Irvine describes himself as someone who, at age 11, was studying food photos and making up recipes either to cook, or just imagine. He started out cooking for Her Majesty’s Royal Navy (a very demanding clientele, that) and shipboard for captain’s tables, before working in taverns and pubs. Now he cooks on television.
“My soufflés rise, my sauces don’t break and on a good day I can smell a perfect sear or a tainted stock from 50 feet away,” Irvine says in his cookbook “Impossible to Easy” (Wm. Morrow, $29.99). That sounds like an expert to me.
After reading his introduction about his interest and experience in cooking, as well as his philosophy, I felt confident that this was no TV star that just made it on his good looks and cute personality. Looking through the names of dishes he offers (111 recipes, total) made me hungry. I wanted to sit down at a restaurant and see each and every one of them on the menu.
So, for me, that put this cookbook off to a good start. Here are some more things I like about it. He has studied classical French technique and doesn’t hesitate to describe just how you can have sauces that don’t break and soufflés that rise. It’s not a huge book, at less than 300 pages, but it’s packed with real information that promises the home cook professional results.
Just for good measure, here are some of the recipe titles: Lobster Brie Quesadilla; Veal Chops with Roasted Figs and Caramelized Onion; Grilled Skirt Steak with Roast Corn Haricot Salad; Roasted Cornish Game Hen with Sweet Potato Gnocchi; Crispy Crab and Smoked Salmon Cakes with Baby Arugula and Mango Aioli. That list goes on and (deliciously) on.
I’m glad I have this book to add to my shelf — but I also plan to take it down more than a few times.
“Impossible to Easy” was co-authored with Brian O’Reilly.