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Home > Categories > Books > Recipes and Cuisine > The Modern Mediterranean Diet review

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Score: 9.5/10  [1 review]
5 out of 5
ProdID: 9175 - The Modern Mediterranean Diet
Written/Developed by Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos and Vivienne Koutsis

The Modern Mediterranean Diet
Sample/s Supplied by:
Click to search for all products supplied by Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Disclosure StatementFULL DISCLOSURE: A number of units of this product have, at some time, been provided to KIWIreviews by Macmillan Publishers Ltd or their agents for the sole purposes of unbiased, independent reviews. No fee was requested, offered nor accepted by KIWIreviews or the reviewers themselves - these are genuine, unpaid consumer reviews.
September 2023

The Modern Mediterranean Diet product reviews

Scientifically backed by decades of peer-reviewed research and rigorously tested, the Mediterranean diet can lower your risk of developing chronic diseases including diabetes, stroke, heart disease, fatty liver, some cancers, depression, and dementia.

In recent years, the Mediterranean diet has grown in popularity, not just because of its undeniable health benefits, but also because of its focus on fresh, seasonal produce: a vital array of plant-based ingredients, moderate portions of fish and eggs, fermented dairy products, and a small amount of meat.

Now Australia's leading expert on the Mediterranean diet, Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos, and her daughter, Vivienne Koutsis, show us how this traditional diet can be adapted so that everyone can enjoy its many benefits. With big flavours and little fuss. these delicious recipes have all been created with modern-day lifestyles in mind, whether you are eating less meat for ethical or environmental concerns, avoiding gluten or dairy, or just wanting to enjoy a classic dish without the traditional preparation time.

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australia   catherine itsiopoulos   dairy free   diet   fresh   gluten free   health   macmillan   mediterranean   recipe   vegan   vegetarian   vivienne koutsis
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Review by: savta (Jo)
Dated: 24th of October, 2023

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This Review: 9.5/10
Score 10 out of 10
Score 10 out of 10
Easy to Read:
Score 9 out of 10
Personal Choice:
Score 9 out of 10

I lived in Europe for many years, so the concept of a "Mediterranean" diet is not a new one for me. On my return home, I was pleased to find that food choices had expanded in recent years: garlic, avocados, specialist cheeses, infused oils, and many other products once regarded as "foreign" are all readily available these days on supermarket shelves. Cooks have become more adventurous with this increased availability of quality ingredients, resulting in exciting new dishes emerging from home kitchens - not just exclusive restaurants. Although The Modern Mediterranean Diet is an Australian book, it is equally suitable for those of us who live in Aotearoa New Zealand. Some of the food items have different names but isn't that what the internet is for?

With this growing awareness of the nutritional advantages of a Mediterranean diet, a book like this can be a valuable addition to help with informed planning. Colourful photographs show just how attractive a meal made from fresh ingredients can be, and seasonal produce plus everyday pantry basics means that costs can be kept down: an important factor in these days of constantly rising prices. The straightforward instructions make it easy for even a novice cook to follow. I browsed through the recipes for some time before opting to try two combinations that were new to me. Although they are both variants on everyday meals, they add an unexpected twist to transform the result into a gourmet delight. I prepared and served the two together as they were a logical partnership.

The first I tried was the Baked Butter Beans recipe. I already had all the listed ingredients in the house with the exception of the butter beans themselves. After trying the local supermarket, I opted to substitute cannellini as these were the only ones available locally. There is little difference between the two (other than size) so I thought this would work just as well. Preparation was simple, involving the addition of tomato passata (puree), onion, and spices before first frying and then baking the dish. Although they resembled baked beans in appearance, the final dish was worlds apart with a caramel aftertaste and crunchy bits! This would be a useful dish to serve as a vegetarian option.

With the Baked Butter Beans, I served Creamy Cos. Essentially, this is cos lettuce with a gourmet dressing. I did have cos in the garden so I was able to stay true to the ingredients, but after having made and tasted the dressing, I thought it would also go well with a variety of different lettuces and other green salad items. I can even see it replacing tartare sauce with a fish dish. The dressing has cashew nuts and olives as its main ingredients; although the preparation is a little fiddly, the outcome is magnificent. It includes plenty of extra-virgin olive oil (one of the essential ingredients in recipes throughout this book), fresh herbs, spices, lemons, and parmesan. According to the recipe, the dressing should be blended until it is really smooth. I chose to leave it a little chunky as I liked the texture of the fresh parsley and mint. Once I had tasted the dressing and spread it on top of the lettuce, I was so impressed that I completely forgot to add the parmesan at the end. I don't think anyone noticed; they were too busy enjoying it.

I found the 51 page introduction well worth reading - in fact, I did not start to browse the recipes until I had finished it. There is much useful advice, suitable for both beginners and experienced cooks, and this is complemented at the end of the book by conversion charts, endnotes with more detailed information on the nutrition sources mentioned earlier, and a comprehensive recipe index. Although the authors emphasize the health benefits of following a Mediterranean style diet, care is taken to point out that, even though the progress of some medical conditions might be slowed down or prevented altogether through sensible eating coupled with a healthy lifestyle, there is still the need for a disclaimer about the importance of taking responsibility for one's own physical health and seeking advice from medical professionals as necessary.

If there is one issue I have with this volume, it is with the binding - a common problem with many larger, lavishly presented cookbooks. While the book would look attractive on a bookshelf or coffee table, it is difficult to use in a regular kitchen because it does not open flat. I usually solve this by taking a screenshot of the page and working from my phone display instead. However, a ring binding would work well; I have one recipe book with this feature and it is so much more user-friendly. If you are working with messy ingredients, the open book can be placed inside a clear pocket and put right beside you on the bench.

Binding aside, however, I love this book and can see myself using it in many situations. I have a large extended family and love visiting them; usually I end up doing the catering for everyone as I am constantly trying out new recipes with them. We have our share of vegetarians, vegans, fussy eaters, and allergy sufferers, so it is useful to have a book like this to consult. It seems that there is something for everyone.

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