Israeli-born chef Michael Rantissi and his partner and 'balaboosta' Aussie girl Kristy Frawley have drilled down to what we all love about the ingredients and flavours of the Middle East - grains and greens, generosity, pungency, sweetness, sharing. This is food that brings everyone to the table, and won't let them leave. Michael puts ingredients first and foremost, opening the door to our greater understanding and appreciation of the Middle East's hidden treasures --- tahini, baharat, halva, chickpeas, labneh, eggplant, honey, pomegranate, amba, dates, broad beans, pistachios, wild greens, ancient grains. The recipes go from basics like hummus, aioli and falafel, to Persian eggplant risotto, Cauliflower, cranberry and pearl barley salad, Harissa-braised lamb with okra. To finish, are the pastries, breads and syrup-laden cakes that turn a meal into a feast - Chocolate and pistachio baklava, Date and dukkah brownies, Persian pavlova. Living in multicultural Sydney, he says, has helped him lighten and brighten traditional recipes, without ever losing sight of their origins and traditions.'
If my mother knew I was serving falafel for breakfast - and people were loving it - she would be amazed,' he says. A much-lauded home cook, Kristy adds those all-important pastries, breads and syrup-laden cakes that turn a meal into a feast, any time of the day or night.show more