When Catherine Fulvio isn’t busy cooking as the first guest chef from outside of the US at Washington’s annual Taste America on Capitol Hill or appearing on NBC’s The Today Show, she’s running her cookery school and B&B at Ballyknocken House, appearing in her own TV shows on RTÉ, giving demos at food festivals around the country and writing cookbooks. Catherine’s Family Kitchen is her second cookbook, following hot on the heels of her first, Catherine’s Italian Kitchen,* which was published just last year and was a runaway success.
Catherine was brought up at Ballyknocken, a 350-acre traditional Irish farm that has been in her family for almost 100 years. She says she learned to cook from her mother by “hanging onto her apron strings”, so she’s had an appreciation of good food from an early age. Catherine’s first cookbook was inspired by her Italian husband and her travels in Italy, but Catherine’s Family Kitchen has a broader focus — Catherine describes the recipes in this book as “everyday dishes with a twist”.
Any busy cook who wants to put a tasty dinner on the table without spending hours in the kitchen will find much to love in this book. And since Catherine is also a mother of two young children, there are plenty of family-friendly recipes here too. She says, “Just like every other parent, I know what it feels like to dash into the kitchen, whip open the fridge door and search for inspiration as hungry children make their feelings known in the background.” There are also recipes that are elegant enough for guests and dinner parties, but still easy enough to ensure that you can enjoy yourself without getting stressed in the kitchen.
Recipes that I’ve bookmarked to try include Thai-style crab cakes with a spicy sesame dipping sauce, Guinness and cranberry bread, honey-glazed chicken wings with a blue cheese dipping sauce, family-friendly chicken pasta bake, mustard and herb lamb cutlets with honey dressing, pot-roasted carbonnade of beef, sweet and sticky BBQ glazed sausages, tandoori lamb burgers, baked eggs with chorizo, limoncello mousse, Ballyknocken pecan pudding, apple berry jelly and last but certainly not least, apricot, date and Guinness slices with Guinness cream sauce.
Catherine says, “I believe that recipes should be doable, uncomplicated, interesting and, most importantly, very tasty!” The recipes in this book are certainly a testament to that and the book is sure to be a hit, just like her first one.
*You can see a few of my favourite recipes from Catherine’s Italian Kitchen over at my other blog, Dinner du Jour: oven-baked sausage and tomato risotto, penne alla vodka, polpette di melanzane (eggplant “meatballs”) and pesto Trapanese.