Amidst the olive groves of Jerusalem, the pulsating spice markets of Nazareth and the vineyards of Bethlehem, travel writer and cook Yasmin Khan falls in love with the flavours and fragrances of modern Palestine. Palestinian food is simple, seasonal and predominantly plant-based, bursting with a freshness and brightness that is characteristic of all Levantine cooking. It has evolved over several millennia, through the influences of Arabic, Jewish, Armenian, Persian, Turkish and Bedouin cultures and civilisations that have ruled over, or lived in, the area known as ancient Palestine. From the colourful array of mezze dishes that make use of the region 's bountiful aubergines, peppers, artichokes and green beans; to slow-cooked stews of chicken and lamb flavoured with Palestinian barahat spice blends; to the masterful marriage of citrusy local extra virgin olive oil with earthy za 'atar, served in small bowls to accompany toasted breads, Palestinian food rejoices in satisfying all the senses.
Yasmin 's journey takes her from the sun-kissed pomegranate stalls of Akka, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, via evergreen oases of date plantations in the Jordan Valley, to the fading fish markets of Gaza city. In each place she visits, Yasmin enters the homes and kitchens of Palestinians of all ages and backgrounds, discovering the secrets of their ancient cuisine and sharing heart-lifting stories. Featuring more than 80 modern recipes that are all fully accessible to the home cook, Zaitoun reveals and revels in the delights of the Palestinian kitchen.