top of page

A new cookery book written by a nutritionist from Manchester and her 92-year-old mother provides a unique insight into the culinary heritage of the Middle East.

‘MIddle Eastern Delicacies’ written by Nelly Sultan and her daughter Nina Mellman invites the

reader into the world of Middle Eastern cooking. Nina Mellman, who is a qualified nutritionist,

has worked together with her mother, Nelly Sultan (92) living in Paris, to present a highly

accessible book of recipes using new and unique methods that retain the authentic flavours of the

Middle East. This timely and unique publication invites the reader into the world of Middle

Eastern cooking.

Through their eyes it is the Middle East of old brought to life. Nelly and Nina have brought back

the memories of a bygone era with such sayings as :

"My father and grandfather who were apothecaries and herbalists in Aleppo in Syria had already

adopted a healthy diet and lifestyle. All our life we were influenced by their advice."

The past is were they have found their inspiration for their ancestral recipes " For many

generations we have been cooking these traditional classic dishes of the Middle East and every

family had their own special version".

This book takes you into the exotic world of the Middle East and the Ottoman Empire with

traditional recipes brought up to date with healthy as well as vegetarian versions. They are

presented lower in fats and sugars but high in flavours. They have followed their saying of "A

good light and healthy diet should be without too much animal fat and sugar. Fat and sugar sap

the energy required for digestion and elimination".


This book caters for all tastes.

It is a true "bible" of the traditional Middle Eastern cuisine with health in mind.

All the 110 handpicked recipes come from family traditions handed down over many generations.

Using her skill and knowledge of nutrition, Nina has taken a truly innovative approach, carefully

lightening and simplifying many recipes following the principles of today’s modern healthy diet

without compromising familiar flavours and aromas.

Vegetarians in particular will welcome this book. For all the traditional meat-filled specialities, Nelly and Nina have created a vegetarian alternative. These are rich in vegetable proteins and of directly comparable taste. At last, meateaters and vegetarians alike will be able to savour the delights of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine without sacrificing flavour.


Who is this book for?

‘Anyone with an interest in healthy Middle Eastern and Mediterranean

food!’ explains Nina. ‘These are recipes we cook and eat regularly. We have been careful to ensure

they are easy to assemble at home using ingredients found in most stores and supermarkets. Every recipe has been made as simple as possible while following the traditions of good nutrition. I

really want to spread my family’s passion for these wonderfully flavoursome and easy-to-make

choice of Eastern foods that anyone can enjoy.’


Among the many mouth-watering temptations are Labna and Raisin Rolls; Ham’d with

Aubergines (Aubergine & Lemon Soup); the ever-popular kibbeh, a traditional cylinder-shaped

pastry filled with meat, adapted for vegetarians; Sambussek, (filo pastry filled with meat, pine nuts

and pomegranates, also adapted for vegetarians), Koftas of bakala fish (cod fish rissoles); Belila

(wheatberry milk pudding); and Ghorayeba (Middle Eastern shortbread). For anyone who is

lactose intolerant, Nina recommends using an innovative version of labna - the yoghurt curd

cheese - made with live soya yoghurt instead of dairy yoghurt.

The book is carefully divided into easy-to-follow sections, opening with a summary of the main principles followed and particular advice (such as ‘Fried garlic is often indigestible. It should be added raw in the cooking process in order to retain its beneficial properties). Details all the various spices and condiments most commonly used in the Middle

East complete the opening section.


The major part of the book is divided into the familiar sections of cooking: Hors d’Oeuvres - Mezzes; Breads; Soups;

Main Courses; The Pulses; and The Desserts. There is advice on choosing vegetables, herbs and fruits and finally a very

useful Index.

Between each section, Nina offers a short anecdote to highlight the importance of food in her life and how her experiences have shaped the way she chooses and prepares meals today.

The complete story of how Nina and her mother have devoted years of their time to producing


Hardcover: 268 pages. Publisher: Nelly Sultan; 1st edition (2015) Language: English (also

available in French)



Nina Mellman was born in Cairo and raised in Paris where she grew up enjoying a wide variety of

Egyptian foods, many of Lebanese and Syrian origin. She moved to England some fifty years ago,

marrying her husband Martin.

During her career, Nina worked for many years in the food industry producing and devising

Middle Eastern and ethnic foods for some of the major supermarkets in the UK. She is a qualified

nutritionist from the School of Natural Health: S.N.H. Dip (Nutrition).

Today, Nina devises recipes with nutrition in mind. She says: ‘A good light and healthy diet

should not contain too much sugar. Fat and sugar sap the energy required for digestion and

elimination. They are the causes of many ailments. Just as Hippocrates used to say, food should be

our first medicine.’


    bottom of page