Recipes from the Mountains to the Sea
By Marianna Leivaditaki • photography by Elena Heatherwick$ 35
In a standout debut, London chef Leivaditaki, who grew up working in her family’s restaurant on Crete, writes with grace and passion about the region’s cuisine… This fresh take on Aegean cuisine introduces a captivating new voice. –Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
About this book
So much more than a cookbook; it is a love song to a special place and its cuisine
Marianna Leivaditaki is a natural storyteller. She grew up in Chania, on the Greek island of Crete, and spent her childhood helping out in the family-run taverna. After school, she carried around her blue notebook, writing down all the recipes she would like to cook, helped by the kitchen wisdom of her Greek grandmothers.
Marianna’s love for the food of her heritage flows through every page, but she brings it her own contemporary style, honed through an illustrious career in professional restaurant kitchens. As head chef of the celebrated London restaurant Morito, she has championed high-quality ingredients, presenting them in simple, beautiful sharing plates.
The recipes in her book, inspired by the Sea, the Land, and the Mountains of the Aegean islands, celebrate the wealth of the Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil, fresh vegetables and fruit, nuts, fish, and whole grains, and a passion for good food and shared meals. Marianna offers achievable, delicious dishes celebrating fresh, seasonal ingredients that you can take time to enjoy with friends and family.Brand: Marianna Leivaditaki
“Leivaditaki is able to truly dive into the unique specificities of her native Cretan cuisine … [You] will love this book’s photos of the island, also shot by Elena Heatherwick. The book is divided into recipes from sea, land, and mountains, with a final sweets chapter (called, charmingly, ‘for after’). The rustic seafood preparations really shine. A whole charcoal-grilled fish dressed simply with lemon, oil, and herbs; a pot of Kakavia, fisherman’s soup; and a spicy clam salad are all plenty beautiful on their own. In their entirety, they offer cooking inspiration for twenty or so varieties of fish and shellfish. To anyone committed to eating sustainable seafood that’s been thwarted by a cookbook’s narrow selection before: this one’s for you.” — Epicurious.com (Best New Cookbooks Fall 2020)
In a standout debut, London chef Leivaditaki, who grew up working in her family’s restaurant on Crete, writes with grace and passion about the region’s cuisine. A recipe for octopus describes how its color will change to red and the sounds it will make as it cooks; and a mixture of parsley, tomatoes, and peppers to accompany lamb meatballs is chopped by hand “as finely as possible”— it’s “a bit messy but it’s totally worth it.” The author often looks beyond Cretan classics, but always has a sound reasoning for doing so: cured cod pastourma hails from Turkey, not Greece, but would fit in “at any traditional village café with old men sipping on raki and bantering about the past,” and she invented cuttlefish with anchovy and goat’s milk curd upon returning from England in an effort to modernize the menu at her parents’ restaurant. Humble ingredients are expertly transformed in dishes like thinly sliced potatoes layered with a paste of tomatoes, peppers, capers, and anchovies, and pork shoulder simmered with the herb malotira, typically used in the mountains of Crete to make tea. Desserts are similarly intriguing and free of gimmickry: crisp shards of phyllo, for instance, are incorporated into the batter for an orange cake. This fresh take on Aegean cuisine introduces a captivating new voice. –Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“A fisherman’s daughter, Leivaditaki grew up on the island of Crete, but couldn’t wait to leave its confines. After gaining success as a London chef, she finally began to appreciate the culinary bounty that she had abandoned. Here she shares recipes from her Cretan life that sum up the riches of the island’s seas and its equally fecund plains and mountains. Many of Leivaditaki’s recipes are so grounded in Crete’s resources that they may be not easily reproduced in kitchens elsewhere. Limpets and turbot rarely reach North American markets, but a home cook may readily achieve mussels steamed in ouzo. Even more doable, her baked potatoes stuffed with shrimp and smoked salmon mayonnaise will star on any table. Lamb raised in Crete provides many an inspiration for red meat dishes, and beef stews appear as well. Leivaditaki concludes with sweets featuring honeyed goat cheese in filo pastry. Color photographs throughout display not only glorious Cretan food but also the dramatic beauty of the Mediterranean island’s landscape.” — Booklist
“Mariana Leivaditaki’s upcoming cookbook Aegean: Recipes from the Mountains to the Sea, reads like an emotional and culinary home-coming. The reader is invited into Leivaditaki’s childhood home, the island of Crete, through rustic and seasonal recipes—organized according to ingredients from mountain, land and sea—paired with location and food photography that captures the beauty and harmony of the region’s geography and native produce. Drawing upon her years of experience as a head chef in acclaimed London restaurants, in this book, Leivaditaki is ultimately sharing with us something deeper still—the emancipatory potential of returning to one’s own roots. The pages sing with a reverence to the culinary treasures of Cretan cuisine—a mouth-watering blend of cheeses, vegetables, fruits, nuts, meats and fish—and with the joy of being able to share this with others. This makes for a gracious addition to any cookbook collection.” —Durkhanai Ayubi, author of Parwana
“A delicious evocation of place and memory from one of my favorite cooks.”— Allan Jenkins, editor, Observer Food Monthly
“I want to make everything in this beautiful book. An absolute treasure.”
— Rosie Birkett, author of The Joyful Home Cook