Sabrina Ghayour, the woman behind one of London’s premier supper clubs, and the Middle Eastern food which makes Nigella Lawson ‘very, very happy’, has released her third book.
Feasts is the latest publication from the author of Persiana and Sirocco, and contains a wealth of vibrant dishes inspired by the family gatherings of her childhood. This latest work features recipes for weekend, vegetarian and summer feasts, as well as brunches, comfort food and all the snacks, salads and sides in between.
Recipes include harissa-infused lamb, za’atar-crusted halloumi, charred cauliflower, pan-roasted peppers and an elegant fig and rose millefeuille. This book is a definite must if you like to host your own feasts or you just want expand your Middle Eastern repertoire and we have three of the recipes from the book to share with you, below.
Feasts by Sabrina Ghayour (£20, Mitchell Beazley), octopusbooks.co.uk, out now
Roasted apricots with ricotta, honey & pistachio crunch
SERVES 6 (pictured above)
2 handfuls of fine, dried, natural breadcrumbs (not golden)
50g pistachio nuts, blitzed in a food processor or mini chopper or finely chopped
6–9 apricots (1 large apricot or 1 1/2 small apricots per serving)
250g ricotta cheese clear honey, for drizzling freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to the very highest temperature. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the bread crumbs and dry-toast for 6 minutes, then add the pistachios and dry-fry for about 1–2 minutes, or until the mixture is crunchy and golden. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Carefully halve and pit the apricots, then season with a good grinding of black pepper. Lay them on the prepared baking tray with their cut sides facing upward. They do not need any oil or other fat. Roast the apricots for 10 minutes, or until the edges are burnished and the fruit is slightly softened. Leave to cool.
Spoon a neat little spoonful or quenelle of ricotta on top of each apricot half, then drizzle over some honey. Scatter over the pistachio and breadcrumb ‘crunch’, then serve.
Tomato and olive salad za’atar & a buttermilk dressing
800g mixed tomatoes (any colours and varieties you can find)
250g pitted mixed olives or 300g if not pitted (I like using Kalamata or a nice firm green olive like Halkidiki)
15g chives, snipped
Olive oil (try a flavoured oil such as garlic or lemon oil)
2 tablespoons za’atar
Maldon sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
Slice the tomatoes horizontally into 1cm-thick slices and arrange them on a large platter. Dot the platter with olives and scatter over half the snipped chives. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Season the buttermilk well with salt and a good slug of olive oil, then drizzle the buttermilk dressing over the salad.
Scatter over the remaining chives and sprinkle over the za’atar.
Raspberry, cardamom and vanilla yoghurt fool
SERVES 6 –8
400g fresh raspberries
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
Seeds from 5 cardamom pods, crushed using a pestle and mortar
300ml double cream
1–3 tablespoons icing sugar (depending on the sweetness of the fruit)
500ml thick Greek yogurt
Reserve 6–8 of the raspberries for decoration.
Using a food processor, blitz the remaining raspberries with the vanilla bean paste and crushed cardamom seeds until smooth.
Using an electric hand whisk, whisk the double cream and icing sugar together until stiff peaks form, then gently fold in the yogurt, one-third at a time. When all the yogurt is incorporated, gently fold in half the raspberry sauce, ensuring you fold (rather than stir) it in, to keep as much air in the mixture as possible. When incorporated, fold in the remaining raspberry sauce.
Divide the mixture among 6–8 glasses or dessert bowls. Place a raspberry on top of each serving. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to firm up, or serve immediately if you can’t wait.
I sometimes like to serve these with shortbread biscuits on the side.