Shortlisted for the Guild of Food Writers' Cookery Book of the Year
In this upbeat guide to Middle Eastern vegetarian cooking, Sally Butcher proves that the region is simply simmering, bubbling, and bursting with sumptuous vegetarian traditions and recipes. Written in her trademark engaging and knowledgeable style, Sally takes a fresh look at many of the more exciting ingredients available today in local grocery stores and supermarkets as well as providing a host of delicious recipes made with more familiar fare. From fragrant Persian noodle rice to gingery tamarind eggplants, pink pickled turnips and rose petal jam, The New Middle Eastern Vegetarian is filled with aromatic herbs and spices, inspiring ideas and all the knowledge needed to cook wonderful vegetarian food from the Middle East and beyond.
Sally Butcher is the fiery-haired proprietress of the notable Persian food store Persepolis in London, which she runs with her Persian husband, Jamshid. She is also a prolific author and blogger, who has amassed a devoted online following for her food blog. The foodie delights of the Middle East are her specialty, but she has been known to venture far and wide for inspiration. Her first book, Persia in Peckham, was selected Cookery Book of the Year by the Times of London and was short-listed for the 2008 André Simon Award. Her following tomes, The New Middle Eastern Vegetarian, New Middle Eastern Street Food, and Salmagundi: A Celebration of SaladsFrom Around the World, also published by Interlink, have received critical acclaim and starred reviews.
"Novice and experienced chefs who have little interest in Middle Eastern vegetarianism should, nevertheless, read this book by the author of 'Persia in Peckham', Butcher's tongue-in-cheek personal narrative is simply irresistible. Her more than 130 recipes yield, in addition to giggles, a great deal of wisdom. Side bars on such subjects as street food from Marrakesh to Iran, olives, and pantry items are all educational and occasionally eye-opening. Not only is almost every recipe accompanied by elegant color photographs, but each recipe features enough patter to coax anyone into the 'try it, you'll like it' mindset. The range is enticing, from naan, beet and orange salad, and fried-egg pita pockets to carrot and cardamom soup, Middle Eastern ratatouille, and fig jam with chopped pistachios."
Sally Butcher has yet again produced an excellent and fascinating group of recipes with infectious humor and charm.
– Sam Clark, Moro
Last week, I picked up Sally Butcher's 'The New Middle Eastern Vegetarian' and I couldn't be happier. The book's subtitle is 'Modern Recipes from Veggistan,' but its 260-plus pages do include dishes with eggs and cheese. The author isn't vegetarian and admits to a 'terrible weakness for chorizo,' yet she does cut a broad swath of delicious territory that even vegans will want to explore. The recipes are tempting, enough so that you will want to go boldly out to find mint sauce, fresh turmeric, harissa paste, date syrup, truffle oil and more.
It's rare for me to read a cookbook cover to cover, but a trip to Veggiestan (a fictional region including Turkey, the Levant, and Middle East) while sitting in bed with a cup of mint tea, was irresistible. Knowledgeable as all get out, Ms. Butcher is a London-based food writer who, with her husband, runs the renowned Persepolis- a Middle Eastern food store where her enthusiasm and tenacity is in no short supply. This comes bursting through the pages of her new book- transforming scholarly authenticity into joy. And while you will find many vegetarian recipes from Turkey, the array of recipes from elsewhere in Veggiestan is dazzling in their scope and in their use of exotic (but findable) ingredients.
Don't let Sally's decidedly non-Middle Eastern name put you off. She runs London's Persepolis, a Middle Eastern emporium. That means she admires more than one country. She is also a part-time vegetarian, like many people in the Middle East who use meat sparingly, as a flavor. Each chapter includes recipes from all over the Middle East, some from her suppliers, others from travels or family, 'The New Middle Eastern Vegetarian' is a handsome book full of thoughtful recipes that celebrate vegetables- but could easily fit into a meal with meat. Next time you are in London, you'll want to explore Persepolis- but till then, explore Sally's recipes.