review by Maryom
Australian chef Sharon Salloum started to cook at an early age, helping her mother and aunts prepare traditional Syrian food for family and friends, and went on to open Almond Bar, a Sydney restaurant specialising in a mix of old favourite dishes and modern adaptations, all drawing on her Syrian heritage....and now here are those recipes for you to try at home.
There are recipes for sauces and dips, finger food, sharing plates, salads, mains and deserts, to cover every occasion from a quick snack to full-on dinner party - through them all run the distinctive flavours of the Middle East - rosewater, pomegranate, tahini and za'atar spice mix. Some may already be familiar like falafel and bulgar wheat salad, but, to me at least, most are new and exciting dishes.
So where would I start? - the kaftas on the front cover, I think. A fairly simple recipe of spiced minced lamb especially if made in their alternate 'meatball' shape rather than experiment with holding on a skewer. It's also inspired me to try making Ashta, Syrian clotted cream, and then of course try it in the tempting desert recipes such as Rose of Damascus and Semolina Fudge. There's even a recipe for making traditional arish cheese but that may be getting a little too ambitious.
Most of the recipes have gorgeous accompanying photographs and the brief introduction to each from the author gives an additional insight into the dish - something that makes it a fascinating book to read, even if you don't test the recipes out. I'm sure you'll want to though.
Maryom's review - 5 stars
Publisher - Jacqui Small
Genre - cookery, Syria