Blog - Read a Recipe from Sirocco as part of our Cookbook Confidential Series
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Read a Recipe from Persiana author Sabrina Ghayour's new book, Sirocco

3rd May 2016

Cookbook Confidential is an ongoing series of events celebrating the best of food and drink writing, in association with Octopus Publishing Group and delicious.magazine. We are delighted to be welcoming Sabrina Ghayour to Foyles on 4th May, Cyrus Todiwala and Chetna Makan on 1st June, Eleonora Galasso, Olia Hercules and Eric Lanlard on 13th July and Diana Henry on 7th September. To celebrate, we'll be running a series of blogs, including recipes from the authors' new books, starting with Sabrina Ghayour.


Named The Golden Girl of Persian Cookery by the Observer, and one of  the 1000 Most Influential People in London by the Evening Standard, Sabrina is an Iranian-born self-taught cook, author, food writer and host of the hugely popular Sabrina’s Kitchen Supper Club in London. Her debut cookbook Persiana: Recipes from the Middle East and Beyond topped the bestseller lists, received The Observer Food Monthly’s Best New Cookbook 2014 award and won Food and Travel Magazine's Best Cookbook of the Year 2015.

In her eagerly awaited follow-up to Persiana, Sirocco brings the tastes of the East to Western-style dishes in a collection of 100 delicious and accessible recipes. With an emphasis on simple ingredients and strong flavours, Ghayour lends her modern inspirational touch to a variety of dishes ranging from classics and comfort food to spectacular salads and sweet treats.

Below, we share Sabrina's recipe for Citrus and Za'atar Chicken, one of many versatile and flavoursome dishes in her new book.




Citrus & Za’atar Chicken

Roast chicken is the ultimate comfort food, and I have been known to conjure up many different versions over the years. While I love a classic salt-and-pepper seasoned bird, I’m pretty adventurous and unafraid of throwing the contents of my spice racks and store cupboards at a chicken to liven it up when the mood suits. Za’atar is a staple spice blend in my house – it’s so versatile, it goes with everything, and the fragrance of citrus zest really lifts this flavoursome dish. Try it: it’s a winner. And don’t waste the leftover fruits – juice them and add water and sugar to sweeten for a refreshing drink.


Serves 3 –4


free-range chicken, about 1.5–1.75kg

3–4 tablespoons olive oil

2 heaped tablespoons za’atar

finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons

finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed oranges

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon sea salt flakes, crushed

freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 220C, Gas Mark 7. Line a roasting tin with baking paper. Place the trussed bird into the prepared roasting tin.


Put the olive oil in a small bowl, add the za’atar, citrus zests, turmeric, coriander, salt and a generous seasoning of black pepper and mix to make an evenly combined paste.


Work the paste on to the chicken, rubbing it in all over it and between the breast and leg joints. Roast the chicken for 1 ½  hours or until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a skewer.


Leave to rest for 10 minutes, then serve.




Such a wonderful Cookbook Confidential event this evening with Sabrina, chaired splendidly by Julia Leonard. Already looking forward to the next event and if they are anything as insightful and personal as the one this evening, then the whole series should be an absolute joy.

John Holland 04/05/2016 - 04/05/2016
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