Salt, Pepper and a Dollop of Cream

One Woman's Journey through Her Cookbooks

Cookbook Review: VENEZIA by Tessa Kiros

Venezia by Tessa Kiros

It’s funny how life seems to take a few twisty turns that scuppers your best of intentions and that certainly has happened to me with my blog!  It’s been quite a while since I posted here as life’s little events took over for a while.  Winter I think does that to you, the need to cocoon yourself away from the world and just rest the bones and the brain and boy did I need a rest!  But now that the days are starting to stretch and the smell of Spring is in the air, it’s time to dust myself down {and the house!} and get moving again.

Last Friday was St. Valentine’s day.  The usual routine for hubby and I is lovingly handing over our respective cards, share a kiss that draws a squeal of “Yuck” and mock vomiting from our kids and finishing the day by staying at home for a decent home cooked meal and a nice bottle of wine.  On the menu was Polpette di Salmone, Fillet Steak and Salted Caramel Choc Pots {more on those in the next post!}.

I’d toyed around with making my usual chicken liver pâté but you know what, I think I’m fed up with it. Gasps of horror {delight} from those around me!  I’ve been looking at a book on cicchetti which are small snacks or side dishes from Venice that are similar to Italian antipasti or Spanish tapas and had been toying with the idea of getting Cicchetti: And Other Small Italian Dishes to Share by  Lindy Wildsmith and Valentina Harris but then thought to myself, I’ve got to have something surely in this mountain of books that I possess. And of course I did.

My eye was drawn to a book I’d purchased some time ago called VENEZIA: Food and Dreams by Tessa Kiros.  It’s an absolutely beautiful book – the pages are edged in gold with a lovely black velvet page marker; the images feature beautiful regal reds and turquoises with splashes of gold; the text is printed in gold with elegant ornate flourishes.  Yes, this is a sumptuous book! Tessa’s magic, however is in creating a feeling for Venice, its sights and sounds, its beauty and its smells.  The book transports you to the city, wanting to experience it, to be there drinking prosecco and eating good food in lively company. The food looks delicious but the beauty of it is its simplicity – simple but good ingredients combined into traditional Venetian fare.

So, what was I going to cook for our starter?  I had salmon in the fridge and of course no self respecting Irish cook would be without the humble potato.  Thumbing through the book, I settled on Polpette di Tonno {or tuna fish balls} except that I made Polpette di Salmone.  Simple fried fish balls served with lemon.  Amongst other ingredients, the recipe called for 8oz of potato to 6oz of fish which was far more fish than I’d ever used before in fish cakes but this ratio worked perfectly and the final result was a refreshing, flavoursome starter with a blast of chilli heat that wasn’t heavy on the palette or tummy!  The polpette are now a new addition to my repertoire that would be perfect for a simple supper with salad on the side or as part of a selection of other cicchetti.

Polpette di Salmone

This is a beautiful book and for my Valentine’s dinner, it was a definite winner; a book that I’ll be dipping into again and again!


Xx Paula

Published by Murdoch Books, VENEZIA: Food and Dreams by Tessa Kiros is available from Amazon and all other good book stores.

3 comments on “Cookbook Review: VENEZIA by Tessa Kiros

  1. Pingback: Cookbook Review: venezia by Tessa Kiros | Food | Recipe Flash | Your all in one Recipe and Cooking News Aggregator

  2. GastroGays
    February 21, 2014

    There’s a real surge of interest in Venetian cookery these days, especially with the amazing Polpo in London making a name for cichetti, but ever since I’ve noticed lots of cookbooks and blog posts beginning to laud Venice and it’s cuisine. Lovely post and what you mentioned at the beginning is what Winter is all about – rest and refuge at home!


    • Now, Polpo – there’s another cookbook to add to my collection! Yes, I think everyone has been so into tapas and mezze but few have heard of cichetti that its sparking a lot of interest. Thanks for the kind words! Regards, Paula

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This entry was posted on February 20, 2014 by in Book Reviews, Fish, Starters and tagged , , , , , , .

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