- What’s On
Recipes & Stories from Central Asia and the Caucasus
Over hundreds of years, various ethnic groups have passed through Samarkand, sharing and influencing each other’s cuisine and leaving their culinary stamp. This book is a love letter to Central Asia and the Caucasus by Caroline Eden, a journalist who writes on travel, food and the arts for the national press. It contains personal travel essays and recipes little known in the West that have been adapted for the home cook.
An array of dishes introduce each region and its ethnic groups – Uzbek, Tajik, Russian, Turkish, Korean, Caucasian and Jewish – with a a useful store cupboard of essential ingredients. Chapters are divided into Shared Table, Soups, Roast Meats & Kebabs, Warming Dishes, Pilavs & Plovs, Accompaniments, Breads & Doughs, Drinks and Desserts. 100 recipes are showcased, including Apricot & Red Lentil Soup, Chapli Kebabs with Tomato Relish, Rosh Hashanah Palov with Barberries, Pomegranate and Quince, Curd Pancakes with Red Berry Compote and the all-important breads of the region. There is an introduction to the Silk Road and evocative travel features like On the Road to Samarkand, A Banquet on the Caspian Sea and Shopping for Spices under Solomon’s Throne.
This is a good introduction to and cuisines that should be better known. Samarkand was a Guardian book of the year 2016 and winner of the Guild of Food Writers ‘Food and Travel’ award in 2017. Caroline Eden’s follow-up book, Black Sea, published in 2018, won both the John Avery Award at the André Simon Awards, and the 2019 ‘Best Travel and Food Book of the Year’ at the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards,