Our little London Cookbook Club met again in January to share food from Tasting Georgia: A Food and Wine Journey in the Caucasus. If you haven’t been following along with our Cookbook Club adventures, I started a club here that meets every two months. Similar to a book club, Cookbook Club meetings center around a single cookbook. Members select recipes ahead of our meetings and cook them at home, and then we bring all of our dishes together at my flat for one giant potluck. It’s one of my favorite social events.
Tasting Georgia was a little out of reach for all of us because none of us had ever had Georgian food before. The country is quickly gaining recognition as a food lover’s haven, and Georgian restaurants dot the culinary scene here in London. Quite honestly, I think many of us didn’t know what to expect from this beast of a book.
Believe the hype about Georgian food — it’s comforting, simple, and absolutely delicious when eaten as a gigantic spread. I honestly can’t remember a time that I’ve sat down at a potluck and delighted in absolutely every dish that came before me. Carla Capalbo, the writer of Tasting Georgia, weaves a story about Georgian food that makes it clear that Georgians value family time that centers around the table.
Homemade breads are also a thing in Georgian food. The dough making is simple and straightforward, and many of the breads are filled with either vegetables, cheeses or meats, making them a filling all-in-one bite.
Stews and braises are also a big part of Georgian cuisine, and the simplicity of the recipes belies the flavorful nature of these dishes. A braised meatball dish spiced with coriander and fenugreek was herbaceous and filling. A braised beef and chickpea stew was surprising in its infusion of fresh herbs; the beef was fall-apart tender with fresh mint and dill woven throughout. We went crazy for both dishes.
Rounding out our feast were these four sea bream topped with a walnut pesto. I’d ordered these fish to be delivered with my regular grocery order (sidenote: grocery delivery is honestly one of the things I love the most about London), and I was thrilled when these sea bream arrived, taut and glimmering. The walnut pesto with cilantro and white wine vinegar gets stuffed right into the middle of the fish and drizzled on top. The zippy sauce just soaks right into the fish. We all dove in for bite after bite, and many of us wondered what else we could put this walnut pesto on. Baguettes? Chicken? Steak? The possibilities are endless!
As always, you can cook with us from afar via our Facebook group here.
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