COOKBOOK REVIEW: Sirocco – Fabulous Flavours From the East by Sabrina Ghayour
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
The follow-up to her debut cookbook Persiana – a collection of exciting modern Middle Eastern recipes – Sabrina Ghayour describes Sirocco as, “food with full-on flavour,” inspired by Eastern flavours, but utilising produce and cooking styles from the west. Indeed, Sirocco itself means “a hot, dry wind blowing from east to west,” perfectly summing up the books ethos.
Flavour is a key word in Sirocco: even just a few easily obtained exotic pantry staples can transform eating habits, and Ghayour revels in sharing how.
Drawing equally from her Iranian heritage and English upbringing, her simple food is brilliant and, to our western notions, definitely exotic – the very concept of a breakfast of bacon pittas or fetta and pear toasts drizzled with honey conjure up images of teeming bazaars in far-off countries – but one taste will convert you to the ‘why didn’t I think of that’ league.
Ghayour devotes a chapter to dips and snack food, featuring bean, beetroot and aubergine dips, broccoli fritters and courgette fries, spinach & walnut balls and Merguez sausage rolls, and a spiced lamb wrapped in lettuce (not too dissimilar to an Asian san choy bow) and yep, I’m hungry just writing this.
Middle Eastern-inspired salads are colourful and exciting: rockmelon & feta; fig, pecorino & walnut; a black & white rice salad lifted high with the addition of chicken, mango and herbs – there’s no chance the reader won’t find a handful of new favourites in Sirocco.
An equally dazzling array of main courses (Persian lamb, quince & saffron stew; spiced duck; harissa mussels) and dessert (blackberry tart; parsnip, walnut & honey cake; honey spiced Challah bread) await keen readers.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I want to try a few of these in the kitchen right now.
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About the Author: Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE