Cover Image: Ripe Figs

Ripe Figs

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Member Reviews

Yasmin Khan doesn’t need to travel far to find the Eastern Mediterranean living as she does in Green Lanes, home to settled, Turkish, Cypriot and Greek communities. They are one of the many benefits of migration, she writes, and humans have always travelled, often for pleasure and engagement. But economic, political and social turmoil also drives the movement of people, and in ‘Ripe Figs’, Khan weaves these human experiences into a compelling and moving narrative of loss, adaption, and resilience.

Khan writes, ‘there’s this peculiar trait, I think, in modern travel writing, An imperative to write about your travels as if you are already living your best life...but not all travel is like that. Not all trips are enjoyable. Some things travel with us, even if we’d rather they didn’t.’ Here we have a candid writer who does not shy away from drawing parallels between her own losses (Khan has endured several miscarriages, including one during the writing of this book as she made plans to interview activists running refugee kitchens) and those of the displaced people she meets on her journey through Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. But the light Khan shines on them is one of beauty and hope, too. Sharing a meal of chickpea stew and jollof rice at Melissa, a drop-in centre for migrant and refugee women in Athens is an opportunity for the women to tell their stories, as is the kibbeh she eats made by Syrian refugees from Damascus now living in Istanbul. Glasses of rose-infused cordial are taken in Cyprus’s Nicosia Square as she talks to young Greek-Cypriot activists and the sweetness of the drink is a stark contrast to their awkward silence as she asks about this divided island. Back home in her London kitchen, Khan recreates the food she ate so we can make it at home too. There’s a page of delicious things on toast (grape molasses and tahini, kaymak, honey and walnuts, recipes for sour cherry or apricot jam); a spiced cornbread with feta inspired by lunch in Istanbul; a Turkish shepherd salad; a pear, apricot and rosewater pudding adapted from a traditional Cypriot dish called charlotte; a fig and peach galette; smoky butter beans in all their earthy paprika glory; Turkish bride soup, and a hearty Greek stifado.
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This attractive book is packed with beautiful photographs from travels in the Eastern Mediterranean from Athens to the Greek Islands, Turkey, and Istanbul.  It showcases the eateries and people Yasmin Khan encounters on her travels, plus of course the lovely food of the region. The vivid colours of the fresh produce in street markets are wonderful, make you want to cook up something vibrant and delicious too.  
There are many tempting dishes and Yasmin provides good clear recipes. I am eager to try a selection of these at home this summer to provide a virtual Mediterranean holiday – from the definitive Tzatziki (yoghurt and cucumber dip) to the mixture of tahini and grape molasses which sounds a great alternative to peanut butter and jam!  But there are also recipes to try all year round, like nourishing Chicken soup.
Yasmin has written an accompanying Travelogue which reads as an honest snapshot of the region, coping with a massive influx of refugees often overlooked by the rest of the world.   Here the local community do what they can to offer the dispossessed a home, and dignity, through the sharing of food, a common culture across the Eastern Mediterranean yet with endless variations. 
 Food can offer comfort, memories of home, and a new way to share that offers hope. Yasmin offers a personal grounding in her own experience, accompanied by interviews with many inspiring cooks that are leading the way towards such unity.  
Many thanks to NetGalley, Bloomsbury and Yasmin Khan for an advance e-book to review. Overall, I found it an interesting, delightful, and thought-provoking book. A coffee table cookbook with soul which is great for the armchair traveller and home cook.  Well done, Yasmin Khan!
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A beautiful book brimming with equal amounts of lovely recipes and humanity. You cannot read the stories in this book without reflecting on the refugee situation and understand the many reasons why people are forced to leave their homes.
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This book is absolutely beautiful and I will definitely be getting myself a copy. The photography is absolutely stunning and the storytelling is atmospheric and authentic. There are plenty of recipes I would like to make - some full meals and some mezze style - I'm just undecided where to start because it all looks delicious! 
One of the other things I love is that there isn't a complicated list of inaccessible ingredients. Thank you for the review copy.
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I loved discovering new recipes from around the Mediterranean area. The recipes are presented in a manner that can be understood really easily and the stories that are told at the beginning of each chapter helps to understand the cultures, the recipes and the history behind better.
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This is a beautifully written and photographed book, and is really evocative of the Mediterranean region (definitely the closest thing I've come to a holiday for a long time!) I really enjoyed reading about the food, culture and various start ups, and it made me long to be in Greece, eating good things by a beach. Having said all that, none of the recipes really stood out for me, there was nothing I wanted to make and eat immediately, which is the usual way I measure how good a cookbook is. I'm still glad to have read it, and will definitely look out for the other books by the author.
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Yasmin Khan writes evocatively about the people, places and food of the Eastern Mediterranean. Her background as a human rights campaigner is also very evident, and the book is dedicated to "all the migrants".

I cooked the pumpkin soup, sweetened by cardamom and enriched by coconut milk. It was lovely. The recipes have back-stories and this was the dish where the book began, over a meal cooked by an expatriate Cypriot....So much more than a recipe book. The photography is wonderful too.

Strongly recommended,
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Not only is this a fabulous middle eastern recipe book, but also and exploration of the cusine, culture and blending of the food of the regions. I really like the idea of no borders, no nations and harmony in the world - as a child of stateless citizens thrown out of their country after the 2WW - I really feel that I am a lost soul in this world, a person without a past or Identity.
But to get back to this book the recipes are good, divided into Breakfast, breads and grains, mezze - light meals, salads, soups, mains and desert., all beautifully photographed and with easy to follow instruction and a story that runs through it of love, food and harmony
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A great mix of cookbook and memoir with an interesting and unique angle alongside beautiful photos. Yasmin Khan's writing is fantastic - she really brings the dishes and the place to life, as a reader you feel enticed in with each page. I really like cookbooks that are not solely recipes - a little of the background of the dish and the history of the region which you get with this book, it's well researched. 

I made the tomato and egg scramble and spanakopita over the long weekend and both were delicious and very straightforward. I plan on making a couple of dinners this week!
Definitely recommend if you've been to any of the countries mentioned - it's a good mix of familiar recipes you will have come across as well as ones you may not recognise. These kind of cookbooks are always great but especially right now you can get a small taste of holidays which I'm sure we're all craving!
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What a beautiful combination of cookbook, travelogue, and memoir!  Yasmin Khan's Ripe Figs introduces her readers to the cuisines and cultures of the Eastern Mediterranean (with a focus on the countries of Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey).  Khan's enticing descriptions of everything from fish kabobs flavored with sumac to pistachio baklava are justaposed with not only family stories but thoughtful discussions of the politics of the region aswell as meditations on the refugee crisis.  The photography of both food and community is stunning.  For tonight's dinner, my family will be trying Khan's recipe for a cinnamon-spiced carrot soup, lentils with preserved lemons, and an apricot rose-water pudding.
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What an interesting book. Far more than a recipe book. Travelling through lands and peoples, stunning photographs are as powerful as the writing.
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I feel like it's hard to write a truly outstanding cookbook, but this certainly is one. Several of my closest friends are from the eastern Mediterranean and when they've cooked for me it's been incredible - so I was excited to read Ripe Figs, but also had high expectations. I found the recipes I hoped for, but also beautiful travel writing, an insight into the history and politics of the region, and descriptions of the refugee crisis. The photos were gorgeous too, even more than normal for travel/recipe books. I also loved how Khan reflected on the similarities between Iran (where her family is from) and the eastern Mediterranean, and her descriptions of the Turkish diaspora in Hackney, London - now I'm yearning to visit not only the Mediterranean countries described, but also to go back to London again. 

This is an excellent book on many fronts, and I may have to buy myself a physical copy so I can see the beautiful photographs up close.
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Such an interesting cookery book in these strange times. Yasmin sets out to share the similarities of the dishes found in the Eastern Mediterranean. She lives in many countries for extended amounts of time and really gets to know both the locals and many of the migrants who have now moved to the region. The recipes are delicious, but I particularly love reading the stories at the start of each section. The book is also awash with beautiful photography depicting the sun we all crave at the moment. Do check this book out!
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I loved this book. I enjoy cookery books with vibrant, colourful photos and history of the country, food and author. I don’t just want to know how to cook a dish - I want to know the purpose of why THIS dish, the regional
delicacies of the area and community. I want the story behind the dish and the country and this book doesn’t disappoint. Food brings people together and it’s highlighted beautifully in this book.

Yasmin Khan transports you through Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. If you enjoy Middle Eastern recipes and want easy to follow recipes - this is the one. I like how each page starts with a little snippet of the dish eg haloumi and mint muffins. It tells you about the classic Cypriot flavour combination, when Yasmin tried them first and then inspiring pictures followed by the recipe. I tried them and they were delicious! The book is delightful and inspiring. I’ve just ordered pomegranate molasses and pul-biber from my local Turkish shop and I’m looking forward to trying it in recipes for salads and meat.
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Ripe Figs is a beautifully written collection of stories and recipes of the author’s travels through Eastern Europe and more specifically Greece, Turkey and Cyprus.
Even if you are not a cook, the book is worth reading to understand more about the area, and how it has become a refuge for so many displaced people. I was fascinated to read that at the time of writing Turkey hosts the largest refugee population in the world, with  3,6 million forcibly displaced people living there, whereas, in contrast the UK hosted a mere 125,000 in 2018
What makes this book bring home both the plight of refugees and the role of ordinary people who have worked together to create safe places for socializing, are the honest and heartfelt stories she tells of individual people she met during her travels and how food provides a sense of identity especially when we are displaced – either forcibly or by choice.
The inclusion of wonderfully evocative photos of many of the people she met and mouthwatering shots of food make this a beautiful book. For a cook, the recipes are clear to follow and interesting, including traditional classics and dishes inspired by refugee population
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A lovely book to read and use the easy to follow recipes. Every page brings delight. Well researched, written and photgraphs. Brought back many happy memories of holidays in sunny climates. Recommended.
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This book is everything I hoped it would be: beautiful recipes, inspirational photographs and authentic words, all woven together with fascinating anecdotes. I loved the journeys that this book took me on. Khan's depth of detail is incredible, bringing scenes and stories to life. Recipes to go along with these experiences are an added bonus! I also feel that this book has a real heart, and appreciate Khan's suggestion that 'there is no better place to talk than at the dinner table'. '
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Reading Ripe Figs during a cold February in lockdown was perfect timing. This beautiful book brought the sunshine, feel and flavours of the Eastern Mediterranean in to my life. More than just a cook book, Yasmin Khan writes about the lives of the refugees, the amazing people helping them that she meets on her travels and also the politics of this melting pot of cultures.

The recipes are simple to follow and inspiring and I cannot wait until we can have friends over to try these recipes on as they are perfect for sharing.

I was given a copy of Ripe Figs by NetGalley and the publishers in return for an unbiased review.
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Now this is a book I want to own in hard copy. These types of books I can only seem to be able to view on my phone through the netgalley app, so it was hard to read or really enjoy the book. However the recipes seem delicious, and I will try a few , and the script inbetween really interseting. These types of cookery books become andventures not only into food and cooking but travel too. 

I can't wait to buy the hard copy for my growing collection.
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A beautifully written cookery book filled with stunning photographs from Yasmin’s travels through Turkey, Greece and Cyprus. This cookbook shares stories from the migrants and refugees she met along her way in Lesvos.
This is exactly the type of food I like, so it has been a joy to read. There are a lot of yummy recipes which I can’t wait to try such as the pomegranate and sumac chicken.
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