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4.7 out of 5 stars30
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 11 December 2012
now , im not the best cook, but i surf, and have done for 25 years, i also film a hell of a lot of cooking shows,which you will have seen no doubt,and i looooove eating. so i was at first hugely skeptical about yet another shabby-chique-rustique cookbook. not to mention using surfing as a vehicle-"how trendy and ridiculous" thought i!

i couldnt have been more mistaken, the book is a treat and pleasure to flick through or delve deeper when the eye is caught.
the recipes are mostly simple to follow and not filled with a million ingredients that you will never own.
lovely photos,( these i have seen and done before-soft backlight, narrow depth of field stuff, but hey , it works and the food looks very appetising)
but also fun tricks with design, and some great surfing /skating iconic images
lovely little stories,
and most importantly for me anyway, the book is not at all pretentious.sure it looks good, and its a bit chic, but its the real deal, these guys live the cold damp dream in ireland,not everyones cuppa, but they have found the magik and warmth and hospitality and fun and joy of the irish and of surfing and of food and of cooking and eating and laughing, and managed to beautifully illustrate, photograph and package it all into one neat book.they have created a unique and interesting book, and i highly recommend it.
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on 31 July 2012
Having eaten in the cafe which inspired the book, I was keen to get my hands on the book as soon as it came out. And I wasn't disappointed...the recipes inside are fab and as my title suggests, it really is more than just another cookbook, with a lifestyle theme running throughout the book, with tips on how to get the best ingredients and where to find them to how the make great coffee! It's called the Surf Cafe Cookbook, but for any non-surfers don't worry, there's only a few pages on the sport of surfing, it really is more about the culture and lifestyle that accompanies the location of the cafe where the authors work/run. And the photography inside also really compliment the actual content, it's a real colourful book....definitely recommended.
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on 31 July 2012
The Surf Cafe cookbook is a real treat for anybody who likes tasty, good food fast and also wants some eye candy. This is a very cool, funky book, especially for all those ocean lovers. The lemon squares recipe is DIVINE! Works as both a coffee table book and for your recipe book shelf. Will be giving one to all my friends and family as gifts!
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on 8 June 2013
This book is beautiful to look at and has some stunning recipes - the buttery shortbread based lemon squares are outstanding and the recipe worked out perfectly. They were wolfed down when I took some in to work.
I love the book's styling and format with little tips and ideas for craft makes as well as recipes. There are also some lovely surfing stories and recommendations on surfing locations that I enjoyed, even though I am not a surfer (yet)!
Some other recipes from the book include:
Honey Surf Energy Bars
Cranberry Flapjacks
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Potato Rosti
Breakfast Pie
West Coast Chowder
Campervan Casserole
Hangover Cures!
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In short this is a cookbook written by the owner-couple of "Shells Café" in Strandhill on the west coast of Ireland, featuring locally-produced food that could be suitable for an intimate family gathering or just when lounging about with friends. All with a surfing/coastal/Irish mix for good measure.

At first this reviewer was a little sceptical to the concept behind the book but as the pages turned this soon evaporated. The book features a very "busy" design yet it does not feel cluttered and a number of interesting design elements are used, such as making the contents page look like a menu. At first the reader is treated to a mixture of cooking education and a bit of philosophy behind the restaurant. More experienced cooks invariably skip over these pages as they normally just repeat much of a muchness but it might be worth casting an eye through it for a new insight or two.

Then it is straight to the recipes, split up as you would expect into different meal times and meal types. Some of the recipes will have you wondering why a simple item has been included, such as porridge or a cup of chai (tea) but if you read around the recipes you can discover the "whys" a lot clearer and often it is the simpler things in the kitchen that can be easily ruined. Of course, as you would expect from an Irish restaurant, there is a particular Irish influence to matters but this is in no way a "parochial" trendy Irish cookbook.

Some of the recipes, perhaps aided by the wonderful photographs, are likely to inspire you to try things you hadn't considered before and, if you had just heard the name, you might have been put off. Eggs Florentine, for example, is one of this that caught this reviewer's eye as he would never have considered eating a poached egg and creamed spinach concoction before! Each recipe is well-written and continues everything you would need to know (with the exception of the much-complained-about typical prep and cook times) but some of the fonts and colours are a bit unforgiving on tired middle-aged eyes. The overall design does work and it manages to combine quirkiness and individuality together without appearing faux or kitschy. A good balancing act overall.

At the end of the book there is even a list of local (to the restaurant) events, a few places to stay and other places to visit too. Usually this sort of thing makes the book a little less desirable unless you specifically plan to visit, but it is harmless and by including various tourist destinations it might just be the trigger you needed.

So overall a good book that managed to destroy initial negative perceptions and feelings. A good general recipe book with a difference, to be sure, that might be worthy of a second glance or more in a bookshop or a good "take a risk" entry into an online shopping basket.
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on 7 February 2013
This is an amazing cookbook for anybody who wants to bring a sense of colour, vibrancy, flavour and freshness to their table. The recipes are easy to follow and have great images to compare from. Not only that it has a romantic story about a couple with a love for food and surf and how they combined the two basing themselves on the west coast of Ireland. Where the best surf is to be had, Co.Sligo. This cookbook is amazingly lush with imagery of food recipes and seascape. Fab!
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on 10 January 2013
This is a fabulous cookbook with wholesome food recipes. I was given this cookbook by my husband because he knows how much I love going to the author's cafe, Shells, on Ireland's west coast. The food there is unreal and always fresh. So he figured why not tap into their secrets and buy the cookbook to save us the 2.5hr drive from Dublin! The Thai pumpkin soup is literally to die for and can not wait to try out the rest of the recipes!
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on 31 January 2013
Beautiful pictures, great recipes. Again this was for my son the surfer and he has tried some of the recipes(he is also a keen & very good cook) the food was really delicious and he has improvised and improved some recipes. Lovely book as a gift for anyone especially travellers and keen cooks.
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on 13 August 2012
Lovely book for cooking and just looking at! Some great recipes, simple but tasty (the ones I've tried so far!) Beautiful photographs and illustrations so I enjoyed just flicking through the pages but also some interesting little bits to read as well as the recipes. Would be a great gift, or just a good buy for anyone who loves cooking, the outdoors and lovely pics.
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on 6 February 2013
I love this book. Really nice recipes, which where idiot proof (I being testament to that) and most importantly made me look good in the kitchen. Also liked the fact that the didn't feel the need to use obscure ingredients. I've cooked quite a few recipes, there is a great chicken stew, perfect for beach side cook up. Looking forward to the next one!
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