North African Kitchen, The
Regional Recipes and Stories
Fiona Dunlop; photography by Simon Wheeler
published 2008 • 9¼" x 10½" • 192 pages • full-color photographs
"Dunlop explores the cuisines of Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya as interpreted by eight very different cooks. Aicha Ait Ouad, for example, who comes from a tiny town in the Atlas Mountains, is the chef for a private club in Marrakech; Khadouj Sentwi retired after almost 30 years at a restaurant in Fez, where she was 'the iron lady of the kitchen.' There are brief profiles of each cook, followed by a dozen or so of her or his (seven of them are women) signature recipes. Dunlop provides cultural and historical background as well, and there are color photographs of the individual kitchens and of North African street and market scenes. There are relatively few titles on these cuisines--Paula Wolfert's classic Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco being the best known--and Dunlop's is recommended for all subject collections."
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Behind closed doors, North African home cooks are taking the region's food to new heights. Traditional dishes such as tagines, stews, soups, and salads are being adapted and refined, and new dishes are being created using classic ingredients such as fiery spices, jewel-like dried fruits, lemons, and armfuls of fresh herbs.
The North African Kitchen is the result of Fiona Dunlop's long fascination with the region. She visits eight of the best home cooks in Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya, shopping and cooking with them, and learning their favorite recipes and cooking tricks. Simplicity is at the heart of the private medina kitchen. The exotic fuses with the domestic to produce dishes that are highly flavored yet quick and easy to prepare. Tunisian cuisine is perhaps the hottest of the region-due in large part to the popularity of the fiery chili paste harissa. As well as a strong French influence, pasta is a passion in Tunisia. Morocco's great forte is its tagines and sauces-with meat and fish being cooked in one of four popular sauces. And Libya, although less gastronomically subtle than Tunisia and Morocco, excels in soups and patisserie.
This culinary journey creates a vivid and sensual picture of how food is really shopped for and cooked in the private kitchens of some of the world's most extraordinary gastronomic cultures.
Fiona Dunlop's first cookbook, New Tapas-an exploration of Spain's best tapas bars-reached the hearts and dinner tables of more than 80,000 people around the globe. She lives in London and writes for The Sunday Telegraph, The Observer and the Financial Times and has written several books, including many travel guides.
Click here to view an excerpt and sample recipe from this book.
"In beautifully written prose that is sometimes lyrical, sometimes factual and always respectful, Fiona Dunlop takes us to the area of North Africa known as the Maghreb. The recipes are easy to follow and the photographs evoke not just the dishes of the region, but the region itself, while the stories show the great heart of this area of the world."
"The recipes are straightforward and, in most cases, require little more than your regular cooking tools."
—Melissa Lion, www.culinate.com
“Fiona Dunlop embarks on a ‘voyage of gastronomic discovery’ with eight cooks serving as guides into their private kitchens in Morocco, Tunisia and Libya. ‘It is hard to find a more promiscuous cuisine,’ Dunlop says of the North African range of fares, and her lush, well-appointed book—with warm evocative photographs by Simon Wheeler—supports her claim. Each section opens with a mini-profile, as the cooks share their culinary approaches and backgrounds. One learns, for instance, that Fassi women (women from Fez, Morocco) traditionally learn cooking not only from their mothers, but also in ‘apprenticeships’ with their aunts, each of whom has a different specialty dish. Dunlop’s selection of recipes adroitly balances the different with the doable, from simple, lovely appetizers like carrots with orange and cinnamon or honeyed tomatoes, to full-bore, masterful productions like seven-vegetable couscous or classic Fassi sweet pigeon pie. The reader-cook also learns the culinary range of the region, such as five different recipes for lamb tagine, including prune, almond-ball, saffron, and quince variations.”
—Saudi Aramco World
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