Book Review Feast with Sababa: Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Food

Words: Crush


Tal Smith, owner of the much-loved Cape Town deli Sababa, is back with new recipes in Feast with Sababa: Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Food. This follows the incredible success of the first book Sababa: Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Food, and the constant request for more recipes.

The recipes continue to be simple to follow and the ingredients are always easy to find. Sababa encourages home cooking and are all based on family recipes not only for cooking everyday suppers but for celebrations too.

This is a beautiful book full of delectable recipes featuring an array of meze, salads, risottos and meat recipes among others. Sababa is all about uncomplicated wholesome food with a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influence. It is the kind of healthy and affordable food that everyone loves to cook in their homes.

Feast with Sababa: Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Food is available now at good bookstores or via at a recommended retail price of R310.

Here are two choice recipes from the cookbook to get you excited about the rest, enjoy!

Roast Cauliflower Salad with Green Beans and Tahina Dressing
700 g cauliflower
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper
200 g fine green beans blanched
red onion, sliced finely
60 g rocket

1 C  (250ml) tahini paste
1 C  (250ml) water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp garlic, crushed
1 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
1 tbsp dill, chopped

Start by making the tahina. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, besides the parsley and dill.
Whisk the mixture until smooth. Stir in the parsley and dill. Set aside in the fridge until you are ready to serve the salad.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cut the cauliflower into florets and combine with the olive oil, spices, and salt and pepper. Roast for 15–20 minutes, or until they have cooked through and are slightly
crispy. Leave to cool down.
Blanche the green beans. Bring a pot of water to the boil. Add the green beans and let them cook for about 2 minutes. Strain all the hot water off and run them under cold water until they have cooled down completely. Cut them into thirds.

To assemble the salad, combine the roast cauliflower with the green beans, red onion and rocket on a platter. Just before serving, drizzle over the tahina.

Barley Salad
2 red peppers
500 g pearl barley
1 C  (250ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 lemons, zest and juice
3–4 sprigs oregano leaves only
1 bunch spring onion, finely chopped
20 g Italian parsley, chopped
salt and freshly ground
black pepper
200 g Kalamata olives
200 g Danish feta, cubed
30 g basil, leaves only

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roast the peppers for about 30 minutes until slightly blackened. Once removed from the oven, place them into a plastic bag to steam for about 15 minutes. When they have cooled down, remove the seeds and skin and cut them into thin strips.
In the meantime boil the barley in a pot of water for about 15 minutes or until it has cooked through. Be careful not to overcook it. Strain the water off through a colander and leave it to cool down.

Once the barley has cooled down, mix through the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, oregano, spring onion, parsley, salt and pepper. Pit the olives and mix through. Add the peppers and feta. When ready to serve, mix through the basil leaves and plate.
Serves 10–12

Cook’s Note
Be careful not to overcook the barley – it should still have some bounce. As with any grain, rinse the barley under cold running water before cooking to remove any dirt or grit.


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