By Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley (Ebury Press, $60) Photography by Jenny Zarins
This is one of those cookbooks that not only has an appealing collection of exotic recipes but that also gives an incredible glimpse into a country, its history and traditions, its people, the produce and dishes shared around the family table, giving the recipes context. Some of the recipes may be familiar to you, but I suspect, as it was for me, many will be new, and those new ones will no doubt intrigue you.
The authors are well versed in what constitutes a good cookbook – you can read their credentials in the press release below – and it is the writing skill, the stories, the people’s voices that bring the book to life.
Yep, it’s a curl-up-in-a-chair kind of book, but it’s the exotic mix of cumin, dill, coriander, chillies, date syrup, za’atar and sumac all swirled together that will see you head to the kitchen to prepare a Palestinian feast.
Travelling through Bethlehem, East Jerusalem, Nablus, Haifa, Akka, Nazareth, Galilee and the West Bank, Sami and Tara invite you to experience and enjoy unparalleled access. As each region has its own distinct identity and tale to tell, there are endless new flavour combinations for you to discover.
The food is the perfect mix of traditional and contemporary, with recipes that have been handed down through the generations and reworked in the Ottolenghi test kitchen, for the modern home kitchen.
These are recipes for the home cook to fall for and make their own, from the easy tray bake chicken with lemon and za’atar to a more elaborate fisherman’s stew. These are recipes which always showcase – and sometimes shine a new light on – the Palestinian pantry: the olive oil and za’atar, for example, the pulses and flatbreads, the tahini, yoghurt, feta, date syrup, allspice, sumac, ground cumin, green chillies, dill, garlic, fresh coriander and lemon.
With stunning food and travel photography from Jenny Zarins plus stories from unheard Palestinian voices, this important cookbook will transport you to the lands of Palestine.
So get ready to laden your table with the most delicious of foods – from vibrant salads, silky soups and wholesome grains to fluffy breads, indulgent one pot dishes and perfumed sweet treats – there are feasts to be shared and everyday meals to be enjoyed. These are stunning Palestinian-inspired dishes that you will want to cook, eat, fall in love with and make your own.
SAMI TAMIMI was born and raised in Jerusalem and was immersed in food from childhood. He started his career as commis-chef in a Jerusalem hotel and worked his way up, through many restaurants and types of cooking, to become head chef at Lilith, a top restaurant in Tel Aviv in the 1990’s. Sami moved to London in 1997 and worked at Baker and Spice as head chef, where he set up a traiteur section with a rich Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean spread. In 2002 he partnered with Noam Bar and Yotam Ottolenghi to set up Ottolenghi in Notting Hill. In his position as the executive head chef, Sami is involved in developing and nurturing young kitchen talents and creating new dishes and innovative menus. Alongside Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi is co-author of two bestselling cookbooks; Ottolenghi: The Cookbook And Jerusalem: A Cookbook.
TARA WIGLEY worked in publishing for the best part of a decade before switching to food and writing in 2010. She trained at the Ballymaloe cookery school in Ireland before starting to work with Yotam in 2011. For the first year she tested recipes with Yotam in his West London flat before taking on the role of writing collaborator. Tara was very involved with the creation of Plenty More and is credited on the title page with the writing of Nopi: The Cookbook, Sweet, the re-launched edition of Ottolenghi: The Cookbook and Simple.