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Bring flavour of Middle East to your table

Why not get to grips with authentic Palestinian cooking

By Ella Walker

While we're all rather au fait with Middle Eastern cuisine these days, thanks to the likes of Yotam Ottolenghi, Sabrina Ghayour, and Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer of Honey & Co, how much do you really know about Palestinian food?

Well, Reem Kassis' new cookbook The Palestinian Table is set to fill that gap, with recipes inspired by three generations of her family's cooking traditions. Here's what we think of it...

Who will love it?

Anyone interested in traditional, home-cooked family meals and is intrigued by Palestinian culture.

Also, those who adore a good flat bread smothered with tasty toppings.

What sort of food is it trying to get us cooking?

Palestinian food, and all the nuanced flavours that entails. Reem wants us to see it as a distinct cuisine, rather than just as Middle Eastern food (so much goes by that name these days, often purely because it involves a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds).

How easy is it?

Recipes range from the ridiculously easy (straining yoghurt for labneh, frying eggs with sumac spice), to making decadent puddings (fenugreek semolina cake, shredded filo and cheese pie), and low and slow roasts and stews (rice-stuffed chicken and lamb, garlic and chickpea pilaf). Some of the spices may require a little hunting out.

The best recipe is...

The cauliflower fritters. Packed with spring onions, parsley and cumin, as well as Reem's favourite 'nine spice' mix, these are crisp, colourful and apparently are great for brunch dunked in labneh.

The recipe that we're most likely to post pictures of on Instagram is...

Baklawa; curls of golden filo pastry dusted with bright green pistachios and drizzled with syrup. Like, like, like.

Overall rating: 4/5

  • The Palestinian Table by Reem Kassis, photography by Dan Perez, is published by Phaidon priced £24.95. Available now

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