Neven Maguire is an Irish chef and television personality from Blacklion, Co. Cavan. He is also the head chef and proprietor of the MacNean House and Restaurant. He is a well-known face on Irish TV but is now making his mark in Britain.
MacNean House & Restaurant, Blacklion, was originally opened as MacNean’s Bistro in 1989 by Neven’s mum and dad, Joe and Vera Maguire. The bistro was named after the nearby MacNean Lakes. This was a real family-run restaurant which had Joe and Vera as well as all 9 of their children working for the enterprise. Sounds like an amazing training ground – Neven began cooking at the age of twelve. He took over the business as Head Chef and Proprietor in 2003.
Home Chef has immediate appeal. The type-face is clear and bold and the book boasts a host of photographs drawn from the camera and talents of David Munns. The recipes are well-written and for the most part devoid of lengthy lists of ingredients. Yes, this a chef-penned volume but this chef seems mindful of the constraints of the domestic kitchen and the possible nervousness of the domestic cook.
Neven Maguire lives in the real world so he suggests using commercial pastry from your local supermarket and I have even noticed the artful use of microwave popcorn. There is plenty of advice and also lots of simple recipes to engage the novice. The dishes are graded for difficulty although even the most taxing 3-chef-hat ones should not be beyond the scope of the majority of housewives / husbands.
This book offers something for every taste. There are classic, ethnic and playful dishes to tempt the reader. Multi-Seed Wheaten Bread is just about the easiest bread you’ll ever make. This isn’t a yeast-based dough but uses bicarbonate of soda. This would be a lovely breakfast bread but also ideal for an afternoon teatime. Walnut and Fig bread uses dry yeast and is another simple loaf to make, and is sure to be a delight with a nice bit of cheese.
Salmon Sausages are popular at the MacNean House and Restaurant. They have been marked with 3 chefs bonnets but it’s just a matter of following the recipe and success is assured. They look cheffy and impressive but much of the work is done in advance making these a good dinner-party choice.
Nutella Cheesecake is bound to be a winner. It is a simple preparation of a baked cheesecake with a ginger biscuit base and a filling of mascarpone, stem ginger and the aforementioned Nutella. The kids will love to help make this, as well as eat it.
Home Chef is a sensible book with recipes that you’ll want to make and will indeed be able to make. This is a book to use. A great gift for a wedding, housewarming or to any aspiring chef.
Home Chef – The secrets to kitchen success
Author: Neven Maguire
Published by: HarperCollins
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018