9 Irish cookbooks that will see you through self-isolation

Self-isolation doesn't have to mean an unhealthy lifestyle. Luckily, Ireland is full of talented chefs and bakers who have shared their recipes with us in fuss-free cookbook form, all available now. 


If, like us and the rest of the world, you're working from home (WFH) and spending all of your free time cooped up indoors, it's easy to fall into unhealthy patterns.

At first, typing on the laptop from the comfort of your bed and PJs seems like a novelty. But before you know it, the only time you're getting out of bed is to pay the takeaway delivery driver and reach for the biscuit tin.

But WFH doesn't have to mean unhealthy living, or indeed nutrient-free meals. Maintaining a routine while working from home is key to cracking this self-isolation. So we've rounded up the best cookbooks you can buy in store, or order online now, to help you stay on track. And we fully condone biscuits, just after a healthy meal...

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Veggie / Vegan

1. Cornucopia (The Green Cookbook)

Cornucopia's The Green Cookbook, €29.99

Everyone's favourite vegetarian restaurant on Wicklow Street in Dublin, Cornucopia, has been serving up delicious healthy grub for more than 30 years. In 2019, owner Deirdre McCafferty penned her healthy recipes on paper with the vegan cookbook Cornucopia.

If you like plant-based food that packs a punch, i.e. that will leave you thoroughly satisfied and wanting more, this is the book for you.

It's hardback, heavy, and is ideal for anyone looking for real comfort food during this turbulent time, that is loaded with nutrients, protein and your five-a-day. The dishes are flexible and include ingredients that can be easily sourced in your local supermarket.

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2. Vegan-ish

Vegan-ish, €22.99

After content creator Holly White practiced veganism for four years, she felt she had learned and educated herself enough to share her experiences with the world. In 2018, her first cookbook Vegan-ish A Gentle Introduction to a Plant-based Diet, was born.

As well as over 100 deliciously healthy recipes, Holly sprinkles practical advice on how to change your eating habits, whether they are for environmental or animal welfare reasons, throughout the book. So if you're planning on making some lifestyle changes while in self-isolation, Vegan-ish could be your new best friend.

As well as healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes, Holly also creates nutritious juices and smoothies that will put a pep in your step for those at-home workouts. Using everyday ingredients like cauliflowers, butternut squash and tomatoes, plant-based has never been so easy - or delicious.

Family friendly

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3. The Little Green Spoon

The Little Green Spoon, €18

This cookbook from food blogger Indy Power includes over 100 healthy recipes designed for everyday fuss-free cooking. Indy's aim is to make meal times as simple as possible — perfect for WFH when you might only have an hour at lunch to prep your meals.

Each recipe is identified as 'vegan', 'gluten-free' and 'dairy-free' so you know exactly what you're getting before you delve in, and all food intolerances are catered for.

Followers of The Little Green Spoon blog will be pleased to see that most of Indy's recipes are featured in the book. An IMAGE favourite is roasted carrots with almond butter, lime and chilli. Super easy and super delicious, you won't be disappointed.

 

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4. The Baby-Friendly Family Cookbook

 

The Baby-Friendly Family Cookbook, €19.99

We know lots of you are also WFH while minding the children and homeschooling. Irish mammy-of-three Aileen Cox Blundell's family cookbook was inspired to cook healthy recipes for her children after realising her own diet consisted heavily of processed foods.

Her philosophy now is that cooking and eating should be delicious and fun. Her healthy and nutritious homemade baby food recipes made for bite-sized meals creates a positive relationship with food, right from the very start.

The Baby-Friendly Family Cookbook, which stemmed from Aileen's successful Baby-Led Feeding blog, features over 150 fuss-free recipes everyone in the family will love - from the smallest to the biggest and including weaning babies.

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So if you're trying to reimagine lunch-boxes and batch cooking while WFH,  Aileen has packed this cookbook with easy-to-make classics like slow-cooker stew and chicken Tikka Masala. Happy cooking!

5. The Daly Dish

The Daly Dish, €19.99

Married couple Gina and Karol Daly lost a combined 10 stone, and did it all by eating. They're now sharing their recipes with the world to spread the message that healthy eating doesn't mean compromising on taste.

After gaining a massive Instagram following documenting their weight loss journey and sharing their recipes, like homemade spice bags, and chorizo white pudding stack, their new cookbook, The Daly Dish 100 Masso Slimming Meals for Every Day is now available to buy.

For anyone who wants to eat the food they love - and who doesn't while staying at home? - but with slimming tweaks that support weight loss and maintenance, this book is packed with delicious and easy-to-recreate meals at home.

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6. Eat Up Raise Your Game

Eat Up Raise Your Game, €14.99

Sports nutritionist Daniel Davey knows a thing or two about a protein-packed meal, being the Irish rugby team and the Dublin Seniors' full-time nutritionist. But he also knows that meal times have to fit into a person's busy lifestyle. His first cookbook is designed to fit seamlessly into your every day routine - whether you're constantly on-the-go or staying at home more often.

From grannies and grandkids, Daniel's mantra is that anyone can feel and perform better with the right food choices. Eat Up Raise Your Game's recipes are broken down into two broad categories: higher carbohydrate recipes for fuelling your performance or supporting recovery on exercise days, and lower carbohydrate recipes, which are more relevant to active recovery days (when less carbohydrate is required). These versatile recipes can be personalised to any health or performance goal, including improving body composition by lowering body fat and increasing muscle mass.

And staying at home is no excuse not to keep your body moving. We've listed the best online fitness classes you can do while WFH here.

7. Neven Maguire's Home Economics For Life

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Neven Maguire's Home Economics For Life, €25

No Irish kitchen is complete without a nod to the living legend that is Neven Maguire. And we're very aware that some of you who now find yourselves at home may not be the most confident cook in the kitchen.

But with restaurants and takeaways closed, it's time to learn how to use that Aga. Neven's Home Economics For Life features just 50 recipes that the famous chef says is all you need to get through - even if  you're a complete novice.

His latest book will teach you everything from basics like how to dress a salad, how to perfect scrambled eggs, to how to make your own tomato sauce and make stock from the bones. If you learn one recipe a week from the book, you'll have 50 under your belt by next year.

Self-isolating alone

8. Recipes for a Nervous Breakdown

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Recipes for a Nervous Breakdown, €19

A fitting title for the times we find ourselves in, author Sophie White - who you may know as host of the An Post InstaStory Club and being a regular IMAGE contributor - wrote Recipes for a Nervous Breakdown in 2016 after surviving a brush with madness.

This part cookbook, part memoir traces Sophie's interesting life from falling in love, to almost running out on her own wedding, having a baby and how cooking kept her sane.

It's the perfect part self-help manual if you find yourself at home alone these days. It will make you laugh, cry and will definitely keep you fed while WFH.

9.  Super Food in Minutes 

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Super Food in Minutes, €15

Donal Skehan's 2019 book is all about easy-peasy recipes that take no longer than 30 minutes. When you're cooking for one, sometimes you don't want to be in the kitchen all evening. There is a lot of Netflix to catch up on.

Donal has handpicked 90 of his fastest and most delicious recipes that are also super healthy. Using 10 ingredients or less, each recipe also comes with clear nutritional breakdowns, vegan, vegetarian and paleo options for each recipe, and a clean cook-friendly design.

And if you have a little bit more time in the kitchen, this cookbook is the perfect batch cook recipe book - weekly meals in just a couple of hours.


An Post is sponsor of the Irish Book Awards. For more information, see here.

For more on the An Post InstaStory Club, in partnership with IMAGE, see here.

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