Tasty by Name, Tasty by Nature

Truly Tasty by Val TwomeyThere has been great interest in the fabulous cookbook Truly Tasty (Atrium, hardback 332pp, original photography throughout; €19.95/£17.95), which was compiled by successful kidney transplant recipient, Valerie Twomey, as part of her ongoing campaign to promote organ donor awareness, with all royalties going to the Irish Kidney Association.

And no wonder - who wouldn’t be glad of a bit of inspiration and guidance from the likes of Ross Lewis (Chapter One), Catherine Fulvio (Ballyknocken House & Cookery School), Derry Clarke (l'Ecrivain), Domini Kemp (Itsa4), Neven Maguire (MacNean House & Restaurant) and Rachel Allen, to mention only a few of the famous chefs who have each contributed recipes for a three-course meal to this unusual book.

But the response since we reviewed it recently shows just how many people are affected by kidney disease, either as patients or because someone in the family or a friend has to live within a special diet.

Over 30 top Irish chefs created special recipes for the book, which would make a great present for anyone living with kidney disease and includes dozens of tempting ideas both for everyday meals and for entertaining.

This extremely professional and handsomely produced book, edited by well known Irish Food Writers’ Guild member Lizzie Gore-Grimes and with beautiful food photography by Hugh McElveen, is backed up by a talented team, including Cork journalist Brian Moore, who interviewed every single chef for the book.

Used together as intended, the recipes allow kidney patients to escape from the usual limitations of the renal diet sheet, and individual dishes will seem quite normal for the ordinary cook too, making them ideal for entertaining without having to make a separate meal for a visiting (or resident) kidney patient.

And, judging by the quality of the book and the track record of the publisher, Atrium, Truly Tasty is set to become a classic – which would be extremely unusual for a special interest cookbook. Atrium, is an imprint of Cork University Press (www.corkuniversitypress.com), and they’re known for their carefully selected portfolio of cookbooks – all by outstanding authors.

They include Carmel Somers’ modern classic ‘Eat Good Things Every Day’, wonderful vegetarian books from both Denis Cotter of Café Paradiso and Eleanor Heffernan of Cornucopia; Paul Flynn’s highly original ‘The Tannery Cookbook: An Irish Adventure with Food’; and Dianne Curtin’s evocative stories of artisan food producers, ‘The Creators – The Individuals of Irish Food’.

What these gorgeous books all have in common, apart from excellent writing (and recipes that really work!), is beautiful photography and design, and top quality production standards, so what you get is books that you’ll enjoy for many years, and which make highly covetable gifts. So it should come as no surprise that Truly Tasty is both beautiful and highly practical– and in this case it is also truly unique.

Fried Squid with Lime and Chilli DressingFried Squid with Lime and Chilli Dressing

This colourful Asian-inspired dish was adapted from a similar dish in my own book ‘From Tide To Table’ (out of print), and is very quick to prepare. It is important to cook the squid thoroughly for food safety, however be careful not to cook it for too long as it can become tough and chewy.

Click for recipe

Tuscan Lemon Chicken with Provencal CouscousTuscan Lemon Chicken with Provencal Couscous

This wonderfully summery dish comes from one of Ireland’s most original chefs, Paul Flynn, of the renowned restaurant and cookery school, The Tannery, in Dungarvan, West Waterford.

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Fluffy American Pancakes with Mixed Berries & Yoghurt Fluffy American Pancakes with Mixed Berries & Yoghurt

These American pancakes are a bit like a light dropped scone or ‘pikelet’. The recipe is from a menu contributed to Truly Tasty by Peter Merrigan, head chef at Avoca Rathcoole, in County Dublin, who says, ”Remember cooking is all about enjoying yourself. Take your time, make mistakes – you can start again, but always use good ingredients.”

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