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Review: Martin & Paul’s Surf ‘n’ Turf

Book Review 1Stuck for a last minute present for a foodie? Looking for a book that captures modern Irish cooking and a sense of place? Then my book review for the 3rd day of my 12 days of Christmas series may be for you.

Published by Quadrille, Martin Shanahan & Paul Flynn‘s cookbook to accompany the RTE series of the same name was sent to me to review a number of weeks ago.  It is quite simply something quite special.

As you would expect, it’s a cookbook which includes some glorious pictures of delectable food.  Then again though, that’s pretty much a given nowadays when you pick up a cookbook.

What sets the book apart is the style of photography.  The food, which is presented simply, to the panoramas, landscapes and character pictures give a sense of place.  A sense of real Irishness which screams comfortable, normal living to me and not the “diddly-eye” stuff that can sometimes be found in cookbooks of this genre.

In case you haven’t guessed yet, I think this book is great.

There are minor details in the recipe writing that could do with improving, like heat settings which may trip up the novice homecook, but in general it’s an easy read with recipes that are achievable at home with the minimum of fuss or equipment. My kind of food.

To test out the recipes and in the Christmas spirit I chose a recipe from the “quick” section of Turf ‘n’ Surf.  This recipe is ideal for a lazy brunch after the gluttony of Christmas Day, doesn’t contain any turkey or ham and would also do for a hearty meal on a winter’s evening.  I’ve tweaked it a little to contain more vegetables (shock horror) but it is still delicious!

The recipe states that it feeds 4 as a tapas.  I’d say it’d feed 2 hungry adults as a main meal with plenty of crusty bread to mop up the juices and add texture. If you fancy making it more bulky you could certainly add a poached or even fried egg on top with a runny yolk.

My personal notes are in brackets & italics below.

butterbeans, chorizo and cider


  • 1 onion, finely chopped,
  • 1tbsp unsalted butter,
  • 5 sprigs of sage,
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped,
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree,
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika,
  • 100g chorizo chopped about the size of the butterbeans,
  • 100g black pudding, finely chopped,
  • 330ml bottle of dry cider,
  • 1/2 chicken stock cube,
  • 400g can of butterbeans, drained and rinsed,
  • sea salt,
  • freshly ground black pepper.


Cook the onion slowly in the butter with the sage and garlic (low heat). When the onion is meltingly soft and sweet, add the tomato puree and smoked paprika (I also added 1 finely chopped carrot here) and cook for five minutes.

Now tip in the chorizo and cook for a further five minutes, to allow it to release its oil. Throw in the black pudding and cook for two minutes, then pour in the cider, crumble in the stock cube and tip in the beans. Bring to a simmer and cook for a final five minutes (I simmered for ten minutes then stirred in 6 or 7 finely shredded raw brussels sprouts). Season to taste, then serve on warmed plates, with crusty bread.

Book Review 2

Quadrille Publishing kindly provided me with a copy of the book for the purposes of this review, however my opinions are my own and I’m not paid to give them.

I'm an Irish mother to 2 boys, born & bred in Dublin, Ireland. I like to cook simple & fresh food for the family, with the family on a budget.


  • Edible Ireland

    This book wound up being one of my favourites this year – especially this recipe! So easy and moreish, but like you said, more like 2 servings for 2 greedy adults. 😉

    • Wholesome Ireland

      Indeed! Himself and the 13 yo demolished a bowl each with a couple of string cut crunchy frites and thought they were a good combination/alternative to crusty bread mind you. I really love this book, makes me smile.

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