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Meliz Berg – “Meliz’s Kitchen” review

Step out of your comfort zone and explore Turkish-Cypriot food.

Meliz Berg – “Meliz’s Kitchen”
Credit: Ebury Press

Meliz Berg launched her blog ‘Meliz Cooks’ in 2013 as a way to capture the recipes that had been passed down from generation to generation in her family. She grew up in a family where her mum and her aunt cooked Turkish-Cypriot food and travelled regularly to Cyprus to visit family for holidays. Having built a sizable following on social media and for her blog, Berg has decided to release her first book, “Meliz’s Kitchen”, to celebrate the food that influenced her as a child and to inspire home cooks to step out of their comfort zone and try something different.

“Meliz’s Kitchen” is divided into nine deliciously mouth-watering chapters with Berg offering simple, easy-to-follow recipes that even the most inexperienced cook should be able to follow and succeed with. Before diving into the recipes, there’s a lengthy introduction and a quick guide to the key ingredients of Turkish-Cypriot food. Berg has also shared some of her favourite brands should those following her recipes want to recreate her dishes as closely as possible.

After that the recipes flow starting with Kahvalti (breakfast) and running through to Kek ve Talilar (crowd-pleasing sweets). Berg really packs the book with a lot of recipes and I have to admit, a lot of what’s in here is new to me as my exposure to Turkish-Cypriot food is very limited. Every chapter features an introduction from Berg where she shares food-related stories from her life and it sets up the wealth of recipes well.

As a keen eater of Halloumi, I was delighted to see plenty of uses for the delicious salty cheese throughout the book. My mouth watered as I scanned through recipes in the Kahvalti section such as ‘Halloumi, Eggs & Cypriot Spiced Cured Beef Sausage Breakfast Flatbreads’ and the irresistible ‘Cheese & Halloumi Toastie’. There are so many options that you won’t fail to find something for everyone here. Berg shares her twist on pancakes with ‘Tahini, Carob & Cinnamon Honey Pancakes’, offers up a breakfast traybake and even details how to make ‘Spice Cypriot Tea’, which proves to be the perfect accompaniment.

What’s so great about this hefty tome is Berg really has considered recipes for every type of cook. Need something to share at a gathering or party? Head over to the Meze & Salata section. Are you looking to keep the whole family happy while spending as little time in the kitchen as possible? Jump right on in to the Yahni (easy one-pots and slow-cooking) section. As a bread maker myself, I felt inspired by the Ekmek & Hamur Isi (breads, doughs and pastries) chapter, with tantalising recipes such as fried pastries (börek) with various fillings, gate-shaped breadsticks and more.

“Meliz’s Kitchen” is the perfect cookbook to keep you happy in the summer. There are so many ideas in here with plenty on offer for meat eaters, fish lovers and vegetarians. Having never really explored Turkish-Cypriot food before, Berg has inspired me as she makes it look so easy. These recipes are easy to follow and the book is full of photos that show you key steps and what the end result should look like. With “Meliz’s Kitchen”, Berg has created an experience that is exciting and feels deeply personal, and it will help many cooks broaden their food outlook and try something new.

Publisher: Ebury Press Release date: 30th June 2022 Buy “Meliz’s Kitchen” now

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