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Mamushka: Recipes from Ukraine & beyond

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Mamushka came into the world — last year — when Cookbook Corner was dormant, and I have long since wanted to bring it to your attention. This book is an ode to all those women (and men) that I was raised by and grew up with, and the food they lovingly prepared. Mamushka is a celebration of the food and flavours of the "Wild East" - from the Black Sea to Baku and Armenia to Azerbaijan, with over 100 recipes for fresh, flavourful and unexpected dishes from across the region. I read some comments saying that the food was bland, having only tried two recipes, I cannot talk about the others but they were far from bland, especially the chicken as it contains spices, citrus and walnuts. It’s very easy to make, the marinade smells absolutely amazing — although I missed that the sliced onions should be added to the marinating meat, so added with the carrots — and the final addition of herbs brightens everything up.

The diversity of the recipes took me by surprise, and has awakened in me an interest in finding out more about the cuisines of Georgia, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia – and all the other Eastern European countries. Following the financial crisis of 2008, Olia decided to quit her job as a film business reporter to pursue her dream to cook for a living. Also, world famous pickles from Ukraine and its neighbour regions are well presented in this wonderful book. Flatten them with the palm of your hand, then rub with the grated garlic and season generously all over with salt and the cayenne pepper.

I needed at least 2 (more if Ukraine had gotten through to the knockout stage), and for the second evening, had to resort to Ukrainian Nemiroff Birch Vodka (our rules state that only food and alcohol of the respective countries playing may be consumed). We don’t share your credit card details with third-party sellers, and we don’t sell your information to others.

I did not find they were necessary and the soup was delicious, satisfying and quite filling without them. She kicked off her culinary career working at London's Union Market before landing her dream job as a chef-departie for Ottolenghi's. Don’t use any oil, and don’t preheat the casserole – this will ensure that the fat is rendered slowly.It is a beautiful book to begin with; there is at least one picture to accompany each recipe plus pictures of Olia Hercules and her family in Ukraine. My grandmother used to make a version without tomatoes and using whole sauerkraut leaves and pork belly. Next time I'd try ground blue fenugreek instead of fenugreek seeds, as I understand it would be quite a different flavor. Most recipes I tried, I will add to my repertoire, but my favourites were the “Cold Beetroot Soup”, the “Armenian Soup with Lamb and Prune Meatballs”, the “Grilled Vegetable Caviar”, the Georgian Kidney Bean Salad”, “Chilli and Garlic Cucumber”, and the “Azerbaijani Rice and Fruity Lamb”. Mix the cinnamon with the apples, then tip the apples into the prepared cake tin and pour the cake batter evenly over the apples.

I always use butter and a teaspoon of vanilla extract; I've also made them with ricotta when out of cottage cheese, and it works beautifully. I planned to make this then couldn’t get ribs so I used thick slices of lamb neck and cooked on low for four hours. Knead the dough until it becomes firm and elastic without sticking, then cover with clingfilm and let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. In fact I was impressed with the depth of flavor and the amount of collagen in the broth that was evident when I took the leftover broth out of the refrigerator for lunch the next day. Mix the minced meats, rice, the barberries, if using, some salt and pepper and the remaining diced onion in a bowl.In any case, Hercules produces a tasty honey cake with sour cream - that doesn't require days of refrigeration for the layers to soften. I used a dill pickle in tiny dice and mixed that with the red onion, pepper, and salt to mellow the onion. However, for people of my age (late 50s), it was too easy to think of all countries behind the Iron Curtain as some sort of amorphous block, all slurping on Borscht and drinking vodka.

She kicked off her culinary career working at Fulham's Union Market with Aaron Craze before landing her dream job as chef-de-partie at Ottolenghi's. I bumped up the vinegar and replaced sherry vinegar with champagne, but otherwise stayed true to recipe. Beat the eggs and caster sugar together in a bowl with an electric whisk for at least 5 minutes until very thick, pale and foamy. Tonight, I am having the second helping of the beautiful “Cold Beetroot Soup” – an amazing rich ruby red colour, which would be perfect to serve to visiting Vegans (or anyone else!I would recommend this book to anyone who likes cooking (or just reading about) good and interesting food. Ukraine itself is vast, with quite different climates in the north, south east and west – so rationally you would expect different regional cuisines. From the Moldovan giant cheese twist and Ukrainian buns with potatoes and shallots to Garlicky Georgian poussins with spicy plum chutney and Armenian pickled wet garlic; to Napoleon cake, Wasp nest buns and Apricot and sour cherry pie. I really shouldn’t have been surprised, as the Soviet Union was much bigger than Western Europe, and France (or Italy) alone have so many traditional foods specific to tiny regions. That’s not the case- it all comes together perfectly, the kidney beans are essential adding a textural aspect.

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