Saturday, September 19, 2020

Create Beautiful Food at Home by Adrian Martin - BOOK REVIEW

book cover of Create Beautiful Food at Home by Adrian Martin

Adrian Martin is a young, popular Irish chef. His new cookbook, Create Beautiful Food at Home, takes reasonably easy to make at home recipes and makes them look very, very fancy. His breezy explanations and the lovely photographs have me convinced it is possible to make food at home that looks like it comes from a swanky restaurant.

Which is not to say I'm convinced I want to. I'm more of a bistro food home cook than a haute cuisine home chef. So I'm probably not the target audience for Martin's new book. But for home chefs looking to learn something different or polish up restaurant-worthy skills, this is a terrific, must-have book.

You will get an idea of whether this is the book for you from a partial list of Martin's suggested "Necessities for the Kitchen," which will "make your life much easier if you are making the recipes in this book":

  •  Squeezy bottles (for purées, dressings, etc.)
  • Tweezers (for picking herbs and micro salads, and for plating up)
  • Blowtorch
  • Mandoline
  • Fish slice
  • Different-sized melon ballers
  • Oyster knife
  • Ice-cream churner

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against ice cream. I am even willing to make ice cream. I own a mandoline. And I own a single melon baller in one size. But I do not know what a fish slice is. And I cannot imagine using tweezers to plate individual herbs or "micro salad" or a squeezy bottle to decorate a dish with puree. That's just not me.

But I know people who would LOVE this kind of thing, love it down to their toes. I can think of five or six friends who would be tickled to get this for Christmas. And if you are like them, you too will love this book.

Create Beautiful Food at Home by Adrian Martin, picture of Chocolate and Hazelnut Tarts and second part of recipe

Create Beautiful Food at Home by Adrian Martin, Chocolate and Hazelnut Tarts, first part of recipe

The recipes are all beautifully presented – that's the point. They range from simple, like a fresh pea risotto with asparagus and basil purée, to elaborate, like individual chocolate and hazelnut tarts with chocolate tuiles and chocolate hazelnut ice cream (above). Some use the simplest of ingredients, a few rely on extravagant ingredients like fresh oysters, lobster, or foie gras. None are overly difficult, but they require attention to detail and a focus on timing and presentation.

If you have always wanted to make food as pretty as on cooking shows or in posh restaurants, Create Beautiful Food at Home is the perfect book for you. Please invite me over for dinner!


Create Beautiful Food at Home would make a perfect gift for the home chef who likes to replicate fancy restaurant meals -- the kind of home chef who already has a mini blowtorch for making the burnt sugar top on creme brulee. 

I'm happy to have a copy of Adrian Martin's book in my Cookbook Library and plan to challenge myself to make some of the simpler recipes for my next dinner party. When we can next have dinner parties. 


Weekend Cooking is a weekly blog event hosted by Marg at The Adventures of an Intrepid ReaderBeth Fish Reads started the event in 2009 and bloggers have been sharing book and food related posts ever since.


  1. I'm a good cook, but I'm also a lazy cook -- I don't see me using tweezers to place herbs or a squeeze bottle to decoratively place sauces. On the other hand, I really like to read about how to do these things.

  2. Oops, my comment disappeared as I was typing. So I don't repeat myself in case the first one shows up, I'll just say this isn't likely to be a cookbook I would use, but with life being so virtual these days, I can imagine many Insta-worthy dishes being plated up from it by home chefs! I'm definitely a home cook, not a home chef!
    My Weekend Cooking post is here:

    1. You are exactly right -- for someone who wants to make food at home that would look great on Instagram, this would be the perfect book!

  3. Sounds lovely, but I'm not sure I'm ready to put that much effort into plating.


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