Meze, Sally Butcher | Book Review

We often do meze platters for starters when we have guests over for a meal. The idea of a recipe book to inspire me with snacks, small plates and street food from the Middle East, really grabbed my attention. But before I even paged through the book I gave it to my mom. I wanted her to chose what I made for while they were visiting. It seemed apt, as Sally has dedicated this recipe book to her in-laws and hopefully Dave too finds as in-laws go, they ain’t bad.

Increasingly, formal dining is being nudged aside in favour of meze-style spreads, and street food has come of age. Meze picks out the Middle East’s most exciting street food and snacks including a range of kebabs, nuts, nibbles and sweet halwah, to bring together for family and friends.

From Aubergine-wrapped Chicken, and Rabbit and Fig Kebabs, to Lebanese Street Pizza Bread and Sudanese Mashed Broad Beans. With drinks to serve alongside such as Iced Turkish Delight Coffee or Kashmiri Tamarind Cooler, without forgetting puddings for a sweet finish, you too can create the home shawarma experience and the definitive Middle Eastern meze.

Packed with recipes from across the region and Sally’s trademark wit and informed anecdotes, this is a burst of intoxicating flavours for all Middle Eastern food enthusiasts.

Chapters are divided into:
  • Nuts and Nibbles
  • Fishy Things
  • Meat On Sticks
  • Meat Not On Sticks
  • Hot Vegetarian Meze
  • Salads and Cold Meze
  • Mostly Carbs
  • Halwah: Sweet Treats
  • Something To Wash It Down
Recipes that caught my eye:
  • lemon-roasted almonds with saffron (p14)
  • spiced vegetable crisps (p18)
  • harissa popcorn (p21)
  • taramosalata (p26)
  • the home shawarma experience (p54)
  • chicken liver with pomegranate sauce (p69)
  • kabak kizartmasi p87)
  • saganaki (p99)
  • ajvar (p108)
  • avocado and yoghurt dip with sumac (p115)
  • çörek (p134)
  • sp-ice lollies (p158)
  • orange blossom and mint lemonade (p172)
  • chai karak (p179)
  • iced Turkish delight coffee (p180)
Chicken Livers With Pomegranate Sauce
My impressions:

I love recipe books where the notes and tips make sense. And this one certainly does. The recipe inspiration is also not at all pretentious. Sally uses down-to-earth words and made up terms to excite you in wanting to try the recipes. Not all the pages have numbers which I personally find frustrating. Also, many recipes had no photographs which I know is a deal breaker for many people. As I was unfamiliar with many terms, photographs would have helped me see what Sally was making.

What I made:

I made the chicken livers with pomegranate sauce as it was the recipe my mom chose. Frankly, the concept intrigued me. But the photograph used was not that inspiring. My mom said that my dish looked so much better and I can tell you I have made this several times as the taste is explosive, and unique.

Publishing information:
ISBN:   9781911641667
Publisher:  Pavilion Books
On sale: July 2020
Format: Hardcover

Disclosure: I was sent the book to review by Jonathan Ball Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. This post is in line with my blogging policy.

Inspiration published on Lavender and Lime February 10:


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