What’s the USP? Authentic Palestinian home cooking using ingredients and methods handed down from the author’s mother and grandmother.
Who’s the author? Joudie Kalla is a London-based supper club cook and former owner of Baity Kitchen restaurant in Chelsea.
Is it good bedtime reading? A fairly meaty introduction covers some biographical ground as well as some of the basics of middle Eastern flavours and specifically the food and ingredients of Palestine.
Will I have trouble finding the ingredients? Thanks to Ottolenghi, Middle Eastern cooking is now almost as familiar to British home cooks as Indian, Chinese and Thai so you should have few problems finding all you need between the supermarket and your local deli. if you don’t live in an area with a Middle Eastern store nearby, you may have to head online for the likes of sujuk (a spicy Middle Eastern sausage) and Kalla’s favoured Palestinian olive oil (there’s a very handy list of stockists, many of them online, at the back of the book).
What’s the faff factor? The subtitle of the book is ‘Memories from my mother’s kitchen, so the recipes are very much from the domestic realm rather than being adapted from restaurant dishes. Think simple and straightforward rather than complex and fiddly.
Killer recipes: Middle Eastern courgettes stuffed with lamb; Palestinian pearl cous cous tabbouleh; freekeh salad with marinated chicken and pomegranate salad; Palestinian sesame handbag bread; fried red mullet with preserved lemon and lentil salad.
What will I love? This is a vibrant, colourful and often healthy style of cooking that’s very approachable and will add variety and flavour to your weekly menu.
Should I buy it? Kalla has entered a crowded market that’s been pretty much cornered by the aforementioned Ottolenghi and his collaborators (the newly published Falastin by his co-author’s Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley which is also about Palestine is already a number one best selling book – the books of Greg and Lucy Malouf are also excellent). Nevertheless, there are enough delicious recipes in Palestine on a Plate to make it a worthwhile purchase.
Suitable for: Beginners and confident home cooks
Cookbook Review Rating: Three stars
Buy this book
Palestine on a Plate: Memories from my mother’s kitchen