The New Irish Table: Recipes from Ireland’s Top Chefs – A Review

The New Irish Table: Recipes from Ireland’s Top Chefs

Leslie Conron Carola (Compiler)
Date of Publication: February 7, 2017

I received a time-limited electronic copy of this cookbook for evaluation and review. This review contains affiliate links.

A time limited electronic copy of this book was provided free by the publisher.

There are 10 chefs featured in this cookbook:
Kevin Dundon, Ultan Cooke, Derry Clarke, Darrina Allen, Martin Bealin, Catherine Fulvio, Neven Maguire, Noel McMeel, Ian Orr, and Tim O’Sullivan.

It’s a beautifully laid out book that is a pleasure just to look at and read. It features gorgeous photography, of the Irish countryside and areas of interest as well as the dishes. I liked the market pictures. This book is a celebration of the featured chefs as well as being a cookbook. Biographies and pictures of each chef are included. The recipes have standard measurements that US cooks will be familiar with. In many cases both cup measurements and weights of ingredients are listed. For instance, a recipe might read “3 cups/300 g plain flour.”

The recipes are elegant and sophisticated, but often are simple. They are not always practical or frugal, but some surprised me and were both. If there is a term that might be unfamiliar to readers, it is usually defined. The photography showcases amazing food presentation creations as well. I don’t even want to KNOW what some of these meals would cost if enjoyed at the chef’s restaurants; some of these creations are served at castles! Overall, they are very impressive. If you like to see creative food presentation, you should enjoy this.

The tea scones are great, and I’ve also made the Guinness Chocolate cupcakes. The bit of stout really takes that chocolate up a notch. I look forward to trying the salted caramel ice cream later in the summer.

There are some quite simple recipes in the book as well, such as Roux, that compliment the recipes, and that’s exactly the way I make my own.

The downside, at least for me, is that some of these ingredients are about impossible for me to find here in my small town in the US – I’d have to drive a couple of hours to the city to find some of the ingredients if I wanted to cook them. Also, not all the recipes really appeal to my Southern US palate. It’s a much more gourmet selection that I normally would prepare. At times though, I like part of a recipe or a component that can stand alone, so there’s still value there for me. I also found a lot of value in the photo essays on various ingredient production.

This is as much coffee table book as it is a cookbook. It’s really a beautiful production.

5 out of 5 stars

Sweetness by Christy Jordan – A Sweet Southern Dessert Cookbook


by Christy Jordan
Date of Publication: November 7, 2016
  I received a time-limited electronic copy of this cookbook for evaluation and review. This review contains affiliate links.

I enjoyed reading this cookbook as much as the recipes. It was full of inspirational tidbits, stories, and reminiscing. I loved the story of how “Old Scrap Iron” got her name. There are lots of recounted memories from times go by of older generations that I just really loved reading. There was lots of true wisdom there and a lot of times I found myself laughing, and it brought back fond memories of my own. It’s definitely Southern, and I think Southern born and raised readers will especially enjoy the way this book often evokes memories of a time when families and people were closer.

The recipes are all about sweets, with some punches, fruit drinks, and Southern Sweet tea added. The Southern Sweet tea recipe was the only one I didn’t care for. We just make ours differently, never letting the tea actually boil keeps the bitterness down and we DO pour ours over sugar when it is still warm, so the sugar dissolves well. Plus we use 2-3 times the amount of tea. We like our Southern Sweet Tea so it can about get up and walk by itself.

I love that she included very traditionally Southern recipes like Hummingbird Cake, Coca-Cola cake, Divinity, and various chess pies. There are icing recipes galore, and they are good, and many I recognized as being recipes that I learned from my own mother. My favorite new recipes though involved some of the cake mix recipes that were included. I always stock up on cake mixes during sales, and making cookies with them will give me another way to use them up before they expire, so I really appreciated those- and they are excellent; I’d never have known they were made from a cake mix.

The recipes are all centered around common pantry items and are very affordable. Almost all are very simple and make very little mess. They are practical, and good, and pleasing to the Southern palate. They are NOT gourmet, or fussy, and they are full-calorie.

I will pick a hard copy of this book up when it comes out. The pictures are nice, but this is a cookbook I’d like to keep a copy of in my ‘sweets’ cabinet. The icings are great- really with the collection in this cookbook, there’s no reason anyone should ever buy another can of icing again.


5 out of 5 stars

Back online!

Wiresplice had to go offline for a while.  I needed to get some clarification that it was OK to post my Amazon Vine reviews on my site from the folks at Amazon, and clarify my affiliate goals and status.  While I am an Amazon affiliate, I do not get a payout from them.  They assisted me in getting my account set up so that I am able to use their tools, but won’t ever meet a threshold for payout.  It’s simply not my intention to profit off my reviews where items or books have been provided to me. I stay pretty busy though, so I am not doing any 3rd party reviews on request.

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Aldi’s – give it a try, we LOVE it

We really love our Aldi’s. At first, I wasn’t too sure about a store that I had to carry my own bags for, bag my own groceries, and pay a deposit to get a shopping cart.
Now I have it down to a science- I always keep a quarter in my car and also my purse. “That’s my Aldi’s shopping cart quarter,” I tell myself, “can’t spend that!” I have a small sack full of shopping sacks too, and before I hit the store, I make sure to carry it with me. I do know though that if I should forget my bags, I can always get a box or pay about a nickel each for bags there. The savings is worth it.

My first time, I wasn’t too keen on it. The generic brands scared me, and the store seemed so small. However, if you cook most of your meals, and don’t use a lot of convenience foods, you’ll find about everything you need for most meals. The main thing I really like are the great deals on produce and dairy. I plan meals mainly around the produce that is in season and on special. No store in my area beats the Aldi’s produce prices, and my store has great produce. That can vary though, I understand, depending on what region you are in.

The Aldi’s generics, I now know, are often BETTER than retail brands. Aldi’s is good to leave out artificial colors and preservatives whenever possible. That’s stuff I certainly don’t miss.

Wednesdays are a good day to go. They have a lot of special sales on Wednesday.

Besides eating a lot more fresh foods, Aldi’s lower prices means that I don’t have to cut coupons to get good deals. I have more time and freedom NOT having to cut coupons, and yet my grocery bill is about the same, and there’s healthier food, and less ‘junk’ in my cart.

Before I go, I always check the list at Southern Savers to see what the sales are: Aldi Weekly Deals.

Heading into Christmas, a consumer report…and a few gift ideas

I feel that testing products gives me a chance to see some new and unusual products, as well as check in on how some old favorite brands are doing.
Here’s a few tidbits I wanted to share.

Dashboard cams are starting to ‘race to the bottom’ in prices. Motion sensing and recording cameras are starting to flood the market from China. While dashboard cams are still often priced in the $150 range, I am starting to see some decent cams enter the market lower and lower. Tonight I saw one just listed for $48 that I’ll be testing soon. Many are coming with storage disks, adding to their value. I project that by the end of this quarter, there will be some amazing deals on them. The same holds true for IP cams and surveillance cameras in general, though ‘big’ corporate brands with more user-friendly software will continued to be priced high. If you are technically proficient, look for no-brand clones to become very affordable.

With online shopping, be very careful of sizing issues with Asian sellers. While many are starting to get “Small” and “Medium” sizes correct, larger sizes still elude their ability to properly denote. Be very careful with purchases on discount sites for plus size clothing unless you are already familiar with the site. Many ‘dress’ sites are popping up on social media featuring very inexpensive dresses that are often stylish and cute, but many of these are from the same lots that I’ve tested and found to be way off in size and cut for the American market.

Some really good deals do exist coming from Asian vendors- I have been overall impressed with the quality and value of knit goods for instance, and there’s some very nice messenger bags, backpacks, and tablet portfolios on the market.

Some eco-friendly products that I’ve liked have included wool dryer balls and fragrance diffusers. The dryer balls help speed clothes drying time, soften clothes naturally, and can be used to scent laundry by applying essential oils to them. I’ve had a set for months now and they work great. The diffusers help scent a home naturally.

The citrus essential oils, such as orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit, are usually a good bet for quality. are generally inexpensive, and most people enjoy these scents.

I am NOT having much luck with heated electric linens, such as electric throws, blankets and underpads. I’ll write more on this later but for now my advice for now would be to steer clear of these items for gift giving. Too many are failing, even from brands most Americans have come to know and trust.

For the PREPPERS and multi-purpose gadget lovers – There is one product whose brand I will mention by name, though other sellers also offer similiar lights and it might pay to shop around. They did send me a free copy to test, but this is NOT an affiliate link. It is NEVER my policy to make income from third-party vendor product tests.

This light is really very unusual. It functions as a light, AND a charger for USB powered items, like smartphones and tablets. The solar panel is a good size and works well, and it took me 3 full days to run this light down after one sunny day’s sunlight charge. It also works like a regular light bulb, if you prefer to use it like that. I’ve found it practical, unusual, and “delightful.”

There are some very unusual (to me at least) LED lights coming out of the Asian markets. I was contacted about one that is a regular screw in LED lightbulb, but it’s ALSO a Bluetooth speaker. I look forward to testing that one!

That’s all for now. If I can ever be of assistance with ideas, clarification, or recommendations, feel free to contact me. As long as I have a bit of time, I’ll try to help.