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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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I have all but one of Tessa Kiros' books and I love Italian home-cooking having lived in Italy for a while. As ever with Tessa's books, this one is beautifully produced. What is good too, particularly for an Italian cook book, is that there are lots of recipes which you won't find in other books and more off-beat variations around some old favourites.

The opening chapter entitled Pantry is brilliant - apart from the limoncello of the title, there are instructions to make herbed oils & vinegars, various flavoured salts, unusual marmalades & jams. Elsewhere there is a gorgeous Tabasco & thyme mayonnaise. There are some good soups too including tomato soup with rice and basil. Pasta dishes include fantastic ravioli stuffed with asparagus, ricotta & sage, asparagus & ham lasagne, spaghetti with a lentil ragu, spinach polpettine. There is an unusual risotto with prawns, lavender & lemon. The chapter devoted to chicken & rabbit includes a good rabbit paté. Meat recipes include stovetop pork in balsamic vinegar and lamb with potatoes, fennel & semi-dried tomatoes. There is also a good range of fish dishes although occasionally there are fish which would not be easy to find in the UK. Someone else has mentioned the perch with lemon & capers which works well with other fish. For sweet dishes there are several good desserts & cakes including a luscious lemon pie, some gorgeous biscuits such as lavender biscuits and a chapter full of iced delights.

My only criticism is that the font is both too small and too pale which makes it difficult to read particularly in the kitchen with strong overhead light. This seems to be a ever increasing problem and I do wish publishers would think about this more sensibly. A cook book needs to have a clear font. It would have been perfectly possible to ditch a few of the photo pages, some of which have nothing directly to do with the recipes, so that the font could be enlarged. This book is perhaps better than Tessa's Greek cookbook which has a dreadful blue italicised font that is a nightmare to read.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 October 2012
This is much more than a cookbook: it is a treasure-house of inspirational recipes and evocative photographs. A book to covet, to linger over, to cook from and to keep.

Tessa Kiros has developed such an appealing format for her cookbooks: the binding, the covers, the beautiful quality of the paper and photography. But this, I think, is her most beautiful book yet.

She dedicates it "to all of the wonderful matriarchs I have been lucky enough to meet" and she prefaces each chapter with "sapiente parole", a few wise words. Some may find this a little twee but some of the words are wise indeed.

Photography throughout is truly breathtaking. All the recipe shots are mouth-watering, the atmosphere and setting shots sublime. Then there are also black and white and faded colour snap-shots of young women who were to become the matriarchs who have had such a strong influence on Tessa. The overall effect is utterly charming.

Just one caveat and that is the type. True, it is clearer than her Greek cookbook Food From Many Greek Kitchens and at least it's grey on white which is an improvement but it's too small and spindly to be really legible. Tessa, please sort out the typography issues in your cookbooks for all your readers' sakes!

I thought with all the photography that the book might be a little light on actual recipes but the reverse is true. There are plenty of irresistible Italian dishes many of which I hadn't come across before. A pantry section includes flavoured oils, salts and perfumed sugars as well as preserves and - of course! - limoncello. A section on breads and a wonderful recipe for sweet pizza. There are tempting snacks and vegetable dishes such as her salt and balsamic vinegar sautéed potatoes. An amazing pasta section includes such unusual offerings as a non-meat spag bol (she makes it with a lentil ragu), another non-meat spaghetti with aglio, olio, peperoncino and avocado and - at last! - a solution to left-over pasta in the shape of her torta di spaghetti.

Amongst the fish main courses, her persico with lemon, capers and green olive mash was amazing (though I made it with cod rather than perch). Chicken and lamb are well represented and there are many other main course dishes that I am looking forward to trying.

And as for the desserts, my goodness! These are temptation beyond endurance. There's Filomena's wow of an Apple Cake, Nonna's Dolce di Marie and Granny Joy's Marmalade Cake - who could resist?

It would be fair to say that this is a very `female' book - right down to the pink velvet bookmark. I cannot imagine there would be a woman anywhere who wouldn't be delighted to receive this as a gift (I am going to get another copy for my daughter-in-law who is a keen cook and a big fan of Tessa Kiros.) But if needs must, bestow it as a gift to yourself!
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on 7 March 2013
This is a book to have and cherish for many years. I love her style, the recipes are inspiring, and the publication is of great quality. it makes a great coffee table book for all those in love with all things Italian. I would highly recommend it as a present for food and drink lovers.
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on 13 November 2012
yes, the pics are gorgeous (as usual in a Tessa Kiros' work) and very many of the recipes sound good + the basic idea is brilliant - a book that celebrates all the wonderful women in Tessa's life & their food.
However this is for me a boring book in the end. Every recipe has a glorious pic, and of course there are more, and more, and more pics here and there... too much! it becomes sickly - like having a chocolate ganache on a chocolate cake, topped with chocolate and vanilla ice crem+ chantilly.... Of course this is just a matter of taste - I find TK's style too much in the end. The pics are over-styled too - too much going on in them: p 164, for instance: chicken with peppers - the lovely pic on the next page.. with same sage leaves near the chicken! they are not even part of the recipe... of course, it could be objected that this IS TK's style...Ok, I accept it, but It leaves the reader felling rather "full" and overwhelmed.

what I really object to is the choice of font: rather small and a faint grey coloured .. on a white background, it makes the page very difficult to read. after few pages I get frustrated and I give up. Maybe it is just me getting old...
... all in all, I would still recommend this book, but with the above caveat
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on 8 November 2013
I have nearly all of Tessa Quiros's Books, and I keep going back to her recipes they are so good, the way this book is written is amazing the pictures outstanding, the perfect book to have as a coffee table book.
I recommend this book to every food lover.
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Message to publishers worldwide: There is no shortage of cookbooks about Italian cuisine. Please think before you publish yet another one... Fortunately Murdoch Books has thought long and hard about this and managed to find another `new way' with Limoncello and Linen Water.
Yet this rather stout, luxurious book comes from rather odd beginnings. The author, born in London to a Finnish mother and a Greek-Cypriot father can hardly draw on her Italian roots. The only real link to Italy for the author was being in the country to study the language and food where she met her husband... but this is no handicap and perhaps it is a positive thing as it lets her authentic love for Italian things shine through instead of being possibly skewed by tradition and national pride. So what do you get, other than a very heavy, richly-decorated book that bears all the hallmarks of an aspirational travel diary/photographic travel-style book? Well you get over 100 interesting recipes ranging from preserves, flavoured salts and liqueurs right up to substantial, tasty honest meals with an Italian inspiration that you can make in the comfort of your own kitchen.
The book tends to grow on you. At first this reviewer was a little sceptical to the packaging of the book and its styling, based around the advice a mother would have given to her daughter but after going through the book any feelings of negativity were soon banished. The author (along with the hard-working team at her publishers) have managed to not `over egg the pudding' and kept the faux, twee feelings in check. Instead you get a believable, credible, stylised book chock-full of useful content, instead of an artificially-feeling book wrapped up in its own nonsense.
To be fair, this reviewer would tend to skip many of the stories and the background materials and focus on the recipes `in real life' but unlike other books where such a reaction occurred there has been no ill-will or feeling. The "miscellaneous packaging" didn't offend or irritate, it just wasn't this reviewer's thing. The recipes, their great photography and general cookery goodness was more than enough here. The only little growl of irritation is, in part, due to middle-age and an eyesight that is less tolerant of small, very light grey text... spend a few pence more, add a dozen or more pages, make the fonts a little larger and use a bit more black ink!
The book is designed more as a `read and later cook something' book than a general recipe book. There is a good index at the back for those who just want to look up recipes, albeit with damn small, light grey text. The reviewer's kitchen, festooned with lighting, still is not enough to read this in comfort - It is a good job that the book is so engaging as otherwise it would be easier to give up on the grounds that it is too much trouble and anguish to read thanks to the small text.
So the scores on the doors. Top marks for finding a new concept or selling angle. Top marks for a very diverse range of recipes. Top marks for the photography and general design. But a box of rotten tomatoes to the designer and those responsible for making this reviewer overburden his already poor eyesight. You didn't need to compromise the book for design's sake. It is already a jolly good book.
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on 20 March 2014
I have loved Tessa's books for years. They are beautifully designed and the recipes are delicious and work. Limoncello and Linenwater is no exception. Dedicated to Nonna's, it is full of their wise words and sayings. The food in this book is typical of northern Italy, an area that is often over looked in Italian cookery books. There was great excitement in our house when my partner (whose family live in Piedmonte) saw the recipe for Bagna Cauda, a dish often made for him by his Nonna.
This is a book that has pride of place on my shelf.
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on 29 January 2013
Beautifully presented book with some really handy home tips!!
BUT this is a cookbook, and for me way too much write up and story telling and not enough receipes!

Beautiful Pictures though!!
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on 9 January 2013
I found Limoncello and Linen Water by Tessa Kiros to be beautifully presented, and it has a wide range of practical and delicious-sounding recipes. However, if I had known of the font issues before buying it I would not have made the purchase. The small font size and use of light grey text make the content very hard to read. THIS IS MY MAIN ISSUE WITH THE BOOK (80 percent of the reason for giving it a two-star rating). Use of small light-grey font may have been exciting for the designers but it serves the reader very poorly. If you are looking to enhance your knowledge of Italian language for recipes (which I was) this book will not help you much. I felt let down by the mixed use of language for recipe titles. This is my secondary and only other issue with the book (is 20 percent of the reason for giving it a two-star rating). The majority of recipe titles appear in English language only, some in Italian and a few in a combination of the two languages. It would have been great if all recipe titles had been given in English followed by their Italian translation. It is surprising that this wasn't done by the author given she is an Italophile.
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on 29 November 2013
Again, beautiful photography and an insight into Tessa Kiros's life. I tend to use these books as a reading/relaxing source and have not yet cooked dishes from this book as I feel I need to select and try one when I am not rushing in after a long day at work.
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