Flipping through the pages of the first chapter in Sue Quinn's latest cookbook on a grey and rainy morning, I found myself yearning for sunshine and a breakfast of pillowy pita bread topped with figs, creamed feta and lavender honey.
Combining the flavours of the countries that hug the Mediterranean Sea - and celebrating vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, meat, poultry and seafood - Easy Mediterranean offers 100 recipes for dishes that are nutritious, easy to prepare and taste wonderful. There is much to cook from in this delicious offering.
The author says she was influenced by the cooking of the Italian, Greek and Lebanese communities of Sydney, where she was born and raised. A former national foreign correspondent, she has also drawn on her extensive travels for inspiration.
There's an introduction to the 'Mediterranean diet', covering history, the health benefits, and the key ingredients, including nuts, legumes, olive oil, fruit, vegetables, oily fish and wine.
Chapters cover Starting the day (yoghurt and cheese); Plates to share (olive oil); salads and soups (nuts); Meat, poultry and fish (seafood); Pasta, beans, rice and grains (grains and pulses); Vegetables (leafy greens); and Sweet things (fruit).
The recipes are deliciously different. Think stewed cherries with labna; citrus and cinnamon compote; tomato bread with mint, hazelnuts and jamon; koftas with sour cherries and tahini dressing; cheese, pea and spearmint filo rolls; warming wheat grain and pomegranate seed soup; watercress and yoghurt soup with broad beans; fisherman's stew with saffron aioli; spelt risotto with pea and nettle puree; and so much more.
In terms of fruit-based desserts with a twist, there's sticky plum and lavender compote; peach and rosemary galette with an almond crust; and pomegranate and strawberry sorbet, among others.
Easy Mediterranean by Sue Quinn, $39.99, Murdoch Books. Thank you to the Publicity team at Murdoch Books for giving me the opportunity to review this title. Take a peek inside the book and a few of the recipes here.
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