Samarkand, Uzbekistan is an ancient city that truly warrants the ‘melting pot’ tag. Once an important trading centre on the Silk Road, it’s now home to at least seven ethnic groups: Tajiks, Russians, Turks, Jews, Koreans, Caucasians and, obviously, Uzbeks, and it consequently has a really vibrant and diverse food heritage. All of the above inspired travel author Caroline Eden and cookery writer Eleanor Ford to come together to write Samarkand: Recipes and Stories from Central Asia and the Caucasus.
In Kazakhstan, market stalls overflow with apples, testament to the region’s love of the fruit. “Stuffed and baked apples are common in both sweet and savoury dishes in Central Asia,” says Ford. “Here, I’ve filled them with the flavours from another favourite sweet that evolved in the region – baklava."