ryland Peters & Small.
Jan Baldwin is a renowned photographer whose work appears regularly in magazines such as Elle Decoration, House & Garden and The World of Interiors. For Ryland Peters & Small she has photographed A Gourmet Guide to Oil and Vinegar, English Eccentric, Perfect English Farmhouse, Farrow & Ball Living with Colour and Farrow & Ball Decorating with Colour.
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Ryland Peters & Small; Abridged edition (13 Feb. 2018)
Product Dimensions: 17 x 1.8 x 21 cm
You can buy this book on Amazon UK
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