Kitchen arrived at the cottage just before a recent weekend where I was the kind of unwell that makes you want to curl up on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate and a good book. I picked up Kitchen – carefully, I didn’t want to drop the hot chocolate, and it is a Big Book – and it was the perfect antidote to a few miserable days. I reveled in Nigella’s exuberant and extensive descriptions of Cheesy Chilli, Guinness Gingerbread and Marmalade Pudding Cake. Never mind the comfort eating: this is comfort reading at its very best.
Category: Cookery Books
I’ve been a Domini Kemp fan since she and her sister, Peaches, opened the first Itsabagel in Dublin’s Epicurean Food Hall. I fell in love with the Mountaineer bagel at first bite and Itsabagel became a regular port of call as well as the unanimous office choice when I was picking up lunch for everyone. I loved her first 2002 cookbook, Real Food, Real Fast, especially the sweet side of things: the Sticky Toffee Pudding makes masses and is a well-tried-and-tested large crowd dessert, the gooey Pistachio and Chocolate Biscuits never linger long and White Chocolate Berries is a great bring-along-dessert for dinner at a friend’s house.
Since the first Leon cookbook arrived at the cottage, it hasn’t been allowed to leave the kitchen. Crammed with whole food ideas and healthy, seasonal dishes, all the food is tempting and very, very tasty. The Indian Parsnip Soup is one of those recipes that is in constant rotation, Little Missy loves the Sweet Potato Falafel and there’s always a stash of smoked fish in the fridge for a Magic Mackerel salad.
A gentle introduction to Italian cooking, Catherine’s Italian Kitchen is the companion book to Catherine Fulvio’s well-received television series, which was nominated for a World Food Media Award earlier this year. Fulvio, who runs the well regarded Ballyknocken Cookery School at her family home in Wicklow, is married to Sicilian native Claudio. With this connection and her teaching experience, she is well placed to translate Italian recipes to an Irish audience.
Not having a television, I had never heard of Gregg Wallace before Gregg’s Favourite Puddings landed on the doorstep. A co-presenter of BBC show Masterchef, apparently he is well known for his sweet tooth, and this book is a like a greatest hits of the pudding world.
There are times when a book arrives at exactly the right time. Elizabeth Carty’s Shrewd Food, with its focus on – as the subtitle says – a new way of shopping, cooking and eating, is that book. As Carty points out in her introduction, food does not have to be expensive to be good and recipes in the following pages prove this.
Simple, accessible recipes are Tana Ramsay’s hallmark and that hasn’t changed in her latest book, Tana’s Kitchen Secrets. Unlike her superchef husband, Ramsay’s family-orientated recipes – she has four children to cater for – are all of the easily achievable, what-will-I-make-tonight kind. Dishes like Indian Lamb Chops, Moroccan Fish Tagine or Raspberry & Lemon Torta will appeal to everyone and there’s no need for complicated equipment or difficult-to-find ingredients.
How to make seaweed sexy? Take a passionate woman who happens to be an expert forager and cook, add a strong sense of place – the Sligo coast – scatter with a selection of recipes from well known (Domini Kemp, Hugo Arnold) and local Irish chefs (Brid Torrades of Sligo’s Tobergal Lane Cafe) and you have Prannie Rhatigan’s fabulous Irish Seaweed Kitchen.