Joudie Kalla has many aunts in her native Palestine, and they all wanted their delicious recipes included in her new cookbook — there just wasn’t room, which bodes well for a volume two.
Palestine on Plate, an utterly gorgeous cookbook that fizzes with colour, is the result of Kalla’s exploration of her culinary heritage. Her personality also shines through, full of grace and enthusiasm. As well as a luminescent Instagram profile, she hosts regular supper clubs in London. Find out more or buy tickets on her website.
Most importantly, scanning through the ingredients and instructions, the dishes are simple to prepare, not requiring the myriad ingredients and complex cooking of some other Middle Eastern recipe books we could mention (looking at you, Ottolenghi). Yet the resulting tastes and flavor combinations are as if you’ve really put in hours.
Sample dishes include the majestic makloubeh, baked rice with nuts, lamb, and cinnamon, a winner for any kind of feast.
Another is the chicken freekeh salad, with a subtle interplay of flavors, while the salad of apple, fennel, dill, and pomegranate is tangy and delicious — easy to make as well as thrillingly pretty. Surely there are few things not enhanced by the addition of a few jewel-red seeds.
You can source ingredients through Zaytoun, an online community company distributing artisanal Palestinian produce throughout the U.K. The founders work with farmers in Palestine to export specific ingredients, such as deep golden olive oil and thyme-fragrant za’atar, a traditional Palestinian herb mix.
Next on my list to try are the lemon-drizzled doughnuts, scattered with edible roses, both delectably sharp and sweet, rose-petal pretty, and small enough to make eating doughnuts seem slimming. What a delectable way to finish a meal — or start the day.