My "Food, Love and Life" Cookbook
|"Food, Love and Life from Dalia's Kitchen" Cover Images by Sukaina Rajabali. Cover Design by Lopo de Carvalho. CPI Publishing.|
Last week, I saw the printed copies of my cookbook for the first time. I've been meaning to write a post ever since. And this time it's not about a recipe, it's about the book with 124 decadent recipes :)
The joy I felt writing this book is hard to describe. It is something I have been longing to do for a very long time, and when you finally start a project you had envisaged all this time it's a little surreal at first. But as the recipes kept coming, the excitement kept growing, and I felt as if I was always meant to do this... Exhilarating to say the least, but of course, there was a not so rosy side to it too, since I fell pregnant during the planning phase. 18 hour days including cooking, shooting, running out to get missing items, testing recipes, writing when that brain of mine was literally fried, and of course, all this with those lovely side effects pregnancy brings along like nausea, extreme fatigue and an overly emotional state of an already emotional person.
Luckily, I had a wonderful support system. From my loved ones and friends who forgave me for being under a rock for so many months, the lovely Sukaina, who made sure the images were as beautiful as the recipes were tasty, to a dedicated publishing team, and the encouraging messages from readers that made me feel it was all worth it. So thank you to those who made me push that much harder ;)
So as my nights were ever so short and days ever so long, I kept thinking. Am I choosing the right recipes? Does it represent what I would like it to? Is it interesting and scrumptious, yet simple enough to make for loved ones without making a fuss? I'm all about exotic and original dishes, but is that really what one cooks after a long day? To be honest, the books I have enjoyed over the years have had one main thing in common. They are recipes made with ingredients I can readily find or make myself, and they are dishes, which after a busy day or on a relaxing weekend, I actually feel like cooking. Meals that are original and diverse enough so you have a broad selection, yet fairly simply explained so you do not get intimidated, and last but not least, timeless without following food trends excessively. If that is at all possible, then I tried to achieve it. I hope I did, but I will let you be the judge of that...
Apart from the scrumptious everyday recipe angle, I needed my first book to be quite personal with little stories here and there, just like this blog. I also wanted it to represent the beautiful identity crisis that I and my kitchen have become over the years. I am a Syrian-German, born in London, raised in Paris then NYC, and now live in wonderfully multicultural Dubai. I've never really been clear about where I am from. But today, I truly believe that the world's strict borders are slowly vanishing, and that ultimately we are all able to relate to one another more than ever. The Internet alone, for instance reading personal blogs from someone in Taipei all the way to another living in Rio. It's quite incredible if you sit for a minute and think about it! At the click of a button, you can follow the every day life of pretty much anyone.
In the same spirit of being able to cross borders when you open your laptop, I wanted to install the same feeling in my cookbook. At the turn of a page you travel from Baked German Raclette Spaetzle to a classic dish in the Gulf called Lamb Harees. Or flick to the page with Scallops Al Pil Pil from Spain, and end with Sour Strawberry Crepes or a Chestnut Vacherin from France. There is also a little fusion in many recipes so it truly is a delicious melting pot.
The book offers some favourites from the blog, but over 70% of the recipes are completely new. I cannot wait for you to get reading and let me know what you think. I truly hope that this book will find a place in your kitchens and that you will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating, cooking and writing it.
If you are in Dubai or the surrounding area, the book launch is set for June 19th. I will update the blog with all the details in the next day or two. Needless to say that I would love to meet readers face to face on that exciting day, so I do hope you can swing by.
The book will be available on Amazon.com, Kitsch Bakeries, Tavola stores and Bloomingdales as of June 19th, and shortly afterwards at major bookstores across the Middle East.