The book, written by Jess Murphy of Kai Galway and Eoin Cluskey of Bread 41, worked with refugees around Ireland as well as immigrants who have made Ireland their home to collect and share the twenty-five recipes in this book.
You can buy the book now from your local book shop or online for fifteen euros. All author proceeds will be donated to UNHCR.
Cultures and cuisines have many differences, but they all have in common: cookies. No matter the country, cookies evoke fond childhood memories and feature in many holidays and celebrations.
Born in New Zealand, Jess has been working and living in Ireland since 2003. She opened Kai, which holds a Bib Gourmand from the Michelin Guide. Jess is also an official High-Profile Supporter of the UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency), with whom she works to raise awareness and advocate for refugees.
She says, ‘I didn’t know it at the time. But for me, the idea for this book started when I was standing on a hill just outside of Amman in Jordan, overlooking the Azraq refugee camp. I had just flown out on my first mission for the UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, in 2019. I was heading to Beirut and
Jordan to document Syrian food history through displacement and meet the Al Jamous family, who contributed a wonderful recipe for a wonderful Syrian cookie. They were living in a tiny apartment in Beirut and had just received the good news that they were about to be relocated to Ireland.
‘We did our best to reassure the family that they were going to be safe. And that Sami’s dream of his kids being able to ride a bicycle in the fresh air on the street outside would indeed come true. We promised to come to see them. Little did we know that they were going to live just up the road in County Offaly. So catching the train to Offaly to be reunited and pop in for a cuppa was just magic.’
Eoin Cluskey is the founder and owner of Bread 41, an organic bakery on Pearse Street in Dublin 2. He lives in Bray with his wife Katie, children Oliver and Sadie, and two goldfish. For him, food is about bringing people together; real bread is the heart of its ability to do that.
Eoin says, ‘With this book, I want our community and beyond to see the impact that food and sharing what food means to us and others can have. We can rekindle that childhood nostalgia, that simplicity and joy of food while addressing the challenges our world faces and the need to come together. At its core, food is universal and ever-evolving. This book is a love letter to how it brings us all together.’
‘Blasta Books are to cookbooks what street food is to restaurants,’ says publisher Kristin Jensen. ‘They give people a fun, accessible and affordable way to eat exciting food.’
Each book is a hardcover, 72-page A5 cookbook illustrated by Dublin artist Nicky Hooper.
They are all standalone books, but as a quarterly series, they also provide a more inclusive
snapshot of Ireland’s modern and diverse food culture, from tacos to tapas and spice bags to
sushi. They are little books with big voices.
Each of the two previous offerings from Blasta Books have been rip-roaring successes. They have featured the kind of recipes that are easy to follow and churn out some tasty food. This looks set to be the sweetest of the four.
Elsewhere on CHAR: How to Upgrade to BBQ Level Expert