What are Blasta Books?

blasta (blastə) adj From the Irish language, meaning delicious, tasty,
appetising. Rhymes with pasta.

Blasta Books are changing the way that cookbooks are published in
order to make more room at the table.

Hardcover, small format and illustrated by Dublin artist Nicky Hooper, the cookbooks will be released four times a year as a quarterly periodical series. 

Each volume is a standalone 72-page A5 cookbook, but as a collectible series they will also provide a more inclusive snapshot of Ireland’s modern and diverse food culture, from tacos to tapas, spice bags to sushi. They are little books with big voices.

How are Blasta Books different from other cookbooks?

Blasta Books are to cookbooks what street food is to restaurants: they give people a fun, accessible and affordable way to eat exciting food.

At €15 per book and with the number of recipes limited to 30 or so, every recipe in the Blasta Books series will be a tried-and-tested winner. The brief for our authors is simple: every recipe has to be blasta – it has to be really damn delicious, the kind of recipes that go viral and get the whole country cooking.

Why is the Blasta Books series needed now?

There are two things that connect absolutely everyone: food and stories. More people need to be able to share their food and by extension their story, which is why Blasta Books will initially prioritise new, previously unpublished voices in Ireland.

Traditional cookbooks – the kind with 100 recipes, 250 pages and sumptuous styling and photography – are incredibly expensive to produce. What this often means is that only the most high-profile people and only the most mainstream topics or trends tend to get published. Many voices and many parts of our food culture in Ireland are just not being represented.

Publisher Kristin Jensen was convinced that there had to be another way, one that enables more voices to be heard and more niches, topics and cuisines to be explored – and that puts more fun and experimentation back in the kitchen and on the table. Inspired by Short Stack Editions from the US, the Little Leon books from the UK and the Avoca compact edition books here in Ireland, Blasta Books was born.

It’s time to make more room at the table. We’ve set a place for you.

Meet the team

Kristin Jensen, publisher and editor

As a freelance editor, food writer and project manager, Kristin has worked on hundreds of books and tens of thousands of recipes, over the past 20 years for clients such as Penguin, Gill Books, Octopus and Musgraves. She’s copyedited, proofread and developed recipes and collaborated with Ireland’s best-known, award-winning food writers and chefs, including Neven Maguire, Darina Allen, Rory O’Connell, David and Stephen Flynn and many more. She has also co-authored two books, Saturday Pizzas at the Ballymaloe Cookery School (Ryland Peters & Small, 2017) and Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer and Cider (New Island, 2014) and is currently writing a cookbook to be published in spring 2023. She has also served as the secretary and the chair of the Irish Food Writers’ Guild. Blasta Books is the culmination of two decades of specialist experience and expertise. When she’s not pottering in the kitchen or got her nose stuck in a book, you’ll find her walking for miles in the countryside with her dogs, probably listening to a podcast about food. @edibleireland

  • Jane Matthews, creative director

    Jane has been designing to an international standard for over 30 years. Her career has seen her spend time in art houses in Boston, Toronto and Berlin before returning home to spend 12 years as Art Director for Image Publications. Following this Jane spent five years freelancing on projects for IMMA, Independent Newspapers, the Irish Times, Brown Thomas, Gill Books, O’Brien Press, Gloss Publications, Musgraves and Harmonia Publications. She has also worked with many start-up companies, rebranded some very established titles and mentored design teams through award-winning rebrands. Jane has won Designer of the Year at the Magazines Ireland Awards and many of the magazines she has rebranded have gone on to win Magazine of the Year, Cover of the Year and Design Team of the Year. Her love of a good curry has seen her travel most of Asia. She hasn’t been everywhere yet, but it’s on her list. @janematthews100

  • Nicky Hooper, series artist

    Nicky was born at lunchtime and has been food obsessed ever since. She is as excited trying new foods as she is sitting down to the joyful nostalgia of a favourite dish and the memories it evokes. She finds food such a fascinating common denominator and instant insight into the belly of a culture, so she’s never happier than following her nose through a food market in Italy, to eating a bowl of noodles under a railway arch in Tokyo, to cracking open a packet of Tayto with a pint of Guinness. She has been drawing ever since she could hold a pencil. @nickyhooper