Before I took my little hiatus from the blog in May, I was invited to a very special afternoon tea in the Westbury hotel to celebrate the launch of Donal Skehan's new cook book; Kitchen Hero.
For those of you who don't know Donal, he's a food blogger turned television super star! His first cook book Good Mood Food was published in the autumn of 2009 and since then he's been popping up all over the place doing demos at events such as Bloom and Taste of Dublin.
Having had a chance to try a couple of things from Kitchen Hero, I can say that the recipes are very easy follow and already myself and the Beau have a couple of favourites that have entered the rotation of weekly dinners.
Baked Teriyaki Salmon, a new addition to our weekly dinners
The book starts with a list of essential store cupboard ingredients, and while this list may seem a little long, a lot of these items last a long time once you make the initial purchase. He also has a list of essential kitchen equipment, which contains only a couple of extra things than the average student kitchen (or at least the average student kitchen that I remember). Both of these lists are incredibly encouraging to the novice home cook as they illustrate how little you really need to get cooking.
The recipes are then divided in sections; Meals in Minutes, Party Food & Drinks, Salads & Sides, Comfort Food, Stretch Your Meals and Easy Desserts & Baking. Though there is some crossover between these defined sections.
Each section, as well as each of the recipes, starts with a little background from Donal, a touch I love as it makes the whole book more personal. The recipes themselves are well laid out with simple to follow bullet point instructions. Even the non-cooking Beau thinks he could make something from this book.
All in all this is a great book for beginner cooks, especially students living out of home for the first time. Having said that there is still a lot of recipes for more experienced cooks and I particularly liked the Sticky Honey and Szechwan Pepper Duck recipe as something new.
My favourite recipe so far from the book? Roast Aubergine Dip and Crispy Herb and Garlic Pittas. I don't even like aubergine, but this is delicious! The rest of my family agrees too, it was eaten up incredibly quickly when I made it one Saturday afternoon. The perfect snack to go with a little rugby watching.
You can buy Kitchen Hero from your local bookshop or from Amazon or the like. You also get a copy when you have the Kitchen Hero afternoon tea at the Westbury Hotel (which is delicious!).
Finally, you can catch Donal on RTÉ1 at 8:30pm on Mondays, cooking up a storm with recipes from the book.