Book Review: Berber and Q
Back in February 2018 I ordered the Berber and Q Cookbook by Josh Katz. I hadn’t eaten at the restaurant at that point but I was following Berber and Q on Twitter and Instagram so had seen the incredible looking food (including the famous Cauliflower Shawarma!) and was keen to recreate some of the dishes at home.
The book starts off with an introduction, background to Berber and Q and a summary of their philosophy which is followed by some advice on how to best use the book and a list of star ingredients.
The ingredients section was particularly interesting to me as some of my favourite cooks are when I have to source ingredients I haven’t used before. This book will have you buying Date syrup, pomegranate molasses, Biber salcasi and Tahini in bulk (which isn’t a bad thing!).
The next 12 pages have helpful advice around BBQ techniques, fire management, fuel selection, sourcing & preparation of meat and a list of essential tools & equipment.
Book Chapters that follow are:
- Mezze (25 recipes)
- Meat (26 recipes)
- Fish and Shellfish (11 recipes)
- Vegetables and Sides (33 recipes)
- Lazy Sundays (9 recipes)
- Desserts (8 recipes)
- Larder (13 recipes)
- Pickles and Sauces (32 recipes)
- Cocktails (9 recipes)
Flicking through the book for the first time I was blown away by all the fantastic looking food photos. As soon as I got to the end of the book I went back to the start and began adding recipes to my list that I wanted to cook. It quickly became clear that I had most of the book on my list!
There is a section right at the back of the book that discusses travel which really struck a chord with me: “I’m yet to meet a food lover who isn’t also obsessed with travel” – I have to agree with this as a big fan of food and travel, when discussing trips abroad the tales of places we visited are also usually interspersed with tales of fabulous food journies and discoveries from those travels. Most people return from a holiday wanting to recreate dishes they loved on that last trip and the description in the book of food eaten in Marrakech took me back to our trip there. The book itself is obviously heavily influenced from Josh’s travels around the world and the food eaten on those travels.
I particularly enjoyed looking through some of the ingredient lists and seeing items I hadn’t heard of before then searching the internet to try and source them!
The most important part I guess! What I love most about this book is that at any time when I am a bit bored of cooking and looking for inspiration and/or motivation I can open this book and very quickly have a list of recipes I want to cook and am actually looking forward to cooking.
Each dish not only tastes fantastic with a lot of flavour profiles that were new to me but they also look incredible as they are very colourful with multiple components finishing off each dish.
I genuinely haven’t eaten a bad dish from this book and at the same time I have eaten some of my most favourite dishes from this book. It’s impossible to choose a favourite as there as so many good dishes in here and any time you cook for family and/or friends they always go down well starting with a “wow” when you present the dishes of awesome looking food!
There is a good mixture of big/small dishes and a wide variety of meat, fish and veg dishes but there is also a good range in the difficulty of the recipes and the complexity of the preparation required. Some of the dishes have many component parts that require a fair amount of preparation which I normally do the night before a cook to reduce the work required on the day. At the same time there are some dishes which are very quick to prepare and cook whilst still tasting fantastic.
I have learnt a lot from this book: Different cooking techniques, new ingredients, flavour profiles and combinations as well as presentation of dishes. There are still a lot of recipes still to cook in the book but hopefully there will be a 2nd book at some point!
Quite simply, this is my favourite book and the one I recommend to everyone looking to cook something new/different/interesting on their BBQ. No matter where you are on your BBQ journey, everyone can learn from this book, and enjoy the recipes.
I have cooked 30 recipes from the book (some more than once too!) so still have a lot to do but that’s the great thing I read it again, I find more recipes I want to cook. My copy of the book is pretty battered now and covered in various food stains but I think that’s the sign of a great cookbook as it shows it’s been well used!
If you don’t have this book already then I strongly recommend you buy it:
You can also buy it direct from the restaurant with the bonus of it being a signed copy!
I have since eaten at the restaurant a couple of times and met Josh both times. The restaurant is fantastic, such a great vibe, staff are all lovely plus the food and drink is awesome. After my first visit with Phil (@love2bbq) I was raving about it for weeks and looking forward to my next visit (which was also with Phil!).
Both times it was great to meet Josh who is such a nice guy and took time out to give us a tour of the kitchen the first time and had stayed behind at the restaurant the second time just to say hello and catch up with us.Once lockdown is over I am looking forward to going back to Berber and Q to enjoy the food & drink once again!
Dishes I have cooked from the Book:
In case you need any further persuasion have a look through the links to my blog posts below where I have cooked various dishes from the book:
A Berber and Q Feast with 4 dishes from the book!
- Harissa Hot Wings
- Berber and Q Hummus
- The famous Cauliflower Shawarma
- Minute Steak Yogurtlu
Three cooks in a week!
- Smoked Chicken Thighs
- Sweet Potato Lamb Hash
- Whole Chicken Musakhan
Pork Rib Roast with Corn Puree, Grilled Spring Onion and Rose Harissa Gravy:
Honeyed BBQ Pork Belly:
Skillet Roasted Mechoui Chicken:
A double hitter:
- Saffron and Turmeric Chicken Thighs:
- Pulled Shawarma Spiced Lamb with Toum (garlic sauce), Tahina Sauce, House Pickles, Sumac Onions and Yemenite Dynamite (S’chug)
Chicken Pistachio and Dill Kofte:
Lamb Cis Kebabs:
Cumin Lamb Chops:
Minute Steak Yoghurtlu:
Blackened Aubergine Baba:
Harissa Hot Wings:
Buttermilk Chicken Shish Kebab:
Goat Merguez Patty Melt:
Butterflied leg of hogget with green charmoula dressing, charred aubergine, Turkish Shepherds salad
Smoked Chicken Thighs:
Grilled Red Mullet:
Skewered Monkfish Kebabs:
That’s it for this Book Review, I have been meaning to write this up for ages. Hopefully the next one doesn’t take me quite as long to complete!
This book and others I recommend can be seen in my Amazon Store:
KUNGFUBBQ:UK BBQ Blog and Ooni Blog documenting recipe cooks from various cookbooks, my own recipes, reviews of BBQ’s and Accessories plus handy hints and tips. UK BBQ Blogs