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Sesame and spice by Anne Shooter

Sesame and spice

“Apples, honey, almonds, figs, pomegranates, cinnamon, orange zest, sesame, lemons and vanilla. These are the scents that filled the kitchen when I was growing up.”

This one comment in Anne’s introduction was enough to send me delving into her book of baked delights. Inspired by her Jewish heritage, Anne’s recipes have their roots in various countries and some are handed down by family members. All the recipes begin with a little background information or personal link. Take the dessert saucy botty lemon sponge – this became a family favourite after they first sampled it in a Suffolk restaurant.

We read that pomegranates — those ruby-like fruits on the stunning book cover – originate from Persia and are symbols of fertility and fruitfulness. Her pomegranate and almond cake with rose-scented syrup kicks off the cake section; the sweet doughs include chocolate orange babka, with its Eastern European influence, and in sweet pastries who could resist the fig and frangipane tart with honey and orange flower drizzle?

There are also breads, biscuits, a smattering of savoury bakes and a section called baking for passover, which includes a number of gluten-free options. Aimed at the busy home cook none of the recipes require a huge number of ingredients and the photographs alone will leave you drooling.

Order Sesame & spice: baking from the East End to the Middle East from our catalogue →