The author of several popular books about far eastern European cuisines (among them Mamukska, and Summer Kitchens), Olia Hercules is a Ukrainian-born chef now living and working in the UK.
Her culinary curiosity has always ranged beyond any political border, and in this collection of 100 recipes she shares home pleasures that are inspired not only by her two homes, but other places from which her friends hail.
While that kind of assortment might be a confusing miscellany in another writer's hands, Hercules has a good eye for earthy, hearty flavors, as well as the occasional smart dash of contrast. Meat and poultry appear from time to time, but there are many dishes that will work perfectly in a vegetable-forward kitchen
For us, this seems an ideal fall and winter book, one in which you might find an Armenian chard and lentil soup seasoned with clove, harissa, and mint. The spiced eggplants with a crust of sesame, poppyseed, coconut, and peanuts offer a savory rib-stickiness that also manages to conjure, in Hercules' words, "a strutting bejeweled diva."
Hercules's vivid writing is one of the additional delights of Home Food, and even if the recipes don't fit neatly into any single category, they still have the power to enchant the imagination.
Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.