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Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume: Cuisine of the Eastern Mediterranean Hardcover – June 14, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Equal parts rustic and elegant, Rowe’s is a borderless cuisine of za’atar and lemon zest, chile and cumin, marked by vibrant flavors, bright colors, and heady aromas.” (Bon Appétit)

From the Back Cover

Silvena Rowe, executive chef of London's exquisite restaurant Quince at the May Fair Hotel, invites you on a journey through Eastern Mediterranean history and its culinary secrets. Here, the olive oil, rosemary, and basil of the West meet the exotic spices of the East for a contemporary cuisine of surprising lightness and variety.

From tempting starters such as creamy feta and caramelized leek filo pastries to sumptuous entrées such as spiced pilaf with duck confit, raisins, and pine nuts to heavenly desserts like maple-glazed roasted figs with pistachio praline, this is food for celebrating, for healthy living, and, above all, for sharing.

Rowe offers a modern twist on the classic recipes of a rich tradition, following in the footsteps of the great Ottoman chefs who combined the sweet and the sour, the fresh and the dried, the flavors of honey and cinnamon, saffron and sumac, scented rose and orange flower water. Filled with mouthwatering recipes that can be made using surprisingly simple and easy-to-find ingredients, and illustrated with stunning photographs, Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume brings to life the natural beauty and irresistible flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco (June 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062071599
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062071590
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #631,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I heard Silvena Rowe on the Splendid Table last Saturday 9/3/11 and it really caught my attention so I ordered this book that evening. I finally had a chance to sit and read the evening of Friday 9/9/11 and read through it all that evening. It caught my interest the way a good novel does. The next day I went shopping for ingredients and I spent part of today (Sun 9/11/11) harvesting the rest of the ingredients from my own garden and cooking. I'm always nervous with a new cookbook, because even when the recipes read well, you just never know how well the recipes have been tested. I think they did a good job with this book.

I made the following:

Hummus: A perfect recipe for when you want to make hummus out of dried garbanzos you've cooked yourself. The flavor is great, but the techniques specified really push it to perfection because the resulting texture is exactly right. Hummus sandwiches are my work-a-day lunch staple and I think those sandwiches are going to be brilliant from now on.

Monkfish Shwarma: I felt like this was a big risk, marinating fish in an acid marinade overnight, I was afraid of accidental ceviche and rubbery fish. I did not grill it, as you would for more traditional shwarma but ran the fish under the broiler. It was so full of flavor and the texture was perfect. This is going to be a go-to recipe as well.

Pomegranate Molasses: I am so excited to have a recipe for this that is so easy. I love this ingredient. I used honey instead of sugar and it came out great.

Eggplant, Aleppo Pepper and Pomegranate Spread: This recipe caught my attention because I had bought some Aleppo pepper a few weeks before buying the book and because of the reference to the pomegranate molasses above. I decided to make this instead of the babbaganoush recipe recommended for serving with the monkfish recipe above. Another winner!

I hope the rest of the recipes I try are as good as these.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like some other reviewers I was drawn to this book by the NPR interview with the author. I used the "look inside the book" feature and read that it was "Filled with mouthwatering recipes that can be made using surprisingly simple and easy-to-find ingredients." That was all I needed to order the book.

Easy-to-find? Maybe from a restaurant supply house in London, but not in my market: nasturtium flowers, salsify, blood oranges, quinces, lavender flowers, garlic scapes, zucchini flours, nigella seeds, hemp seeds, poussins, whitebait, mullet, rose petals, kadaifi pastry, passion fruit, hazelnut flour, nettles. And, while pomegranates are available, their season where I shop is brief. There are few recipes without unavailable ingredients and the book seldom suggests alternate ingredients.

It is also a bit annoying in the quantities of ingredients -- often 14 ounces of ground meat, 5 ounces of lamb, 7 ounces of cheese. Those are not the sizes available in my market. Perhaps this is a translation of quantities for an English market? And it would have been helpful if the author had suggested which dishes to serve with other dishes.

I really wanted to like this book (and I can see why others do) because the pictures are beautiful and, yeah, my mouth is watering (in a good way). Yum. But most of the recipes look like the food you should order in her restaurant, not expect to recreate in your home. For me, there are too few useful recipes to justify the price of the book, or the space on my cookbook shelf.
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Format: Hardcover
Armchair cookbook traveler? Perfect, beautiful in every way, from pictures to stories, to easy-to-read recipes.

Seasoned cook, up for a challenge? Definitely that, starting with (as one reviewer said) locating ingredients. But the determined cook will forge forward, finding or substituting and having a ball trying things out.

Easy cooker? Most recipes are straightforward and techniques not difficult. I found plenty of dishes I can and will try.

Actually, I fit all of the above and I found this book a true 5-star. I only wish we'd been served food this good when I was on tour in Turkey last year. Maybe I need to upscale my trips! But at least I'll have the pleasure of preparing an Eastern Mediterranean feast for my friends--already have it planned out . . . mmm . . .
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By haia on September 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
different and new recipes with beautiful colorful pictures ,it was something new i already made 8 or 10 recipes like
roasted chicken with honey zaatar ,eggplant with pomegranate spread , yougart & feta dip
baba ghanosh ,zucchini motabel ,rice pilaf with apricots & chickpeas
smoked eggplant salad with hazelnut ,lentil borek
and so many good and tasty recipes
you must buy it
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Format: Hardcover
This splendid book couldn't be an easier or tastier introduction to the world of Eastern Mediterranean cuisine. The Lamb and Pistachio Kofta is just out of this world, easy to make, and the recipe is very flexible. We've used bison, beef and chicken in place of lamb and walnuts, hazelnuts and pine nuts in place of the pistachios, and it's turned out beautifully every time.

The appetizers and desserts are simple and beautiful for both family meals and for dinner parties, and the hummus recipe, mentioned in some other reviews here, is one of the best "from scratch" that I've tried to date. A wonderful gift ... especially for yourself!
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