Before coming across this recipe for Al Halabi Style Kebabs with Potato Moutabel in Silvena Rowe's Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume, I had never really thought about meat and potatoes existing in Eastern Mediterranean cuisine. But these skewers of ground lamb mixed with finely chopped peppers, mushrooms, and nuts served over tahini and yogurt mashed potatoes are exactly that.
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There's something inherently romantic about this Rose Petal Ice Cream. Bringing together two classic expressions of love—red roses and shared sweets—a dish of Rose Petal Ice Cream (with two spoons, of course) is about as romantic as dessert gets.
Our most recent zucchini find is a simple plate of Grilled Zucchini with White Cheese and Zucchini Flowers from Silvena Rowe's Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume. And when we say simple, we don't mean dull. Strips of zucchini are grilled and tossed with lemon juice and olive oil. Tender zucchini blossoms are added to the bowl along with a soft cheese of your choice; goat and feta work equally, well but a goat feta is even better. Exotic black nigella seeds finish this salad, adding little dots of their oniony, black pepper flavor. This dish is super simple and nothing if not seasonally appropriate—we'd take it over a slice of zucchini bread any day.
I'm a fan of the falafel, the bright green variety. The crisp little chickpea fritters are brightened up with tons of finely chopped parsley and cilantro, and the added greenery does wonders for what can sometimes be a dauntingly dense sandwich. Silvena Rowe, author of Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume has taken the green falafel concept one step further with these fantastically light Crunchy Red Swiss Chard Falafel.
Tzatziki—that cool, creamy sauce-salad of yogurt and cucumbers—has become synonymous with Greek cuisine. And while the Greeks do their fair share of tzatziki eating, it's worth noting that nearly every country in the eastern Mediterranean region boasts their own take on the yogurt-based dish, ranging from soups and salads to sauces and refreshing beverages. Tzatziki (or talattouri or cacık, depending on who you ask) plays a huge role in Eastern Mediterranean fare.
Some believe that summer tomatoes need nothing more than a sprinkle of salt for that perfect tomato experience. I'm betting those folks haven't tried tomatoes sprinkled with sumac, the sour-aromatic red spice. Of course, the Turks have known about sumac's affinity for tomatoes for a while. This Tomato, Pomegranate and Sumac Salad from Silvena Rowe's Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume tops lovely, in-season tomatoes with crunchy ruby-hued pomegranate seeds and a dressing of sweet and tart pomegranate molasses and sumac.
If anyone can conquer the cuisine of the Ottoman Empire it's Silvena Rowe. With her Julia Child-like stature, spiky bleach blond hair, and quick wit, this Bulgarian-born current Londoner has been sharing recipes from her Eastern European and Turkish roots for years on the BBC. Her latest cookbook Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume surveys the unique Ottoman food where the bounty of the Mediterranean meets the spices of the Middle East. Enter to win a copy here.