On the Cookery Book Shelf …

Over the last number of years, Paula Wolfert has made a name for herself as an author with a penchant for Mediterranean cuisine and this publication will only enhance that growing reputation.

Clearly written with a modicum of fuss, The Food of Morocco (Bloomsbury, €35 ) is a lavish overview of a cuisine that’s becoming increasingly popular with lots of insightful tips and personal anecdotes. From the start Wolfert sets out her take on Morocco with the help of a map illustrating the essentials of Moroccan cooking before going on to lay out her views on tagines, preserved lemons, olives, argan oil and amlou, spices, herbs and aromatics, honey and fragrant waters and ten tips for preparing Moroccan food, among other basics. The other chapters are divided into those on salads, breads and pastries; eggs, butter, buttermilk and cheese; soups; couscous; fish; poultry; meats; bean and vegetable dishes; desserts; and drinks. The best of the recipes include those for fresh tomato and caper salad; orange and grated radish salad with orange-flower water; aubergine zaalouk; Marrakech flat bread stuffed with meat; bastila with seafood, spinach and noodles; Tangier street bread; goats’ cheese with honey filling; couscous with lamb, pumpkins; carrots chickpeas and raisins; tagra of fresh sardines with pepper oil charmoula; sautéed prawns casa pepe; chicken with caramelised quinces and toasted walnuts; lamb tagine with baby spinach with lemon and olives; tangia; potato pancakes; dessert couscous with pomegranates; and ‘the snake’ (M’Hanncha ). Overall, this is a beautifully photographed big blockbuster of a cookery book with lots of ideas for entertaining anyone interested in North African cuisine in the run-up to Christmas, or as an antidote to turkey and ham in the weeks after the festivities.

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