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Blasta Books Autumn: From A Multicultural Malaysian Childhood To A Trinidad & Tobago Meets Nigeria Food Mash-Up

Blasta Books’ inimitable, illustrated cookbooks continue to promote new voices in food and showcase the culinary diversity found across Ireland this Autumn.

In #11: AGAK-AGAK, where food pivots between Chinese, Thai, Indian and Malay influences, chef Sham Hanifa combines all the cuisines of his multicultural childhood to create his own personal representation of the Malaysian society he grew up in. With recipes that pack in all the flavour of his diverse heritage, Sham presents a fascinating food landscape that shows him to be an instinctively clever and respectful chef and will encourage readers to dip into his easy and delicious Asian-style dishes.

Shamzuri (Sham) Hanifa is a multi-award-winning chef, businessman and broadcaster. Originally from Malaysia, Sham moved to Carrick-on-Shannon in County Leitrim, Ireland, in 2000 to begin a journey that would take him from general kitchen work to head chef and owner/co-owner of a number of establishments, including the Cottage Restaurant, My Kitchen by Sham Hanifa, Synergy Café, and Buffalo Boy Steakhouse. Sham appears regularly on Virgin Media One’s Six O’clock Show, where he demonstrates easy, Asian-style dishes.

Blasta Books’ final cookbook #12: SOCAFRO is a mash-up of Alistair Jeje’s two favourite types of music: the rhythmic beats of Soca from Trinidad & Tobago and the soulful lines of Afrobeat from Nigeria. Reflecting Alistair’s dual heritage, this vibrant and uplifting cookbook is a journey through Alistair’s childhood memories as well as the food served from his street food venture Socafro Kitchen. Bridging the culinary gap between West Africa and the Caribbean, SOCAFRO shows how fusing two major food influences can create dishes to delight and dance to, including a jollof pilau, spicy Trini suya kebabs, a rich and cheesy Afro-Trini macaroni pie, and delightfully sweet and crispy chin-chin tamarind balls.

Alistair Jeje, affectionately known as JD, is the proud proprietor of Socafro Kitchen, a bustling street food venture in Waterford City offering an enticing fusion of Caribbean and Nigerian flavours. This culinary blend pays homage to his roots: his mother hails from Trinidad and his father from Nigeria. The name Socafro comes from JD’s passion for two distinct music genres: the vibrant rhythms of Caribbean soca and the pulsating beats of Afro tunes. JD was born in England but his formative years were spent in Lagos, where his mother and sister introduced him to the world of cooking. JD believes that your true calling is what you can do effortlessly, and for him, cooking is just that. JD’s larger-than-life charisma is undeniably magnetic, and his radiant smile and treasured recipes lift up everyone who meets him and eats his food. @socafrokitchen

Blasta Books

Blasta Books launched in 2022 as an imprint of boutique Irish publisher Nine Bean Rows. They are to cookbooks what street food is to restaurants: they give people a fun, accessible and affordable way to eat exciting food.

Blasta Books Series
After a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2021 that saw publisher Kristin Jensen achieve her target in just a few days, Blasta Books was created to connect people through food and stories and prioritise new, unpublished voices in Ireland.

They are little books with big voices.


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