Kaukasis A CookBook – Review

Author of the critically acclaimed cookbook Mamushka%name   Kaukasis A CookBook   Review   RecipesNow.comOlia Hercules has created Kaukasis%name   Kaukasis A CookBook   Review   RecipesNow.com, featuring culinary samplings from the Caucasus region (Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iran, Russia, and Turkey).

This is a different kind of cookbook than what I normally see. It combines European and Middle Eastern ingredients in a fresh new way. The book is dedicated to recipes entirely, with beautiful full-page pictures and a mere two-page introduction.

As many of the recipes are unfamiliar to western cuisine, it is especially wonderful that this book includes a paragraph of explanation for each recipe. It is this kind of additional information and detail which really personalises this book and adds so much value.

Not Your Typical CookBook

The first chapter of recipes is called “roots, shoots, leaves & all”. These are vegetables recipes but include a great deal of variety. There is a “Homemade Matsoni” recipe, which is a type of yoghurt. With this recipe, you will need a special starter which may prove difficult to source. If this is the case the author invites you to contact them directly to get some. Not exactly the type of thing you’d see in a typical recipe book.

The next chapter of recipes is “flour & ash” You will find some bread recipes, pies, and another deliciousness here. Although not every recipe has its own picture, many of the pictures are actually of the regional cooks creating them, which is so much more interesting. The recipes have unique names that are not easily recognisable and use unusual ingredients. But if you want to create some authentic cuisine from the region, this is expected.

Next is the “beasts from land, sea & air” with all of the meat-related recipes. The author enjoys a flexitarian diet and believes meat is a treat or for special occasions. Whether you have meat daily, or just once in awhile, these recipes look delicious.

The Hangover Chapter

The next chapter was almost entitled “hangover chapter”, but it is now “pain, be gone!” Not strictly for hangovers, these recipes are for those who need extra nutrition. Get the nourishment you need to help recover from that cold or relieve that aching head here. These recipes are very nutrient filled and would likely do the trick to restore the imbalance caused by overindulgence.

Last but not least is the chapter I have been waiting for, “sweet in the tooth” with all of those lovely recipes my sweet tooth desires. I am definitely going to have to pull this book out again in the spring, so I can go foraging in my back forest for young pinecones and try the Pinecone Conserve recipe. It is intriguing since I didn’t realise you could actually eat pinecones and enjoy the taste at the same time. The last recipe in the book “Lilianas lemon and dulce de leche cake” was a good choice because what a recipe to wind up the book! The cake looks good enough to eat out of the picture.

After all the recipes are done there are a few pages with details about various ingredients and sources. These might help you get those hard to find items which will make or break the recipe.

Authentic Feel

Clearly, I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the recipes, as I have never eaten anything from the Caucasus region. The background information, the level of detail from each recipe, however, really does create an authentic feel. Since this recipe does actually include an invitation from the author for you to contact them directly, the Homemade Matsoni recipe I mentioned above, is the one I am including below. Enjoy!

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Homemade Matsoni

To make this recipe (a type of yoghurt made with the special Caspian bacteria), the likes of which you've never tasted before, you first need a matsoni starter. When I was writing this book in Svaneti, northwest Georgia, my brain was so overtaken by it all that I had a dream that I was by the shore of the Caspian Sea scraping ancient fossils with a spoon, "collecting" this bacteria. Surreal romantic visions aside, you can find this online. Or go to a Georgian restaurant and ask them for some deda or a little matsoni in a plastic bottle. I've known people who have made contact with Georgians in the area on Instagram - the community is so friendly and welcoming, I am sure someone will be willing to help you. Failing all else, contact me and I'll give you some. A handful is all you need to begin creating something incredibly wonderful, healthy and, most importantly to me, tasty. It has so many uses in this book, and I am sure you will find new creative uses for it, too.
printfriendly pdf button   Kaukasis A CookBook   Review   RecipesNow.com
question mark icon dc 24x24   Kaukasis A CookBook   Review   RecipesNow.com

Homemade Matsoni

To make this recipe (a type of yoghurt made with the special Caspian bacteria), the likes of which you've never tasted before, you first need a matsoni starter. When I was writing this book in Svaneti, northwest Georgia, my brain was so overtaken by it all that I had a dream that I was by the shore of the Caspian Sea scraping ancient fossils with a spoon, "collecting" this bacteria. Surreal romantic visions aside, you can find this online. Or go to a Georgian restaurant and ask them for some deda or a little matsoni in a plastic bottle. I've known people who have made contact with Georgians in the area on Instagram - the community is so friendly and welcoming, I am sure someone will be willing to help you. Failing all else, contact me and I'll give you some. A handful is all you need to begin creating something incredibly wonderful, healthy and, most importantly to me, tasty. It has so many uses in this book, and I am sure you will find new creative uses for it, too.
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Makes qt (2 L)
Units
Ingredients
  • 1 quart raw milk (1/2 gallon/2.1 L)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon matsoni or raw milk yoghurt (available from well-stocked farmers market)
  • a warm blanket or large towel
Makes qt (2 L)
Units
Ingredients
  • 1 quart raw milk (1/2 gallon/2.1 L)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon matsoni or raw milk yoghurt (available from well-stocked farmers market)
  • a warm blanket or large towel
Rate It!
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
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Instructions
  1. Heat the milk in a saucepan until it is just "bites" your finger. Whisk the matsoni through the milk and immediately remove from the heat. Cover the pan with a lid, then wrap the pan in a warm blanket or a large towel. Place somewhere warm for 24 hours. Do not move or disturb the pan, just leave it to sit.
  2. The next day, the mixture should look like a thick yoghurt, but this will depend on how faddy the milky used words. You may have to leave it for a few hours longer.
  3. In the Caucasus, some people make a fresh batch of the yoghurt every day, and it is best used within 24 hours or so - otherwise, it will become too sour. But any leftovers can be stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator and will be pleasant to eat for up to 4 days. It can be kept for longer (two weeks) but will turn sour and will only be good used as a starter. If the milk has turned funky and smells of alcohol, it is best not used for anything.
Notes

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