In lieu of a proper review, I just wanted to point out that I have never previously considered myself a cook at all. This book makes me want to cook. Why? Well that's obviously because the dishes are so amazingly delicious. I lived in Israel for some seven years during the 1990s and have never really come to terms with the fact that where I live now I can't easily get hold of burekas, or a plate of winter warming phool (fava beans), or a satisfying bowl of fresh hummus scooped up with a hunk of tasty challah. So I realised that I'd have to make it myself, and after seeing Ottolenghi's recent TV series in the UK on Mediterranean food I realised that this book might be a good place to start. So far I've made felafel, tehini sauce, harissa paste, tehini (halva) cookies, and a supremely satisfying pearl barley risotto with a caraway marinated feta topping. ALL of them have been delicious - even if I say so myself - with the possible exception of the cookies being too sweet for my taste (easily remedied next time!). The instructions are clear, the photography is stunningly colourful and beautiful, and the more in-depth explorative passages on the cultural histories or significances of various foods are both fascinating and really well written. All in all an excellent cookbook I will return to again and again.