'Kitchen Hero: Great Food For Less' - Donal Skehan
Photography: Donal Skehan
Kitchen Hero opens with one of the most useful introductory elements that I have read for a long time. It contains lots of information and is a great resource to have for using seasonal, well priced produce. Skehan advocates frugal and sensible cooking, storage and shopping in a way that makes it easy to comprehend. He shows lots of different ways to make your food fit your budget.
Kitchen Hero is wonderful to use with a sensible recipe layout and an easy to read font. The 'Cheap & Healthy' section is a little out of place as the dishes seem rather varied to be drawn together but all of the other parts work well and are easy to navigate. The recipes that have photographs attached are helpfully italicised in the index.
Apart from the portraits, Skehan has taken all of the photographs himself, which is even more impressive considering how high the quality is. Just a couple could benefit from slightly tweaked lighting but all make the food look very appetising. His training under Jocasta Clarke and (his aunt) Erica Ryan has certainly paid off. It's great seeing a chef knowing about the whole of the trade.
The time needed to make the dishes varies a lot so that you can usually find something to suit your needs. There is a good balance of sweet and savoury dishes. With some of the meat dishes, Skehan suggests simply taking out the animal based ingredients to adapt it for vegetarians and it would be nice to have some ideas for alternative proteins or extra veggies to make up the bulk of the meal.
There are a few ingredients in the book that you might need to ask your butcher for, or possibly venture into new shelves of the supermarket but on the whole this is a very store-cupboard friendly set of recipes. Most of the flavour combinations here are quite familiar but the twists to make them easier or cheaper are really inventive. The Leftover Chicken Caesar Pasta dish is brilliant and one that I'll be using a lot.
My favourite recipes were the Cowboy Franks and Beans, the Cheesy Ham Hock Spinach Crepes, the Swedish Potato Jansson and the Rice-Krispie Caramel Swirl Ice Cream Cake.
Kitchen Hero would make a great addition to your cookbook collection, especially good for trying new cuts of meat or alternative uses for familiar ingredients. It would also make a great house-warming gift and is perfect to take away to University. A fun and useful cookbook that has many recipes destined to become firm favourites.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of 'Kitchen Hero: Great Food For Less' from Collins