The Irish Cook Book by JP McManon
A lot of love and warmth has clearly gone into this important and definitive delve into Ireland's rich culinary heritage. Besides his deep dive into the stories behind the best-loved traditional dishes, McManon, chef-patron of Michelin-starred Aniar in Galway and the man behind Galway's world renown Food on the Edge culinary festival, provides a particularly strong choice of bread recipes, including: brown soda bread with stout and treacle, potato bread and a bread made with rolled oats, bicarb of soda, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, linseeds, yoghurt and buttermilk (yoghurt with lemon juice works too).
There are traditional dishes such as Brotchen made with leek, oat and milk and, yes, bountiful potato dishes from colcannon to smoked eel and potato cakes. McMahon is very strong on fish dishes including sea trout with mustand and hazelnut dressing and ultra comfort food including fish cakes coated in oatmeal, fish pie and smoked haddock with poached egg and nutmeg.
Among desserts, there are plenty that don't require too many fancy ingredients: spiced baked apples, warm plums and rose custard stand out.
Pickling and preservation are covered, too, for those with time on their hands, like how to make herb or fruit vinegar, pickled onions, fermented cabbage with juniper, plus lemon curd and much, much more.
This is a huge, definitive book with 500 recipes. It is a little short on photography though ravishing shots of beguiling Irish countryside more than make up for this.
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