The New Irish Table cookbook

irishtable

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.

poached

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

The London Cookbook (Ten Speed Press)

londoncook

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.

food52

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…

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.

jersey

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.

Wonderful Eating in Paris

I really love Paris. Well, almost everything about Paris (aside from the smell of those subways, which caused me to be dubbed “The Ninja” by traveling companions as I wrapped a black scarf over my face). But I digress. Back to the amazing.

Pâtisseries, cafés, bistros, not to mention the crêpe stands near the Notre Dame de Paris … most of my memories center around food. What better way to share my trip to Paris than over a few delicious meals? And a reminder to myself as I’m learning French about how much more amazing it will be to return speaking French.

Petit dejouner at Le Pain Quotidien – a not so small breakfast after all, featuring soft boiled eggs, salad with cured ham and several cheeses, thick creamy yogurt with homemade granola and delicious baked goods smothered in jam or Nutella. And don’t forget the fresh squeezed orange juice. Fear not US residents, they even have a few in the US and the lunch at their Los Angeles location was very tasty.

Grand Marnier Souffle at La Fermette Marbeuf – a light, hot and fluffy concoction full of sugary sweetness and the hint of orange liqueur. The grand prix menu was expensive but delicious, and a great way to soak in the gorgeous Art Nouveau decor.

Steak frites at Le Relais de L’Entrecôte – they only serve steak and fries at this restaurant, along with a choice of house wine or soda, and bread. But honestly that is all you need. Deliciously smothered in a meaty, herby sauce and large portions that are re-filled along with crispy fries, mmm!

Salad Niçoise at Angelina’s – while decent, the food at Angelina’s was by no means as delicious as their confections, and for the price I highly recommend sticking to dessert and eating your meals elsewhere. But their chaux au chocolat (hot chocolate) is good and strong, and they are famed for their chestnut desserts called Mont Blanc.

Gateau et thé at Ladurée – a pâtisserie famed for macarons that has shops along the Champs-Élysées and other high traffic areas. Sitting down to thé (tea) and gateau (cake) was a highly relaxing moment after a stressful day being jostled by crowds.

Petit dejouner at Ladurée – while we’re on the topic of that well-known pâtisserie, what about breakfast there? Oh so worth it! Possibly one of the most enjoyable meals we had, with soft boiled eggs and toast soldiers, sweet and savory buns, juice and coffee, and an exquisite opportunity to watch real Parisians in a small setting. Très chic!

Bon appétit!