Pressure. We're all under it and the one thing we consistently lack is time. That means that we need to clever about how we eat well without resorting to ready meals or fast food. This is where Neven Maguire comes in. Subtitled "100 best-loved recipes for busy lives", this is his tenth (I think, I'm rubbish at maths though...) cookery book. Neven is familiar to many of us from his TV show Home Cook on RTE and is also the chef/owner of MacNean House in Blacklion, Co. Cavan. With a family of his own to feed, he's had to revise his way of eating and The Nation's Favourite Food FAST! is a great solution.
The books deviates from the traditional flow of recipe books, with neat little sections each containing five recipes to suit all palates. Soups go from Carrot and Cumin to Spinach and Watercress with some interesting combinations inbetween. Starters include a smoked Duck salad with Strawberry dressing and a Lobster and Mango cocktail. Salads are light years away from limp lettuce and salad cream. After these three sections, recipes are categorised by the principal ingredient : Beef, Chicken, Lamb, Pork, Fish, Eggs, Veggie and some very interesting Takeaway My Way ideas, Dinner Party inspiration and Leftovers recipes.
It sounds a little overwhelming, but it's not. Neven writes his recipes in a very clear and easy to follow manner, so they won't frighten novice cooks. The variety in each section means that there's something to suit everybody and the photos are beautifully styled (by the dream team of Orla Broderick and Sharon Hearne-Smith). I have one little gripe and that's purely because there's not a photo of every finished recipe. I would have really liked to see the finished Beef & Onion Pie with Souffle Crouton Topping as it's something very few people would be familiar with and I'm sure the end result looked fabulous.
The Nation's Favourite Food Fast! is on sale from today and is published by Gill & Macmillan, priced at €22.99