A celebration of the food, flavors, and heritage of Eastern Europe—from the Black Sea to Baku, Kiev to Kazakhstan—Mamushka features over 100 recipes for fresh, delicious, and unexpected dishes from this dynamic yet underappreciated region.
Olia Hercules was born in Ukraine and lived in Cyprus for several years before moving to London and becoming a chef. In this gorgeous and deeply personal cookbook, she shares her favorite recipes from her home country with engaging and loving stories about her culinary upbringing and family traditions.
Featuring personality and panache, Mamushka showcases the cuisine from Ukraine and beyond, weaving together vibrant food with descriptive narratives and stunning lifestyle photography. From broths and soups to breads and pastries, vegetables and salads to meat and fish, dumplings and noodles to compotes and jams. You’ll also find some of Olia’s favorite dishes, like a Moldovan giant cheese twist and garlicky poussins, to sublime desserts such as apricot and sour cherry pie and a birthday sponge cake with ice cream, strawberries, and meringue.
Including new flavor combinations, vibrant colors, seasonal ingredients and straightforward cooking techniques, Mamushka’s earthy dishes appeal to home chefs everywhere. Join Olia on this delicious and diverse culinary tour through Eastern Europe.
Garlicky Georgian Poussins (Kurka tabaka)
2 poussins 4 cloves garlic, finely grated sea salt flakes ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper 3 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon sunflower oil ½ tablespoon chopped tarragon ½ tablespoon chopped basil ½ tablespoon chopped parsley ½ tablespoon chopped dill
To serve: good bread Tkhemali (see below)
1 Spatchcock each poussin by cutting it along the backbone with a knife or scissors. Flatten them with the palm of your hand, then rub with the grated garlic and season generously all over with salt and the cayenne pepper.
2 Heat the butter and oil in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan. Cook the poussins, cut side down, over medium heat for 3 minutes, then flip them over and cook them, skin side down, for 5 minutes.
3 Lower the heat and place a cartouche (a circle of baking parchment or wax paper) over the birds, followed by a smaller frying pan on top. Weight it all down with something heavy.
4 Cook for 20–25 minutes over the lowest possible heat. To test that the poussins are cooked, pull away at the legs – they should come away easily and the juices should run clear.
5 When the birds are done, lift them out and let rest on a chopping board for 5 minutes. Add the herbs to the buttery juices in the pan and cook for another minute or two.
6 Serve the poussins drizzled with the herby juices, or mop the juices up with some good bread, along with the Tkhemali.
Georgian Plum Chutney (Tkhemali):
¾ lb (375 g) plums or greengages, pitted and roughly chopped 1 clove garlic, grated or crushed ½ teaspoon smoked paprika ½ tablespoon black treacle or blackstrap molasses 2 sprigs dill, chopped sea salt flakes
1. Place the plums or greengages in a saucepan, add a splash of water, cover with a lid, and boil over medium-low heat until the fruits start to soften, about 10 minutes.
2. Mash them with a fork, then add the garlic, paprika, and treacle, and season with salt.
3. Cook with the lid off for another 10 minutes.
4. Add the dill and serve at room temperature with the Kurka tabaka (see above). You can keep the chutney for a few days in the refrigerator. If sealed in a sterilized jar, it will keep for ages.
Olia Hercules trained at the renowned Leiths School of Food and Wine and in 2015 published Mamushka, winner of the Fortnum and Mason Award for best debut cookbook 2016. Her second cookbook, Kaukasis: A Culinary Journey through Georgia, Azerbaijan and Beyond, was published in 2017.
“The food of Ukraine in particular (and Eastern Europe in general) is given beautiful treatment in this comprehensive volume, chock full of the flavors of the region, with just enough of a seasonal twist to keep very old recipes feeling surprisingly fresh.”
“…a gorgeous love letter to the food of her homeland that definitively proves there’s more to the Ukraine than borscht and potato dumplings.”
– SAVEUR Magazine
“Forget what you think you know about Ukrainian food; with OIia Hercules, it's fun and colorful.”
“In this cookbook, [Hercules] sets the record straight, offering dozens of recipes that illustrate the culinary depth and breadth of Ukraine and Eastern Europe… Artfully photographed and buoyed by Hercules’s enthusiasm for the region and culture, this is a thoughtful and welcome diversion for foodies of all tastes.”
– Publisher’s Weekly
"The garlicky Georgian poussins I revere and will be eating again and again…Served with cheesy Moldovan lazy flatbreads and beet and gherkin salad, this food is pretty extraordinary.”
– New York Times
“In the era of all things Sichuan-blasted and bacon-infused, this lovely Ukrainian cookbook is a breath of fresh air. Sections on homemade dumplings and breads are delightful, and simple soups like duck and sorrel or mushroom with buckwheat look downright healthful.”