19 February 2013

Bookshelf: Silvena Rowe’s Orient Express Spiced Pork & Cumin Sausages with Fennel & Preserved Lemon Salad

On the hunt for something a little exotic I often turn to my jar of preserved lemons & Silvena Rowe.  I first came across Silvena when browsing around the cookbooks on Amazon. A quick glimpse of this book & I was drawn right in.  Who could fail to be drawn to book called Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume?  It was all too exotic for words. It somehow sneaked on to the order & in to my  kitchen without a second glance.

It is a modern twist on the exotic flavours of the Eastern Mediterranean.  Honey, cinnamon, saffron, sumac, pomegranate, hibiscus, rose & orange blossom waters all make an appearance here & there in some mouth watering recipes alongside exquisite photography. So when I just happened to be browsing at Cook the Books & saw Silvena Rowe’s Orient Express, again I couldn’t resist temptation. As Oscar always said “I can resist everything but temptation.”

And again I fell in love, another treasure trove of recipes, with a hint of the exotic to liven things up & transport you for just a little while to another world.  This time round it is more small plates for sharing,  so it is perfect for a little Summer entertaining & a crowd to feed.

And then there are my preserved lemons. I always have a jar of these on hand made fro the last of the season’s lemons.  The bright zesty lemon becomes fragrant & perfume like.  They’ll lift a salad, couscous or tagine from run of the mill to a little exotic in a flash & I think a little of the exotic every now & then can only be a good thing.

On a first read through it was these pork & cumin sausages that caught my eye, or maybe it was the salad on the side.  Fennel with preserved lemons, olives & fresh coriander. Light, crunchy & just popping with flavour; fresh, fragrant, briny & a burst of aromatic coriander.  Yes please!

Spiced Pork & Cumin Sausages with Fennel & Preserved Lemon Salad , from Silvena Rowe's Orient Express


For the sausage
500g ground pork
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried mint
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp paprika
100ml water
Salt & pepper

For the salad
2 small fennel bulbs, sliced paper thin
1 preserved lemon, pulp removed, rind finely sliced
10 green olives, chopped
Small bunch coriander, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
Salt & pepper

To serve
3-4 tbsp thick yoghurt
A few preserved green chillies
Flatbread or pita*

*If you are in Auckland for lovely thin, soft pita that are far superior to any at the supermarket head to La Cigale, the French Markets held every Saturday & Sunday morning.


To make the sausages  place all the pork, garlic, cumin, nutmeg, coriander, mint, oregano, chilli flakes & a little of the water in a medium sized bowl.  Mix it all together with your hand until it is moist but not too sticky.  Season with a little salt & pepper & shape in to 16 small sausages.  Place a medium sized frying pan with a little olive oil or griddle over a high heat & grill the sausages for 3-5 minutes each side until golden & cooked through.

For the salad mix together the fennel, preserved lemon, olives and coriander in a small bowl.  Season to taste & drizzle with the olive oil & lemon juice.

To serve arrange the sausages, flatbread or pita salad & chillies & let everyone help themselves.

A delicious little supper on a Summer evening. The sausages are savoury & juicy against the slightly bitter, bold & tangy salad all wrapped up in a little yoghurt, pita & if you like a little heat the pickled chillies.



  1. I've had this on my Amazon list for ages but never bought it, I think if you like it I will too!

    1. You'll love it! It's all a little exotic so right up your street!!

  2. That all looks so gorgeous. I'm a big fan of preserved lemons myself and just had some in a dip with dinner tonight. Good to hear about the pita at La Cigale - I'll look out for them next time.

    1. Thanks Lesley, preserved lemons in a dip sounds lovely :)

  3. Stunning, Mairi! I can see why you couldn't resist temptation. I am preserving some lemons now, and love the thought of using one in a salad with fennel and olives.

    1. Thanks Hannah, they liven up just about anything, especially wonderful in the depths of winter!!


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