There are a lot of cookbooks on the Irish market today and there are a lot of people buying them! However many of these books of recipes sit on an overstuffed bookshelf filled with other cookbooks that rarely get read and even less often, get used! But now and then a cookbook comes along that has real homely recipes in it, that know that your family will eat, learn from and carry with them into their own future.
Valerie O’Connor is a food writer, cook, teacher, organic horticulturist and photographer, from Limerick and she has recently brought out such a book based on her food blog, Val’s Kitchen which celebrates it’s 10th Birthday this year and this cookbook really ticks all the right boxes!
Val’s Kitchen – Real Food, Real Easy takes the reader through a series of tasty food journeys based on the pleasures of real life modern eating, but it’s unpretentious and true to the reasoning of an old fashioned kitchen. From the first chapter to the last, Val talks you through her own kitchen pantry and cupboards and explains the logic of why she uses particular ingredients. This book is so readable that it’s almost like she’s sitting chatting with you at your own kitchen table – and she’s great company!
|How to make perfect Omelets|
Val’s Kitchen dances through the average day starting off with how to make your own granola, how to cook porridge, pancakes, egg dishes and smoothies. There are some excellent brunch and salad recipes, real soups and winning dinners. Sprinkled through the book are some delicious dishes and gems like the baked butternut squash stuffed with cheese, braised shin of beef and lots of recipes of food for parties and picnics.
Val O’Connor is an excellent baker (her book Bread on the Table is also a must-have) and Val’s Kitchen contains a special baked treats chapter. This includes recipes for homemade bagels, brownies and breads, recipes for apples and apple cakes and a superb gluten-free yogurt cake!
|Val’s delicious Pork and Bean Chowder|
The In the Pantry section is, in itself, worth buying the book for! Val shows you how to make your own elderflower champagne, homemade cordials, simple cream cheeses and natural yogurts. She also walks you through basic fermented veggies and kimchi. The final section of the book is dedicated to Growing your Own Food and brings you, simply, through growing the essentials for any kitchen garden.
This is an absolutely perfect cookbook or present for today’s college-going teenager who is away from home for the first time and doesn’t want to live on spaghetti bolognaise for the next three years! It’s all here.
Val’s Kitchen – Real Food, Real Easy is published by O’Brien Press and is available in all good bookshops and on the publisher’s website priced at €19.99 here at www.obrien.ie/vals-kitchen