The New Irish Table cookbook

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Simply stunning photos and recipes that make me excited to cook again! Visiting Ireland is now high on my list too. Each section begins with a brief introduction about the region and then dives into menus from a chef or two in that region.

Fall is coming, which means it is perfect timing for soups like Potato, Prawn & Lime or Carrot, Potato & Cumin. There are plenty of warming dishes.

I can tell that things like Cucumber Pickle and Goat Cheese Mousse will become pantry staples. I knew it was easy to do a quick semi-pickle, but adding whiskey … pure genius.

I love that the desserts range from a simple poached pears with cream up to a delightful mini trifle and things with meringue.

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I’d recommend this for foodies or for anyone who loves Ireland.

Persephone Lost mocktail

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Persephone Lost

Persephone Lost is a ruby red drink featuring pomegranate and a splash of the incomparable elderflower.

Persephone was a beautiful goddess of nature, kidnapped by the admiring god of the underworld. After eating 6 pomegranate seeds, she was required to spend 6 months in the underworld every year (i.e., fall & winter), and her desolate mother causes the whole world to mourn with her.

Let’s toast to endings and the promise of spring to come!

Ingredients (makes 1 drink)

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
  • 2 tsp elderflower syrup
  • 6 tsp lemon juice (a medium to large lemon)

Directions

  1. Chill the ingredients if not already chilled
  2. Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake
  3. Pour into a glass, using a strainer if you don’t like the pulp
  4. For a little tingle and lighter flavour, add a splash of soda water

You can also use ice but this will cause a bit of dilution and require faster drinking.

Cheers!

The London Cookbook (Ten Speed Press)

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Being a lover of all things British, I had high hopes for this cookbook that were most definitely answered. It starts with a background of London’s food scene before launching into the brilliant recipes.

The recipes combine elegant little snippets of context – tiny Snapchat like details about the chefs or restaurants that immediately conjure familiarity – with simple, clear instructions.

Traditional dishes like potted shrimp (loved by James Bond and his creator Ian Fleming) have been made stronger with modern touches. Other dishes are purely modern, such as flavourful morel mushrooms hiding under a “veil of lardo (pork fat)” with garlic shoots and tiny potatoes in Madeira. This is less complicated than I expected, but not as simple as some others.

What about the chorizo hotdog paired with onion marmalade and paprika aoili? Or charred leeks with chevre, browned butter and smoked almonds? Definitely yes yes yes.

Soups go from delicate to hearty, while summer pasta, pork shoulder and duck ragu all sound so delicious that I can’t wait for my next meal.

And an entire section devoted to vegetarian dishes that make you sit up and take notice. Roasted squash, spiced carrots or Indian-inspired potato chaat. The potato chaat in particular stands out, full of delicious spices and textures and flavours that are difficult to resist.

Seafood, fowl and red meat all get their own sections, with equally delicious recipes from a variety of cultural influences, such as short ribs with chickpeas, chard and middle eastern yogurt.

Now for the sweet lovers. How patiently you’ve been waiting for desserts. The London Cookbook does not disappoint. Which one to make first? What about a rich, dense cake dotted with juicy peaches? Maybe a warm walnut cherry cake or a creamy custard rich with the taste of dark sugar? Actually, I might have to take a moment to make the double-decker tart, a gooey, crunchy, sugary confection resembling a grown up candy bar.

Such a delightful book and PERFECT for British lovers, I received an ebook but I had to pre-order as soon as I saw it!

Food52 A New Way to Dinner cookbook

food521I have a passing familiarity with Food52 and regularly drool over their Instagram account. It is no surprise that their cookbook is exquisitely curated and planned out. Recipes look mouth-watering and jump off the page while their descriptions read like an exciting new restaurant.

How about a flavor explosion like avocado toast with pesto, bacon and poached eggs? Mmmm! Or snap peas, pea vines and preserved Meyer lemon cream with lamb belly? Yes, please.

But this cookbook is trying to go beyond just the curated selection and help you change your cooking lifestyle. It makes sense, since at some point the fancy recipes begin to inspire fear and intimidation instead of rapture. How does one make preserved Meyer lemon cream while also juggling a job, family and other demands?

You start by perusing a seasonal week, say Merrill’s Summer, with a list of 5 dinners and 2 brownbag lunches to make with leftovers. The next page is a game plan that tells you what to make ahead over the weekend, and a weekly grocery list including amounts to buy.

It is definitely focused on helping you be successful with a set of recipes and then allowing you to deviate from them later, once you’ve figured out this week-in-advance thing. I used to look askance at menus, until our cookbook club cooked the suggested menu in another book – it was an eye-opening experience! The dishes came together like a particularly awesome restaurant.

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The summer menus got me really excited, pairing radishes with lime sriracha butter or arugula with parsley, lemon and olive oil. Never mind the delectable meatballs in pasta or the strawberry ice cream floats…

The fall menus with their mixture of warming soups, roast chicken, beef short ribs and brown-butter gnocchi were equally inspiring. And don’t even get me started on winter!

I’m a tad nervous if also pleased that Amanda and Merrill were honest enough to say this process is going to take longer the first few times I try.

But that I’m really thinking through this whole week thing and trying to figure out where it will fit in my summer is a good sign…

Jonboy caramels

A Whole Foods employee saw me eyeing up Jonboy caramels wistfully with my cart already full of chocolate, and he convinced me to try them out. Having seen them in farmer’s markets around town when I was off milk, I couldn’t resist (especially when they were offered as a treat!)

Inside the cute box is more nice packaging…

         

The old-fashioned wax paper unwraps to reveal a dainty log of caramel with tiny flecks of salt on the top. There’s the first delicate taste of caramel as it hits your tongue but when you bite into it, its like an explosion of creamy sugary goodness and a sharp salty counterpoint. I’ve never liked salt on sweets but these have convinced me otherwise.

At $8 a box, I consider them surprisingly worth it because you get plenty of them and just one will satisfy your sweet tooth for the day. Over the weeks I got to be an expert, sometimes putting them in salt first, other times deftly avoiding it till the end.

Oh the indignities I suffer to taste test all this for my blog…

Dishing Up New Jersey cookbook

I love the beautiful little map of New Jersey in the front of the book. This delicious cookbook isn’t just a cookbook, it’s an exploration into the so-called “armpit” of the US, revealing a little guessed cultural landmark.

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The Taylor Ham breakfast sandwich, a roll layered with a special Jersey made ham, cheese and egg, sounds amazing. The dishes range from French baguette style French toast to homemade chocolate cashew milk.

I look forward to making Radish Bread, a tasty and simple dish that would be at home at an afternoon tea, as well as the bold flavor explosion of 7 Fish Caesar Salad! Desserts like Honey-Thyme Caramels, Apple Cake and Grand Marnier Truffles all sound divine.

This cookbook focuses on simple and startling combinations. It’s an impressive collection of recipes that surprises and delights (and I’ve seen a lot of cookbooks!)

Copy from NetGalley.

Lille Belle Farms pistachio toffee in milk chocolate

Pistachio – my favorite nut. Milk chocolate – my favorite chocolate. Toffee – delicious. All 3 together – where have you been all my life?! I was thrilled to find this chocolate bar and couldn’t wait to dig in.

 

The bar has big pieces of pistachio, none of that faux pistachio flavoring. The chocolate is sweet and only a tad milky, and pretty good for American chocolate. I highly recommend it for a sweet and unusual treat.