Traditional Irish Cooking by Andy Gravette – review

Traditional Irish Cooking I confess that the book was bigger than I had expected. I should know better, considering that I am half Irish by blood. Probably there aren’t many outside the Emerald Isle that know very much about that country’s cooking, apart from it involving a lot of potatoes!

Traditional Irish Cooking has a wealth of recipes but also lots of information about, for instance, local cheeses, the history and impact of the potato on the people of Ireland, the story of the famine which changed not only Ireland but America and England.

This book is a great mix of traditional and classic Irish dishes as well as giving us a glimpse into the newer trends towards the more exotic. There are plenty of recipes to tempt both the vegetarian and the committed meat-eater. The sections cover baking, soups and stews, seafood, potatoes, dairy, meat of all kinds, vegetables and drinks.

There is a good selection of potato dishes, as you would expect, but they are much more interesting than I had imagined, for instance Farmer’s Potatoes with Bacon and Cream. It’s delicious and well up to the standard of a classic gratin. Champ has long been a favourite and has even been a hit with French friends! It’s a lovely combination of mashed potatoes, butter and spring onions.

Certainly I knew that there were the odd few bottles of whiskey about in Ireland, but it’s good to see it included in several recipes. Jamieson’s Cake is a rich fruit cake and the one I’ll be using instead of a traditional Christmas cake this year. Bruiden Tart is an apple and almond tart – the custard, laced with some Irish whiskey, is baked with the apple filling. I am very impressed by this one. It’s easy but it’s a bit different from the ordinary apple tart or pie. The individual tarts make a nice presentation with more of the custard served on the side. How about Gammon with Whiskey Sauce? One again it’s an easy recipe but different and delicious.

It’s not only the whiskey that the Irish are fond of. They save a little space for stout – who could leave out that most famous of exports? Tipsy Dublin Rarebit is the Irish version of the Welsh classic. There is also a Traditional Irish Rarebit that has the addition of eggs, Tabasco and paprika. That’s the one for me!

Traditional Irish Cooking
Author: Andy Gravette and Debbie Cook
Published by: Garnet Publishing Ltd.
Price: £14.95
ISBN: 978-1-85964-155-2


Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018


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