Cook ahead, shop ahead, think ahead – those are the main points of Carmel Somers’ first cookbook. Somers is the chef/owner of the Good Things Café, an acclaimed restaurant and popular cookery school in Durrus, West Cork. Eat Good Things Every Day, however, is not in the least bit cheffy. It is all about simple family dishes, often lifted with an unexpected ingredient: an apple in a cabbage stir fry with pork belly, bananas fried to accompany a Cuban rice dish, raw rhubarb tossed in a salad with cucumber and mint.
Eat Good Things Every Day is a book with a plan for eight weeks’ worth of uncomplicated dinner recipes. Each week begins with a shopping list and Somers sets down a few cook ahead recipes (rice, tomato sauce, stocks) that can be made without too much fuss at the weekend. These are the building blocks of the weeks’ dinners, getting transformed into Kedgeree or Moroccan Lamb (rice), Moussaka or Fish Stew (tomato sauce) and Topside of Beef or Braised Fennel (stocks). At the end of the book there are also chapters on soups, sweet things and a few extra special recipes that people have requested. Somers’ Spinach and Durrus Cheese Pizza from the Good Things Café turns up here, as does her Roasted Turnips with Ginger and a very good all-in-one Chocolate and Banana Cake.
Planning aside, these are just very good recipes, all of which have been tested on her own family of three daughters. Imaginative leftovers form an important part of the book (Coconut Chicken with Spices and Herbs, Noodles with Peanut Dressing and Pork ) and Somers supplies plenty of dishes to use up those odd bits of vegetables that often hang around the fridge. There are lots of great fish dishes, crunchy winter salads and I love the idea of substituting chopped dulse for anchovies with lamb.
This is a cookbook which deserves to become splattered with food from kitchen use.
Must Try: Red Lentils Stewed with Tomatoes and Spices, served with Spinach, Baked Potato and Natural Yoghurt
Eat Good Things Every Day by Carmel Somers is published by Atrium. Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.
Listen to Carmel Somers talk about Spices on Foodtalk with Newstalk from here.