Review: Cookbook of the Week #3 “Real Food, Real Fast” by Domini Kemp

Cookbook of the week is turning into an occasional series, but like I said before it’s a hobby, no deadlines, no pressure. Right? Riggghhhttt?

So, to this “week’s” featured cookbook was “Real Food, Real Fast” by Domini Kemp.

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This is another book that I has moved with me over the years. It lived on the shelf in the kitchen in the first apartment that I shared with my husband and two friends in the early months of this millennium.  I had bought it as it was written by Domini Kemp who was a co-founder of Itsa Bagel in the Epicurean Food Hall in Dublin 1, the first bagel bar in Dublin, where I used to hang out to get a taste of my J1 Summer in New York.

The book didn’t go unused in the early years, I made the Potato Gratin a number of times, in fact any time I’ve made potato gratin I’ve turned to this recipe. I loved the copper saucepans of potato gratin in Chez Jules on D’Olier Street around the same time and the recipe was very similar. I served the iced berries with white chocolate sauce at many dinner parties with great results, so easy and so delicious, a lookalike dish used to feature on the menu in Bang on Merrion Row. (Fun fact: One night I ate in Bang Pierce Brosnan was there too, but I had my back to him and only got to see the back of his head as he left).

The book is relatively short, and each recipe has a photograph, always a big plus for me. A lot of the ingredients repeat in different recipes, balsamic, aioli, soy sauce are all favourites. There’s a good mix of sweet and savoury, and lots of casual offerings, including breakfast suggestions and sandwiches.

The chapters include “Breakfast, Brunch, Hangover”, “Healthy Suppers” and “Kids’ Dinners” with the baking appearing in “Afternoon Delights”. It’s a good mix and there’s a recipe for most occasions in the book.

This week I tried three new recipes:

The first was a healthy recipe for Spiced Beetroot and Lentils that I will make again, but I might alter the spices a little.

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Ciarán’s favourite dessert is Sticky Toffee Pudding, or Sticky Toffee Teacake as he insists that it is called, I have no idea why, so when I saw the recipe for it in the book I had to try it for him, and sure it’d be rude not to try some myself. I found the Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe here. Cathal thought that the dates looked like cocktail sausages, and the date and pear puree looks very like sausages and onions when cooked. I think I might use less creme fraiche than the recipe suggests next time.   I found a link online to save me typing the recipe- here it is – Sticky Toffee Pudding Link.

I also tried the Brownie recipe  but I wasn’t gone on it, the brownies were too spongey and not fudgey enough for my liking.

In Short: A short book, with some tried and tested recipes that I keep going back to, and others that I mean to.

The Verdict: Worth owning for the few recipes that I go back to a lot. I must investigate the Kids’ Meals section more and the White Chocolate Berries are long overdue being made.

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