The Currabinny Cookbook is the first cookbook from influencer James Kavanagh and his chef partner William Murray and it's just been shortlisted for an An Post Book Award. We caught up with the duo about their shared passion for food and how this project came about.
For us, food is life’s greatest pleasure. We’re not chefs or any kind of experts. We’re just devoted foodies and home cooks. Both of us grew up in homes where delicious, freshly prepared meals and baking were par for the course. After completing his Fine Art degree, William decided to explore his passion for cooking by doing the three-month course at the legendary Ballymaloe Cookery School. At the same time, James was working in public relations and two of the clients he worked with were iconic Irish brands, Barry’s Tea and Kerrygold Butter. Having to think about what made these brands great – quality and tradition – sowed a seed in James that came to fruition when we got together.
Our shared obsession with great food and cooking made us realise that it was more than just an interest – it was something we wanted to make our life’s work. After spending a summer in Currabinny, talking and dreaming about selling our food at markets, catering, doing pop-up food events, one day owning a café, writing a cookbook, we started brainstorming names for our baby. And of course the perfect name was staring us in the face...
In Currabinny, Co Cork, there is a huge interest in food. While there is a respect for tradition, and families have their own recipes that have been handed down from one generation to the next, there is also an appetite for experimentation and innovation. People are in the habit of foraging for ingredients from both land and sea. Recipes, techniques and new discoveries are generously shared between neighbours – in our cookbook, local botanical artist Patrick O’Hara shares his wonderful elderflower cordial recipe.
So Currabinny is not just a place we love, but the food culture there embodies everything we admire and value as an approach to cooking and eating – drawing on the best of local produce and old traditions while being willing to try new things. For us, cooking is about curiosity, community and, above all else, taste. By taking the time to experiment, to do it the wrong way and then correct course, we have developed a repertoire of recipes that we love and that we know other people love too. For us, this is the essence of cooking and enjoying food: trying out things, refining recipes until they are truly delicious, then sharing.
If you're looking for some weekend inspiration, here's one of our favourite, simplest recipes from the book, the Asparagus and Rainbow Trout with a Herb Sauce - the perfect light lunch.
Here's who we follow on Instagram for further foodie inspiration:
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Homemade cheese and bacon potato waffles with eggs and greens for brunch? You betcha! Another recipe from #BaconBrunch - out on Kindle soon! Photo @georgia_glynn_smith ❤👌🏻 #baconbaconbacon #baconbacon #🥓 #wafflesunday #potatowaffles #putaneggonit #brunch🍴 #brunchgoals #brunchideas #eggs🍳 #sundaybrunchday
This article first appeared in the November issue of Irish Tatler.