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Beautiful Affair

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What to expect

From his early days as a musician with Stockton’s Wing to his time as a trainee at Ballymaloe Cookery School, food and music have been parallel lines that have kept Mike Hanrahan on track his entire life.

Mike Hanrahan, cook and teacher, songwriter and musician, takes us back stage and into the kitchens of a bohemian, international and surprisingly foodie group of Irish household names, including Ronnie Drew, Finbar Furey, Maura O’Connell, Leslie Dowdall, Pat Shortt, Eleanor Shanley and Sharon Shannon.

Mike penned hit singles ‘Beautiful Affair’ and ‘Walk Away’ for Stockton’s Wing, from which a world of touring and behind-the-scenes escapades began. With affectionate portraits of the legendary personalities he came to know along the way, Beautiful Affair rings with the sheer graft, dedication and serious sense of humour of a life well spent on stage – and in the kitchen.

Mike’s time training with Ballymaloe’s Darina Allen would see his hobby become a second career. Here, he shares favourite recipes from home, friends and professional kitchens across the country – from family recipes cooked on country hearths to vegetarian folk-club grub and tour-bus pressure-cooker stews. Beautiful Affair tells tales of the Irish music scene from the 1970s through to today, and wends its way through a lifelong love affair with Irish food.

‘This is much more than my story. In Beautiful Affair I introduce you to my friends – who share memories, recipes and quite a few amusing anecdotes that add so much sparkle to my life.’ – Mike Hanrahan

Critics Review

  • Nominated for the Irish Book Awards’ Best Irish Published Book of the Year

    • ‘If you love food and music, this book is compulsory for Christmas’ – Paul Flynn, Head Chef of the Tannery, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford.
    • Beautiful Affair is part memoir, part recipe collection, and a total joy to read. . . . full of funny stories and wry observations on the music and food worlds, along with some fascinating detail. With hand-drawn watercolour illustrations by Charlotte O’Reilly Smith, and recipes from friends, family and professional kitchens, this is a book to savour and cherish.’ – Marie Claire Digby, Irish Times
    • ‘A mixture of wonderful stories. We made the Irish stew… and nearly licked the plates!’ – Sean O’Rourke, RTE Radio 1
    • ‘This book… it’s literally a beautiful affair. … I thoroughly loved this. It’s a very special piece of work.’ – Marty Whelan, RTE Lyric FM
    • ‘Mike manages to do the impossible – create something which is an honest account of his life, as well as a heart-warming feast for the senses.’ – Hot Press
    • ‘[A] brilliant and often joyful book.’ – Sunday Independent
    • ‘The book is absolutely beautiful. It’s called Beautiful Affair, and it’s a very apt name for it … the illustrations, the recipes, lovely warm stories of a time in music and friendship, and a life’s journey… I loved every moment of it.’ – Tom Dunne, Newstalk
    • ‘[A] moving and insightful book’ – Irish News
    • ‘…through a sequence of picture postcards, Beautiful Affair coalesces to provide a pleasing montage of one man’s life-journey, the sociality of his musical world and the coming-of-age of Ireland as a musical nation within a globalised world… And, of course, there are the recipes too.’ –The Journal of Music

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