As cheery on the page as he is in his popular food programmes on television, Ilias Mamalakis makes cookery look easy. His enthusiasm and non-doctrinaire approach are inspirational. Anyone can appreciate good food, he insists in his latest book, Mageirikon, and anyone can learn how to make it. For newcomers to the art, he includes basic information about fresh ingredients, herbs and spices, and kitchen equipment. Steering the unwary away from collecting a clutter of elaborate devices, he recommends a few essentials, like good knives, and suggests some inexpensive improvisations that do the work just as well: a paper cutter for pastry, for instance, and a slab of marble for a chopping board. The recipes include his versions of Greek classics he loves as well as new flavours from abroad. There’s lamb with fresh mint and oregano, sweet and sour salad, quail garnished with grapes, and banana with chocolate for dessert.
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