My Highlights of 2013…


Phew is that it? This has been one of my most busy years to date and one I am so thankful for- I've had absolutely massive support this year so a big big thank you for all the tweets, facebook messages, instagram, blog and youtube comments and of course to everyone who has supported the book, tv show and magazines.  I quite literally could not do it without you so a big thanks!  It's been a fairly full on year but one of the biggest lessons I have learned is to make time to enjoy the great moments with friends and family.  It can be easy to forget to do just this and it's incredibly important.  I've been busy making my 2014 plans over the last few weeks and there's lots of exciting things lined up but until then, I'm going to take a look back at some of my most favourite moments of 2013!

Wild Flour Kate_24

{ January }

– I kicked off the New Year with a swim in the cold Irish sea with my school friends!  A great way to kick off the year.
– As part of my New Years resolution my aim was to collaborate with lots more inspiring people and myself and Kate Packwood from the Wild Flour Bakery came together to produce this drool worthy post.
– All through Christmas 2012 I had been shooting the recipes for HomeCooked and by the middle of January I had finally finished all the recipe images for the book.
– The Swedish princess cake I had shot for Food & Wine Magazine made the cover for the January/February issue.
– We had dinner at the now deservedly Michelin starred Mount Juliet Lady Helen restaurant in Kilkenny.  Well worth a visit!


Jerusalem Artichoke Soup_15

{ February }

– The last of our Jerusalem artichokes were taken out of the ground and made into a silky smooth soup.  I also finally finished the kitchen dresser I'd been working on through 2012.  Recipe and blog post here.
– I flew to Manchester with my fellow Junior MasterChef judge John Torode for the BBC worldwide showcase lunch, where Junior MasterChef was sold to TV networks across the globe. Exciting!
– Made this chocolate cake and it went like… well, gold dust!
– After a very long Winter there were signs the seasons were changing so I ordered my seeds from Brown Envelope Seeds and had some time to clear our vegetable garden.
– I was in Bristol for 2 days to film a series of videos for the BBC Food Website.


FEAST FireHouse Bakery_40

{ March }

– I gave the blog a bit of a refresh with a new look and perfected my homemade pizza making skills! Blog post here.
– Spent 5 very cold days in NYC at pitching meetings.
– Highlight meal at Korean restaurant Hanjan, where Pork fat sticky rice cakes slathered in a sweet and spicy chilli sauce were devoured.
– Got to visit some cool restaurants and shops in NYC: Salvation Taco, Sur La Table, Dean and Deluca, Fishs Eddy, Buvette, Katz Deli, West Elm, Buttermilk Channel.
– Took a chance on a wild idea and started work on my first food magazine, FEAST: A Dinner Journal.  Headed to west Cork to shoot at the Firehouse Bakery.
– The German edition of Kitchen Hero: Great Food For Less was released!

March 2013

Fish Cakes Minty Peas_5

{ April }

– These tasty fish cakes with mushy mint peas and homemade tartare sauce were a big hit and didn't last long in our house.
– Max had his first snow day, randomly in April and spent all day trying to catch snow flakes in his mouth.
– Wild garlic started popping up in the woods behind our house, a sure fire sign Spring had arrived!  Plenty of wild garlic made!
– Continued to shoot photographs for features in FEAST: A Dinner Journal and got to spend time with these Irish food heroes: Sheridans Cheesemongers, Damson Diner, Rosemarie Durr, Ballyvolane House, Connemara Hill Lamb, Brown Hound Bakery.
– Dragged my friends over to our house for the final HomeCooked book shots.
– Got introduced to Gertrude, the vintage Citroen H Van which I was going to be cooking out the back of while we shot the new series of Kitchen Hero.
– Cleared out our living room to make way for filming in the kitchen for the bakery section of the new series of Kitchen Hero.
– The HomeCooked book was all done bar one final element, the cover! I flew to London for the cover shoot with the brilliant Myles New.
– Early salad leaves started to show up in the garden!

April 2013

{ May }

– More filming at the Dublin Bay Prawn Fest which my granny and grandad got to watch, plus much more at Limerick River Fest, Trim Castle, Sheridans Irish Food Fair, Dublin Docklands Fest and the Portmagee Set Dancing Fest.
– Was invited to speak at the inaugural Ballymaloe Litfest, a wonderful weekend meeting highly inspirational people and eating some incredible food.
– Peas, salad leaves and lots more started to pop up in the veggie garden.
– Started a cooking with kids column in BBC Good Food Magazine.
– Was in Gothenburg for a couple of days, spotted a moose, ate at Gunnebo and Sjomagisinet and went prop hunting at the loppis.
– Got to see a rehearsal show of Eurovision in Malmo.
– Got an incredibly exciting email from the folks at Fresh One, Jamie Oliver's production company, asking if I would be interested in filming a mini series for his FoodTube. HELL YES!
– The very first issue of FEAST: A Dinner Journal was released free online and was downloaded by over 1 million readers.  A great start!
– London eats at Koya Udon.

May 2013


{ June }

– Got to give cookery demonstrations at my favourite Food and Garden festival, Bloom in the park!  Had such a ball on stage and even got joined by the brilliant Neven Maguire!
– Bagged one of the best jobs of the year as a judge at the Irish cheese awards at Bloom.
– After lots of recipe testing and focus groups we had our first meeting about branding my range of Irish pies with the fab folks at Creative Inc.
– Had a delicious breakfast of semolina pancakes with rhubarb and mint in Brother Hubbard who are conveniently located just around the corner!
– Spent a couple of days cooking in the South Of France.  Baguettes, croissants, sun, sea, pool and markets, lots of markets.
– Spent a rather long but ultimately satisfying time teaching Max how to swim in the Irish sea.
– Shoveled a Bunsen burger in my gob.
– Flew to Rome to shoot the pilot episode for a brand new TV Series for FOX International called Grandmas Boy.
– Made this rather pretty Strawberry and Elderflower cake with elderflowers from the tree in the back garden.

June 2013

Sweden Summer 2013_17

{ July }

– Shot with even more inspirational folks for the Summer issue of FEAST: A Dinner Journal: Apitherapy Honey, Wild Flour Bakery, Pepperpot Cafe, The Herb Garden, Goatsbridge Trout, Farmers To Market Free Range Chicken, Triskell Goats Cheese, Jenifer Slattery, Burke's Farm Ice Cream, Kitchen In The Castle.
Simple summer suppers were cooked and long evenings and BBQ's were soaked up.
– Caught lots of mackerel with my dad and brother.
– Got to meet one of my ultimate food heroes, Mr. Jamie Oliver at the FoodTube live show, we even cooked together!
– My French recipes and I ended up on the front cover of the Weekend Magazine.
– Swimming in lakes and sea during the Swedish summer.
– Made the most of all the veggies my garden had to offer, simple salads, broad beans with black pudding and fennel seeds, big bowls of peas with pecorino, mint and lemon eatings and alpine strawberries eaten off the bush!
– Appeared on Saturday night with Miriam.

July 2013

FEAST Final Meal_2

{ August }

– Got to shoot the recipes for my very good friend and talented food stylist, Sharon Hearne Smith's new book which will be out in the Summer of 2014.
– Made a final addition to my pie range and signed off on a pulled pork recipe.
– Filmed the final episodes of Kitchen Hero: HomeCooked at the Dublin horse show and Dublin Zoo.
– Met some chocolate labrador puppies.  Eek!
– Started work on the photography for a reprint of Irish food writer Theodora Fitzgibbons back catalogue which is due out in March.
– We got the green light for a full 13 part series of Grandmas Boy for FOX International and at the end of the month I flew to Rome to begin an 8 week adventure cooking around Italy.

August 2013

Grandmas Boy Series_66

{ September }

– Adventures in Italy began like the should have, tending to a vegetable garden in a monastery with a monk on the route St. Francis once walked.
– Stayed in a beautiful organic farm and guesthouse called il Povile in Graffignano.  A the most amazing tomatoes I have ever tasted.
– Met the wonderful grannies of Sant'Angelo in Colle who taught me to make handmade pasta and I picked grapes with the twins who make Fonterenza brunello wine.
– In between the filming, the second issue of FEAST: A Dinner Journal was released with a special iPhone and iPad app.
– Milked a goat high in the hills of Montefalco, made ricotta and hunted truffles, all in the one day!
– Picked wild herbs and berries on horseback… as you do.
– One of the real highlights was learning to make pasta and Capunti was one of my favourites.  You make it with your four fingers and drag the pasta against the board, creating little dimples perfect for catching sauce.
– Went shopping and shouting and met the wonderful characters of the market of Matera and Bari.
– My Fig, Almond and Honey cake was the one recipe which went down the best with those picky Italians!

September 2013


{ October }

– Making orriciette on the streets of Bari with Italian grandmothers.
– After 8 weeks of full on filming we wrapped the filming of Grandma's Boy in the middle of a thunderstorm!  The series will air next year.
– Got a very warm welcome home after all the travel. Balloons and everything!
– The HomeCooked book was released the day I got home from Italy so it was straight into lots of promotion for the book and HomeCooked tour.
– Began the journey around Ireland to shoot the features for the Winter issue of FEAST: A Dinner Journal with visits to: Two Wooden Horses, Harry's of Inishowen, Wall and Keogh, Arbutus Bread, Highbank Orchards, Knockdrinna Cheese, Mushroom Stuff.
– Myself and Max donned our Christmas outfits early to shoot two extra special videos for Jamie's FoodTube.

October 2013

{ November }

– After putting everything on the line, we nervewrackingly kicked off the HomeCooked Tour, a live cooking show in theatres across Ireland, the first of its kind.  It turned out to be a success, making the book one of the best selling cookery titles in the country, sold out venues and of course we had lots of fun along the way! A mahooosive thank you to everyone who came along!
– Had an incredible meal in L'Ecrivan for Sofie's birthday dinner.

November 2013

{ December }

– The Kitchen Hero team headed to Finland to record the Christmas special episode.
– After lots and lots of meeting and pie eating we finally launched my new range of Irish pies at the Honest2Goodness market in Glasnevin.  They went down a storm so keep an eye out for Skoff Pies in the new year!
– The very first print issue of FEAST: A Dinner Journal was launched in Easons shops throughout Ireland and through our free iPhone and iPad app.
– Christmas was spent in Sweden, filled with forest walks and festive cheer.
– My Irish Christmas post was featured on the Kitchn blog and even got the attention of one very famous full Irish fry fan!

December 2013