Mountain Berries & Desert Spice
Stories of her childhood and memories are interwoven through the book with beautiful photographs of the region and recipes that really tempt you to try making for yourself at home. Its a book which is as delightful to read as it is to cook from. She demystifies how to make all manner of sweet delights with family recipes from the foothills of the Hundu Kush mountains in the north, where berries and fruits grow in abundance, via the fertile Punjab, where rice and grain based desserts are prevalent . . . to the Arabian sea in the south, where saffron and cardamon laced sweet recipes are a favourite.
Many of the recipes look very inviting . . . ‘Sohan saffron honey caramels with rose water, pistachio and almonds to Bakar khani (sweet puff pastry biscuits), Mulberry and cherry fruit leather, Nan-e nokhochi (chickpea flour shortbread with cloves).
Pakistan’s food culture is as diverse and varied as its land, terrain and people, and this cookbook brings together a collection of 70 recipes from Sumayya’s culinary journey. Each recipe is introduced briefly with her own personal experiences and anecdotes about it. This is food storytelling at its finest.
Serves 5 – 6
200g (7 ounces ) dried black mulberries
300g (2 1/4 cups) fresh blackberries
150g (3/4 cup) cherries, pitted
1/2 tsp ground ginger
about 250ml (generous cup) water
3 TBS honey
handful of walnuts, coarsely chopped
200ml (7 ounces, scant cup) thick double (heavy) cream
whipped and flavoured with ginger and rosewater
Bring the fruit, ginger and water to the boil in a saucepan. Reduce to a simmer and cook, for 20 minutes, adding water as you need to keep the berries covered. After about 20 minutes, add th ehoney, stir and remove the pan from the heat. Allow to cool in the pan. Serve with the chopped walnuts and the flavoured whipped cream, either at room temperature or chill in the refrigerator until later.
In my opinion, this is a well researched and very well put together book. The recipes are authentic Pakistani dishes with an interesting twist. Its a delight from its very colourful and beautifully embossed cover to the beautiful photography, stories and recipes contained on its pages!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sumayya Usmani grew up in Karachi, Pakistan and moved to London over ten years ago, but has found home in Glasgow, Scotland. A food writer and cookery teacher, Sumayya is passionate about sharing the flavours of her homeland with a view to highlighting Pakistani cuisine as a distinct one. Sumayya advocates cooking by “andaza”, (sensory and estimation cooking), which is how she learnt to cook from her mother and grandmothers from a very young age. She appears frequently in many online and print publications, on television, and co-presents BBC Kitchen Cafe weekly on BBC Radio Scotland.
MOUNTAIN BERRIES & DESERT SPICE, by Sumayya Usmani
- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Frances Lincoln (6 April 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0711238529
- ISBN-13: 978-0711238527
Note – I was sent a copy of this book by Frances Lincoln free of charge for review. I was not required to write a positive review. Any opinions are entirely my own. Many thanks to Frances Lincoln for sending me what I think is a beautiful book.