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Monday, April 1, 2019

* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! * Oklava by Selin Kiazim

OKLAVA (Interlink Books, 240 pages, ISBN 978-1-56656-028-3 $35 USD hardbound) is by Selin Kiazim, who, after various head positions in the restaurant business, opened Oklava in Shoreditch (London UK) in 2015. Kiazim draws on her Turkish-Cypriot heritage to devise a pattern of food for her restaurant (Oklava translates as "rolling pin"). These are also Turkish-Cypriot home-cooked meals, arranged here by course from snacks, salads, savouries, meat, seafood, veggies and grains, and desserts. She's also got some drink preps plus dressings and dips and assorted items. She was born in north London with its Turkish and Greek Cypriots, but spent a lot of time on Cyprus itself with family. There is a lot of crossover between Greek and Turkish food, and the cognate words reflect this. The major difference is that Turks are generally Muslim and hence do not eat pork but rather lamb. The book could have been improved if it also used more metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart.
Audience and level of use:  those seeking a unique cuisine.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: chicken livers with garlic, rosemary, cumin, and date butter on toast; salad of baharat-roast duck with feta, sumac onions, poached figs and salted walnuts; chili-garlic glazed chicken with za'atar crumbs; veal shish and  onion salad flatbread with charred sivri biber relish and yogurt.
The downside to this book: there are no pork recipes in the Meat chapter, but the lamb preps can be used by substituting pork.
The upside to this book: lots of memoir-like material
Quality/Price Rating: 92.


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