Dubbed “Ireland’s answer to Rachael Ray and Martha Stewart,” TV personality Clodagh McKenna takes us through her year of eating, with seasonally inspired dishes and themed recipes (Mother’s Day coffee, walnut and cardamom cake; ghost meringues for Halloween; Guinness and beef stew for St. Patrick’s Day) in Clodagh’s Kitchen Diaries (Kyle Books, $27.95).
A mildly interesting concept is elevated by unexpected variations: Turkey curry with basmati rice and naan bread at the holidays, spicy lamb koftas with tomato salsa and tzatziki with a chilled beer in July and lemon grass and ginger infused creme brulee for Valentine’s Day. If reading other people’s diaries is your thing, all the better. If passages like, “One Valentine’s weekend, I was instructed to pack my suitcase and have my passport ready” trigger your jealousy reflexes, proceed with caution.
The book is an approachable blend of unfussy comfort foods (spiced butternut squash and coconut soup, key lime pie) and dishes to challenge your skills and your senses (pan-roasted John Dory fish with minted beurre blanc, banoffee pie cupcakes). Virtually all of them look delicious.
— Heidi Stevens