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Author of the Month: Sarah Al Hamad
To Sarah, eating a date is like biting into a caramel cloud; it is sweet with a soft flesh tinged molasses and flavour – sticky and sweet.
Sarah has travelled through continents from ancient Mesopotamia and Arabia to Europe, the Mediterranean to North America’s Coachella and Bard Valleys to create delicious, simple and healthy recipes for food and dessert lovers.
She has baked, macerated, poached, boiled, stuffed, fried, mashed, minced and chopped many, many kilos of soft dates to produce 40 mouth-watering recipes ranging from loaves, scones, flatbread, jams cookies, slices cakes, tarts to puddings, custard, ice cream and milkshakes. In short, if it can be created with dates, Sarah has.
The book is so well-written, with recipes clearly and beautifully compiled to make everyone want to have “a go”
Sarah Al-Hamad answers our date fruit questions and tells us why the Barhi is her favourite.
Would you say that Gulf pastries are an acquired taste or is it simply a matter of knowing how to make them?
Arabic pastries, usually eaten in the Mediterranean region (Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine) are often made with nuts and filo pastry; they’re pretty sweet and syrupy. In the Gulf, desserts are simple and spartan; dates are often used alongside walnuts and pistachios. A date fudge is a simple concoction of dates, flour and butter fused together into a warning, satisfying and naturally sweet dish.
During your extensive research into dates, what is the one constant characteristic that surfaced with each discovery?
The thing I found over and over is how many uses man had for the date and the date palm. In Arabia they say there are ‘360 uses’ for the date palm, from eating its fruit to using its trunk to make furniture. Dates are ubiquitous, well-loved and healthful.
Do you have any favourite?
Yes! The Barhi. It’s a honey date, very sweet and toffee-flavoured, amber in colour and soft. It melts in the mouth and is the date of choice in the Gulf. I add it into my porridge every morning for a dose of sunshine and strength.
Comments: Sun, Bread and Sticky Toffee by Sarah Al-Hamad is absolutely inviting and mouth-watering. The book is colourful, well-presented with simple tempting recipes. Highly recommended.
Cost: UK£17.99/US$17.99 from all good bookshops worldwide
For more information please contact Interlink Books.