Cookbook Review: Neven Maguire’s Perfect Irish Christmas
Having met Neven Maguire at one of his Dunnes Stores Simply Better cookery demonstrations and having had the pleasure of interviewing him, I have to admit that I became a big fan of the man. His personality when dealing with the public, journalists and everybody around him is so relaxed and warm that you can’t not like the guy. I also had the pleasure of eating in his restaurant MacNean House, which sent me into food heaven (if you are ever planning a trip up to Cavan, make sure to book early).
So, when I saw that he published a Christmas Cookbook (and I do love Christmas cooking), I couldn’t wait for actual Christmas Day to see if Santa got the hint of all the cookbooks I would like to see under the tree. Off I went to get a copy (funny enough it was a bookstall at the Winterval Christmas Market in Waterford where I found it) and read it cover to cover the same night.
The book is divided into three parts with sub-chapters. Part 1 covers the Christmas Day Survival Guide with make-ahead tips, timetable and advice on how to cook for a large group. part 2 is decicated to the perfect Christmas Dinner with chapters on Soups & Starters, The Main Event, Vegetable Sides, Stuffings Sides & Sauces and Traditional Christmas Desserts. Part 3 is all about entertaining during the Christmas season with ideas for breakfasts, brunches, leftover dishes, vegetarian options, more desserts, drinks and party bites. It also includes a lovely chapter on Festive Extras which you could use as ideas for foodie gifts. Family Tradition is a chapter that includes lovely ideas for a night in.
Most recipes in the book are quite traditional – and I love that. Christmas turkey, goose and ham to get the ‘aaaahhhh’ moment when you take the roast out of the oven but you also get some great ideas for your vegetarian friends. Wild mushroom strudel, barley risotto or simply a beautiful looking roast butternut squash & lentil salad will have your veggie friends happy diners in no time.
I personally love the Festive Extra part of the book with ideas for limoncello, redcurrant vodka, cucumber pickle and more making great gifts for your foodie friends.
Is this book groundbreaking? No, not at all but it invites you to take a break, enjoy already existing traditions or simply start some new ones and simply spend time with your family and friends. It adds a feel of Hygge to your life.
The book is available from Easons, Waterstones, Vibes & Scribes and other bookstores. When buying, please consider your local store.
Disclaimer: I have purchased this book myself and have not been asked to write a review. There are no affiliate links in this post