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on 5 January 2005
This book is exquisite to look at. Lovely cover, beautiful photography, typesetting, page-layout with luxuriously thick pages - it is a visual feast. BUT I thought it was going to be much more of a narrative journey through a potentially very interesting family, when in fact it is, when all is said and done, just a recipe book. And the trouble with that is that the desire for Scandinavian recipes for different ways of cooking herring is really rather limited. There are others, of course, but I found them equally undesirable.
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on 2 November 2013
Tessa Kiros, daughter of a Finnish mother and a Greek Cypriot father, recounts the various flavors of her childhood and adult life (Finland, Greece, South Africa, Italy and beyond). Stories are interwoven into the simple yet delicious recipes and sprinkled with vintage family photographs and luminous photos that highlight the character of the faces and places that make these recipes memorable.

Falling Cloudberries opens with a pencil sketch of Tessa's family tree, complete with a Russian great-great-grandmother, her mother's Finnish relatives, and Tessa's Italian husband. The first chapter is dedicated to Finnish comfort foods such as marinated herrings, smoked salmon, Finnish meatballs with lingonberry jam, and cinnamon and cardamom buns. From Greece we have dolmades, baklava, tzatziki, avgolemono, octopus, and numerous lamb and seafood dishes. Cyprus is the most Middle Eastern of the cuisines, featuring airani (a chilled yogurt drink), grilled haloumi, hummus, lachmajou, tabouli, and koupes.

The chapter on South Africa is a mix of culinary influences that feels right at home in the United States: garlic bread, chicken wings with blue cheese dressing, barbecue, and carrot cake. Italy offers a divine champagne risotto, several pastas, and numerous elegant salads. The final chapter, A Suitcase of Recipes, features influences from farther abroad, including Thailand, Peru, and Morocco.

Tessa's style, both in the memoirs and the recipes themselves, is simple yet elegant. The ingredients and steps are clearly laid out, making Falling Cloudberries approachable even for beginning cooks. Most of the Greek and Italian ingredients should be fairly easy to find in any large supermarket (if you're lucky enough to have a Middle Eastern market in your city, you should be able to find rose water, haloumi and semolina (NOT semolina flour, but sameed, the cracked wheat used in basboosah).

There's a beautiful amount of variety in the endless possibility of mix-and-match dinners borrowing from different regions, or you could plan a theme party (a Finnish dinner, or a Greek one). Vegetarians will find numerous tasty recipes for cold salads (such as the chickpea and feta salad), baked dishes, as well as numerous potato preparations (the stuffed vegetables call for ground meat, but you could substitute rice). I loved the light, elegant desserts in particular, from flaky filo recipes for baklava and bougatsa to elegant shortcakes, chocolate truffle cake and creme caramel. This is a beautiful cookbook with a wealth of recipes that will appeal to cooks of all levels.
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on 9 August 2006
This delightful tome takes the reader on a worldwide journey, experiencing the cuisine of the author's best-loved places.

'Finland still remains a dream; a faraway land where Father Christmas lives and glides here and there with his sleigh, ducking through falling cloudberries and past my mother ice-skating to school.....'

'Falling Cloudberries, A World of Family Recipes' is Tessa's second book, a personal collection of family recipes from around the world.

The exquisite cover opens up to reveal a recipe mix of unusual, exotic tastes and familiar, family favourites.
A family tree introduces Tessa's family members and the book is further enhanced by old family photos. This gives the recipes a sense of place and history as they have been handed down through the generations.

399 thick, high quality matt pages, split over main chapters:

1. Falling Cloudberries (Finland) page 14
2. Oregano, Oranges & Olive Groves (Greece) page 70
3. Cinnamon & Roses (Cyprus) page 144
4. Monkeys' Weddings (South Africa) page 218
5. Washing Lines & Wishing Wells (Italy) page 276
6. Suitcase of Recipes (World) pages 334-385

sandwiched between an introduction entitled 'Food from many Kitchens' and a concise index, concluding with a charming acknowledgment page, entitled 'from Tessa'.
A thin blue satin ribbon keeps your page when you have to put this book down, a book that is arguably 'just a recipe book' but almost demands to be read like a novel, at any time in any place!

The first glimpse of Tessa's unique writing style is captured in her introduction:

'These are the recipes I grew up with; the recipes that have woven their way through the neighbourhoods of my mind, past indifference and into love. Those that have stayed while others might have fluttered away with a gentle spring breeze. These are the ones I choose to share; the ones that special people have taught me and that I have recorded, sometimes over a pot of coffee at my own kitchen table, and sometimes struggling to understand through the barriers of a language on a journey somewhere....
I have always kept my favourite recipes in journals and I hope you will find a place for them among your own tablecloths. Here are the recipes that I love'

and is present throughout at the head of each chapter and within each recipe.

Recipes include:

Fresh Salmon, Dill and Potato Soup
Beef Casserole with Carrots, Onions and Cream
Pork Schnitzels with Sautéed Potatoes
Cranberry Sorbet
Salt Baked Fish with Lemon and Parsley Salad
Lemon & Oregano Chicken
Stuffed Egg-Plants
Spinach Pilaf
Baklava with Nuts & Dried Apricots
Filo Millefeuille with Oranges
Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing
Barbecued Spare Ribs
Milk Tart
Lemon Crème Brulée
Champagne Risotto
Veal Loin with Mustard, Pancetta & Cabbage
Coffee Granita with Whipped Cream
Couscous Salad
Crème Caramel

'I always long for those lunches that begin anywhere between noon and 5 pm and end only when the owner decides it's time to drag the tables off the beach.................On our way back we are twice blessed - with the haphazard washing lines of octopus silhouettes and a Greek sunset.'
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on 4 January 2005
This definitely joins the ranks of those I would want on a desert island. With such a heritage, Tessa Kiros makes the reader feel part of her extended family - we are there eating the cooked-for-hours Greek lamb, driving with her along the country roads of Italy, collecting berries in the summer in Finland. Buy it, it will become part of you. I love it.
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on 27 July 2017
I have had high hopes for this and sadly, I was very disappointed. South African dishes were what I was after, which are not something much has been written about. What this book features are dishes that are not specific to South Africa: Buffalo Chicken Wings, Southern Fried Chicken, Candied Sweet Potatoes, Barbecued Spareribs, Berry Cheesecake.... does this sound American to you? It sure does to me! Lemon Curd Tarts? English. Garlic Bread? Who does not make it? The list goes on and on.... Where are the Bobotie, Chakalaka, the Bredies, the Mealie Pap and Boerewors?

Otherwise, this is another aesthetically pleasing and good quality release. Tessa's recipes work, Manos' photography is state-of-the-art, the layout is artsy -- just what I've come to expect from a Tessa Kiros volume (I own Piri Piri Starfish, Food from Many Greek Kitchens, Venezia, and Provence to Pondicherry).

1 star for the photography, 1 star for the layout, 1 star for the reliability of the recipes -- that's it for me. I am sure other reviewers have different priorities and motivations for buying. Tessa usually nails it; this one is just not for me.
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on 28 October 2017
I'm always on a lookout for inspiration for food, which also includes different takes on dishes I know well. There were quite a few recipes that fall within the former category in this book and I am sorry to say they were all inferior in taste if you've ever tried such dishes cooked for you or served. For all purposes, you'd be better off looking up recipes on the internet. I like the reminiscences woven throughout the book, a charming idea, but all in all I could not recommend the book to anyone on the basis that 4 out of 5 recipes failed to excite anyone.
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on 9 October 2012
The recipes brought together in this book are beautiful and well written. One other reviewer has said that there is nothing new in this book; whilst that may be true for some, nonetheless the recipes are presented in such a way that they are easy to follow and really work. As an added bonus the food photography is stunning. I would have loved to give 4-5 stars.
However, I have a huge issue with the binding for this book; it is very thick and bound so tightly that it is almost impossible to use in the kitchen. I've even tried standing on a double page to make it lie flat and even that hasn't worked very well. I can't even get a spread to lie flat long enough to squeeze it into my photocopier. As a result I rarely use this book, which is a terrible shame. Note to publisher: cookbooks are not just for the coffee table they are for life in the kitchen.
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on 13 August 2008
I got this book as a christmas present from my sister and brother in law and loved it immediately. It still is one of the most beautiful cookery books I own and I've got about 300 - 400, roughly estimated. But it is not only extremely beautiful, it's also interesting to read (and no, it's not supposed to be a memoir, it says " a world of family recipes" on the front, so it will obviously be mainly about cookery) and the recipes are just great. I'm the queen of cheesecakes at work now, just because of Tessa's marvellous "Ricotta Tart with a Chocolate Crust". The ricotta makes a wonderfully light cake (but if you can't get any just use full fat cream cheese) and the added orange juice and rind give it a fresh moreish taste. People will definitely leave nothing on the plate and ask you for the recipe! Another good thing is that this book offers recipes from quite different parts of the world (due to Tessa's family history): Finland, Greece, Cyprus, South Africa, Italy and some other countries she travelled. Buy it for yourself or as a wonderful present for someone who likes stories and cookery! For me, it's one of the books I'd never part with.
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on 10 January 2015
Beautifully written by the incredible diamond Tessa Kiros, who is yet to be discovered by the wider world. Fans know what to expect- family and friends homegrown recipes from Tuscany to Greece to Finland all very delicious with a humble or homely touch of love. It is a great recipe book to make the family meal and involve the kids to get some of the stalwart italian pasta dishes and cakes into their own cooking encyclopaedia but many more beautiful and delicate dishes that are great for experimenting with and pushing cooking beginners and intermediate to be more creative with their pallate and cookery skills. Very thoughtful and I love the way she writes.
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on 4 January 2012
This book is one of my Christmas cookbook haul (a present from a family member, and it has yet to actually be put on the shelf. More than just a collection of recipes (and they are seriously mouthwatering), this book tells you all the family history and stories behind the food, from child to adult, it is wonderful to read and I can't wait to try out as many of the recipes as possible this year (I did get 7 new cookbooks for Christmas, so it is going to be a full year food-wise!)
There is a wide variety, with recipes from Finland, Cyprus, South Africa, Italy etc, so it is sure to have something foreveryone. I have already been begged to make the fried halloumi recipe (Cyprus) by my partner who remembers enjoying something similar in Greece on a holiday. It does seem to be one of those books that really makes you think about the food you ate growing up as well, and I foresee this becoming a much loved (and probably splattered) member of the 'favourites' shelf at home, if it ever makes it onto the bookcase. It is a rare book where someone else's memories can make you nostalgic, and none of the recipes look to be particularly difficult, just delicious!
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