August 4, 2014
My Irish Table by Cathal Armstrong
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons
I have a dear friend that now lives in Ireland, so I'm always excited to see an Irish cookbook come across my desk. I love the "down home" feel of their food, from something as simple (and divine!) as "Cheese on Toast" to the deep flavors of their stews to a lovely "Bakewell Tart". I needed a main dish to take to potluck at church on Sunday, so Saturday I decided to make "Beef Stew". I had most of the ingredients on hand, and everyone knows it's better the second day. After a quick trip to the store for carrots and celery, I started cooking. I proceeded to drive myself and my family crazy for the rest of the evening with the amazing smells! I cooled and stored it, and the next morning I popped it in my slow cooker so it could simmer during church. Wow!! Heaven in a bowl! It was odd to me that a beef stew, especially from Ireland of all places, didn't have any potatoes in it (I even re-checked the recipe to make sure I didn't just overlook them!), but once you were eating it, you really didn't miss them. The meat just melted in your mouth, and the flavor was amazing. I've never seen a slow cooker empty so quickly, and I now have several people wanting my recipe! If you buy this book, you HAVE to make this stew!!
This is a lovely cookbook and, while there aren't photos for every recipe, there are many great, full-color photos throughout the book. Ingredients and directions are well laid out, and the bits of history over each recipe and scattered throughout are interesting.
My only caveat with this cookbook, is the author comes across--especially in the introduction--as a bit of a braggart and a name-dropper, which can be annoying. Skip the introduction if that's something you don't enjoy. Otherwise, I thoroughly recommend this book!