I had Sirocco, the new cookbook from Sabrina Ghayour, on pre-order and was excited to receive it on it’s release date. Having already been a huge fan of Persiana, Sabrina’s first book, I was eager to see what the new book had in store. I’ve not been disappointed, it’s full of colourful, exotic dishes from the Middle East and beyond and is the perfect follow on from Persiana. I love Sabrina’s use of some of my favourite ingredients; feta cheese; sumac and pomegranate. One of the recipes that originally caught my eye was the Feta Bites with Preserved Lemon Jam. I’ve never seen feta used in this way and with a jar of preserved lemons in the fridge I could see no reason not to try it out.
You start the recipe by making the preserved lemon jam which consists of no more than 6 finely chopped persevered lemons and 6 tablespoons of caster sugar, stirred together over a medium heat until it has thickened.
To make the feta bites, you simply chop a cube of feta into 8 cubes and dredge each piece in some flour. Meanwhile, make the batter by whisking together 100ml of ice cold water and an egg then lightly whisk in 150g of self raising flour. Coat each piece of feta in the batter then carefully lower each one in to some hot oil and deep fry until they are golden brown on all sides.
I was really excited to try this recipe but mine came out nothing like the picture! Firstly, my preserved lemon jam wasn’t jam at all, it was a hard lump of congealed sugary mess that tasted delicious but was impossible to dip anything into. Perhaps I cooked it for too long or over a too-high heat. My feta bites were OK but the batter was so much thicker than I was expecting and they came out looking like chicken balls you get from the Chinese takeaway. They tasted like fried cheese which was fairly pleasant but were just too heavy and we only managed to eat a couple between us.
I’m really not about negativity and still love this book. I’m sure I either made an error somewhere along the way or the recipe really just wasn’t to my taste. Has anyone else made this one and had better success?