From Ireland to Palestine: our favourite cookbooks for spring

Age-old culinary traditions and wild landscapes from alpine mountains to the Mediterranean Sea influence the recipes of these five new releases.

Friday, April 10, 2020,
By National Geographic Traveller Food

1. The Irish Cookbook, Jp McMahon
In this ambitious tome, Jp McMahon — founder of the Galway Food Festival — sets out to discover and define Irish food. The chef, restaurateur and author explores the rich culinary heritage of the Emerald Isle, uncovering recipes that date back millennia and portray a food culture far more diverse than simply boxty and Irish stew. A thick porridge with stewed apples and honey nods to the diet of the Medieval monks, while a nutty spelt with leeks harks back to a staple Bronze Age meal. The potato, an ingredient so pivotal to Irish cuisine, is here in all its deliciously comforting forms: simmered in seawater, mashed into a rich colcannon, roasted with goose fat, and, of course, grated into boxty pancakes and fried until golden. Beyond the humble spud, you’ll also find an array of dishes that celebrate Ireland’s bountiful larder, such as oysters with wild garlic butter, cockles in samphire, pike with gooseberries and sherry, and lamb with samphire and cockles. The book not only features new recipes to add to your repertoire, but a hearty dose of Irish history and culture, too. £35, Phaidon

2. Falastin: A Cookbook, Sami Tamimi & Tara Wigley
Ottolenghi co-founder Sami Tamimi and coauthor Tara Wigley pay homage to Palestinian food culture in this new volume, which offers a fresh take on recipes the authors discovered on their travels throughout Sami’s homeland — all made accessible for home cooks. Look out for dishes such as falafel laced with sumac, and a sticky, lemony chicken traybake. £26, Ebury

3. Sun and Rain, Ana Roš
In this collection of recipes, essays and photos, Slovenian chef Ana Roš tells the story of her life, as well as discussing the landscape and environment that have inspired her cooking. Based in the Soča Valley, in the shadow of the Julian Alps, Ana draws on locally sourced ingredients, making use of everything from trout to foraged herbs. £39.95, Phaidon

4. Share, Theo A Michaels
As the title suggests, this book is all about dishes made for sharing. Many of the 70 recipes have a Mediterranean or Middle Eastern slant to them, from a smoky aubergine shakshuka to seafood souvlaki. There are also tips on assembling platters of cheese and charcuterie, with pointers on presentation and garnishes. £16.99, Ryland Peters & Small

5. Cooking in Marfa, Virginia Lebermann & Rocky Barnette
Although it has a population of just 2,000, the small town of Marfa, Texas is home to almost two-dozen art galleries and a thriving food scene. Virginia Lebermann and Rocky Barnette are co-owners of The Capri restaurant, where Rocky is also chef, and their book features more than 80 recipes inspired by local ingredients, from corn to rabbit. £35, Phaidon

Published in Issue 8 of National Geographic Traveller Food

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