The Nutmeg Trail by Eleanor Ford


Interwoven with divine recipes and stories, Eleanor Ford’s latest cookbook The Nutmeg Trail is a fascinating culinary exploration of spice, showcasing how centuries of spice trading and cultural diffusion changed the world’s cuisine. This cookbook is perfect for fans of Yotam Ottolenghi, Fuchsia Dunlop, John Keay and Romy Gill.

Eleanor Ford is known for her award-winning cookbooks Samarkand and Fire Islands. Now, in her latest cookbook, Eleanor presents a unique and enlightening guide to cooking with spice as she follows the trails of ancient maritime trade through Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Vietnam, Thailand, China, Sri Lanka, India and the Emirates.

The Nutmeg Trail is an enhanced look at the flavour profiles that we use in cooking to add that something to a dish. Eleanor examines how spices can be used, combined and layered―how some bring sweetness, others fragrance, heat, pungency, sourness or earthiness to create something one-of-a-kind. Chapters and recipes are divided by spice―by the fire and thunder of ginger and peppercorns, floral petals & bark, chillies, lime & lemongrass, earthy cumin & coriander, plus complex spice blends.

Following the ancient spice trail, Eleanor showcases the different elements of spice through her recipes. There are gingery dishes such as Salted chicken and Egg and bacon rougaille, peppery Hot and tingly hand-pulled noodles and Balinese green bean urap, as well as fragrant and floral dishes such as Royal saffron paneer and Honeyed meatballs with pistachio. There are also fiery foods like Sri Lankan coconut and green chilli flatbreads and Indian gunpowder okra that will heat your tastebuds, plus notes of lemongrass and lime in Eleanor’s recipes for Indonesian seafood gulai. Lastly, there are earthy dishes such as Curried udon noodles from Japan and the more complex blends that bring you masterpieces like Eleanor’s Tandoori roast chicken.

Combining historical research with a travel writer's eye and a cook's nose for a memorable recipe, The Nutmeg Trail is a cookbook interwoven with stories that explore how spices from across the Indian Ocean, the original cradle of spice, have, over time, been adopted into cuisines around the world.


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