Friday, 21 August 2015

Mamushka by Olia Hercules Book Review

Let me introduce you to the culinary delights of the "Wild East". If you are not sure what the Wild East, it's been a phase coined on social media sites when talking about and referring to Olia Hercules debut cookery book focusing on recipes from the Ukraine and beyond. I've never had any dishes or own a book on the Eastern Europe, so had no idea to expect. Tell a lie, I had some idea, a bit stereotypical such as potatoes and cabbage and although these ingredients do feature, there is much more to this book than this. I also love this book because whilst the cookbook market has become awashed with healthy eating and lifestyle cookbooks, which is fabulous, but give me a book with carbohydrates, cake and fat, oh, I'm hungry thinking about it. The photographs are beautiful and feature Olia's family which adds to the charm of this book. 
There are many recipes which I want to try, namely the Prague Cake, Ice-Cream Cake and the Pork Ribs and Dumplings. Olia writes beautifully about the history of her Ukraine and her family's diverse and rich cultural heritage. The chapters have Ukrainian writing next to it which gives this book a fabulous unique feel to it. If you have never sampled cuisine from this part of the world, you are missing out, I am inspired with the diverse range of recipes and I am sure this is a cookery book which I will continue to use over and over again. Without a date, this is one of the best cookbooks published this year, alongside Rosie Birkett's A Lot on Her Plate which will be reviewed on the blog shortly. 

The chapters include:
  • Introduction
  • Broths and Soups, recipes to try include:Ukrainian Beetroot Broth and Gherkin, Beef and Barley Broth.
  • Breads and Pastries, so many stand out recipes including Ukrainian Garlic Bread, Greek Breads with Spring Onion, Moldovan Bread with cheese and sorrel and Ukrainian Stuffed Buns.
  • Vegetables and Salads, recipes to try include; Beetroot and Prune Salad, Armenian Beans with a tomato salad and Potatoes with Pork and Shallots. 
  • Dumplings and Noodles, again a beautiful chapter with a number of dines including: Pork Ribs and Dumplings, Soviet Goose Noodles, Central Asian Chicken and Pasta and Moldovan Pasta.
  • Meat and Fish, recipes to try include: Mutton in Coriander, Azerbaijani Chicken with Prunes and Walnuts, BBQ Catfish and Cured Mackerel.
  • Fermented Pickles and Preserves: stand out recipes include Sour Aubergines and Lick Your Fingers Tomatoes.
  • Sweet Conserves: recipes include Plum, Rum and Raisin Conserve, Raspberry Conserve and Baked Quince.
  • Desserts: Recipes which I plan on making include: Wasp Nest Buns, Baked Ukrainian Cheesecake, Honey Cake and delicious looking Prague Cake.
  • Drinks: Thirst quenchers include: Summer Fruit Punch and Russian Fermented Rye Drink. 
Gerogian Garliky Poussins pre cook.

Georgian Garliky Poussins cooked. 

Georgian Garliky Poussins.

Chicken Liver, Buckwheat and Shallots.

Chicken Liver, Buckwheat & Crispy Shallots. 

The Recipe which I chose to share is for Chicken Liver, Buckwheat & Crispy Shallots, which was delicious. 

Serves 2 as a starter (although when doubled serves 2 as a main)

100g shallots, thinly sliced
50g plain flour
6 tablespoons sunflower oil
200g chicken livers

2 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
50g celery, finely diced

1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
2 sprigs of thyme, finely chopped
100g buckwheat, toasted
200ml vegetable or chicken stock
sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper

1) Dust the shallots slices in the flour. Heat 4 tbsp of the sunflower oil in a frying pan and shallow fry the shallots over a medium-low heat, stirring often, for 2 minutes or until they are crispy and light golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
2) Meanwhile, for the buckwheat, heat the olive oil in the pan, add the diced shallots, garlic, celery, carrot and thyme and sweat them over a medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until soft  and aromatic.
3) Add the buckwheat and stock, season with salt and pepper and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes or until the buckwheat absorbs all the stock
4) Heat the remaining sunflower in a frying pan, add the chicken livers and saute for 5-8 minutes or until they are well caramelised and cook through. Serve with the crispy shallots and buckwheat.

Disclaimer: I received a copy from The Gannet magazine, however all of my views are my own. 

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