I was reorganizing my bookshelf recently and I admit I didn’t get far – as I ended up pouring through my many cookbooks and recalling some of my favourite dishes. As part of this process I found myself, once again, delighting in the recipes of Silvena Rowe in her book Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume – Cuisine of the Eastern Mediterranean. (Published by Harper Collins, 2010, 2011, Photography by Jonathan Lovekin).
This has got to be one of the ‘got to’ books for Mezze with wonderful recipes such a Fennel & Feta Kofte with Walnut Tarator, Lamb and Spinach Yogurt Square, and a Pumpkin & Za’atar Hummus which is to die for. Her chapter on salads is mouthwatering and whatever you do, don’t go to her dessert section – her Rose & Champagne Jelly with Crystallized Rose Petals says it all., while her Baklava recipes will tempt you on a number of levels.
Heston Blumenthal does the introduction and he captures the essence of this book in these words – “…Purple Citrus & Sweet perfume is full of stories and reminiscences that set it apart from most cookbooks. Silvena’s nostalgia for the aromas and flavours of her childhood really brings the recipes alive, and the book gives us a very personal glimpse at the relatively unexplored food cultures of these Eastern Mediterranean countries.”
Do yourself a favor and put this cookbook in your cookbook library – you will come back to it time and again – and those who partake of the glorious food you prepare from this book will forever thank you!