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Simple Mediterranean Cookery    by Claudia Roden order for
Simple Mediterranean Cookery
by Claudia Roden
Order:  USA  Can
BBC Books, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

Claudia Roden has been satisfying food aficionados with her impeccable recipes since her bestselling classic, A Book of Middle Eastern Food, was published in 1970. Winner of five Glenfiddich Awards, including Food Writer of the Year, Roden knows her recipes, and better yet, she knows just how to present each one to make it seem like a mouthwatering delicacy unlike any other.

Simple Mediterranean Cookery is a feast for the senses. The book itself is luscious, with glossy pages and an abundance of full-color photographs. Not only is the food photography top-notch, but additional images highlighting preparation methods are also included with every recipe, giving readers an added sense of comfort when it comes to preparing the recipes included in this cookbook.

In her introduction, Roden tells us that 'the Mediterranean diet - rich in grains, vegetables, pulses, fruit and nuts, with little meat, plenty of fish and olive oil as the main fat - has long been adopted as a model of healthy eating'. In this book, Roden shows us how to prepare a number of reliable recipes to suit our families' needs. She also thoughtfully provides a list of ingredients and equipment required to cook these recipes, as well as a conversion table that assists with converting measurements between the metric and imperial systems.

The recipes themselves are divided into four main sections. The first section, Soups and Starters, highlights such delectable dishes as Andalusian Gaspacho, a flavorful cold soup, and Couscous Salad, which graces the cover of this book with its colorful texture and mouthwatering appearance. In the second section, we move on to Fish and Shellfish dishes. The Red Mullet in a Saffron and Ginger Tomato Sauce looks particularly appetizing, while Spicy Prawns are sure to please even the pickiest guest.

Section three offers a selection of Poultry and Meat dishes. Chicken with Rosemary is guaranteed to be a sure favorite at my house, and I plan to serve it as Roden suggests, 'with boiled or mashed potatoes'. The last section, Pasta, Grains and Vegetables, provides a number of favorite staples - such as Spaghetti with Garlic, Herbs and Olive Oil, as well as Potato Cake and Stuffed Mushrooms - any of which could easily be served on a weeknight to a hungry and very grateful family. Roden ends the book with possible menu ideas. However, she encourages readers to try their own combinations of Mediterranean food to delight their families and guests.

If you enjoy flavorful, no-fuss food, Simple Mediterranean Cookery will help satisfy your every craving in an exceptionally elegant way.

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