Following on from Feasts, Sirocco and Persiana, cookery teacher and supper club host Sabrina Ghayour’s fourth book explores the Persian and Middle Eastern cuisine for which she’s known through a vegetarian lens.
Separated into light bites and sharing plates, eggs and dairy, soups and ‘bowl comfort’, salads, mains, ‘store-cupboard sustenance’, sides and sweet treats, Ghayour claims to be the safest bet for the ‘least likely to turn vegetarian’ prize, and admits she wrote Bazaar with meat-eaters who are seeking satisfaction and flavour from meat-free meals in mind.
Inspired, I created my own Bazaar-themed supper. The menu included spiced crudités with turmeric hummus; charred sweetcorn salad; courgettes stuffed with preserved lemons, pine nuts and feta; and mango, black pepper and cardamom polenta bake for dessert.
What really stood out to me were how much the dressings and sauces in Bazaar make the dishes sing. The sweetcorn and tomato salad is brought to life with a harissa-yogurt dressing, while the mango cake becomes something quite special when topped with sweetened lime and vanilla yogurt.
Many of the desserts get their sweetness from yogurt or vegetables and would be perfect for any chef tired of sickly sweet puddings. The book is also particularly useful for providing new uses for ingredients that so often end up forgotten, such as cabbage, dates, polenta and preserved lemons. A good cookbook should leave you wanting to immediately cook the recipes within, and dishes such as chickpea, paneer, spinach and preserved lemon stew and kale and cabbage kuku have already leapt to the top of my ‘to try’ list.
There’s nothing too intimidating about the recipes, and unfamiliar ingredients appear only occasionally, but for both the professional chef and amateur cook, Bazaar provides meat-free dish inspiration beyond the same old mushroom risotto – all strong virtues for which this book is likely to become a well-thumbed tome for me.
Bazaar: Vibrant Vegetarian Recipes by Sabrina Ghayour (Mitchell Beazley, £26)
• Try the beetroot halva tart with pistachio nuts from the book here