Sabrina Ghayour’s Sirocco: Fabulous Flavors from the Middle East (Clarkson Potter 2016) is that hot wind that keeps you warm and dry in the summer, feeding your appetite as it raises your spirits. That’s quite a lot from a cookbook – but this is one of those cookbooks you will pick up, flip through, and find more then a dozen recipes you want to make and eat right away. You’ll want to invite friends over for snacks and a glass of something or throw a dinner party to celebrate the day, the summer, and that dry, hot wind.
What did Super Chef find, flipping through this lovely book with food photographs by Haarala Hamilton?
For that after work party, a cool Hibiscus Cooler (p. 49) with a bit of added vodka in a tall glass with ice served with Lima Bean and Za’atar Dip (p. 52). Sabrina includes a wide variety of eggplant dishes like Afghani-Style Smoked Eggplant Dip (p. 55) mixed with Greek yogurt and cilantro or perhaps Fried Semolina-Crusted Eggplant with Honey (p. 64) that is Sabrina’s take on a dish from Lolita restaurant. Stuffed Baby Eggplant (p. 66) would also be fun with that drink. She makes Baba Ghanoush and then spoons it back into the eggplant skins for a pretty presentation.
For that summer party, try Turmeric & Spice-Marinated Cauliflower (p. 147) with a tomato sauce and nigella seeds, together with hearty, vegetarian Chickpea, Butternut Squash, Preserved Lemon & Harissa Tagine (p.167) and Chickenberry Rice (pp. 170-1) , a biryani like dish with chicken breasts, cardamom, saffron, and various berries including very tart barberries. Sabrina’s book is full of colorful, highly spiced, healthy vegetable dishes. It’s summer, so make a few.
Finish up with Nectarine Pavlova (p. 222) – a light meringue, fruit, mint, and tea syrup or an indulgent Dark Chocolate, Cardamom & Espresso Mousse Cake (p. 224) and let the conversations continue under the starlight.
Celebrate friends, a new job, a birthday, or just another Friday night with Sirocco. It will lift your spirits with its exuberant recipes.