Mint, cinnamon & Blossom Water, by Ivy Liacopoulou
January 19, 2011 • Category: Reviews
Reviewing a cookbook is one thing; reviewing a cookbook painstakingly and lovingly created by a fellow blogger whose site I had been visiting for over a year, is quite another!
I had been reading Ivy’s blog on a regular basis for a long while, with great interest; she is a serious and talented cook and her recipes include historical lore on the rich Greek and Cypriot customs and traditions. In Lebanon too we have had a Byzantine influence, a sizable number of Greek Orthodox churches and the presence of a Greek Orthodox community in the country is still palpable in some areas. I always felt that we had definite common ground. After all, Cyprus is a 30 minute plane ride from Lebanon!
Here is what I liked about this cookbook:
- It is designed as a working manual. Each recipe is accompanied by a color photograph, precise directions, an introduction with additional information and valuables tips bestowed by Ivy. The font and the text are large and clear. No eye strain here!
- The recipes are clearly from an author who knows her topic; Ivy gives the information required to make sure the recipes are successfully executed. A novice cook will have no trouble with her directions. Ivy explains in detail such sticky issues in the kitchen such as “How to know if the syrup is ready?” or “How to clean calamari”, or “How to sterilize jars for canning”and countless other essential tips.
- On a personal note, I was surprised to find that some of the recipes are almost identical to the ones I knew from my grandmother. Her recipe for lokmades, which uses potato and an orange blossom flavored syrup, for example; or shiamishi, a homemade phyllo filled with a semolina cream is identical to our tamrieh.
- This book is an excellent value, filled with valuable information for both novice and experienced cooks and the traditional Greek and Cypriot recipes are presented in a user-friendly fashion which makes them accessible to all. Excellent job Ivy!
15 Comments • Comments Feed
Thanks for introducing me to a new blog and cookbook– looks fabulous!
On January 19, 2011 at 9:01 pm
And it looks pretty too! When I find a blog a really like, I always look at their blog roll for suggestions. I’m sure I’m going to love Ivy’s blog.Thanks.
On January 19, 2011 at 10:40 pm
Mark Wisecarver says:
I joke with my Greek friends that they stole everything from us. 🙂
On January 19, 2011 at 11:12 pm
OMG Joumana, thank you so much for your kind words. I was away from the computer for a few days because of backache and today I was browsing through Facebook to catch-up and you post was the first I saw. You are right our cuisines are similar in so many ways and recipes like fakes moudjentra is similar to mujaddara, mahalepi is to muhallabieh, hummus, etc
On January 20, 2011 at 1:04 am
A great book! It sounds so promising and knowing Ivy I bet it is a wonderful read.
On January 20, 2011 at 2:29 am
I am expecting a copy of the book any time soon. I can’t wait!
On January 20, 2011 at 9:51 am
I’m so glad you introduced my to this blog and cook book. My husband’s granmother was Greek and she documents many recipes that she passed on in a rather loose way! Lovely.
On January 20, 2011 at 10:01 am
I will have to check out her blog (now I can read 1,001 … but I can’t keep up as t is, so why not?) It sounds like a lovely book – I prefer cookbooks like this with photos for each dish. I like to know what I am going to make!
On January 20, 2011 at 10:02 am
I would love the cookbook!!!! I really enjoy Ivy’s blog and love all her recipes….Her book has to be amazing!
On January 20, 2011 at 10:34 am
Great review! I love supporting fellow bloggers and Ivy’s blog is one that I’ve adored for a while. I would expect nothing less than this excellent cookbook from her!
On January 20, 2011 at 2:58 pm
I love cookbooks, they are the backbone of any kitchen. Cooking well would be near impossible without them. Joumana, since I love and trust your judgment in the kitchen, this cookbook sparked my interest. It seems nicely organized with a great collection of recipes and colorful pictures. Great work Iva.
Joumana, it takes a special person to appreciate the talents and qualities of others. You are a humble and kind person. Your gesture, thoughtful and uplifting remarks are admired by everyone you touch.
On January 20, 2011 at 5:06 pm
Bria @ WestofPersia says:
Looks like a winner. Thanks for the tip on both her blog, and her book.
On January 21, 2011 at 11:24 am
A Canadian Foodie says:
I truly do find it fascinating how recipes are owned by one culture and found in another, too. So obvious in the Balkans as they are not at all happy about being under control of the Ottoman Empire for over 700 years, yet so many of their loved dishes are either clearly influence by the cuisine of Turkey, or turkish recipes. And, as people travelled, recipe sharing happened hundreds of years ago, as it does now. So interesting that some of your traditional recipes are the same as those in the book with different names.
The photo on the front looks gorgeous. I love international flavours so will be looking up your friend.
On January 23, 2011 at 1:22 pm