No matter how often you cook, how well you know and love a subject, the aim of an ambitious cookery book is surely to take you to the next level. We’ve loved playing with Saturday Pizzas in an attempt to be able to make the complicated simple, to find a series of techniques that make creating pizzas something we can put into our lives with ease.
Two talented writers turn to the bivalve, and wring truly thrilling inventions from our national treasure. Ms Ui Chomain’s recipes are a joy – oysters in beer drop scones!; oyster and sausage bouchées – whilst Mr O’Meara’s scintillating recipes – oysters with pickled rock samphire and wild mustard flowers is his opening shot – represent a new benchmark for oyster cookery. Concise profiles of the guys who get the waders on all around the coastline to collect these treasures gives the book an added depth.
If the purpose of great photography is to take something that we regard as every day and unremarkable, and somehow manage to turn it into a piece of art - showing it in a new light, or from an angle you never thought to look – then Tina Claffey’s book, Tapestry of Light is great photography.
Dinner, by Melissa Clark (Clarkson Potter)
We are devotees of Melissa’s food films for the New York Times, the most superbly conceived and executed food stories found in any media. So, it’s no surprise that the same wit, acumen and polish is fully present and correct in Dinner, a landmark book that every home needs. Every recipe we have tried works, and every recipe over-delivers: last night it was the Turkish lamb chops for dinner, and they were perfect. A beautiful production seals the deal: Dinner is the sort of book that makes you hungry.
Fearless Food, by Lynda Booth (DCS)
This is a classic cookery book, from one of Ireland’s great cookery teachers. Ms Booth’s understanding of the nuances of technique, her ability to pull and push flavours and textures, roars off of every page, in a most beautifully produced book. Everything we have cooked works perfectly, and we expect to cook every single recipe. Read our review ...
Grow Cook Nourish, by Darina Allen (Kyle)
The title alone is a significant new food koan, a life-long food philosophy summed up in just three words. Everyone debates just which of Mrs Allen’s books is the most essential – The Ballymaloe School Cookbook?, Forgotten Skills of Cooking? – but for us this is the one. Read our review...
Formidable. There’s no other word that can do justice to Darina Allen’s new book, Grow Cook Nourish. This is a formidable work.
It’s formidable in scale – almost 650 pages – and formidable in ambition – the book is as much a gardening bible as a cookery bible.
But the most formidable aspect of GCN is that it manages to capture a life’s work.
Running a restaurant takes some bravery. But changing an already successful restaurant to suit changing customer needs takes an even firmer type of valour.
So hats off to Beth Haughton and Harold Lynch for closing Club Brasserie in Cork last September and reopening it as Dockland.
The new room is really rather wonderful, with its parquet wooden floor, green leather banquettes, cleverly partitioned at one point by a colourful kilim, attractive bentwood chairs, and bar tables that look like oversized schoolroom furniture.
Mikey Ryan’s bar and kitchen in Cashel was always likely to be excellent. Its owner, bloodstock magnate John Magnier, bought and renovated what was a defeated pub which has long had links to the equine industry. So, this was likely to be a very personal project. A sister property, the Cashel Palace Hotel, and which was previously owned by Magnier’s father in-law. is next door and is a work in progress.
Sketch, in London’s busiest district of Soho, is not for those looking for a simply pleasing dining experience.
In fact Sketch takes on a fully immersive persona that will leave you wide-eyed-gawking at every design and culinary element they have to offer.
Created by restaurateur Mourad Mazouz and master chef Pierre Gagnaire, Sketch takes art, music, food and drink, and combines them into a true masterpiece. Even the bathroom design is out of the norm, and can be seen on the instagrams of celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Taylor Swift.
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