It’s the colour that catches your eye first. The bold pink and red cover of Tessa Kiros’ Apples for Jam is immediately distinctive, particularly with its eye-catching photo of a pair of red, well-worn children’s shoes. And colour is hugely important in this book as Tessa and her colour-coded recipes explore the spectrum of childhood through chapters that include gold and monochrome, pink, yellow and red.
From simple, wholesome dishes like Broccoli Soup (green), Wholemeal Apricot and Apple Pie (orange) or Potato and Yoghurt Salad (white), Tessa also covers decadent-looking Brownies, sandwiched with whipped cream, strawberries and iced with a simple chocolate ganache (brown), an easy pre-made Pandoro Birthday Cake (multicolour) and Chocolate Toffee Nut Squares (stripes). Each coloured chapter comes complete with a childhood memory – a belief in toys coming awake at night, the ice cream man and his “sweet, chocolatey music”, water-drinking competitions – just one of the many things that make this cookbook so sweetly evocative. The recipes are no less attractive, without being too difficult, and my copy of the book is flecked with a host of little post-its, marking the dishes that I’m intent on trying in the near future.
As she detailed in her first book, the lovely Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes, Tessa is half-Finnish and half-Greek-Cypriot. Her upbringing in South Africa and travels throughout the world, cooking in London, Sydney, Athens and Mexico, have all informed the food that she presents here. She now lives in Tuscany with her Italian husband and two daughters, hence her second seasonal book, Twelve: A Tuscan Cookbook, and the Italian influence is strongly evident, particularly in the tomato- and pasta-heavy red section.
As with all Tessa’s cookbooks, Apples for Jam is a lavish production. It’s a satisfyingly chunky book (400-plus pages) with mouthwatering (yet realistic) photos of food, children’s drawings reproduced in full colour, bright wallpaper designs and a useful pink satin bookmark. Charming and down-to-earth, this is a book with both style and substance.
Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros is published by Murdoch Books.