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Food For Thought: New Cookbooks To Savour

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Revisiting Irish classics, helping with entertaining, learning about vegan or perfecting your Middle Eastern repertoire … there’s a new cookery companion for every culinary taste …

A Table For Friends: The Art of Cooking for Two or Twenty, Skye McAlpine, €26.55

When Sunday Times columnist Skye McAlpine sent advance copies of A Table for Friends to her actual friends, Instagram lit up (it was published mid July). Followers of McAlpine’s Instagram account will know that she walks the talk – celebrating the joy of eating with friends and family in her typical relaxed style of hosting. A Table for Friends has recipes for every occasion, from last-minute weeknight dinners to larger gatherings. The recipes are divided into four chapters, Stars, Sides, Sweets and Extras, allowing users to plan a simple and impressive menu. For an easy roast, she suggests honey-roast poussins or a butter-and-sage roast pumpkin with a really good chicory salad with creamy mustard dressing followed by a winter fruit and mascarpone tart. Or for a pasta supper, she suggests tagliatelle with gorgonzola, pear and walnut, and as a crowd pleaser a chocolate chestnut meringue cake. Alongside these do-able recipes, McAlpine offers fuss-free tips for hosting – what to cook in advance to how to lay the table beautifully – allowing cooks to relax with their guests – the ultimate goal for any chef.

Simply: Easy everyday dishes from the bestselling author of Persiana, Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, €28

A chef, food writer and cookery teacher, Sabrina Ghayour is one of the strongest voices in Middle Eastern food today. Her debut cookbook, Persiana, was awarded “Best New Cookbook” at the Observer Food Monthly awards 2014 and “Book of the Year” at the 2015 Food & Travel Awards. Her follow ups, Sirocco, Feasts and Bazaar were all bestsellers. Ghayour’s new collection of unmissable dishes are in her signature style – influenced by her love of fabulous flavours, that can be enjoyed and prepared with a minimum of fuss. With sections ranging from “Effortless Eating” to “Traditions With a Twist”, Simply provides over 100 exciting recipes and is published on August 20.

My Wild Atlantic Kitchen: Recipes and Recollections, Maura O’Connell Foley, €35  

This is a compilation of Irish cook Maura O’Connell Foley’s favourite recipes created throughout her career in Kenmare spanning over six decades. It features dishes from the first tea shop she and her mother Agnes opened in 1961, The Purple Heather Restaurant and Piano Bar, The Lime Tree Restaurant, Packie’s Food and Wine and also from Shelburne Lodge Guesthouse which she continues to run today with her husband Tom. The dishes follow Maura’s ethos of keeping food simple, cooking with care and using the best available local produce. Not only a cookbook, My Wild Atlantic Kitchen includes Foley’s culinary recollections and stories, accompanied by images of her recipes captured by Lynda Kenny and Maria Bell. In keeping with her love of art and the Irish landscape, the book includes photography by landscape photographer Norman McCloskey, illustrations by artist Christine Bowen and paintings from Irish artist Pauline Bewick. The foreword is written by Irish Michelin starred chef Derry Clarke of Dublin’s L’Ecrivain Restaurant.

The Happy Pear: Vegan Cooking for Everyone, David Flynn, Penguin, €14.99

Twins, David and Stephen, are back (with their shirts on!) with their fourth cookbook: a vegan cooking bible, perfect for the plant-based newbie and expert alike. David and Stephen understand that the idea of vegan cooking can be daunting, so they have created a book that distils 20 years of plant-based cooking experience into ten chapters. It walks users through the principles of flavour and texture, and provides adaptable recipe grids and diagrams to show how the same steps, techniques and ingredients underpin lots of different dishes. This book will help users develop the confidence to adapt recipes according to personal taste and create their own from scratch.

Par Excellence  – FX Buckley with Katy Mc Guinness, Gill Books, €34.99

This is an essential book for all meat lovers, full of practical recipes that can be recreated at home and includes anecdotal stories on the family’s first butcher shop, located on Dublin’s Moore Street in 1930. Beautifully photographed, the recipe book also gives an in-depth look at the history of beef production in Ireland, including cattle breeds, with illustrations of different cuts and top tips on how to choose the right meat each time. Providing meat, especially steaks, par excellence continues to be the cornerstone of the FX Buckley family business today, which is evident throughout the book.

Wild Recipes: Plant-Based, Organic, by Emma Sawko, Flammarion, €26

The globe-trotting Emma Sawko is founder of the Wild & The Moon restaurants in Paris, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and her personal quest is to provide food that is as good for you as it is for the planet. According to Sawko, caring for the planet and yourself starts in the kitchen and the recipes contained in her new book will boost energy, wellness and health. Wild & The Moon’s team of chefs, nutritionists, and naturopaths have crafted 120 superfood-enriched recipes, including “better than botox” juice, chocolate chaga, namaste smoothie, pink hummus, Abuela’s chickpea soup, avocado gazpacho, honey mustard kale salad, Thai curry, and coco-matcha power calls.

Deliciously Ella Quick and Easy, Ella Mills, Yellow Kite, €27

Another new vegan cookbook, this time 100 quick and easy plant-based recipes by bestselling author Ella Mills, (this is her fourth book) which shows that vegan cooking doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. Divided into seven sections, Section 1 features delicious breakfasts – from quick pancakes to fruity smoothies and easy toast-toppers. Section 2, Lunches, Dips & Dressings, offers an array of healthy options. The next two Sections comprise 10-Minute- and 20-Minute Meals, from quick pasta dishes, simple noodles, and Asian-inspired plates. Section 5 is Big Batch Cooking, to help users get ahead and plan their week. The Sweet section includes portable bars, flapjacks and slices to satisfy any sweet tooth. The last section, Weekend, requires a bit more time to make, but will impress and delight your friends and family.

Twisted: A Cookbook, Twisted, Hodder & Stoughton, €22

Tom Jackson and Harry Bamber, the co-heads of Twisted, met for the first time in a tiny kitchen in Brixton, London in 2016. Tom – a talented cook from Birmingham – and Harry – a food mad videographer – set about making mouthwatering videos and publishing their endeavours on social media. In just six weeks they’d reached a million followers. In the interim, Twisted has become one of the world’s most loved food brands, with nearly 30 million followers globally. This is Twisted’s first official cookbook featuring over 100 easy-to-cook recipes that embody the ethos: unserious food that tastes seriously good! Divided into three parts, Basics, Occasions and Ingredients all have sharing at their heart. There are also ideas for Meat-free Mondays, Curry nights, Hungover Saturdays and dinner parties. Out on September 3, expect lots of (well-deserved) hype around this publication.

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