Most helpful positive review
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Excellent instructions and great photography
on 10 May 2010
This is a terrific book. I have had a copy for a long time and have just bought a copy for a friend as a present.
The book opens with a look at the culture of cooking in Greece and the Islands. It then has an extremely useful section, The Greek Kitchen, which goes through all the main ingredients that you are likely to tackle. This is particularly useful when you may be unfamiliar with a particular ingredient.
Pages 65 to 251 are the recipes. The recipes are divided into sections: Mezedes and Appetizers, Soups, Fish and Shellfish, Poultry and Game, Meat Dishes, Vegetarian Meals, Side Dishes and Salads, Desserts Tarts and Cakes, and Sweets, Pastries, Cookies and Breads.
Following the title of the recipe, in English except where a dish is very specific to Greece (like Kleftiko), there is a short comment about the recipe, sometimes with serving instructions or recommended ingredients. Next the servings are shown (usually 4-6 for a main course) and this is followed by a list of ingredients. Numbered instructions are shown beneath. At the bottom of the recipe are the vital statistics: energy, protein, carbohydrate, Fat, Cholesterol, calcium, Fibre and Sodium.
The instructions are very clear and easy to follow. If you follow them precisely you shouldn't go wrong.
Each recipe is accompanied by a colour photograph of the finished product and many are also illustrated with photographs showing various stages during the making of the recipe. The photographs are of enormous use to me as I very much like to see what it is that I am working towards.
Recipes range from dishes familiar from Greek restaurant menus like Kleftiko, Avgolemono soup, stuffed vine leaves, Greek salad, and Halloumi to more unusual items like cuttlefish with potatoes, octopus and pasta bake, roast lamb with figs and baked chicken with okra. There are also some good vegetarian dishes like cheese and leek pie and Spinach filo pie, a range of side dishes and side salads and some really good breads. I haven't tried any of the desserts (too sweet by far for me) but they look wonderful, and include baklava, nectarines baked with nuts and cheese and honey tart.
Most of the ingredients are easy to source. On occasion you may need to find substitutes, for example using tinned artichokes for fresh - and you may find octopus (which I love) difficult to find. There are some more examples of this sort but remarkably few.
I have worked my way through more than half of the recipes in this book and I have yet to have one fail. The flavours always work well together and they cooking times are spot on.
A very enjoyable book, both to browse through and use.