Saturday, April 20, 2024

Weekend Cooking: Meliz's Kitchen by Meliz Berg

I have been buying quite a few cookbooks over the last year, mainly thanks to the Jamie Oliver Cookbook Club. This is one of those books. Some of the books get used a lot, and others not so much but I still like having them all. When I first got this cookbook, I wasn't sure how much I would use it, but it has turned out quite a lot.

I have decided that I really like cookbooks that represent the people of a specific culture. In this case, the author is of Cypriot descent and so she is sharing stories of going fishing with her uncle or cooking with her aunts, of barbecuing on the mangal and more.

Now, I am pretty sure that I couldn't have named a single specifically Cypriot dish before getting this book, but it turns out that Cyprus, like so many of the islands in the Mediterranean is a bit of a crossroads for different cultures and this is well and truly represented in the food. Being in the Mediterranean we know that we can expect lots of tomatoes and seafood, but there is also reliance on herbs and spices such as cinnamon and mint which make it a bit different from other food in the region. There are also quite a few lamb dishes in the book. Unfortunately my husband doesn't love lamb so not sure we will get to make those but we'll see. 

The author also points out that whilst she learnt many of these recipes from her mother and aunts, every family will have slightly different versions of the same dishes depending on which village or family they come from. She has also adapted them to reflect our modern lifestyles.

The book is broken up into several different sections including Breakfast, Dishes & Salads to Share, Easy One-pots and Slow Cooking, Quick Cooking for Busy Weeknights, Traditional Stove-top Dishes from Meatballs to Dolma, Hearty Dishes from the Oven, Barbecue Dishes & Accompaniments, Homemade Breads, Doughs and Pastries and finally Crowd-pleasing Sweets

We have really enjoyed the recipes we have tried from the book so far, which include

Dad's Tomato and Rice Soup

One-pot Halloumi and Tomato Pasta

Chicken, Tomato &Parsley Wraps

Mum's Chocolate & Coconut Cake (pictured)

There are still quite a few recipes that I am keen to try, and these vary from being very simple to much more complicated. An example of a really simple one is a toasted cheese and halloumi sandwich. I am intrigued to see how two different types of cheese along with some cinnamon and mint can really transform a normal toasted cheese sandwich. 

At the other end of the scale, I am also really keen to try the Creamy Moussaka recipe. I love moussaka and would really love to have an amazing recipe for it! I have a Greek friend who gave me her recipe for both moussaka and pasticchio so I just need a weekend where we can have the time to make at least one of these recipes.

Other examples of recipes I am keen to try include a Cypriot-style Pasta & Chicken, Egg Halloumi and Sauteed Vegetables, Baked White Fish in Tomato Sauce, and Chicken, Potato & Tomato Roast. I am sure next time I flick through the book I will find others!

Given that the weather is cooling down here now, I thought I would share a recipe for a soup. We had this a couple of weeks ago and it was really, really good! I can see this getting made quite a few times over the coming months

Dad's Tomato & Rice Soup


200 g (7 oz) short-grain white rice
6 large tomatoes
50 ml (2 fl oz) olive oil
1 large onion , finely chopped
1 vegetable stock cube
500 ml (18 fl oz) boiling water
1.5 litres (2½ pints) cold water
25 g (1 oz) fresh parsley , finely chopped
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon caster sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus extra to taste

Wash the rice in a sieve with cold water until the water runs clear. Leave to drain.

Place the tomatoes in a deep heatproof bowl. Pour over boiling water to cover and leave for a minute or two. Remove the tomatoes from the bowl, peel off the skins, discard, and then finely chop the flesh. Leave to one side.

Pour the olive oil into a large pan and place over a medium heat. Add the onion and soften for 10–12 minutes until lightly caramelised.

While the onion is cooking, dissolve the stock cube in the boiling water, then top up with the cold water.

Stir the parsley, paprika and tomatoes into the caramelised onions and let everything sizzle for a minute or two before adding the rice, giving the grains a good stir so that they get fully coated in the tomatoes and onion. Sprinkle in the sugar, then gently pour in the stock and season with the salt and pepper.

 Allow the soup to simmer over a medium heat for around 10 minutes until the rice is cooked. Add the lemon juice a couple of minutes before you remove the pan from the heat and serve with crusty bread, adding a little more lemon juice to taste.

Weekly meals

Saturday - Roast pork with leeks and mushrooms
Sunday -  Toasted ham and cheese sandwiches
Monday - Chicken Enchiladas
Tuesday - Beef and Broccoli Noodles
Wednesday - Spanish Tuna Pasta Bake
Thursday - French Onion casserole
Friday - Takeaway

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page


  1. They have nicer tomatoes than we get. We have a brief, very brief season in August when you can get good tomatoes and we devour them. For tomato soup I end up using tomato juice. Now I want a good tomato!!!

    1. That's true. It's the same for us tooo.

  2. I love to explore cookbooks of specific cultures. Often I am stymied, though, by recipes which contain ingredients I can't find locally.

    1. Thank god for internet shopping Deb. We had to buy some sweet pepper paste for this book

  3. I love that tomato soup recipe, I too enjoy learning a family's history through cooking!

  4. I really like lamb but it is not the sort of thing you make if you live alone. Maybe I need to plan a Sunday dinner and invite my family over!

  5. I loved the food when I was there (my daughter's second husband was from Cyprus) but haven't had much since, so this would be a good book to check out.