HomeCooked Newsletter | April 2013

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Wild Garlic Profile ShotHi folks!

Well, you've probably noticed by now, that the website is looking a little different!  I'm thrilled to have it back to looking like a blog and hopefully you're finding it much easier to browse back through old blog posts and through the recipe database filled with over 250 recipes.  If there's anthing you'd like to see on the blog or any suggestions, pop me a comment below.

After a very cold start to the year, with the clocks changing, it is finally starting to feel like spring with longer evenings and wild garlic popping up in the forest. I've been busy getting my kitchen garden ready for the growing season and I've just started planting out the seedlings, which have been tucked up in the greenhouse, safe from the cold weather.  I love growing my own veggies, which was why it was an obvious choice to support the GIY and Innocent Smoothies Sow & Grow Campaign for a second year in a row- You can read all about it and check out some of the images below.

We are coming to the final stage of my next book, Kitchen Hero: HomeCooked, which will be out in October and I'm thrilled to say, it's looking fantastic.  It certainly makes the time we spent shooting the food images before Christmas, all worthwhile.  To accompany the book, I'm thrilled to say there will be a 13-part TV series which will air in May and then again in October on RTÉ One, proudly sponsored by SPAR.  We're going to be on the road this series and stopping at festivals across Ireland to demonstrate simple HomeCooked recipes.  Check out details below, to see if we'll be filming near you!

This year is the 3rd year I'm supporting the The Great Irish Bake, in aid of Temple Street Children's Hospital, which is coming to you slightly earlier this year.  It's for such a worthy cause, so we are inviting everyone to get baking on the 19th of April to help raise money.  You can read about how to get involved below!

As well as my regular column in Delicious Magazine in the UK I'll also be popping up in Good Food Magazine for a mini series with recipes for young cooks!  Make sure to pick up a copy of both.

We've had some great news abroad also, with Kitchen Hero Series 2 being sold to Hungary, and it's just been confirmed Good Food Channel in the UK will be airing the same series from May 13th, Monday's to Thursday's at 7pm.  Junior MasterChef is making it big down under and has just started airing in Australia on Lifestyle FOOD weeknights at 6.30pm.  For any German Kitchen Hero fans out there, you'll be pleased to hear Kitchen Hero book 2 will be coming your way this August!

I have a few other projects bubbling away at the moment and hopefully I'll be able to share them with you next month!

Until then, keep checking the blog, I've got lots of delicious recipes lined up for you in the next few weeks…

Happy cooking!

Donal x


April Recipes


Mussels In Irish Cider


Monkey Bubble Bread


Wild Garlic Pesto


One Tray Roast Chicken


Mocha Chocolate Crater Cake


Pea, Mint & Pancetta Soup

GIY Sow And GrowSow And Grow 3I was thrilled to be asked to take part in the innocent and GIY ‘sow & grow’ campaign, again this year, to get little ones around the country sowing and growing in classrooms and youth groups.  We had so much fun last year with the winning school, who won the chance to come along to the Bloom festival in June. 

The sow & grow project aims to get over 25,000 children growing this spring through a fun, free, learning experience that will show them just how easy it is to grow their own greens and eat their crop.  Teachers and youth-group leaders can apply for one of 850 free sow & grow packs over here

Each pack includes 30 growing pots, seeds, soil, lesson plans and growing guides and is sure to keep a group of young growers busy while educating them on the benefits of planting seeds, which they will see grow and turn into a delicious, edible plant.  Best of all if you get involved you will be in with a chance of winning the top prize of a trip to Dublin Zoo and Bloom!

We had a great time at the launch in St. Thomas National School in Tallaght and RTÉ Countrywide recorded this wonderful little clip while I showed the kids how to plant seeds.

Sow And Grow

Books For Cooks

what-katie-ate What Katie Ate
– Katie Quinn Davies

I was blown away by Katie's striking food photography and beautiful recipes when I first came across her blog.  There is no doubt that her dark and detailed styled shots set a trend across the blogosphere and won her fans (including Gwyneth Paltrow) and readers from far and wide. 

Through her photogaphy, Katie manages to capture some of the best parts of cooking, oozing warm chocolate, crumbly pastry and meat falling of the bone. Her very first book has finally hit shelves in Ireland and the UK after it was released in the US and Australia last year. 

Flicking through the book, with it's vintage scrapbook feel, you can't help but feel hungry and recipes like Sizzling Prawns, Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Apple Cider Slaw, Creamy Macaroni Bake with Salami and Chilli and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Salted Butterscotch Sauce, will no doubt keep you interested.  With another book in the pipeline, the future is bright for Dublin born Katie and you can keep up to date with her on the blog that started it all whatkatieate.com.

In all good bookshops or buy online from Amazon…


gizzi-erskine-weight-loss-skinny-weeks-and-weekend-feasts--28-03-2013-jpg_172140Skinny Weeks & Weekend Feasts
– Gizzi Erskine

Apart from being an accomplished chef and food writer, Gizzi Erskine has style!  From her 1950's beehive hair do, the angel wings she has tattooed across her back, to the vintage outfits, this lady oozes cool. 

It's not often I judge a book by it's cover but the cover for Skinny Weeks & Weekend Feasts, seriously rocks!  Inspired by classic B movies, it is possibly one the best cookbook covers I've ever seen. 

The hook of the book is simple, eat healthy during the week and then treat yourself with a delicious slap up meal on the weekend.  Gizzi even claims to have lost 1 stone following her eating plan.  Chapters include: Breakfast On The Go, Simple Suppers, Friday Night Feasts and Sweet Treats. 

Anyone worried that this is a diet book, you won't be left hungry with recipes like Thai Chicken Satay Rice Bowl, Bollywood Biriyani, Pork & Chorizo Meatballs with Spaghetti, Brown Butter Orange and Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies and Venison Wellington with Port Sauce.

In all good bookshops or buy online from Amazon…

  Kitchen Hero HomeCooked

Kitchen Hero Van

Kitchen Hero: HomeCooked is back for a brand new series this May and this time I'm packing up the kitchen and hitting the road in my Citroen H Van on a mission to show people all over the country just how easy it is to cook at home! 

We'll be filming at festivals all over Ireland including Waterford Food Festival (13th April), Dublin Bay Prawn Festival (27th April), Roscommon Lamb Festival (2nd May), Kilkenny Roots Festival (3rd May), Port Magee Set Dancing Festival (5th May) and RiverFest 2013 (6th May) with more dates to be announced over the summer.  Make sure to come down and say hello, you might even end up on da telly!

The show will also feature a baking section called HomeCooked Bakery, where I'll be cooking my favourite cakes and sweet treats.  All the recipes featured from the TV series will be in my new book also titled, Kitchen Hero: HomeCooked which will be published in October.

Food Blogs

8594692138_2c568cfb0d_c {Local Milk}

It was actually Beth's dreamy pinterest account which first caught my interest, way before I had even seen her beautiful blog {local milk}.  Hailing from Tennassee in the USA, Beth's appreciation of the smaller moments in cooking is what sets her blog apart.  With beautiful food photography and simple but interesting recipes, her blog is something rather special. Her recipes include, toasted oak ice cream with smoked sea salt & lapsang souchong caramel swirl, peach basil hand pies, peanut butter cake with chocolate ganache frosting, and squash salad with mint, feta, and black truffle salt.  A selection certainly not to be missed.

Must try recipe: Salted Spicy Double Chocolate Chilli Cookies…


Imen McDonnell's love of the Irish countryside must have been strong to drop her life as a TV producer in the US, swapping high heels for wellies, to marry an Irish farmer.  I met Imen at an Irish Food Blogger's event I organised a few years ago and since then her blog has gone from strength to strength being featured in the New York Times, Saveur Magazine and LA Times.  Her focus on simple cooking, using honest ingredients, is easy to see throughout the recipes and blog posts she shares.  Imen spent last summer producing a rather special film all about Irish food called Small Green Fields which is currently being submitted to film festivals all over the world. 

Must try recipe: Tipsy Cake…

Great Irish BakeTGIB Logo copy
The Great Irish Bake is back this year slightly earlier than normal, but all the more reason to get baking! 

It's the 3rd year I've been involved in the charity which raises vital funds for Temple Street Children's Hospital.  I've seen first hand where the money goes and it's such a worthy cause. 

On April 19th we're calling on all home bakers out there to organise cake sales and get baking to help raise money for the hospitals top flat ward. 

There's lots of recipes here on the blog to inspire you and you can browse them or download my baking recipe cards here.

If you register over here, you'll recieve an info pack with all the details you'll need to organise your very own bake sale.