When Mamushka was published last year, it was all anybody could talk about. Social media (or at least, the feeds that I follow religiously) was awash with praise for this collection of recipes “from Ukraine and beyond” for a good few weeks. Naturally, it’s taken me about 6 months to actually get round to bringing it into my kitchen. Now that I finally have, I’m happy to report that the hype is absolutely to be believed.
I’m super into learning about new-to-me cuisines, so flicking through Mamushka has been a delight for me. It’s far from a vegetarian recipe book, but I still found plenty of dishes that got me properly actually excited. I’m particularly eager to work my way through the breads and pastries chapter – one recipe down, more on that later – and find an excuse to make baked Ukranian cheesecake, using cottage cheese and semolina, because I feel like it’s going to be delicious in ways I’ve never experienced deliciousness before.
This is a truly lovely recipe book. As soon as I’d put it down, my Mum would pick it up and gaze at it herself. The photography is gorgeous – although, find me a recipe book published in the last three years where the images are anything less than food-pornographic – and the insight into the culture and eating habits of the people of Ukraine is such a treat. Here’s a look at the food I’ve tried so far..
Stuffed tomatoes with cheese and herbs
Scooping the flesh from tomatoes is incredibly therapeutic, I’d very much like a reason to make these in bulk just so that I can spend more time doing it. Perhaps somebody will get married soon and I’ll offer to cater this specific thing and this thing only (because can you imagine catering an entire wedding???).
Obviously, these were delicious. Tomatoes stuffed with feta, parsley and dill and baked for 30 minutes. I noticed when flicking through the pages of this book that parsley and dill are usual suspects in a lot of the recipes, which pleases me greatly because I love dill and never know what to do with it now that I don’t eat fish in the quantities I used to. How do you feel about dill? I get the feeling it’s the marmite of the herb world.
Greek breads with spring onions
I’m bloody awful at rolling dough out to an appropriate thickness – a better word here might be thinness – so my first attempt landed me with a less cooked than desired centre, but I improved with the second and near perfected with the third, so there’s hope for me yet.
The dough begins with egg and water, flour is incorporated and the dough is kneaded. There’s rolling, filling, folding, and finally frying in lots of sunflower oil. These are fantastic, and I can’t wait to muck about with more fillings, I kept some dough back in the fridge to play with.
What do you reckon? Is Mamushka up your street? It’s way up mine. Get it from Amazon for £12.
FYI: the gang at Octopus sent me this copy for review