Arlette Haddad-Boutros

Enjoy 2007

This charming book is a masterpiece of simplicity, novelty and variety. It is immediately obvious that the book is the work of an enthusiast who believes that food should be designed for pleasure as well as nourishment.

Arlette began cooking Lebanese food at an early age in Lebanon and learned her basic skills from her mother. Since then she has always enjoyed producing healthy and appetising Lebanese cuisine for family and friends. An interior architect, graphic designer and artist by profession, Arlette has introduced her natural creativity into her cooking, producing dishes based upon traditional Lebanese recipes, but with new ingredients or tastes.

Following her enthusiasm for healthy eating, some of the traditional Lebanese dishes have been simplified by substituting chicken or fish for red meat, making them healthier and lighter. There is also more emphasis on olive oil.

In his review of the book, Cecil Hourani, the distinguished author of "Jordan: The Land and the Table", writes: "Arlette Boutros’s book is a welcome alternative to the ever-increasing number of cookbooks which either explore specific national and ethnic cuisines from all over the world, or introduce the amateur to gourmet cooking."

"Being herself Lebanese, half of the dishes she describes, and also illustrates with appetising clarity, are based on Lebanese cuisine, but she has simplified them and made them more easily accessible to a wider public...The other half of the dishes come from a variety of culinary cultures, mainly Mediterranean recipes, but some Chinese, Mexican and other international recipes."

This book is above all a book for those who have a family to cook for and perhaps a job outside the home too. The recipes are unpretentious yet deliciously healthy, concentrating on the true quality of food and the best ways of bringing out its natural flavour.

The essential message that Arlette Haddad-Boutros seeks to convey is that excellent, fresh and healthy food can be prepared by anyone and enjoyed by everyone.