The Cooks Academy in Dun Laoghaire was founded by Vanessa and Tim Greenwood in 2005 to teach budding chefs the culinary ropes. 'Recipes from the Cookery School' is Vanessa's first cookbook, compiling the most popular recipes taught at the school.
Each recipe has simple step-by-step instructions along with photographs of the dishes and the cookery school. Well laid-out and with succinct information, the book gives readers a foolproof guide to creating the recipes at home.
The types of recipes are wide-reaching, with the book carved into sections including soups, starters, salads, sides, meat and poultry, baking and desserts. It will also appeal to vegetarians as a whole section is given to vegetarian mains and sides, with simple but tasty recipes including Spinach and Pesto Lasagne, Lentil Bake and Aubergine and Coconut Curry.
To help develop the inexperienced cook's skills there is also a section dedicated to cooking basics. Highly helpful, it details how to make salad dressings, sauces, pastry and even tells us how to make perfect rice.
The delicious looking recipe on the front cover is of their Grilled Macaroni Cheese. This recipes sees them add chopped cherry tomatoes to the traditional mac and cheese, topping it with breadcrumbs and grated cheese and grilling it for a few minutes. Although still a simple dish, these modifications make it a more satisfying meal.
Their soups are similarly easy to achieve, and give a good grounding so that you can make your own ingredient combinations once you have mastered the basics. Their Cherry Tomato, Carrot and Lentil Soup is the perfect antidote to a cold winter's day, while their Quick Gazpacho is light and refreshing.
The meat and poultry chapters cover a wide range of popular dishes, from Beef Stroganoff, to Spaghetti Carbonara and Chicken and Cannellini Bean Casserole. The book also has dedicated barbecues and seafood chapters that have achievable and tasty recipes.
A generous portion is given over to desserts (and baking) that are sure to entice those who haven't tried their hand at it. Recipe name's such as Grandma's Old-fashioned Rhubarb Pie and Auntie Margaret's Boiled Cake show Greenwood's view of food as being a time for family to sit and be together, and this book would encourage people to get back into the kitchen.