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A celebration of the food, flavors, and heritage of Eastern Europe—from the Black Sea to Baku, Kiev to Kazakhstan—Mamushka features over 100 recipes for fresh, delicious, and unexpected dishes from this dynamic yet underappreciated region.  Olia Hercules was born in Ukraine and lived in Cyprus for several years before moving to London and becoming a chef. In this gorgeous a A celebration of the food, flavors, and heritage of Eastern Europe—from the Black Sea to Baku, Kiev to Kazakhstan—Mamushka features over 100 recipes for fresh, delicious, and unexpected dishes from this dynamic yet underappreciated region.  Olia Hercules was born in Ukraine and lived in Cyprus for several years before moving to London and becoming a chef. In this gorgeous and deeply personal cookbook, she shares her favorite recipes from her home country with engaging and loving stories about her culinary upbringing and family traditions.  Featuring personality and panache, Mamushka showcases the cuisine from Ukraine and beyond, weaving together vibrant food with descriptive narratives and stunning lifestyle photography. From broths and soups to breads and pastries, vegetables and salads to meat and fish, dumplings and noodles to compotes and jams. You’ll also find some of Olia’s favorite dishes, like a Moldovan giant cheese twist and garlicky poussins, to sublime desserts such as apricot and sour cherry pie and a birthday sponge cake with ice cream, strawberries, and meringue. Including new flavor combinations, vibrant colors, seasonal ingredients and straightforward cooking techniques, Mamushka’s earthy dishes appeal to home chefs everywhere. Join Olia on this delicious and diverse culinary tour through Eastern Europe.


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A celebration of the food, flavors, and heritage of Eastern Europe—from the Black Sea to Baku, Kiev to Kazakhstan—Mamushka features over 100 recipes for fresh, delicious, and unexpected dishes from this dynamic yet underappreciated region.  Olia Hercules was born in Ukraine and lived in Cyprus for several years before moving to London and becoming a chef. In this gorgeous a A celebration of the food, flavors, and heritage of Eastern Europe—from the Black Sea to Baku, Kiev to Kazakhstan—Mamushka features over 100 recipes for fresh, delicious, and unexpected dishes from this dynamic yet underappreciated region.  Olia Hercules was born in Ukraine and lived in Cyprus for several years before moving to London and becoming a chef. In this gorgeous and deeply personal cookbook, she shares her favorite recipes from her home country with engaging and loving stories about her culinary upbringing and family traditions.  Featuring personality and panache, Mamushka showcases the cuisine from Ukraine and beyond, weaving together vibrant food with descriptive narratives and stunning lifestyle photography. From broths and soups to breads and pastries, vegetables and salads to meat and fish, dumplings and noodles to compotes and jams. You’ll also find some of Olia’s favorite dishes, like a Moldovan giant cheese twist and garlicky poussins, to sublime desserts such as apricot and sour cherry pie and a birthday sponge cake with ice cream, strawberries, and meringue. Including new flavor combinations, vibrant colors, seasonal ingredients and straightforward cooking techniques, Mamushka’s earthy dishes appeal to home chefs everywhere. Join Olia on this delicious and diverse culinary tour through Eastern Europe.

30 review for Mamushka: Recipes from Ukraine and Eastern Europe

  1. 4 out of 5

    Olga

    I love this book! I've tried many recipes in it so far, and they are all fantastic! And and they are all truly authentic, really the flavors that I grew up with. Plus, all of the recipes are very easy to follow, and the once-daunting cake recipes off of my mother's and grandmothers' recipe collections now seem feasible (and actually quite simple) to make! Well-done Olia!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Andrea James

    This is really charming book - the author has such an effortless way about her when she tells stories of her childhood and her love of food. I've sadly never been to Ukraine or any of Eastern Europe. I'd really like to go and this book has inspired me even more! This is a book to soak in on a quiet weekend. I could feel my grandma and her amazing cooking (even though she cooked such different food) as I read through the recipes, tagging the ones that I wanted to make. Many of the recipes are indu This is really charming book - the author has such an effortless way about her when she tells stories of her childhood and her love of food. I've sadly never been to Ukraine or any of Eastern Europe. I'd really like to go and this book has inspired me even more! This is a book to soak in on a quiet weekend. I could feel my grandma and her amazing cooking (even though she cooked such different food) as I read through the recipes, tagging the ones that I wanted to make. Many of the recipes are indulgent - in flavour, fat and the love one needs to put into them when cooking. This is such a welcome change to all the quick and lean books/blogs that I've been researching and testing recently. To clarify I do like healthy food and by default I whip up quick and nutritious meals on a busy work day but after working my way through dozens of (sometimes painfully self-righteous) recipes I missed having the warmth of someone who cooked, ate and wrote with joy. "I used to hate onions when I was little. And then I had some kasha (boiled buckwheat), chicken livers and onions, sweet and caramelized and that was it - I was in love." Boiled buckwheat and liver don't even remotely sound appealing to me and yet I'm intrigued! A kid fell in love with this dish? Who made it for her? Is the particular combination of ingredients special? Or does one need the nostalgia of that childhood moment in order to fall in love with it too? "These are basically the most incredible stuffed savoury doughnuts. We often went to Genichesk by the Sea of Azov, the shallowest sea in the world. You had to walk for at least 300m (428 yards) until the water started reaching your knees...a five-year-old's knees at that!" And she goes on to tell us how her mum and aunt would fry the buns whilst the kids were playing in the shallow sea. I was wooed by the light playfulness of that story. So I made these stuffed buns (Pyrishky). They were rather tasty (I'm afraid I am irrecoverably plagued with British understatement). And I felt joyously fulfilled as I ate them. My small critique is that it would have been helpful to have the words "for frying" next to the second inclusion of "sunflower oil". The formatting of the recipe was, in general, not as clearly laid out as it could be. I've tried a couple of other recipes so far and I've enjoyed them too though I have no idea how close my renditions are to the real dishes. Maybe one day I'll be lucky enough to have someone like the author to give me a taste of these homey treats.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    I really, really, really wanted to buy this book for myself. I'm very picky in buying books, and cookbooks in particular need to be obviously and essentially useful in order to earn a place in my library. This one is beautiful, and tantalizing, and I really wanted to make the decision to buy it. Unfortunately, I couldn't convince myself, but not due to any lack of merit on the book's part. I can't eat dairy, and my family doesn't eat a lot of meat, so I couldn't imagine myself turning to this boo I really, really, really wanted to buy this book for myself. I'm very picky in buying books, and cookbooks in particular need to be obviously and essentially useful in order to earn a place in my library. This one is beautiful, and tantalizing, and I really wanted to make the decision to buy it. Unfortunately, I couldn't convince myself, but not due to any lack of merit on the book's part. I can't eat dairy, and my family doesn't eat a lot of meat, so I couldn't imagine myself turning to this book often enough to justify the purchase. But it's a lovely book and I'm excited to try the recipes I'm copying down before it goes back to the library. Hercules's tone is informal and welcoming, as she writes about the rustic origins of so many of these dishes. It's basically a book full of comfort food that you didn't know would comfort you--and now that you do, you wish a Ukrainian grandmother would always be at your house when you get home from work, with a smile and a steaming pot or platter of something delicious from this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Valerie Brett

    I love this book! I got it to learn more about my heritage & it didn’t disappoint. Not only is the cover gorgeous, but the overall feel is nice: solid, matte, and mouthwatering photos. I love how at the top of each page she wrote a very brief anecdote (where she got the recipe, her memory of it from her childhood, or her family’s history with it, or where it originally hails from country-wise). I’ve also tried 3 recipes so far & two were delicious (the third was gherkins and they molded, but I t I love this book! I got it to learn more about my heritage & it didn’t disappoint. Not only is the cover gorgeous, but the overall feel is nice: solid, matte, and mouthwatering photos. I love how at the top of each page she wrote a very brief anecdote (where she got the recipe, her memory of it from her childhood, or her family’s history with it, or where it originally hails from country-wise). I’ve also tried 3 recipes so far & two were delicious (the third was gherkins and they molded, but I think that was my fault). I can’t wait to keep trying more of these recipes!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Manintheboat

    This book was suggested by the NPR Best Books of 2015. When I saw the title I thought, "Mamushka? The dance of brotherly love?" So glad to see the Addams Family reference! I feel like Olia would fit right in with my family. I must buy this book and make everything in it, especially the pickled things.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cath

    Edit: I made bortsch and chicken tabaka more than 5 times already... That means something! First of all the cover is so beautiful. On the inside the book looks great too, mind you. Its not another of these minimalistic or overly stylised pictures. There are pictures from Ukraine and of author's family. Olia's writing about her family, traditions and memories is an added value to the book. I made Borscht recipe and its delicious. I make a big pot and have it for next few days. Chicken tabaka is an Edit: I made bortsch and chicken tabaka more than 5 times already... That means something! First of all the cover is so beautiful. On the inside the book looks great too, mind you. Its not another of these minimalistic or overly stylised pictures. There are pictures from Ukraine and of author's family. Olia's writing about her family, traditions and memories is an added value to the book. I made Borscht recipe and its delicious. I make a big pot and have it for next few days. Chicken tabaka is another delicious and interesting recipe. Varenyki, pampushka... So yummy! Now I am not big on pickling or red meat and here are quite a few thigs with that. The desserts seem appealing but I rarely make desserts nowadays so I havent tried any- yet! Overall its heartwarming, beautiful to look at and useful book. Especially if like me you do love a good borstch and are familiar with eastern european cuisine.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nessa

    I absolutely love this book! I got it for Christmas and have tried a few things from it now and everything's been delicious. We had one disaster with one of the pasta dishes, but that was my own fault, really (I tried substituting ricotta for twarog, and I also forgot the salt). All the other things I've tried from it have become firm favourites. As a student, this book is great from the point of view of affordable, healthy meals. While some dishes are very stodgy, most are very healthy and many I absolutely love this book! I got it for Christmas and have tried a few things from it now and everything's been delicious. We had one disaster with one of the pasta dishes, but that was my own fault, really (I tried substituting ricotta for twarog, and I also forgot the salt). All the other things I've tried from it have become firm favourites. As a student, this book is great from the point of view of affordable, healthy meals. While some dishes are very stodgy, most are very healthy and many are made with ingredients that are quite cheap and go very far. The borscht was hearty enough to be an entire meal, and lasted me a few days. I made the stuffed pasta last week with the potato filling and served it with the vegetable 'caviar' and Pampushki, and it was spectacular. Easily fed this family of six leaving them stuffed and satisfied, and didn't break the bank.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Beth Lequeuvre

    I had never gone out of my way to try to find out about the food of the Ukraine, after reading this cookbook I really feel I've been missing out. So many things I want to try from this one. I have to buy this book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Robyn

    Cookbooks totally count toward my goodreads challenge, right? RIGHT?

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Black

    Beautiful book. From the front cover to the personal stories to the photographs - it is absolutely glitteringly gorgeous.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Denis

    There were a lot of things I knew I'd miss when I left home, but Ukrainian food didn't actually make the original list. It’s a bit strange seeing as some of my fondest memories of Ukraine have associations with food: the cold, crisp mornings on the fishing lake were made bearable with a few slices of rye bread, salo and a customary swig of warming vodka, while the evenings were spent in great anticipation of my grandmother’s homely cooking. Unfortunately, the recipes didn’t get passed down to me There were a lot of things I knew I'd miss when I left home, but Ukrainian food didn't actually make the original list. It’s a bit strange seeing as some of my fondest memories of Ukraine have associations with food: the cold, crisp mornings on the fishing lake were made bearable with a few slices of rye bread, salo and a customary swig of warming vodka, while the evenings were spent in great anticipation of my grandmother’s homely cooking. Unfortunately, the recipes didn’t get passed down to me, but having recently had strange cravings for borsch and other Ukrainian dishes, I picked up this book to try and learn more about the food of my roots. Altogether, the book is pretty good, easy to follow and although it isn’t particularly detailed in parts, it really doesn’t have to be. Ukrainian food is pretty simple, flavoursome and cheap and you can’t actually do that much wrong as long as your timings are correct. Annoyingly, Olia didn't give an overall time for cooking, but that's a minor complaint, seeing that her timings seem pretty spot on otherwise. I went wayward on a few recipes, replacing certain ingredients and adding others and everything I’ve tried thus far is delicious. I’ll be working through more of these recipes as and when my cravings take hold. There were a few Ukrainian dishes that I wish were present, but Olia seems to have decided to include eastern recipes, ones from Azerbaijan for example, which I felt were slightly disconnected to Ukraine from the perspective of culture and cuisine. I’m not sure this expansion was strictly necessary, but I guess it doesn’t do much harm other than make the recipes appear slightly random.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Autumn

    Beets! Pork! Fermentation! Cabbage! Pancakes! I've been searching for a Eastern European cookbook like this for years. I love to moon around the Polish deli and buy candy and flatbread at the Serbian grocery. But, uh, I just didn't have recipes for any of that good down home Eastern European food. I only read English and don't have a granny to call on for it. Olia Hercules, thank you for sharing!

  13. 4 out of 5

    bibliotekker Holman

    I ran across this on a list of best food books of 2015 and decided to buy it in ebook form because the price was right. I've been looking for an eclectic, well formed book of recipes from this region that is virtually ignored by the american restaurant and food culture scene. The author mixes her personal reflections with photos and recipes. I'm hoping to spend one cold Saturday this winter making her recipe for vareniky.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Laura Sharp

    I love this cookbook! The ingredient list is not a hard one to obtain and also cost friendly, and everything in it is beautiful, I want to make every single recipe in the book! I made Olia's "Birthday Ice Cream and Strawberry Cake" for my daughter's first birthday and loved it, who can resist a meringue topping! If you want to travel the world by food, this is a good place to begin! I really hope our library decides to get her new cookbook also!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dean

    A lush, lovely delightful cookbook. While I might not make everything in this cookbook, or even most of it, I may...depending on who I am having over. Not just a cookbook, but a look at an attitude about cooking and culture. Reccomend this to you if you are a food lover like me. I will be purchasing this to have in my collection.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Though I do spring from Russian roots aside from borscht, I have not sampled much cuisine from that side of the globe. Can't say many of the recipes sound enticing but the photographs certainly are beautiful and I'd be curious to try some of the fare featured here.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Finally, a book with Russian (former Soviet Republic) recipes that can be followed easily, that gives clear directions and measurements. I very much enjoyed making dishes from the book. Olia did what hundreds of other immigrants did not - published a recipe heritage.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    The beet and stuffed cabbage dishes you would expect but plenty of other recipes to try. Quite a few fry type breads along with fermented vegetables. Everything seemed doable with ingredient access.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Maxime

    This book is lovely I love the forward by olia and the recipes are all wonderful and look forward to coming back to this book again and again!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ilana

    Good and easy to make recipes, however, there were a couple of traditional recipes I was looking for which are not featured in the collection.

  21. 5 out of 5

    April

    Makes me want to cook

  22. 5 out of 5

    Morné

    A beautiful book with easy to follow and delicious recipes. I enjoy making recipes from this.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nadia

    Lovely book highlighting Ukrainian and Eastern European cuisine!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Daisy

    I can't wait to try these recipes. Especially the bread and cheese and dough ones.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I totally loved this book. Great stories, different and interesting recipes.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    I enjoyed the introduction and lots of healthy beet recipes. Can't wait to make a few.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    A great cookbook for you, Judy Carruth!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Iza October

    (Review first published in Shelf Awareness). Following recent unrest in Ukraine, Olia Hercules began to collect her family's recipes, afraid they would otherwise be lost to her. Many appear in Mamushka, alongside stories of her delightful and sometimes eccentric family. Born in Ukraine in 1984, Hercules describes growing up surrounded by diverse culinary inspirations, for which eating seasonally was not a choice but a necessity. Not until she became a chef did she realize how much she valued the (Review first published in Shelf Awareness). Following recent unrest in Ukraine, Olia Hercules began to collect her family's recipes, afraid they would otherwise be lost to her. Many appear in Mamushka, alongside stories of her delightful and sometimes eccentric family. Born in Ukraine in 1984, Hercules describes growing up surrounded by diverse culinary inspirations, for which eating seasonally was not a choice but a necessity. Not until she became a chef did she realize how much she valued the food she had grown up eating, and how much her early culinary adventures had shaped her as a person. Mamushka includes dishes common to Ukraine and Eastern Europe, like borshch and potato cakes; however, those recipes quickly become extraordinary with the personal touches Hercules and her family have added to them, like the piquant Russian broth, which Hercules describes as "savory, spicy, and a little bit crazy-tasting." Mamushka is an absolute joy to explore.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    This is a gorgeous cookbook--I received it a couple of years ago as a wedding gift. While I have only made a few recipes from it so far, it is one of my favorite cookbooks to flip through. Of the dishes that I have made, I most highly recommend the potato pancakes with goat cheese and the accompanying blackberry sauce. This is a very interesting and flavorful take on the potato pancake, and the tart, thyme-y sauce is really wonderful with them. If you make them, you should note that while the re This is a gorgeous cookbook--I received it a couple of years ago as a wedding gift. While I have only made a few recipes from it so far, it is one of my favorite cookbooks to flip through. Of the dishes that I have made, I most highly recommend the potato pancakes with goat cheese and the accompanying blackberry sauce. This is a very interesting and flavorful take on the potato pancake, and the tart, thyme-y sauce is really wonderful with them. If you make them, you should note that while the recipe states that it serves two as a side, I found it to serve two as a very generous meal, or four or five as a side--it makes an entire baking sheet of potato pancakes.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I learnt a lot of interesting things about the history and development of Eastern European cuisine from reading this book, as well as a few Russian words. I feel like I understand why certain foods became staples due to a history that I don't think feels as relatable and understandable when read in a history book as it can in a cookbook. I've been introduced to a new style of food and cooking, and everything I've made from it has been delicious. It's becoming one of my go to cookbooks, especiall I learnt a lot of interesting things about the history and development of Eastern European cuisine from reading this book, as well as a few Russian words. I feel like I understand why certain foods became staples due to a history that I don't think feels as relatable and understandable when read in a history book as it can in a cookbook. I've been introduced to a new style of food and cooking, and everything I've made from it has been delicious. It's becoming one of my go to cookbooks, especially as the weather turns ever colder.

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