The Veggiestan Scrapbook

Wherein we propose to paste cuttings, reviews and links. And maybe some photos of Veggiestan events and banquets.

Have you cooked from the book? Take some photos and send them to us and we’ll post them up here. Have you any comments (*ahem* constructive ones)? This is the place to leave them….

5th October 2011: Veggiestan went to Scotland. We wittered on about all things Middle Eastern and vegetarian to the lovely Pennie Latin on BBC Radio Scotland’s Kitchen Cafe. You’re meant to think that we’re all sitting round a table together in Inverness – but actually we were in Portland Place, pretending. πŸ™‚

16th November 2011: Veggiestan went along to chat to Robert Elms. You can ‘listen again’ here for a wee while, if you’re bored, like. This time we got a photo to prove it… He really is a very nice chap πŸ™‚

2nd March 2012: We went to meet (chat to) those very nice people at Crow on the Hill in Crystal Palace. We took some mince and slices of quince, and showed them our runcible spoon. And signed some books. Great shop.

28th March – 1st April 2012: Thanks to the lovely people at the British Council, we got to go to the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair as their token cookery writer (the UK was the Country of Focus at the festival this year). This was of course woop-di-doop exciting for a number of reasons, not least of which was a chance to spend some time in Arab-shire. It was kind of intimidating demonstrating Veggiestani food in one of its component countries – but everyone was very kind. Mr. Shopkeeper is just about speaking to Mrs. Shopkeeper again after a rather boisterous trip into the desert (her idea, of course) failed to agree with his constitution (jeep safari meets Alton Towers)….

BLOG ROUND-UP -here’s some kind things that people have said about the book so far. Not that we’d want them to influence you. You should really buy the book and make you own mind up….

Mostly Food
Culinaria Libris
Miss Eco Glam
Food Stories
The Culinary Guide
Saturday Telegraph Magazine
Good Food Magazine – in fact, we’re one of their top ten cookery books of 2011. Which made us VERY HAPPY.
Time Out Magazine. Food book of the week.
BMI In-Flight Magazine.
Domestic Sluttery

Here’s some excerpts, care of those nice people at Word of Mouth in the Guardian:
Baid bi Tamaten
Imam Biyaldi
Shaitany Eggs
Kookoo Sabzi

Ooh – now that Veggiestan is out in the US (in disguise, thus), we are getting some reviews from over the pond. This is very exciting. Hello America! *waves* Here are a few of them:
From In Mama’s Kitchen;
From the Rocky Mount Telegram;
From the Barre Montpelier Times Argus

50 Responses to The Veggiestan Scrapbook

  1. Caroline Walsh says:

    Dear Sally

    Just got your book from the library on the offchance and it’s one of the best veggie books I have ever read and used so thank you! I have been a veggie since the age of 12 and am now 36 and I just love your book and it’s inspiring plus yummy recipes! I am afraid to say I haven’t heard of you before – I live in Edinburgh – but am now your biggest fan! Have been cooking from your book every night and just bought a copy for myself! Thank you so much! Caroline

  2. Sally says:

    Dear Caroline,

    Aww – thanks for the encouraging words. Glad you’re enjoying Veggiestan.

    If you ever get down to London do come and say hello: we have all sorts of stuff going on at our corner shop, not to mention a lot of helpful ingredients, and our samovar is always on.

    In the meantime, keep checking back on this website – there’s new stuff going up here all the time. And if you have any favourite recipes…share them!


  3. Kelley says:

    I picked up your cookbook in Toronto Canada at the wonderful Cookbook Store and I absolutely love it. I spent the last few days of my holidays curled up in our hotel reading through your book.
    As soon as we got home (Edmonton, Canada), I made the the Moroccan Tomato and Onion Soup (Hariria) and my husband and will be making it again (and again). It ended up being the first thing I cooked in 2012!!
    I am not sure what to try next. The pomegranate salad is certainly on my radar!!
    Thanks for a wonderful book!!

  4. Sally says:

    Thanks Kelley!
    Great to know the book has travelled to the other side of the pond. And I am so pleased that you are enjoying it. It’s the right time of year to be playing with pomegranates – enjoy!
    And – Happy New Year πŸ™‚

  5. Celia Ryan says:

    Hi Sally. Well, your recipe book has made it to Piha (West Coast surf beach in New Zealand 40 km away from Auckland). I got it out of the library. It’s fab! As it’s summer here, I’m taking advantage of the bounty of lovely fresh aubergines. You’ve given me some great ways to use aubergines. Thanks so much for this inspiring book. One thing though, I went to make your chilli, mint, onion marmalade the other day and I couldn’t read my own writing. What’s the second ingredient in the recipe that you mix and boil with water? 500 gms of ? Thanks Celia

    • Sally says:

      Hi Celia,
      Very excited to hear that Veggiestan is spreading far and wide! I am also glad that you like it.
      The missing ingredient is 500g caster sugar. It’s a cracking preserve – enjoy!
      It’s little above freezling here today, so send some of that warmth over here will you? πŸ™‚
      Happy Cooking,

  6. Adam says:

    Love the book . A thing of beauty and some inviting recipes

  7. Liz Kendrick says:

    Just made the Afghan Yoghurt with aubergine. I added a chpped red pepper to the onion and chilli mix and served it with Turkish bread from the book.
    My husband claims not to care for aubergine but he adored this recipe and when you say “there will be nothing left” you did not lie. It was fab

  8. Liz Kendrick says:

    Ok – tried the gingery tamarind aubergines which I served with a very herby cous-cous. I think my husband actually purred. Definitely one we’ll be having again. Loving these recipes – they always work

  9. Lorraine Devereux says:

    Today I finally got round to Tahinapittas…………theres none left!!!! No seriously there are a few left but they are so wow. I’m loving the book, have tried lots of stuff. the green pea houmus is really easy if you don’t have time to cook chick peas and tastes great and the falafel and kibbeh are becoming regulars in my kitchen. Having problems finding broad beans other than tinned stuff but would the frozen variety work? have found a wee middle eastern shop that sells loads of stuff but need a translator! If aubergines are a total no way in our house is there a good substitute? oh and today…. I even saw a bottle of pomegranite molasses in the supermarket.. in Dundee???? loving the regular recipes on the site and everyones great comments. I love other peoples shopping so other peoples favourites from the book is an equally fascinating subject. thanks everyone cos its a bit provincial up here in the frozen north!

    • Sally says:

      Hi Lorraine,
      Glad you’re enjoying Veggiestan.
      There are always ways to substitute other ingredients, but with aubergines it depends on what you are trying to do. Marrow and courgettes have a familial likeness… Again with regards to the broad beans, it depends which recipe you are following. Frozen are fine – but not for ful medammes or houmous or besara.
      If you ever get really stuck we are happy to post stuff πŸ™‚

  10. Liz Chantler says:

    Hi Sally,
    I attempted to make the marinated baby aubergines, and thought all had gone well until I opened them, and there was a bubbling almost-explosion… They still smelled ok but I didn’t really fancy them as they were still bubbling away happily an hour later! Any ideas what I might have done wrong? I thought I’d got all the air out of the jar, and then I wondered maybe if I should have left the aubergines for longer to let water come out… I’d like to try again, but I’m a little apprehensive. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
    All the best, Liz x

    • Sally says:

      Ooh-er. Well bubbling and explosion indicate fermentation, and I have only ever experienced this where either the preserving liquid (oil in this case) has been contaminated or, as you say, there is an air pocket. DO try again: I am sure you will succeed the second time, and it is such a lovely satisfying thing to make. Good luck πŸ™‚

  11. Sarah says:


    I’m hoping you can clarify something for me. Interlink Books in the United States has just released your “The New Middle Eastern Vegetarian: Modern Recipes from Veggiestan.” Is this simply the U.S. version of “Veggiestan: A Vegetable Lover’s Tour of the Middle East,” or is it a different title altogether?



    • Sally says:

      Hi Sarah,

      It is indeed one and the same book. The title Veggiestan was deemed a little too exotic for the US market πŸ˜‰


  12. Irina says:

    Hi Sally,

    I’m based in Berlin right now, but I’d rather buy the English version of your book than the German one. Is the book available under the title “The New Middle Eastern Vegetarian” the same as “Veggiestan”?

    Yours in the shared love of pomegranate molasses…

    Irina, “The Cooking Romanian”

    • Sally says:

      Hi Irina,
      The New Middle Eastern Vegetarian is the US version of Veggiestan. Veggiestan itself has been reprinted and will be back on Amazon in a matter of days.
      Thank you for your interest πŸ™‚
      All bests,

      • Irina says:

        Thanks so much for the quick reply, Sally! I’ll ask my local English bookstore to get it. “Veggiestan” is a much better title anyway…

      • Amanda says:

        Hi, I’ve just followed a blog link to your Veggiestan cookbook, I like the look & title of the UK one best but will buy on cost of the book providing both UK & US editions are the same – has the US edition been ‘translated’ into US measurements for the ingredients. Thanks, Amanda.

        • Sally says:

          Hi Amanda!
          The books are identical, but yes: the US edition has US weights and measures. Hope you enjoy cooking from it!
          All bests,

  13. Dianne says:

    I got your book this morning and I’m really excited about trying some recipes.
    The index lists Greek Guacamole on page 42, but it’s not there.
    Is there a problem with my copy or is it lurking somewhere else?

    • Sally says:

      Hi Dianne! Thanks for buying Veggiestan. The ‘Greek guacamole’ is a bonus recipe on page 42: it is there just as a suggestion to go with the lettuce meze.
      Hope you have fun cooking from the book.

      • Dianne says:

        Oops, yes, now I’ve found it, I hadn’t read right to the end of the recipe. Clearly I was far too excited and skipped on to the next page too soon.

  14. Liz Chantler says:

    Hi Sally,
    Just to let you know I made the Afghan Yoghurt with Aubergines for dinner tonight and it was totally fantastic!! Had to knock down the chillies and garlic a little for my old dad’s benefit as he likes “nice plain English food”! He proclaimed it “very good” and cleared his plate. Thanks for writing your lovely book – it’s my first port of call for tasty meatless days. Liz x

  15. Sally says:

    Hello again Liz! So glad you persevered with the aubergine cookery – and that your father approves. Do pop in if you are ever down in South London.
    All bests,

  16. Sarah says:

    Hi Sally,

    I purchased the US edition of Veggiestan and I have a quick question regarding the recipe for Tahinopitta. I followed the recipe to the letter, but when I started to bake them, butter melted out *everywhere*. I also wanted to check that 2 sticks of butter is the correct amount.

    I had the cold butter cubed in small pieces, distributed it evenly and rolled, folded and turned per the instructions (it brought to mind a recent croissant class!)…should I have chilled the dough before popping in into the oven to bake? Any advice is VERY welcome…this recipe looks amazing, and I’m determined to try again!



  17. Sally says:

    Hi Sarah,
    Tahinopitta is amazing – do persist with the recipe. The end result should be very buttery (it’s a very naughty piece of patisserie) but the butter shouldn’t seep out too much during cooking.
    I’ve not had a problem making it, but I guess chilling the pastry before you bake it would help. 225g/2 sticks of butter is the correct amount, but you could always reduce that a little if you find it too buttery.
    Good luck – and thanks for buying Veggiestan. πŸ™‚
    All bests,

  18. Hey Sally

    What a great book! My girl just got it for her birthday and we love it. I’m a raised vegetarian and never use a lot of cookbooks. But this one keeps me going. Made the pumpkin marmalade/jam yesterday and I love it to bits. Don’t know about the Dutch translation but it says I need 1 kilo sugar for 1,5 kilo pumpkin. I used loads less and still tastes pretty sweat. And I used an orange pumpkin which is easier cause you don’t need to take off it’s skin πŸ™‚
    But as you say, I experiment a lot with the recipes I’ve tried. Love the way It’s written, the little side notes and explanations where things are from. Keep up the goodwork and I’m sure this book will turn greasy in no time πŸ˜‰
    Cheers from Rotterdam!

    • Sally says:

      Gee thanks Jorrit!
      Glad you’re enjoying it.
      Feel free to chip in with your own veggie Middle Eastern recipes: this website was always meant to be interactive.
      And come and say hi if you’re ever in London.
      All bests,

  19. Susanne says:

    Hi Sally,
    I got the German version of Veggistan and it is incredible … could not say which recipe I love most …. I have been cooking and eating and cooking and eating since I have it :-)))) …. one quick question, is there an Italian translation out in the market ?? Thanks, all the best

    • Sally says:

      Vielen Dank Susanne! Glad you are enjoying it.
      There isn’t an Italian version out at the moment, although it is available in Dutch and Finnish!
      Pop by our shop and say hello if you are ever in London.
      All bests,

  20. Sandra says:

    Love the book! Have just made Palestinian upside-down rice and it was delicious, but we’re going to be feeding the rest of the street for the rest of the week, and we only used half the quantity of rice and stock! Suggest it serves rather more than four. We’ll be cooking it again, but not for a few weeks.

  21. Izzy says:

    Sally, I just LOVE your book!! I was looking for a nice book yesterday that would brighten up my day and kitchen and there it was… I just love the way it looks, the way it feels, and the way it seduces me to read it on a cold winter’s day curled up in bed. As a newbie in Veggiestan I thought to myself: ‘Great, noone will ever come over for dinner now because they think that dry beans and bread is all that they are getting!!’. As I am a mixed salad myself (half German, half Syrian), I absolutely love Middle Eastern cuisine and I was a bit worried about the fact that a lot of the recipes I know do have meat as a main ingredient, or at least that’s what gives most dishes its fantastic flavour. But thank god (no, wait… thank Sally!!!) I am now confident that I will be able to cook something that even my Dad might be (more or less) willing to try (he’s an old cynical Syrian and as stubborn as a donkey if I might say so….but I do love you daddy!!!). Well, inshallah! I love your little anekdotes and not many cook books make me laugh out loud, thank you thank you thank you!!! Greetings from Berlin from your no. 1 fan!!! Izzy

    • Sally says:

      Awww – thanks Izzy! That might just be the nicest effusion of Veggiestan excitement I’ve seen. So pleased that you like the book – and I hope that you have lots of fun with it πŸ™‚

  22. Rochana says:

    love your book, husband found it by chance I said I need a new cook book and i want one on middle eastern cooking ( been a vegetarian for many years). being in NZ I thought he will never find one but he did! I am wanting to cook for friends and was looking on your website for menu suggestions good combos of what to eat when and what goes well together on hot summer nights or birthdays and so on. was wondering if you could put something on your site on menu suggestions

    thank for the taking the time to write the book.

    • Sally says:

      And thanks for taking the time to comment, Rochana! Good idea about menu suggestions – will ponder and post in the New Year. Happy 2013 in the meantime πŸ™‚

  23. Anne says:

    Hi – Thankyou so much for the mung bean casserole. I have ignored mung beans for years, not really knowing what to do with them except sprout them, and suddenly there they were as a course all of their own in our New Year’s meal. Gorgeous, all of it vanished and appreciated by young to (nearly) old! Off to make leek pasties now – om nom nom….

    • Sally says:

      Hi Anne – and Happy New Year. So pleased you like the casserole – the poor old mung bean gets so overlooked normally. Happy cooking in 2013!

  24. Outi says:

    Hi Sally,
    I just got my hands on this book – it was transated to finnish – and the translator has done a great job with it, I must say.
    Thank you – the recepies I’ve tried so far are yummy!
    The very first was “Imam Biyaldi”, and both me and my husband loved it! Definitely will be making that again..

    This is a great book, there is never too much delicious veggie recepies, and I love learning new ways of cooking. Middle-Eastern kitchen is quite new for me, and so far it has been a real joy trying out all the new flavours like sumac, barberries, and dried limes..

    • Sally says:

      So pleased you’re enjoying Veggiestan – and I’m glad you can get all the ingredients over there. I do know that there are quite a lot of Iranians in Finland, so that would help! Happy cooking!

  25. Sandra and Shiraz says:

    Thanks for a great cookery demo on Sunday – thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a lot. Loved visiting your shop and now have lots of great ingredients; ash for tea tonight! Thank you both and hope to see you again soon.

  26. Zoe says:

    I bought your book some time ago and made one or two recipes but on a day off recently I had the time and the nice weather in the garden to really read it, it is a delight to hear your stories of where recipes and ingredients come from along with all your small anecdotes, it’s a book I will treasure and continue to cook from. Your mushroom stifatho, which I made on Thursday is just lovely.

    • Sally says:

      Hi Zoe,
      Thank you for the lovely feedback πŸ™‚ We love customer/reader participation, so do send us photos when you’re cooking Veggiestan stuff. Or indeed your own recipes!
      Best wishes,

  27. Mariama says:

    Dear Sally,
    Veggiestan, or how I became a Vegetarian ! Thank you so much for sharing the love of food in such a delightful style. I can really say that discovering Veggiestan made me fall in love with vegetables again. It opened a new world of possibilities for me – full of taste, colours, good company and flavours…. I enjoy you sharing your stories around those delicious recipes from the far east.
    Well done, and I do hope that one day I can come and visit your shop in London!
    Best wishes from a French “Veggiestanian” living in Ghana!

    • Sally says:

      Hi Mariama! Thank you for your lovely message πŸ™‚
      I am very happy to think that the Veggiestan borders now extend as far as Ghana – and it would be lovely to welcome you to Veggiestan in Peckham.
      Happy cooking!

  28. Eve says:

    Hi Sally,
    A friend of mine gave me the Veggiestan book a few months ago, and i’m having a wonderful time trying out the different taste sensations! Even my commited carnivore of a husband has to admit that his tastebuds are knocked for six each time I try a new recipe πŸ˜‰ Next on the list is the β€œherby rice with saffron vegetables”; and i’m just wondering, how many grams of sabzi pulao should I use? I’m living in the Netherlands and can’t be sure the bag of herbs will be the same size!

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