SPANISH cookery guru Penelope Casas has died aged 70 following a battle with leukemia.

The Greek-American writer from Queens was championed for introducing the US to continental Spanish cuisine, and its distinctly different flavour to Mexican and South American counterparts.

Casas wrote many influential books over a career spanning more than 20 years, including The Foods and Wines of Spain which is now in its 12th edition, and La Cocina de Mama: The Great Home Cooking of Spain.

She majored in Spanish literature, and met her Spanish husband, Dr Luis Casas, during a semester in Madrid in the early 1960s.

The pair spent their evenings tapas bar hopping, and later he would collaborate with her on her books.

Casas was awarded the National Gastronomy Prize in 1983 by the Spanish government, recognition of her role as a herald of the Spanish cooking tradition in the US.

Her last book, 1000 Spanish Recipes, was completed shortly before her death and will be published in 2014.


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