A newly released book My Wild Atlantic Kitchen: Recipes and Recollections is a compilation of Maura O’Connell Foley's favorite recipes created throughout her career in Kenmare, County Kerry spanning over six decades.
The dishes contained in My Wild Atlantic Kitchen: Recipes and Recollections follow Maura’s ethos of keeping food simple, cooking with care, and using the best available local produce. The book is a comprehensive collection capturing over 250 recipes Maura has loved to cook throughout her life and successful career as a cook and restaurateur.
My Wild Atlantic Kitchen features stand-out dishes from the first tea shop she and her mother Agnes opened in 1961, The Purple Heather Restaurant and Piano Bar, The Lime Tree Restaurant, Packie’s Restaurant, and also from Shelburne Lodge which she continues to run today with her husband Tom.
Maura said, “Over the years, I was approached on many occasions to write a book, but I just didn’t make the time. I finally put pen to paper, and I can tell you it has been a tremendous effort! The recipes are a diverse collection of the food I have loved to cook at various times in my life”.
Maura’s recipes are seasonal, classic, and carefully organized into eight chapters in the book: breakfast, starters, fish, meat, vegetables, desserts and baking, sauces, stocks, and staples, as well as a dedicated section on dinner parties. Examples include drop-scone pancakes with dry-cured bacon and apple syrup, confit of duck leg with pear and ginger salad, twice baked hazelnut goat’s cheese soufflé, seafood sausage with beurre blanc, smoked cod cakes, beef, and Guinness casserole, Dover sole stuffed with Atlantic prawns and brandy cream sauce, chocolate pots, Irish barmbrack and butter pudding and, spicy apple and rum pudding.
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Working in close collaboration with local graphic designer Éamonn O’Sullivan of Anchor Studio, the project was very much a labor of love, with Maura and her family undertaking the task of lovingly creating a beautiful book that would be a testament to her years of hard work and dedication to her craft.
Not only a cookbook, My Wild Atlantic Kitchen features Maura’s culinary recollections and stories woven throughout. In keeping with her love of art and the Irish landscape, the book includes photography by nationally renowned landscape photographer Norman McCloskey, illustrations by artist Christine Bowen and paintings from internationally acclaimed Irish artist Pauline Bewick.
The foreword is written by Irish Michelin starred chef Derry Clarke of L'Ecrivain Restaurant in Dublin. He says “This book is the culmination of 60 years of passion, hard work and imagination and is a summary of Maura’s life working in busy kitchens. These recipes are timeless, classic, and detailed. This is a book I feel every cook should have in their kitchen as there are so many brilliant and varied recipes. This is a book recording Maura’s legacy through the many years she has been at the forefront of Irish cooking. As a fellow chef, I am proud to know her and respect her for all her achievements.”