Macedonia – Recipes and Stories from the Balkans is Katerina Nitsou’s love letter to the Macedonian culture of her family and community. In her first book, the chef and food writer shares over 100 recipes that reveal a cuisine deeply rooted in its land and traditions.
Katerina shares the authentic flavours and wisdom her family brought from the mountainous villages of North Macedonia, recreated and adapted for western kitchens. Coupled with beautiful photography of the food, people, and landscapes of the region, this cookbook captures the country’s essence and belongs on the kitchen shelf of every food lover.
The cuisine of Macedonia is a rich mosaic of influences from the Mediterranean and Middle East, as well as Kosovo to the north, Bulgaria to the east and Greece to the south. Known for its opulent family meals, the regional dishes play important symbolic roles in local traditions and family celebrations.
Macedonia – Recipes and Stories from the Balkans is a celebration of a unique culture, taking readers on a culinary journey into a cuisine that is modest and simple, yet bountiful. The recipes, from the spicy grilled peppers that grace every table to cool cucumber Tarator (cucumber) soup; hearty pork rib and butterbean stew to chicken pillar; coiled filled pastries and breads to pear strudel, are contained in chapters comprising:
· Mezze: small plates like Leek Pancakes; Roast Aubergine Dip; and Courgette Fritters
· Salads: using ingredients from watermelon to wheat berries
· Soups: like Chilled Cucumber Soup; and Chicken and Rice Soup with Egg and Lemon
· Meats: including dishes like Pork Rib and Butter Bean stew; and Meat Pie
· Poultry: with dishes like Stuffed Chicken with Leeks and Rice
· Fish: recipes adapted from the fresh water fish dishes of the landlocked region, including Baked Fish & Potatoes; and Grilled, Marinated Fish Skewers
· Vegetables and Side Dishes: like Stewed Green Beans with Tomatoes and Roasted Red Peppers; or even breakfast dishes like Pepper and Tomato Scrambled Eggs
· Breads: marking the central role bread plays in Macedonian culture, this chapter includes Pogacha, a rich braided bread that marks traditional feasts alongside Polneti Kiflichki, crescent rolls stuffed with feta and ricotta.
· Sweets: dishes including Yogurt Cake, Almond Cookies, and Syrup Doughnuts
· Preserves: pickled and preserved fruits and vegetables, as well as recipes for Fig Jam; and Dried Tomatoes
Growing up in a large Macedonian community in Toronto, Katarina spent her childhood in the kitchen helping her grandmother, mother, and aunts prepare family meals using fresh herbs and vegetables from the family’s prized garden. She was immersed in Macedonian culture through language, dance, and celebrations, and the book reveals the story of her family’s emigration to Canada, and the way they retained their heritage through the food and recipes they brought with them.
Katarina began writing about traditional Macedonian cuisine long before she completed her training at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. She honed her recipe writing skills in the Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen and developed her cooking style working as a food stylist, caterer, and private chef in California. She currently lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and two young children, whom she is teaching to cook.
Katerina Nitsou said:
“I’ve always felt connected to my family and my ancestry simply because I was preparing food that they had been making for centuries. I wanted there to be a Macedonian cookbook that is on par with the quality of cookbooks from other countries published today: a book that non-Macedonians can really connect to and enjoy cooking from, while learning about the Macedonian cuisine and culture. My philosophy on Macedonian food is to simply use really fresh ingredients and let those ingredients be the star of the dish!”
With photography throughout the book by her husband Oliver Fitzgerald, including those taken on family holidays to the region, Macedonia – Recipes and Stories will be published in hardback by Kitchen Press on 17th August 2021 and will be available nationwide, priced at £20.
Kitchen Press titles are distributed by BookSource. www.kitchenpress.co.uk
“This is a book written straight from the heart. Katerina’s stories and recipes are an affectionate celebration of her Macedonian heritage, transporting you right to her family table, enjoying dishes that are respectful of tradition and yet accessible to everyone.”
Irina Georgescu, author of Carpathia: Food from the Heart of Romania