written by Nessa Robins
For anyone who loves to cook, a cookbook is the gift that keeps giving. I have a bookshelf of cookbooks and not a week goes by but I’m thumbing through the pages, reading the words of my favourite authors as I search for dinner inspiration or perhaps advice on how best to prepare a particular ingredient. There has been a serious surge in Irish-published cookbooks over the past year or so, and today I’m sharing some of my favourite 2023 Irish cookbooks. These books are catering for all taste buds, whether you’re looking for something sweet, savoury, or even a cocktail.
Blasta Books: Series 2, featuring Soup by Blanca Valencia, Dee Laffan and Mei Chin, Tapas by Vanessa Murphy and Anna Cabrera, Wasted by Conor Spacey, and Masarap by Richie Castillo and Alex O’Neill – published by Nine Bean Rows Books
Blasta Books have been taking the cookbook industry by storm since the launch of their first book, Tacos by Lily Ramirez-Foran, in early 2022. Since then, Blasta Books have launched an addition seven books, with another four books already announced for 2024. At the helm of the Blasta team is Kristin Jensen, publisher, and editor. Kristin noticed an obvious gap in the market for cookbooks which featured Ireland’s modern and diverse food culture, and went about setting up her own publishing house, and we’re mighty glad she did as what she has produced alongside her team are marvellous nuggets. ‘Blasta Books are to cookbooks what street food is to restaurants,’ says publisher Kristin Jensen. ‘They give people a fun, accessible and affordable way to eat exciting food.’ Series 2 of Blasta Books was published this year.
Home Kitchen, by Donal Skehan – published by Yellow Kite
This is Donal Skehan’s 11th cookbook, and possibly one of his most personal books so far. We’re given a real sense of where the recipes have originated from, many influenced by Donal’s travels as well as what his young family enjoys at their own kitchen table. The accompanying TV show is currently airing on RTE. Home kitchen is packed with so many mouth-watering recipes, and as with all of Donal’s recipes, whether in print or online, the styling and photography is simply stunning.
Spice Box: Easy, Everyday Indian Food, by Sunil Ghai – published by Sandycove/Penguin
If you love Indian food and would like the opportunity to cook some restaurant quality Indian meals at home, this is the book for you. Spice Box includes over 100 easy-to-follow recipes. Sunil has created recipes which are accessible to all as the included ingredients are easily found in most supermarkets and the recipes aren’t overly complicated. There are so many tips included throughout the book, including a list on how best to stock your spice box and cupboard, arming you with all you ned to create these delicious dishes. Spice Box is co-written by the wonderful Kristin Jensen.
Flavour: Everyday Food Made Exceptional, by Mark Moriarty – published by Gill Books
This is the first cookbook from Dublin-based chef and TV host, Mark Moriarty. Within the book, Mark focuses on how to get the basics of cooking right which is the secret to optimising the potential deliciousness of any dish. Leaning into his years of experience working in top class restaurants, Mark shares recipes which are familiar but made special with a few extra touches. Flavour recently won the title of Cookbook of the Year at this year’s An Post Irish Book Awards.
Butter Boy, by Paul Flynn – published by Nine Bean Rows
Butter Boy is the complete collection of all 152 articles and over 450 recipes from Paul Flynn’s time as food writer for the Irish Times, spanning from November 2019 to October 2022. Along with his wife, Paul runs the beautiful Tannery Restaurant in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. The recipes included in Butter Boy are delicious and perfect for family dining and entertaining alike, all guided by Paul’s chatty and friendly narrative.
The Menopause Kitchen, by Rachel Graham – published by Gill Books
Rachel Graham is a practicing nutritional therapist and medicinal chef, and in The Menopause Kitchen she shares nutrient-rich recipes to help you feel your best while going through perimenopause and menopause. The book includes 100 recipes, as well as meal plans for both meat eaters and vegetarians.
The New Ballymaloe Bread Book, by Darina Allen – published by Gill Books
The New Ballymaloe Bread Book is packed full of delicious bread recipes and it is beautifully illustrated by Darina’s daughter, Lydia. As with all of Darina Allen’s book, her voice is clear and the reader/baker is carefully guided through each recipe to ensure the best possible result. It is a comprehensive guide to bread making and a must for any bread-lover.
Irish Kitchen Cocktails, by Oisín Davis – published by Nine Bean Rows
In his debut book, Oisín Davis shares just how easy it is to create gorgeous cocktails using Irish spirits and everyday kitchen equipment. From Mrs Doyle’s Iced Tea to the Ginger Divil, there’s a cocktail to suit every taste. This beautiful styling and photographed book would make for a fantastic present for any cocktail fan.
Paradiso: Recipes & Reflections by Denis Cotter – published by Nine Bean Rows
Paradiso: Recipes & Reflections, celebrates the brilliant ethos of the popular Cork-based restaurant, Paradiso. Within the book, Denis Cotter, shares many of Paradiso’s signature recipes, but shows how they have evolved over the past thirty years. The core of each dish is dedicated to the use of local and seasonal ingredients, cleverly building on flavours, and the resulting recipes sound truly delicious. Paradiso: Recipes & Reflections, is a beautifully produced book and would make a marvellous gift for someone who would love the opportunity to recreate some of Paradiso’s dishes in their own kitchen.
The Gathered Table: A Taste of Home, compiled by Gather & Gather – published by Nine Bean Rows
The Gathered Table: A Taste of Home was compiled by Gather & Gather, and it’s a collection of 55 recipes from chefs, farmers, bakers and food champions, all working within the Irish food world. The styling of this book is simply stunning, showcasing each of the delicious recipes. All proceeds from the book will go to Peter McVerry Trust, the national housing and homelessness charity.