Talking of Books is a weekly review show which showcases some of Dubai’s most intrepid readers. From new releases to chats with local and international authors, this is a must-listen for any bibliophile.
Every week co-hosts Isobel Abulhoul and John MacDonald are joined by an ever-changing cast of guest reviewers drawn from the UAE’s reading community, to discuss and review a broad selection of fiction and non-fiction books, from business to travel; holistic to historical. Also, every week Isobel and John select a Book Champion to come in and introduce Dubai to a book they think is particularly significant and should be more widely read.
Talking of Books features regular interviews with today’s greatest writers, with previous interviewees including bestselling novelists Chris Cleave, superstar children’s authors Jacqueline Wilson, Andy Stanton and David Almond, internationally-renowned philosopher AC Grayling and rugby legend Brian Moore.
FANCY BEING A BOOK CHAMPION? Email email@example.com.
COMING UP ON TALKING OF BOOKS THIS WEEK…
Nadiya’s Kitchen by Nadiya Hussain
Having fallen in love with Nadiya and her outstanding bakes on 2015’s Great British Bake Off, readers can now discover all her favourite recipes. With chapters ranging from ‘Lazy Sunday Mornings’ to ‘Midnight Feasts’, ‘Snacks and Sharing’ to ‘Dessert for Dinner’, you’ll find ideas for any time of the day, and for all the family. Nadiya offers innovative twists on traditional classics and failsafe recipes for many staple meals and bakes, including: Best Fish Finger Butty, Crumpets with Salted Honey Butter, Wellington Sausage Rolls, Cod and Clementine Curry, Mustardy Kale Mac and Cheese, Popcorn, White Chocolate and Peanut Slice, Spiced Parsnip and Orange Cake and not forgetting: ‘Her Majesty’s Cake’, based on the delight she created for the Queen’s 90th birthday.
Bake Me a Story by Nadiya Hussain
A unique combination of storybook and cookbook, with all recipes and stories devised and written by Nadiya herself, Nadiya’s Bake Me a Story brings families into the kitchen to spend time together sharing stories and cooking. Make yummy butter-bean patties and, while they are in the oven, enjoy the story of Jack and the Bean-Patty Stalk. Meet Ruby-Red and the Three Bears, then bake your Very-Berry muffins. Join Rapunzel on an adventure, then make her carrot and nutmeg cookies. Bake some pumpkin and spice flapjacks, then curl up with the tale of Cinderella and her pumpkins. Combining playful photography of Nadiya and her children with vibrant illustrations by Clair Rossiter, this glorious celebration of the joy of sharing food and stories is the perfect addition to every family’s kitchen!
Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters by Nadiya Hussain
On the outside, despite not quite fitting in with their neighbours, the Amirs are happy. But on the inside, each sister is secretly struggling. Fatima is trying to find out who she really is – and after fifteen attempts, finally pass her driving test. Farah is happy being a wife but longs to be a mother. Bubblee is determined to be an artist in London, away from family tradition, and Mae is coping with burgeoning YouTube stardom. Yet when family tragedy strikes, it brings the Amir sisters closer together and forces them to learn more about life, love, faith and each other than they ever thought possible.
About Nadiya Hussain
She came, she saw, she baked and she conquered! Never again will she say she can’t. Nadiya Hussain can and she will. Hussain’s captivating smile, interesting expressions and, of course, her delicious bakes and desserts made her the hot favourite of Great British Bake Off 2015. She has authored a cookbook, Nadiya’s Kitchen and a children’s book, Nadiya’s Bake Me A Story. Her debut novel, The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters, will be published in 2017. Alongside her books, Hussain is a columnist and has appeared on numerous television shows. She lives with her husband, Abdal, and is mum to three gorgeous children.
Sirocco by Sabrina Gayour
From the golden girl of Middle Eastern cookery, Sirocco will bring 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 will bring her modern inspirational touch to a variety of dishes ranging from classics and comfort food to spectacular salads and sweet treats.
About Sabrina Gayour
Named ‘Rising Star of 2014’ and ‘The Golden Girl of Persian Cookery’ by The Observer and as one of ‘1000 Most Influential People in London’ by The London Evening Standard, Sabrina Ghayour is an Iranian-born, self-taught cook and multi-award winning, bestselling author and food writer.
Her debut cook book Persiana: Recipes from the Middle East and Beyond topped the bestseller lists. Her second book, Sirocco, combines Middle Eastern flavours with techniques from the West to display her style of uncomplicated, full-flavoured recipes.
Ghayour’s website and Twitter are ‘go to’ destinations for Persian and Middle-Eastern recipes and ingredient wisdom.
The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan
It was on the Silk Roads that East and West first encountered each other through trade and conquest, leading to the spread of ideas, cultures and religions. From the rise and fall of empires to the spread of Buddhism and the advent of Christianity and Islam, right up to the great wars of the twentieth century—this book shows how the fate of the West has always been inextricably linked to the East.
Peter Frankopan realigns our understanding of the world, pointing us eastward. He vividly re-creates the emergence of the first cities in Mesopotamia and the birth of empires in Persia, Rome and Constantinople, as well as the depredations by the Mongols, the transmission of the Black Death and the violent struggles over Western imperialism. Throughout the millennia, it was the appetite for foreign goods that brought East and West together, driving economies and the growth of nations.
From the Middle East and its political instability to China and its economic rise, the vast region stretching eastward from the Balkans across the steppe and South Asia has been thrust into the global spotlight in recent years. Frankopan teaches us that to understand what is at stake for the cities and nations built on these intricate trade routes, we must first understand their astounding pasts. Far more than a history of the Silk Roads, this book is truly a revelatory new history of the world, promising to destabilize notions of where we come from and where we are headed next.
About Peter Frankopan
Peter Frankopan is Senior Research Fellow at Worcester College, Oxford, and Director for the Centre for Byzantine Research at Oxford University.
His revised translation of The Alexiad by Anna Komnene was published in 2009 and The First Crusade, a major monograph about Byzantium, Islam and the West in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, was published in 2012.
His latest book, The Silk Roads, was published in 2015 to huge critical acclaim and is a number one Sunday Times Bestseller.
Alongside researching and writing non-fiction, Frankopan also writes for the international press.
Pimp My Rice by Nisha Katona
Rice recipes to spice up your kitchen! Across continents, rice is the dramatic centrepiece of the table and at the heart of life. In Pimp My Rice, Nisha Katona shares recipes from her home kitchen and around the globe, from Pimped Rice Piri Piri to Beefed-Up Bibimbap and even Black Rice & Coconut Sorbet. Showcasing a rainbow of types and explaining how to cook them perfectly every time, Nisha takes the fear out of the world’s greatest cereal killer.
Nisha Katona is a rice evangelist. Why? It does not need peeling, it does not need soaking, it likes to be left to cook without a watchful gaze. It is eternally long life, waiting long in dark cupboards, bidden to warm musky life when fridges are empty and potatoes are sullenly sprouting. Far from being an understudy, rice is the most virile, muscular weapons of mass construction in the busy working kitchen.
Nisha, who runs a fantastically popular Curry Clinic on Twitter, is on a mission to demystify rice and to show the enormous breadth of rice recipes that can be created simply and quickly. As a second generation Indian, she shows how to marry different cuisines together, to create vibrant, exciting dishes. In other words, this is a book of pimped-up rice recipes.
About Nisha Katona
Nisha Katona has always had a passion for food and cooking, but she started out choosing law over cooking, becoming the first female Indian barrister in the North West region of the UK.
20 years on, she followed her passion to bring the benefits of authentic Indian food to a British audience, and founded Mowgli Street Food in Liverpool.
Katona has a worldwide following for her Twitter Curry Clinics, presents a hugely popular YouTube channel and is regularly featured on ITV and BBC Radio and TV.
She is the author of Pimp My Rice, and is busy working on a spice bible (for June 2017) and Mowgli Street Food (forthcoming April 2018).
About Bader Najeeb Al Awadhi
Bader Najeeb Al Awadhi is a 20-year-old self-taught Emirati cook. His love for baking started when he was about 14 or 15 years old. He entered the kitchen to mess around while his mother baked, but the foolishness backfired and turned into a lifetime hobby!
Al Awadhi learnt his culinary skills from watching YouTube videos and reading cookbooks. He finds himself leaning towards desserts more than main courses and appetizers, but is trying to change his interests.
He has hosted two of his own cooking TV shows and also hosts, films, directs and edits his own videos for his Youtube Channel, ‘WithChefB’.
Najeeb was recently awarded the Up and Comer Award at the Esquire Awards.
About Justine Kanter
Justine Kanter is a Cordon Bleu trained chef and the founder of The Kitchen Coach, a company that provides guidance and encouragement on how to make your kitchen a more rewarding place.
As a mother of two teenage boys, Kanter knows what it’s like to juggle work and family life. Armed with her understanding of how ingredients behave, together with classic techniques, shortcuts and secret tips, she enables cooks of all levels to make their food taste better and feel more confident around food.
Kanter is currently writing her first cookbook.