Book Reviews

Dunne & Crescenzi - The Menu There’s nothing to beat seeing a handsomely produced book on the shelf and books still make the greatest Christmas presents. This - the second month of our Christmas books selection - includes three great recipes for alternative desserts for your festive meals.

A fascinating culinary story began when Eileen Dunne Crescenzi and her husband Stefano met in Italy, when they were both working with the United Nations. They dreamt of running a restaurant together and, on settling back in Ireland, they opened a deli in north Dublin which was to be the foundation of a hospitality ‘empire’ that now comprises eight restaurants and cafés offering varying - but equally authentic - Italian dining and deli experiences, all based on the best artisan foods from Ireland and Italy.

Now Eileen has written a beautiful cookbook Dunne & Crescenzi, The Menu (Mercier Press, hardback €19.99), with recipes from their much-loved flagship restaurant on Dublin’s South Frederick Street. This handsomely produced book is dedicated to their many loyal customers – for whom it is a must – who will enjoy recreating their favourite dishes at home.

For any cooks as yet unfamiliar with the restaurant, it is a lovely introduction and an excellent general Italian reference, as the range is wide and balanced – antipasti, bruschetta, soups and salads, pasta dishes, polenta, risottos, meat and fish dishes are all here plus, of course, some mouthwatering desserts. Federica Crescenzi’s stylish photography sets the tone, and practical little comments and asides ensure good results for the home cook – this is a book for everyone who loves good food.


“When we ran our little deli in Sutton back in 1995, neighbours would often ask us to cater for family gatherings, pre-wedding dinners, etc. Tiramisu was particularly popular - a combination of chocolate, cream cheese and coffee that most people adore. We have tried various liquors but find that vinsanto gives it an elegant lift.”

Click for recipe

Giving ‘over 130 reasons to love our food’, Jamie's Great Britain (Michael Joseph/Penguin hardback, stg£30) Jamie?s Great Britain (Michael Joseph/Penguin hardback, stg?30) celebrates ‘the real essence of British food, done properly’.

Every country should take pride in its food, and this enthusiastically collected combination of classics and new dishes created with British produce is well timed to coincide with a newfound appreciation of the good things that have been on our collective doorsteps all the time – and big events coming up in Britain in 2012, including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics.

You don’t need to be British or have any previous bias towards British food to enjoy this book, as there is plenty about it that has resonance with the neighbouring island.


“Puddings you can make ahead of time and leave in the freezer until you need them are great. Especially around the holidays, which is when I tend to make this one. I see this dessert as a sort of cross between a summer pudding and an arctic roll, so it hits a lot of those retro buttons. Because it's an assembly job, anybody at all can make this - so if you've got someone at your house who won't muck in because they say they can't cook, put them to work on this!”

Click for recipe

MasterChef KITCHEN BIBLE, Everything you need to know to become a MasterChef in your own kitchen (Dorling Kindersley hardback, ?26/?30)MasterChef KITCHEN BIBLE, Everything you need to know to become a MasterChef in your own kitchen (Dorling Kindersley hardback, £26/€30)
is billed as ‘the ultimate cooking companion’ and, with advice on everything from choosing the best knives to suggestions from flavour pairing along with all of the skills, tips and recipes you need to cook successfully to a high level at home, that’s no idle boast.

The range of recipes is interesting and includes a great collection of retro and ‘modern classic’ treats like the sample below, as well as original MasterChef recipes form the programmes. A fine book.

Black Forest Gateau from MasterChef KITCHEN BIBLE, Everything you need to know to become a MasterChef in your own kitchen (Dorling Kindersley hardback, ?26/?30)SAMPLE RECIPE: BLACK FOREST GATEAU

“This is a classic cake that cannot be improved. However, don't waste the remaining cherry juice - use it as a basis for a berry fruit salad.”

Preparation time 55 minutes
Cooking time 40 minutes

Serves 8

Click for recipe

There are currently no comments

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment
Not a member? Register for your free membership now!
Or leave a comment by logging in with: