News, Notes, Events


Fire Islands Book Tour

Talk Radio - 29th May, 1pm

Topping Books, Bath - 29th May, 7.30pm

Kelly & Walsh, Hong Kong - 20th June, 1pm

Chorleywood Bookshop - 24th June 2019, 7pm

Stanfords, London - 10th July, 7pm

Middlesex Food Festival - 4th August

Edinburgh Book Festival - 24th August, 3.45pm

Waterstones Chiswick, London - 11th September 

Cookbookbake, Hove - 12th October

Google Kitchen, London - 28th November

Omnivore Books, San Fransisco - 15th February 2020

Borough cookbook club

Borough Market Cookbook Club

November 2019: Samarkand is the title for The Borough Market Cookbook Club this November. See more here.

London Fashion Week

September 2019: WAIT! Yes that is my book, Fire Islands, strutting down the catwalk at London Fashion Week. Officially the hottest accessory of the season. 🔥🔥🔥 Part of the amazing Rohmir SS20 show at Fashion Scout - what an honour, I am speechless.

Fire Islands Eleanor Ford

Edinburgh Book Festival

Edinburgh Book Festival

August 2019: Thank you for having me Edinburgh! And to such a delightful crowd for coming to hear me speak in the beautiful Spiegeltent.

Working with Artist Michael Rakowitz

June 2019: I am a proud contributor to Michael Rakowitz’s new book that fuses contemporary art and food to celebrate the ancient ingredient of date syrup and its symbolism in Iraqi culture. The visionary artist has curated this cookbook to accompany his sculpture on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, a winged bull made from date syrup cans. I am one of 40 chefs who have given recipes, others including Yotam Ottolenghi, Claudia Roden, Prue Leith, Georgio Locatelli, Thomasina Miers and Alice Waters.



Fire Islands comes to Hong Kong Island

June 2019: I was delighted to take my new book to my once home city of Hong Kong. The beautiful Kelly & Co bookshop in Pacific Place hosted a book signing - just look at their splendid window display - and I was interviewed by the SCMP. We spoke about how living in Asia, both in Indonesia and Hong Kong, has influenced my understanding of food and cooking. My time working as a restaurant editor in HK was an Asian food awakening for me as there is surely no better city to try regional food from across the continent.


May 2019: I would move to Bath for a bookshop as lovely as Topping & Co. There could have been no nicer or more welcoming place to start my Fire Islands book tour. We cooked and ate three recipes, Sweet Ginger Chicken, Sour Spice Dipping Sauce and Spring Vegetable Urap with local asparagus.

Toppings Bath


Fire Islands Out Now!

May 2019: The UK and Australian editions of Fire Islands are out now. US and German editions follow later this year.

Where to Eat in Jakarta

April 2019: From the waung that has been turning out exceptional asinan and gado gado salads since 1960 to the coffee shop which pairs technicolour cakes with the world’s best brew, read my guide to Jakarta eats in TRAVELLER.

Jakarta eats


Russian Samarkand

April 2019: The Russian version of Samarkand is now out, with its own glittery version of its ikat cover.

Academy of Chocolate

March 2019: As a judge at the Academy of Chocolate awards, I had the enviable task of tasting and deliberating produce from the world’s finest chocolatiers. Pictured here a cocoa pod, fresh from Peru, judging notes and tasting plates in the background. My favourite discovery was the pairing of dark chocolate with wild forest pepper from Vietnam. This exotic spice lends gingery warmth and lemongrassy citrus. Compelling.

Cocoa pod


London Book Fair

March 2019: Indonesia was the market focus for this year’s London Book Fair. The pavilion at Olympia was a splendid showcase of Indonesian literature, art, food, fabric and fashions and a celebration party at the Design Museum hosted a magical, mystical party with haunting Sumatran vocals . A fringe programme sees Indonesian cultural events across the UK this spring from puppet theatre to poetry recital. I am enjoying the attention on the vibrant cuisine.

Recipe Videos

February 2019: We have been shooting some recipe videos from Fire Islands. Soon I’ll be bringing you the ultimate nasi goreng, a very gingery chicken stir-fry that makes a great speedy meal, and luscious black rice pudding with salted coconut cream.


Fire Islands

Fire Islands Cover

February 2019: I am thrilled to reveal the stunning cover of my new book, Fire Islands. Based on my favourite traditional Indonesian pattern, mega mendung, Lucy at Studio Polka created the most superb design. Look forward to sharing more soon.

Book Photoshoot

October 2018: There is the most amazing design team working on my new book. Kristin Perers taking gorgeous, painterly photographs, Becks Wilkinson making food look like art, and Tabitha Hawkins weaving her styling magic. The whole house is filled with beautiful fabrics, fresh flower petals and the scent of lime leaves and lemongrass.

food props and petals


School of Artisan Food

October 2018: At my cooking workshop this month we explored food from along the silk road. Take yourself to Xi’an in the heart of China with my recipe for biang biang noodles.

Great Taste Awards

April 2018: I had the great honour and delight of been part of the judging panel for The Great Taste Awards. We have been blind tasting amazing products from pies and jams to sorbets and curry sauces. There were many highlights, but I am particularly pleased that these stand out sansho peppercorns from Vinegar Shed were awarded the rare accolade of three stars. If you haven’t tried sansho, you must. They provide an intriguing numbing of the tongue quality similar to Sichuan peppercorns, but paired with a fragrance and citrusy freshness.

sansho peppercorns


Silk Road Cooking

March 2018:  Join me for a day of discovery, exploring the exotic flavours found in the cities along the Silk Roads, the ancient trading routes connecting East and West. We will be making:

  • Hot and tingly oxtail with hand-torn noodles from Xian

  • Almond milk chicken with saffron and dates from Venice

  • Green-herbed plov with chickpeas from Samarkand

  • Spiced lamb Turkish flatbreads from Istanbul, with Aryan to drink

7 October - Book now at The School of Artisan Food

Hong Kong

February 2018:  It's one of the most exciting places on earth. When European capitals are shivering in the cold, Hong Kong is at its vibrant best celebrating Chinese New Year. Read my piece in delicious. magazine.

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Delicious Produce Awards

July 2017: A behind the scenes peek at the delicious. magazine Produce Awards where I chaired a table of expert judges. We feasted on the best of British artisan food from spelt sourdough to elderflower yoghurt ice cream. It turns out that rapeseed oil encourages robust debate amongst the foodie elite.

'Food and Travel' Award Winner!

June 2017: I am as happy as a clam that Samarkand won the 'Food and Travel' award at The Guild of Food Writers Awards 2017.



Dock Kitchen

May 2017:  There is a Central Asian takeover at Dock Kitchen on 6th June. I’m excited to share a banquet with you. Of course plov will star, alongside a tasting menu of:

Tomatoes, dill & purple basil, Koryo spicy carrots, Grated courgettes with pine nuts & poppy seeds, Spicy meat dolma, Tarragon flatbreads
Yoghurt, cucumber & rose petal soup
Beef shashlik with tahini & pistachio sauce, Georgian quail with walnut sauce, Green herbed plov with chickpeas, Sweet & sour braised carrots

Roasted peaches with marzipan & rose syrup, Pomegranate & vodka sorbet

Come, join us, feast!


GFW Award

May 2017: Samarkand has been short-listed for The Guild of Food Writers Food and Travel award.

Uighur Seven Spice

April 2017: Itamar Srulovich tells me he found my Uighur spice mix so compelling, he put it on the Honey & Smoke menu with barbecued lamb. You have to try this recipe, it brings a flavour combination like no other - warming, numbing, fragrant:

2 tbsp cumin seeds, 1.5 tbsp black peppercorns, 1.5 tsp Sichuan pepper, 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon, seeds of 3 green cardamom, 2 cloves, 2 star anise. Roast the spices separately in a dry pan until fragrant. Grind together in a spice grinder or with a pestle and mortar.


March 2017: Piglet 2017 has been an amazing experience! It is THE cookbook award to my mind. The coolest, the harshest, the best. Today Samarkand trotted out of the tournament in the semi-finals in a review by Marlon James. That man knows awards, he won the Booker after all, and now he knows Central Asian food too! He said of my recipe for spicy meatballs with adjika “You will wonder, as I did, why everybody isn’t sprinkling every single meal with adjika, a spicy pepper paste from Abkhazia.” Having declared Samarkand a “wonderful book”, Caroline and I can be happy with that.

Read the battles:


Honey & Co

February 2017: There was a Samarkand supper club at Honey & Co. Itamar Srulovich made gorgeous plov studded with quince, barberries and pomegranate seeds. Caroline Eden and I reminisced on our travels. Patricia Niven took photographs. Yotam Ottolenghi saved the day with missing Sichuan pepper. Everyone feasting on my take on Central Asian food. What a happy evening.

Piglet 2017

February 2017: Honoured to stand in this crowd! Samarkand joins a joyfully diverse collection of books chosen by Food52 as ‘2016’s most impressive cookbooks’. The books will face off in a tournament of review battles judged by food luminaries. Let the battle commence!

Instagram To Watch

February 2017: How delightful to be picked as an Instagram account to follow by food editor Sarah Akhurst. She says “Amazing food writer, beautiful Instagram account showing her recipes, travels and family.” (You can follow me here)

Travel Writers Festival

February 2017: On Sunday 5 February I will be speaking at The Stanfords Travel Writers Festival with Elisabeth Luard, Caroline Eden and John Wright. We will be discussing culinary adventures.

My Top Ten Cookbooks

January 2017: Desert island cookbooks surely much harder choice than desert island discs? 1000 Cookbooks asked me for my top 10. See my picks.

Guardian Food Book of the Year

December 2016:  Felicity Cloake has picked our book as one of the Guardian food books of 2016. What a way to end the year!

Foreign Editions

November 2016: Samarkand has launched in The Netherlands with a brand new cover. Watch out for the German and Russian editions coming soon.

Abergavenny Food Festival

August 2016: The 2016 Abergavenny Food Festival took place in glorious sunshine. I joined a lineup of passionate ranters for Rude Health (don’t subject your babies to bland mush, excite their taste buds from a young age!). I also gave a cooking demonstration where we took on pilaf cooked under a Shah’s crown.

Eleanor Ford writer

In My Kitchen

July 2016: I welcomed Vice writer Johanna Derry to my kitchen in London where we talked about the food culture of Central Asia and ate a whole platter of plov between two.

Splendid Table Podcast

June 2016: The city of Samarkand is on the storied Silk Road, but off the beaten path for many tourists. We make the case for the ancient Uzbek city's food and culture on the Splendid Table podcast with Lynne Rossetto Kasper. Listen now.

Eleanor Ford Samarkand

Where to Eat in Uzbekistan

June 2016: I’ve picked eight great places to eat and drink in Uzbekistan for Olive magazine. Get ready for crisp pastry triangles filled with lamb and fresh doughnuts with homemade apricot compote.

Evening Standard Interview

June 2016: Read my interview with Victoria Stewart here.

Dizzying Press for Samarkand

June 2016: The press coverage for our book has been overwhelming. Amongst others we have been highlighted and reviewed in The Telegraph, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, The Guardian, Waitrose Weekend, Food52, Delicious, Olive, The Metro, The Week, Vegetarian Living, House & Garden.

Read some of the quotes here.

Book Launch at Daunt Books

June 2016: Co-authors, flushed with pride at our book launch party. Daunt Books is truly the ultimate of travel bookshops and a perfect setting for a book that is as much travelogue as cookbook.

Samarkand Eleanor Ford

Samarkand Published

June 2016: Years in the making, it’s been a thrilling journey with an amazing team. Samarkand is finally on sale! The first copies are in book shops now or find online.

Talks at Asia House and Stanfords

May 2016: Join me for talks at the Asia House Literature Festival and Stanfords in London next month.