Thursday, November 14, 2013

Recommended Irish Cookbooks for Christmas

It's that time of the year again when you're thinking about Christmas gifts and there really is nothing better than the gift of a beautiful cookbook at Christmas. It has been a record year for Irish cookbooks published by bloggers, television cooks, chefs, butchers and many others. Below you will find a list of some great Irish cookbooks I've come across this year with the option to click on the cookbook image to purchase. 

Stay up-to-date with new titles, cookbook competitions and my own recipes by following me on Twitter or liking my Facebook page.

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The Nation's Favourite Food
by Neven McGuire

In his fantastic new cookbook, Neven has assembled his all-time top 100 recipes. These are what Neven describes as his 'all-stars' the fool-proof, tried and tested definitive versions of the dishes Ireland makes every day of the week. Each section contains 5 absolute classics, so you won’t be overwhelmed by choice; rather, you will be inspired to learn the recipes off-by-heart as you make them over and over again.

If you learn just one dish from each section, you will have 20 perfected recipes in your repertoire and be well on your way to impressing in the kitchen. Destined to become a classic, The Nation’s Favourite Food will become the most hard-working thing in the kitchen – so you don’t have to be.

Kevin Dundon's Modern Irish Food
by Kevin Dundon

In Kevin Dundon's Modern Irish Food cookbook, Kevin takes on time-honoured, traditional dishes and ingredients and gives them a twist as only he can. The result is delicious, easy-going food that is perfect for everything from leisurely dinner with friends to a quick family lunch. Think modern takes on Rib of Beef, Lamb Stew or Brown Soda Bread - all with easy-to-follow instructions for replicating at home and presented against a backdrop of gorgeous country landscapes.

Kevin's passion for freshness mixed with both simplicity and flair permeates his cooking. Whether it's a Smoked Fish Chowder or Wicklow Venison in Mulled Wine, Chicken with Lemon and Fennel or Buttermilk and Heather-infused Panna cotta, Kevin uses simple seasonal ingredients to spectacular effect. Family gatherings - Christmas, Easter, a summer BBQ - are catered for, as well as easy meals for everyday dinners, lunches and brunches. Kevin's magic touch will transform anyone's cooking. This beautiful book will fill you with enthusiasm for fresh ingredients and delicious comfort food.

Home Cooked
by Donal Skehan

It has been a great year for TV cook, blogger and food writer Donal Skehan who managed to publish his fourth book while launching Feast Magazine, judging junior Masterchef, and touring Italy for Fox America for "Granma's Boy". If all that wasn't enough, Donal decided to bring a fun filled tour to sellout theatres across Ireland to promote his new cookbook Home Cooked. 

Home Cooked is packed with 100 delicious new recipes for relaxed home cooking to accompany the hit TV show. Whether you are a time-pressed mum, a culinary novice, or a student looking to feed friends tasty no-fuss meals, Donal’s irresistible recipes will get you cooking up a storm in absolutely no time. This is a cookbook which has made cooking fun by taking the fear out of cooking. A perfect gift for cooks of all ages. 

The Irish Beef Book
by Pat Whelan and Kathy McGuinness

Pat Whelan is Ireland’s foremost butcher, in his new book The Irish Beef Book, Pat shares the benefit of his inherited expertise as a fifth-generation farmer and butcher, empowering readers with the knowledge to seek out the very best beef available. Katy McGuinness shows you how to create delicious dishes using every part of the animal with recipes selected to ensure that this is the only guide to cooking beef the domestic cook will ever need.

The classics are all included, as are quick and easy midweek suppers and more complex dishes for leisurely weekend entertaining. There is a whole section devoted to the perfect steak, and the chapter on roasting removes the fear factor from Sunday lunchtime once and for all. With beautiful photography taken on the farm as well as in the kitchen, this unique book is one to celebrate.

Master It: How To Cook Today 
by Rory O' Connell

These days we have become more educated about food, yet most of us seem to know very little about actual cooking. In Master It, Rory O’Connell will teach you simple but essential skills to make you a truly good cook. At the heart of his approach are good ingredients, carefully prepared, and used in recipes that are tried, tested, carefully measured, and full of the essential tips and details that will make your dishes a success. 

Each chapter teaches you a particular technique – preparing a soup, roasting meat, making biscuits – and includes a collection of fresh, seasonal recipes to use it in, from wild garlic soup, to roast pork with fennel seeds, chilli and garlic, to caramel and almond thins.

30 Years of Ballymaloe 
by Darina Allen & Alice Waters

Thirty years ago, Darina Allen opened the doors of Ballymaloe Cookery School with just 15 courses available. Today, the school offers over 100 courses including the internationally recognised 12 week cookery course. In this cookbook the recipes of the cookery school are collected here, including how to cure meat, making gluten-free meals and sushi as well as learning forgotten skills like producing butter and cheese and beekeeping. 

The book chronicles how the school has been at the forefront of cooking and food trends since its inception, from Darina's championing of the Slow Food movement and highlighting the importance of using local, seasonal and fresh produce to installing a wood-burning oven and expanding its gardens so students can learn the importance of eating less meat and more veg and preserving heirloom varieties of produce. A fascinating insight into Ballymaloe, this is also a history of food over the past thirty years, from a time when Darina couldn't get anything other than pre-packaged, grated Parmesan cheese to one where a local producer makes his own mozzarella.

Rachel's Irish Family Food 
by Rachel Allen

Although Rachel Allen published Everyday Kitchen in October, earlier this year Rachel published Rachel's Irish Family Food designed to bring loved ones together. It includes a collection of delicious and simple recipes that highlight the best of authentic Irish cooking. Over 100 recipes that offer the best in both traditional and modern Irish cooking, from new twists on old classics to tried and tested recipes which have delighted many generations in Ireland. 

Quick and simple dinners, big family feasts, sweet treats and celebration food, this is Irish family cooking at its best. Alongside these gorgeous recipes you will find stories, history and insights into Irish life from across all the counties of Ireland to bring a smile to your face as you slow down and relish the joys of family, nature and great food. Rachel Allen shows you the bounty of this beautiful place with honest, hearty, delicious family food.

Chapter One: An Irish Food Story 
by Ross Lewis

Chapter One is an Irish story. It has grown from humble beginnings with a sense of integrity, warmth, Irish spirit, but not one compromise on quality. Ross Lewis has a talent which is undeniable and he has always championed Irish artisan producers and Irish cooking. This beautiful book showcases the quality of the cooking at Chapter One, together with the Irish producers and staff who give the restaurant its heartbeat.

Ross Lewis has a passion for what he does, the integrity of his vision, and the flair with which he runs his restaurant will be enjoyed on every page. Each recipe is accompanied by stunning photography by famed Irish photographer, Barry McCall. A truly stunning book, Chapter One: A Story of Irish Food is a fitting tribute to the achievements of the restaurant and of the Irish food industry. 

(Read my recent chat with Ross Lewis here).

Weekend Chef | Easy Food For Lazy Days
by Catherine Fulvio

Following the success of Eat Like an Italian which earned Catherine the award of Irish Cookbook of the Year at the 2012 Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards, Catherine Fulvio returns with Weekend Chef. Catherine Fulvio celebrates the easy vibe of the weekend with 100 new recipes to see you through the weekend. From Friday night curry to Saturday brunch, from rainy-day baking, to Sunday family dinner.

Weekend Chef is filled with ideas for leisurely breakfasts including Chocolate French Toast with Hazelnuts and Raspberries. If your mid-week meal consists of express rice and fast food, why not host a Tapas night and make Catherine's Garlic Artichokes and Mushrooms, Roasted Grapes with Jamon Serrano and Patatas Bravas? If you like to spend your weekend baking, then try the Chocolate and Cardamom Brioche Buns or Orange and Almond Polenta Squares.

Apron Strings
by Nessa Robins

Nessa Robins is a popular food columnist and award-winning blogger. As a trained nurse and mother of four, Nessa's passion for cooking, and love of writing merged when she started her award-winning food blog, Nessa's Family Kitchen in 2010. Apron Strings is her first book; a collection of family-friendly recipes including some heartfelt and real stories from a typical modern Irish family kitchen.  

Nessa Robins guides both the novice and the experienced home cook through an array of tasty, tempting and traditional recipes with a modern twist. Never complicated using ingredients easily found in shops and supermarkets across Ireland, Apron Strings delivers recipes to be savoured and enjoyed, each one chosen from the author’s own experience.

Lilly Higgins' Dream Deli 
by Lilly Higgins

Following the success of best selling baking cookbook Make, Bake, Love Sunday Business Post food columnist Lilly Higgins follows up with her long awaited second book Dream Deli. It has always been a dream of Lily's to own her own little café but while waiting for that dream to come true, Lily shares recipes that will, one day, feature on the menu of Lilly's menu.

Dream Deli is a book filled with lots of fresh and simple recipes that fit nicely into modern life. From breakfasts of homemade granola and smoothies, to gorgeous soups bursting with flavour; from stunning supper ideas, and of course, lots of delicious sweet treats for afternoon tea. Lily invites you into her dream deli injecting some café culture into your home.

Like Mam Used To Bake
by Rosanne Hewitt-Cromwell

Rosanne Hewitt-Cromwell has been locked in a love affair with cake and baking for as long as she can remember. Rosanne recalls the childhood memories listening to her mum singing happily in the kitchen, delicious sweet aromas filling the house. Today Rosanne stands in her own kitchen singing and baking more treats than her poor husband can eat.

Popular favourites from Rosanne's baking blog are included in the book alongside a whole host of new recipes from childhood memories and experiments in her kitchen including the ever-popular mint-crisp pie, almond fingers and upside-down cake, to her addictive rocky road - there really is something to suit all tastes. Rosanne even dedicates a chapter to Christmas baking, her favourite time of year with helpful hints and strolls down memory lane, a must buy for the baker in your life.

{Stay up-to-date with new titles, cookbook competitions and my own recipes by following me on Twitter or liking my Facebook page.}

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Competition: Win a Copy of Chapter One Cookbook & Lily O' Brien's Chocolate Hamper

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{My recent chat with Ross Lewis about 21 years of Chapter One can be found here}

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Irish food lovers are in for a treat with the long awaited publication of the Chapter One: An Irish Food Story written by Michelin-starred chef Ross Lewis and Martin Corbett. Starting out in 1992 from the basement of the Irish Writer’s Museum in Parnell Square, Chapter One has gone on to establish itself as one of the best restaurants in Ireland, with numerous awards for both service and food, including a Michelin star in 2007.

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Renowned for championing the best of Irish artisan food produce, Chapter One has placed Ireland firmly on the international food map too, with its reputation extending beyond Irish shores. The restaurant’s philosophy is illustrated throughout the book, with recipes featured from the menu over the past 21 years. Chapter One: An Irish Food Story celebrates the artisan producers who supply into the restaurant, with stunning portraits by famed photographer Barry McCall. Chapter One: An Irish Food Story is not just a cookbook, it's a story of how far Irish food has come.

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To celebrate the publication of the book Gill & MacMillian have given me a copy of Chapter One: An Irish Food Story to giveaway and Lily O' Brien's Chocolates have given me a luxurious Chocolate hamper to accompany the prize. A full range of Lily O' Brien's Christmas hampers now available on their website here.

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To Enter

- Simply subscribe to my blog over on the right hand side and leave your name as a comment below. (Once you leave a comment below I can reply to the winner. No email addresses or phone numbers please).

Keep up-to-date with latest recipes, cookbook reviews & competitions by liking my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter here.

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Terms & Conditions

1. Competition Closes on Friday 15th November at 5pm. The winner will be contacted on the evening of the 15th. 

2. Competition entrants must be over 18 years old and resident in the Republic of Ireland.

3. The prize will be delivered within 21 days of winning. Where this is not possible the winner will be notified of a delay.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Chapter One: An Irish Food Story

Article Written by: Dermot O' Sullivan & Patrick Hanlon

21 years ago, a passionate young chef returned to Ireland from shores afar with a concept in his mind. Having honed his skill in the kitchens of Odins (London), Dolphins Brasserie (Plymouth) and Le Chat Botté Restaurant at the Beau Rivage Hotel in Geneva, Ross Lewis began a fine dining phenomenon from the ground up in Dublin’s North inner city.

Ross Lewis with Mrs. Allen at Ballymaloe House

In 1992, Chapter One opened it’s doors, located in the basement of Dublin’s Writers Museum on Parnell Square. Lewis set out with a clear vision to showcase a new style of cookery alongside a loyal team of staff, and championing Irish artisan produce, which has simultaneously been the heart of every plate on Lewis’ pass and the vision for the restaurant since day one.

“We have such great food coming from our artisan and small producers that it’s now, finally, really beginning to shine as part of Ireland’s growing food culture”, Lewis explains.

For two decades the menu at Chapter One has gradually evolved, slowly becoming more complex as Lewis and his team found their feet and challenged themselves. As they grew, customers mirrored their own growth, welcoming and embracing each menu addition.

You could class Chapter One’s menu as the definition of modern Irish cooking. The technique is superlative, the produce is local and supportive of Irish artisan business, and the dining experience is one of ease, charm and comfort.

The Michelin Star that the restaurant was awarded in 2007, and has kept since, almost came organically following customers’ positive feedback and their championing of Chapter One with word of mouth recommendations. Lewis is quick to commend his staff and credit his suppliers when the subject of his Michelin star is brought up, "I have had such huge commitment from our staff here but also from our suppliers and as their star has raised so too has our food”.

The Michelin star was born just as the boom died out, and the restaurant has had to steer through adversity in the industry for the past few years, always coming out a stronger, bigger and better version of itself. The restaurant’s success is “the sum of individual parts”, Lewis declares, preferring to deflect the praise of his own talents onto the “combination of service, food and welcome” which he and his entire team provide.

Looking towards the future, Lewis says it’s bright for restaurants “who are maintaining standards and constantly aiming to improve or enhance their business, it is important that customers feel that restaurants are still passionate about what they do”

Though illustrated in every fibre of the food he serves, Lewis’ passion, vision and artistic flair are also depicted and documented in the pages of his new book, Chapter One: An Irish Food Story. The book compiles over 90 recipes, which are accompanied by stunning food photography like never seen before, captured by internationally-acclaimed Irish photographer Barry McCall.

Chapter One: An Irish Food Story is published by Gill & MacMillian and is an ideal Christmas present for that true foodie in your life.