I am a hobby cook – mostly self-taught. The wisdom in my home growing up was that my sister was the one who could cook (yes, I’m over it). This wisdom wasn’t backed up by a huge body of edible evidence, although she did once enter a cookery competition. My culinary expertise stretched to scrambled eggs and potatoes steamed in a pressure cooker. 

When I was first married (ages and ages ago) I owned two cookbooks. The first was called ‘1000 Recipe Cook Book, recipes for all occasions’. It featured 400 pages of densely packed recipes for everything from Oxtail Soup to Aspic Jelly. No photographs, no story bits. I am not certain what sort of occasion would feature ‘Leftover Chicken with Sherry’ but maybe I don’t get out enough. The second book I owned was ‘The St Michael All Colour Freezer Cookery Book’ (this was the 80’s – freezers were about as big then as the air fryer is now). This had actual pictures of food and instructions how to freeze and defrost stuff.

I still have both of these books, complete with broken spines and ancient food stains, and I still use them now and again. I have obviously added to my collection since then and am still happiest curled up turning the pages of an undiscovered or forgotten foodie treasure.

This collection of reviews is designed to help other prospective cookbook owners or gifters pick through a very crowded space – even if I don’t point you at the very cookbook you need, maybe I can help you see what you need to check out before committing. 


  1. Nuala. This is your big sister. I see you failed to mention that I WON that cookery competition! I still have the certificate from the Irish Fisheries Board for my winning fish pie. (Made with John West’s finest tinned salmon). I was 11. And as for evidence of my culinary expertise have you forgotten the spaghetti hoops on toast I cooked to perfection. I still have the recipe! ❤️

    1. A giant of the culinary world indeed!

  2. While not being great in the culinary area myself I have to say I am great at tasting and eating food. Having enjoyed many of your dishes over the years I have to say they are always interesting and delicious!

    1. Thanks so much Susan!

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