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Favourite Food Books (Some from 2011 and Others that Deserve a Mention) – Continued

And onto the second part of my favourite food books post, the first part is here if you missed it.

In this post, I am including some gorgeous cookbooks from my part of Ireland – Waterford (where I was born and raised) and Cork (where I studied and lived for many years).

Wild Garlic, Gooseberries and Me; A Chefs Stories and Recipes from the Land by Denis Cotter 

I spent my university years in Cork. Money was tight, but when we had cause to celebrate – birthdays etc – we went to Cafe Paradiso. Cafe Paradiso is a vergetarian restaurant, but it is imaginative and delicious. I have not found anywhere (yet) that can match it in the UK. Denis Cotter has written 4 lovely cookbooks, his first, Cafe Paradiso is very much restaurant food, the second, Paradiso Seasons home food, and the third, the one I am writing about here, is a beautiful book full of stories and recipes, often using foraged ingredients. I must get my hands on his fourth, For the Love of Food. I am sure it is terrific if it is anything like the others.

An Irish Adventure with Food: The Tannery Cookbook by Paul Flynn

Paul Flynn is an extremely talented Irish chef with a fantastic restaurant – The Tannery – in my home town of Dungarvan. He is well known in Ireland, with his own tv show and also two books, both of which are beautifully written with much wit and humour, and also delicious accessible recipes. The one I am recommending here is the first one, but his second book, Second Helpings, is terrific too.

Ballymaloe Cookery Course

The Allen family are well known internationally, and Darina Allen is somewhat of a matriarch in modern Irish cookery. As well as being a very successful food writer, she runs the Ballymaloe Cookery School, which teaches scores of students how to cook in a 3 month course. I’ve not done it – I learned to cook in Home Economics over 3 years in secondary school – but I do really enjoy the Ballymaloe Cookery Course book. It’s comprehensive and has a strong Irish flavour, but also includes international recipes which have been shared by students and colleagues over the years with Darina.

All about Home Economics by Deirdre Madden

This is not strictly from my part of Ireland, but it was a big part of my culinary education. As mentioned above, I learned to cook in school, learning all of the basics and more mainly using the All About Home Economics textbook. It has just been republished, I published a plea for a copy 4 and a half years ago, and got an email from her daughters saying that she had sadly passed away but they would try and source a copy. Over the years this developed into a lengthy conversation in the comments of my post, which resulted in one of the commenters going on Irish radio. The long and the short of it is, it resulted in the book being republished and happily I have a copy of it again now.

It has lovely simple recipes and basic instructions, notes on everything you could imagine you would need. We had to learn to draw animals with the various meat cuts, bottles of milk split into portions detailing the nutritional value of milk and much more. There are also sections on things which don’t pertain to cooking but which are useful like how to dressmake (we had a long dressmaking session weekly), chapters on floor coverings (!), personal hygiene and how to set the breakfast table. Everything you could possibly need to be the perfect housewife. Joking aside, it really is useful for all kids, and should be taught compulsarily now. It is a really useful charming book, and I heartily recommend it.

Note: The Cliff House Hotel also has  a cookbook but I haven’t got a copy yet, I will rectify that soon.

Another post should complete this, but we’ll see! Come back and check in tomorrow.



Filed under: Random


Cooking and travelling, and sharing it all with you.


  1. Isabel says

    Great recommendations Niamh – I’d endorse the Ballymaloe Cookery Book and School (I was lucky enough to spend three months there in 2011) and I agree with you, Cafe Paradiso is something else! I’d like to suggest one of my own – David Lebowitz’s The Sweet Life in Paris. His writing (and food blog) has me chuckling at every page. Happy New Year Niamh, and may it be a really good one for you.

  2. I haven’t heard of Cafe Paradiso before this, but your review has piqued my interest. I’m not vegetarian, but I find we can all afford to eat a lot more vegetables, and it’s brilliant to find chefs who can make vegetarian food interesting and delicious. his second book focusing more on home cooking is definitely on my wishlist. great recs, keep them coming!

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