The last word in pizza
Ireland lost a great restaurant when Bernadette O'Shea closed Truffles of Sligo way back in 1997, but her truly outstanding pizzas live on in her landmark book, Pizza Defined.
This masterful work is now back in print, thanks to John McKenna of Estragon Press and Bridgestone guides fame.
I was lucky enough to eat in Truffles just before it closed and I can still remember every mouthful of Bernadette's bacon and cabbage pizza. Well, not bacon but exquisite Parma ham paired with crinkly dark green savoy, pinenuts and a little nutmeg. It was bliss.
The recipe for this marvellous invention is included in the book but, more importantly perhaps, there is a vast amount of information for anyone who wants to take this humble dish as seriously as it deserves - from flour and yeast to the art of kneading and the precise science of baking. Add to that the luscious photographs by Mike O'Toole and plenty of brilliant and wholly unexpected ideas - such as black pudding and leek pizza, to name but one - and you have a book that is, as the title suggests, truly definitive.
Pizza Defined may be 11 years old but it's still as fresh and as inspiring as it was on the day it first appeared.
Pizza Defined by Bernadette O'Shea is published by Estragon Press (€20, paperback). - Tom Doorley