Travels with Tessa Kiros


If like me you’ve coveted Tessa Kiros’ cookbooks for some time but have never bought one, for whatever reason – a moratorium on new cookbooks compounded by lack of shelf space, in my case – then this talented lady is one step ahead of you.

Kiros’ latest work, The Recipe Collection, is a celebration of her published works to date, including the poetically titled Falling Cloudberries, Apples for Jam, and Piri Piri Starfish.

This pretty, pink, floral hardback dips into myriad cuisines, including Italian, Greek, Portuguese and South African, from countries in which Kiros, of Finnish and Greek Cypriot heritage, has either traveled or lived.

It’s a lovely journey to be swept along on: so far i’ve traveled to Venice (spaghetti with tomato and scampi), South Africa (prawns with lemon, piri piri, garlic and feta), Portugal (roasted octopus in red wine with potatoes) and Finland (fish pie) – pretty much losing myself in the seafood chapter, as you can see.

It’s a chapter worth getting lost in. Anchovies, sardines, herrings, red mullet, clams and squid are all on the menu – chargrilled, cerviched, deep fried, pan fried, dusted in polenta, served escabeche, and cooked in beer – I kid you not.

Prawns in Beer are left in their shells, butterflied, lightly fried, doused with butter, garlic, paprika, piri piri, black pepper and, finally, beer which bubbles and thickens and is mopped up with torn crusty bread as you suck prawn meat from shells.

The book is heavily weighted towards seafood and vegetables, with chapters such as ‘Pasta, Gnocci and Rice’, ‘Soups’ and ‘Salads’ rarely straying into meat territory. In late summer these light, healthy meals were more appealing. But now, as Sydney dabbles in winter, I’ll take a kitchen-Kiros sojourn to Greece with her a leg of lamb that is rubbed with lemon juice, seasoned, dotted with butter, sprinkled with oregano, drizzled with olive oil, surrounded by potatoes and baked for 2½ hours.

“My mother says you could cook it overnight: I never have, but I believe her,” Kiros says.

I’ll serve it with her side dish of roasted zucchini and tomatoes with thyme and a bowl of her garlicy tzatziki.

I’ve yet to stray into Kiros’ dessert territory fearing i’ll get lost there, too.

There’s honey cake daubed in lemon icing and scattered with tiny purple flowers from a lavender bush, carrot cake with a shock of cream cheese frosting, and translucent-pink squares of rose loukoumia – or Turkish delight.

But it’s good to get lost occasionally, right?


Filed under Book Reviews, Chefs, Cuisines, Gastronomic Travels, Recipes

18 responses to “Travels with Tessa Kiros

  1. Liz Posmyk of Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things

    A delicious compilation from this author… it’s sitting in my pile to thoroughly read and review… perhaps now that I’m out of action (temporarily with a broken foot) I can get around to picking it up and devouring its pages! Thank you for the lovely review and reminder, Rachel.


  2. Sorry to hear about your broken foot, lovely lady. Sit back and enjoy The Recipe Collection – you won’t be disappointed. I’ve enjoyed every recipe so far … and so many more I want to try.


  3. Unable to lay claim to much self-control, I have to admit that I have all of Tessa’s cookbooks – and each one is a gem. Her recipes are straightforward, well-tested, usually don’t require advance forays to expensive gourmet stores and the books are beautifully produced. I’m sure you have many happy hours ahead of you, Rachel.


  4. Hello Rachel, lovely to see your blog pop up tonight! I have Apples for Jam and I love it. Not just for the delicious, reliable recipes but also for the warm photos and little stories dotted throughout the recipes. Just today I baked an indulgent vanilla cake from this book for a very special family 60th birthday celebration.

    I can only imagine that this book is amazing…another one to add to the wishlist. Happy cooking to you!


  5. Wayne

    When are you cokking the lamb, and what wine should I bring?


  6. Those recipes sound delicious – and I agree the seafood ones sound particularly enticing!


  7. Her books are STUNNING! I’ve been eyeing this one off but not quite purchased yet. Soon I suspect!


  8. i must admit i have avoided tessa kiros as a friend borrowed one of her books, apples for jam, i think, from the library; but the recipes she tried failed! so i was put off by that. maybe i should try for myself on everyone’s recommendations here. by the sound of it, i could easily get lost in the cake chapter too 🙂


    • The recipes in this book have worked out perfectly for me – so far. Fingers crossed, they continue to do so – there are so many more that I want to try. Thanks for dropping by!


  9. Sounds wonderful! How can anyone not lose oneself with seafood? 🙂


  10. That lamb leg recipe sounds just the ticket for winter! Especially the mention of butter and potatoes… yum!


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