Monday, November 25, 2013

"The Irish Beef Book" by Pat Whelan & Katy McGuinness (book review)...

"The Irish Beef Book"
by Pat Whelan & Katy McGuinness

Hardback (256 pages)

Chapters: Introduction; Steaks; Roasts; The Classics; Quick; Long & Slow; Burgers, brisket, meatballs & dude food; Pasta & Pizza; Pies; The other bits. 


"Many supermarkets now offer little choice beyond steak and mince, and I think that over the past few decades the knowledge of what to do with the less familiar cuts has been lost. That's one of the reasons I wanted to write this book, to share the recipes and tips I have accumulated over the years, so that everyone can learn to enjoy the rich diversity of wonderful meals that can be prepared using the best of Irish beef." - Pat Whelan

I think there are no better words to start this review, to describe purpose and character of this great cook book, than Pat's original words. I think it was a long overdue, that Ireland finally had a cook book almost entirely about one of its greatest food products - beef. I just couldn't wait to lay my hands on it and start flipping through the pages. Pat and Katy share values that are close to my heart too - respect for tradition, skills (which are unfortunately being forgotten in today's world) and respect for the animal itself.


Introduction is quite long (in comparison to other cook books) but there's a reason for it. Pat explains/describes his passion for Irish beef, for good quality meat and tells us a little bit about his background and family business - a butcher shop. It's a very interesting introduction to the recipes which are to follow and he also teaches us about basics when it comes to choosing your beef - as well as good quality butcher.
Selection of the recipes in the book will give you ideas and  help you to deal with not so popular cuts like: shin (which I think is overlooked way too often!), oxtail, beef cheeks, liver etc. But you'll also find many recipes for so popular steak. Recipes are easy to follow, clear and use ingredients that you will find around your house (lots of vegetables like carrots, parsnip, potatoes; also pasta and many herbs to name few). You can easily half or double the amounts given and trust me - you would want to do the latter and make use of your freezer! You'll find recipes for light lunch, Sunday family dinner, a weekly quick supper, a friend's get together and many more.

All in all - a fantastic collection of "all beef" recipes (not only those of Pat & Katy's), a reference to which I'll be going back again and again, a must have if you're a "carnivore" ;) and would like to eat/use more of a beef than steak alone (and it has so much more to it!) also a fantastic idea for a present!

The only thing that I wasn't very fond of in the book are... photos. Way too dark for me and I think they weren't doing any justice to the dishes. But I guess it's a personal thing, a matter of opinions.


Some of the recipes I've already tried:





Braised steak stew









 Quick buttermilk cornbread








Ragu sauce, spaghetti bolognese









About the authors:
Pat Whelan is the fifth generation of his family to be involved in farming and meat production and has established a reputation as the foremost butcher in Ireland, recognised as an Irish Food Hero by Rick Stein. From his farm at Garrintemple, Pat supplies all the beef and lamb to his family business, James Whelan Butchers, with shops in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, Avoca Monkstown, and Avoca Rathcoole, Co. Dublin. Pat was also Ireland’s first online butcher. His rigorous approach to animal husbandry and devotion to exemplary standards and the craft of butchery has earned him numerous accolades. As chair of the Tipperary Food Producers, Pat is a key member of the flourishing Irish artisan food community. Pat lives in Clonmel with his wife and three children. Pat is the author of An Irish Butcher Shop.

Pat & Katy (photo by independent.ie)

Katy McGuinness is a restaurant critic and food writer. Her work has been published in the Irish Times, The Irish Independent, The Sunday Tribune, Image and Image Interiors. She is a contributing editor at The Gloss and writes regular food features for The Sunday Times. Katy is a member of the Irish Food Writers Guild. - by gillmacmillanbooks.ie


I received a free copy of this book to review from Gill & Macmillan Books. All thoughts and opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.

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