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From Venice to Istanbul by Rick Stein

We have gathered all the fantastic reviews our Book Club Members have sent us this month.

Click on each name to read the review. If you would like to become part of the Viking Book Club, sign up here >>

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Vicki Owens

From Venice to Istanbul by Rick Stein, what a fabulous cook book, well and concisely written, recipes easy to follow, lovely stories at the beginning of each chapter, wonderful pictures, can’t wait to try some of the recipes - especially the desserts. An inspirational book.

Beryl Whiteside

The book is the perfect accompaniment to the TV series of the same name.

It could be difficult to source some of the ingredients so it would have been helpful to have been given suggestions for alternatives. I would have liked to have seen photographs of the finished recipe.

Thank you for the opportunity to review this book.

Mabel Sheard

I am delighted to receive From Venice to Istanbul by Rick Stein. It is a rediscovery of a sea trip I made with my husband several years ago and the photographs brought back so many memories.

The photography is stunning, the food jumps out of the pages taking me back to the markets we wandered around and the wonderful spicy smells of the street food being prepared. The inclusion of local people brings the book even more alive, we all remember the trader who offered us a taste of olives or nuts or speciality as we hover by wondering what to buy. The fact that we may not speak each other’s language does not seem to matter as a smile will say so much instead.

The book is a colourful adventure. The introduction sets the scene, food does not need to be expensive or complicated, just fresh, flavourful, cooked with passion and shared. Spices and flavours complementing the history and romance of this magical region. Recipes are easy to follow and as delicious as the illustrations, I can recommend the Lamb Kleftiko and Lamb Tandir and my adventure with this book will continue as I dip in and out of its pages with mouth-watering anticipation.

Thank you for my eastern adventure.

Margaret Wrenn

Thank you so much for this exciting book, it’s beautifully illustrated and as well as all the amazing recipes, it’s also an amazing story of Rick’s journey. I’ve learnt such a lot already and still taking the journey, and about to try out our favourite Greek dish, Lamb Kleftiko, we enjoy this on our annual trip to Stoupa in Greece, but have never cooked it as yet. Looking forward to the rest of the journey through this amazing book...

Allan Thomson

Interesting volume. While some items might be difficult to find e.g. goat for pot roast, the flavours could tempt most people to try something different or to try some dishes enjoyed during holidays. The book is well written with obvious eagerness for Aegean tastes and even the photographs can entertain.

Sheila Davies

A beautifully presented book with recipes from the Eastern Mediterranean.

The photography is stunning and you can almost smell and taste the dishes you see and the recipes you read.

I read Rick’s introduction with great interest as we are sailing the Eastern Mediterranean next year on the new Viking Sea. Reading about the Rialto Bridge, Greece, Croatia, Dubrovnik and Turkey filled me with anticipation.

Hummus was instantly tried after feeling I could have dipped my own Pitta bread in to the photograph on the page …delicious!

Other favourites were Scallops & Broad Bean on Sourdough Bread and Sporki Makaruli.

We tried Gozleme with Spinach & Feta years ago in Kusadasi and now can’t wait to do so again.

I liked the honest way Rick explains at times how he had slightly altered dishes to make his own version or wasn’t sure about something until he tried it like the mushrooms in balsamic.

This book a perfect accompaniment to the new TV series and will now take pride of place in my kitchen while I try to recreate the flavours at home while waiting to taste some on the dishes on our trip.

Michael Rines

In a recent article in Radio Times cooking guru Prue Leith regretted that cookbooks such as Stein’s are more likely to be found on the coffee table than in the kitchen where they might be spattered with custard and gravy. “Today, if we cook, we Google it,” she claims.

Well, I am no cook, but I believe this beautiful book scores on several counts. First, we all know we should be eating the traditional Mediterranean diet, and Stein brings us recipes for the authentic traditional cuisine, based on on-the-spot experience of eating in noted restaurants in the countries he visits.

As a frequent visitor to those countries I value the book as a guide to the best places to eat, as a guide to understanding their menus and as a guide to the best dishes to choose. The comprehensive index is itself a useful work of reference to a vast range of dishes and the ingredients from which they are made.

And let’s not decry the book for its coffee table appeal. It is full of superb photographs, not only of the locations Stein visits, but also of sumptuous pictures of stalls set out with luscious produce and of mouth-watering depictions of both the simplest and the most exotic dishes.

Glenys Frost

A recipe book with a difference, written with Rick Stein’s individual chaotic style, flair and passion for food. It is full of mouth-watering, easy to follow recipes from spice mixes and snacks to enabling the reader to create a dinner party, complimented by vividly colourful photos. The introduction provides an interesting combination of memories and history of the places visited, making the reader feel part of his experience.

Each chapter begins with a tantalising description of what is to come, whilst each individual recipe has its own introduction making you feel like Rick Stein is in the room talking to you.

The overall experience of the book is enhanced if you are able to watch the recipes being made on the television series of the same name. It also makes you want to book a trip on the Viking Star and follow in his footsteps.

Jane Hemming

Rick Stein is a favourite chef of mine - just reading his Introduction to this book got my taste buds going! From Venice to Istanbul is beautifully presented with its various photographs of both places and food and tempts the reader to literally follow his journey; both for the places visited with their history and geography as well as local food and Rick's recipes. I've read through all the recipes and have decided to try at least one each week until they have all been sampled.

Catherine Berry

This book ties in with series of the same name currently showing on BBC2 TV. Like Rick Stein's previous books this is full of mouth-watering recipes from his Byzantine travels which are beautifully photographed. He writes about the food, people and places he went to through the Eastern Mediterranean. This makes for interesting reading and his enthusiasm shines through. I have tried a few of the recipes - sardines simply wrapped in vine leaves to stop them sticking on the barbecue were great - it really stops them falling apart! The chicken in sumac and pomegranate molasses was delicious! I have made a list of several more recipes I must try. However, when he claims the subtleties of the Greek Salad ingredients need to be observed I would add that the most important ingredient needed here is to enjoy it in the Greek sunshine! My only criticism of the book is whilst the pictures of the food and people are lovely, I would have liked more pictures of the actual places he visited to have been included too. A lovely book – thank you Viking for letting me review it.

Joanne Watts

My first impression on looking at this book was the vividness and freshness of the colour photos of all the wonderful foodstuffs and dishes created by Rick Stein, whose reputation precedes him as I can vouch for having eaten at one of his Padstow restaurants. This doesn't always translate into a good book - after all who wants to eat a photograph, but in this case the recipes with accurate cooking instructions, while having room for a little individual creativity, entirely do justice to the photographs. The little monographs with the recipes give an authentic feel to the dishes and increase the readers’ sense of atmosphere and local flavour. Rick Stein has certainly added to his repertoire of cookery in this volume and makes me want to be adventurous and experiment with cooking dishes that I would not have tried before. It has also stimulated the travel bug in me and makes me want to do an eastern European tour - probably on a river cruise and experience the sights, tastes and sounds that this book has vividly captured.

Amanda Brown

I was Really excited to receive From Venice to Istanbul from the Viking Book Club in the post - I've been a fan of Rick Stein ever since he published his first book Taste of the Sea way back in 1995! Also having re-visited Venice last year, the first episode of the new series shown on television really brought back that wonderful atmosphere.

The book is beautifully produced, with lovely photos and good background stories to all the recipes. We have tried two of the dishes so far - I have to admit it was my 23 year-old son Jack who has been the cook to date. First was the Chicken and Tomato Stew with Orzo from Greece – really tasty, easy to make and a great family meal. Next up was Turkish Spiced Cabbage and Minced Lamb Stew. This was a real success, nice and spicy, and it looked exactly like the picture in Rick’s book! Jack says the recipes are easy to follow, with accessible ingredients.

I can’t wait to try out some of the other enticing dishes – and hopefully visit some more of the places - thank you Viking!

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