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What could be more comforting in the cold, dark days of late winter than hearty dishes based on the nation’s favourite vegetable, the spud. Or any dish with a lovely big, steaming baked potato on the side? Okay, strictly speaking it’s a tuber rather than a vegetable, but we all think of it and cook it like a vegetable.
What better food could there be to begin a new year than a comforting and healthy sausage. While sausages are an all-year food, they’re especially appealing in the early months when the weather can be harsh and comfort food is the order of the day, along with simple cooking and pocket-friendly prices. Add to that the feel-good factor of serving up a different kind of sausage, made with fresh fish, and you have a winner on your hands.
A member of the brassica (cabbage) family dating back to the 16th century or earlier, cauliflower is one of our healthiest and most versatile vegetables. With its white curdy head surrounded by a collar of green leaves, it is a lovely plant when freshly picked, yet it is widely undervalued - and that despite the fact that its image in some quarters has had an unexpected boost thanks to its rise to stardom in top restaurant kitchens of late.
Chef/restaurateur and academic Jp McMahon’s passion for all things Iberian is no secret and, of the terrific trio of Galway restaurants that he and his wife Drigin operate - the much-feted Aniar, Cava Bodega and EAT Gastropub - there’s always a feeling that his heart beats fastest for Cava. This book is certainly written from the heart and, like so many books with subtitles, therein lies its raison d’etre.
Twenty five years on and the original recipes in Darina Allen's A Simply Delicious Christmas (Gill & Macmillan, hardback €27.99) still seem as fresh and relevant as ever, but this handsome celebratory edition also includes over a hundred new recipes and many of these are a gentle seasonal reflection of our changing tastes in food.
Grow Cook Eat by Michael Kelly
, (GIY Ireland Ltd, hardback 294pp, full colour; €25); Prannie Rhatigan’s Guide to Edible Seaweeds
,(http://irishseaweedkitchen.ie/shop €8.45 + 2.15 p+p within Ireland) , Naked Paleo - Food stripped Bare, by Pat Divilly
(Blackwater Press, paperback, 140pp, full colour; €19.95), and GOOD NUTRITION for Cancer Recovery
(University College Cork) more...
Georgina Campbell reviews several recently published books -
A fervent supporter of sustainable hunting and seasonality, Mick Healy was singled out for a 2014 Euro-Toques Award. Highlighting his 'commitment to delivering the best and most sustainable wild game available' he was also commended for 'the quality of his products, which he handles with respect for tradition.'
Wild venison is a treat that game lovers look forward to enjoying in restaurants in winter and, as it becomes more accessible, it is also being cooked more at home, both as a special occasion dish and - in the form of sausages, mince or stewing cuts - for family meals.
The history of Ireland and the little herring has been intertwined for many a generation, with the success or failure of the herring season having a major impact on coastal communities.
I have long been an admirer of the Ferguson family and have often cited their West Cork farm, Gubbeen, as a shining example of sustainable farming and quality food production in Ireland.