“Almond Bar” by Sharon Salloum

Despite being in the news for all the wrong reasons, we should never forget that Syria was once one of the most important kingdoms on earth and that its rich culture has been influenced by Arab, Persian and Ottoman Turkish aesthetics, traditions and practices which still prevail to this day.

Syrian gastronomy is all about family, friends, entertaining and communal living ~ its Middle Eastern flavours celebrate colourful market gardens, leisurely alfresco dining, simple techniques and fragrant spices.

Sharon Salloum, the co-owner and chef of Almond Bar restaurant in Sydney, was brought up in a traditional Syrian household. She learned to take great pride in her Syrian heritage and learned from her family how to cook the traditional dishes of her homeland. There was quite a great deal of kitchen rivalry among the women folk, and family gatherings were always preceded by “a week-long marathon of preparations….The aim was to please everyone”.

Her debut cookbook, published by Jacqui Small, showcases 100 of her favourite recipes, from sauces and dips, to finger food, shared plates, stews, soups, roasts and puddings. Syrian cooking is not just kebabs and baklava. Highlights include chargrilled pepper, walnut and pomegranate dip, Middle Eastern sausages with chicory and fennel, chilled yoghurt soup with barley and chickpeas, turmeric cake, Turkish delight with pistachio nuts and fig sorbet.

Beautifully photographed by Rob Palmer, this 200 page collection is as dazzling as it is eye-opening: you will learn a great deal about this fascinating cuisine, its ingredients and its importance from this heartfelt work.

We have one copy of this book to send to a lucky winner ~ for your chance of winning this prize all you have to do is Like and Share on Facebook or Retweet on Twitter, and your name will be placed in a draw. One name will drawn from a hat on the afternoon of Sunday 16th February 2014. The winner will be announced on social media.

Good luck everyone!

Jacqui Small: www.jacquismallpub.com Follow on Twitter: @JacquiSmallPub

Almond Bar: www.almondbar.com.au Follow on Twitter: @almond_bar

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