Feasting at the modern Greek table

By Theo A. Michaels

Ryland and Pers £16.99

ISBN: 9781788790796

Known for his Masterchef UK appearances Theo Michaels is on a mission to not only pay homage to the traditional Greek dishes of his childhood but also to look at more modern interpretations. Thus some are new creations whilst there are a few familiar favourites. Eat like a Greek – why not!

Each section, Meze, Sea etc begins with a brief description of the setting and what inspires the recipes, though a luscious picture of an idylic fishing village will give you plenty of ideas as to what will follow.
The recipes have ingredients in black and bold type with simple instructions and the odd tip thrown in. Most are able to be done by any competent home chef, and that’s the beauty of this book as the recipes range from simple to more complex, but are never baffling.

Rather than beginning at the beginning we have jumped straight in to a section entitled Fire (Fotia). As Theo says ‘Cooking with fire is primal’ and in this section the barbecue comes to the fore. Different skewers are introduced as is the concept of charred food and also the multi purpose whipped garlic potatoes. Of course halloumi is a great cheese to fry or grill and there’s a simple recipe including honey and black sesame seeds.

We particularly enjoyed the section entitles Sundowners which introduces some cocktails with a twist – watermelon anybody? and of course some ouzo recipes as well.

Elsewhere you will marvel at the cod with Kalamta olives wrapped in dry cured ham and a special mention to Fasolia which we knew from Lebanese cooking and is simple and hugely enjoyable.

For the more adventurous there’s a Baklava recipe but the majority of these are common sense and with ingredients that can be sourced without too much hassle.

Throughout there are childhood memories and stories of family favourites which add to the homely feel. One evocative story tells of Theo and family turning up at his fathers on a bad weather day only to find him working on the barbecue under cover. You can imagine yourself there.

The photography which accompanies the recipes is by Mowie Kay and we have not seen better food photography anywhere.