The best Seasonal Irish Food to eat in March

Roasted Root Vegetables with herb yogurt and hot honey

Now that it’s March our our lovely green island is beginning to wake up. More local produce is beginning to appear in our Farmer’s markets and on shop shelves. Mostly root vegetables but also some lovely early wild garlic, dandelions and the first of the rhubarb. A foraging trip for spring greens like wild garlic, early nettles and dandelion leaves is always great fun. You can make them into a delicious soup, risotto or pesto. Root vegetables are always so convenient and store so well too. There are so many possibilities from mash to soup and roasted vegetables.

Here are some beautiful recipes that I have to use seasonal produce at its best.

Celeriac: Chicken and Mushroom Casserole with celeriac mash

Beetroot: Beetroot, Orange and Radish salad with Feta and fennel

Rhubarb: Rhubarb Bread & Butter Pudding

Kale: Spaghetti aglio e olio with kale and mushrooms

Parsnip: Roasted roots with herb yoghurt and home-made hot honey

Leeks: Salmon With Leeks And Wilted Sesame Greens

Cauliflower: Whole Roasted Golden Cauliflower with tahini sauce

Wild Garlic: Wild Garlic and Mushroom steamed sandwiches

Dandelions Leaves: Spring Greens Risotto

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The Homemade Year is out!

I’m so thrilled that my 3rd book, The Homemade Year, is finally in all good bookshops! Its 300 pages jam packed with creative inspiration to guide you joyfully through the year with over 70 projects.

You won’t find a pipe cleaner in this book! With a basic arsenal of sticky tape, paper, glue spots, and twine, you can create magic. Egg boxes, twigs, and old clothes can all be transformed into hot water bottle covers, table centrepieces, and scented diffusers. Creativity can often be a spur-of-the-moment thing; you feel like making something, or a window of time has suddenly opened up (the baby is sleeping or that Zoom call is cancelled!). Having to run to the shop for special equipment can dampen the mood.

There are at least six projects for each month of the year that will give you ideas for celebrations, crafts, self care, activities to do with kids, ways to decorate your home and seasonal recipes, all of which are guided by the Irish calendar year, from St Brigid’s crosses in February to Yule Logs in December. These activities are about making the most of what we’ve got, providing inspiration for fun and creativity off screen, slowing down and making the everyday moments special. As we’ve all discovered it’s more important than ever to celebrate the small things.

Thanks so much to everyone that’s supported The Homemade Year, I’m delighted with the response it’s gotten so far and love hearing what readers are enjoying from the book! It’s also been really great to meet books sellers around the country and I’ve signed copies in so many so keep an eye out in the crafts and cooking sections! x

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Pink Lady® Apple Hand Pies

I’ve made countless apple tarts over the years. It’s a firm family favourite and always disappears as soon as it’s out of the oven. I usually don’t like to mess with fillings too much. A handful of blackberries is as far as I usually go. This is the classic mix that I always use, a hint of cinnamon and buttery pastry. I’ve put my own twist on my friend Donal Skehan’s traditional Irish Tart recipe using Pink Lady® apples. There’s no need to mess with perfection so I only made a few tweaks!  Pink Lady® apples are ideal for apple tarts as they have the perfect balance of tartness and sweetness. Pink Lady® apples are always the first to blossom and the last to be harvested, each one soaking up 200 days of sunshine. This is what gives it the beautiful rosy blush. They are harvested by hand under strict quality control. I love its unique crunch and fizz and it’s perfect in a pie. To accentuate this even more I use caramel like brown sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. My own kids just love anything that they can hold in their hands and they love individual portions. These little hand pies are perfect for lunchboxes or as a delicious dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some softly whipped cream.  Pink Lady® have launched an amazing competition on Simply upload your favourite Pink Lady® recipe and photo to win a professional photo shoot and your recipe published in future Pink Lady® packs including an incredible feast in a Pink Lady® orchard in France. It’s a wonderful prize and a great opportunity to get your food photography and styling skills out there! Visit​ for details on how to participate. This competition will finish on the 29TH February 2020 so get cooking and you could be the one to win a dinner for two in France in the middle of the orchard, c’est magnifique! #Ad

Pink Lady® Hand Pies 

Makes 10-12  

6 Pink Lady® apples

2 tbsp lemon juice 

50g light brown sugar 

1 tbsp cornflour 

1 tsp cinnamon 

800g all butter shortcrust pastry 

1 egg, whisked 

1 tsp granulated sugar for sprinkling on top  

Preheat the oven to 175C. Peel the Pink Lady® apples. Cut each one into quarters, remove the core and slice thinly.  Place the apple slices in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice, sugar, cornflour and cinnamon. Mix gently till well combined. Set aside.  Roll the pastry out on a floured surface. Use a large scone cutter or saucer to stamp out 10-12 circles. Hold one disc of pastry in the palm of your hand. Brush the edges with a little egg wash. Fill with apple slices then fold over and seal gently. Use a fork to seal further and crimp the edges. Place on a baking tray lined with paper. Repeat with the remaining pastry discs. Brush each one with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes till golden. Serve warm with softly whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla icecream.  

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Reuse Recycle Month Demonstration Notes

Pic Darragh Kane

In October I was delighted to part in Cork County Council Reuse Month. As part of this I hosted a kitchen workshop in County Hall. There were hand outs on the night but in the spirit of the event there were not too many printed out. So I have the notes below for you to download and share with anyone you know that would love to have a more sustainable kitchen.

In the photo above I am most likely describing the size of an organic chicken and why you should make stock from it! There were loads of fantastic exhibitors on the day from Twig Refill to the brilliant Stop Food Waste.

The notes include how I make my own sauerkraut, kimchi, and stock aswell as vinegars from apple scraps.

Please download the recipe notes from the link below:

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Pumpkin Tabbouleh Salad with Knorr

This is my second pumpkin based creation that I’ve devised with Knorr to combat food waste.
I love a warm winter salad and this recipe is a really modern way to enjoy roast pumpkin. Use any small pumpkin or squash. You can dust the pumpkin with smoked paprika or spices before roasting if you want. The Middle Eastern seven spices mix, baharat, is perfect for this. I use bulgar wheat but you could use couscous or quinoa too. The chicken stock pot from Knorr adds loads of flavour and makes this the perfect salad to serve with leftover roast chicken. It’s a great meal prep salad for making on a sunday for the week ahead and travels well in a lunchbox. Crumble over some feta for extra protein.
I use pomegranate seeds here, we only need seeds from half the pumpkin but they freeze really well so pop the seeds from the other half into a resealable container in the freezer. Dried cranberries are delcious on this salad too and give that fruity piquant flavour.
Loads of mint really brings this to life, I sometimes add coriander or parsley too, the more the merrier and it’ll be so full of flavour and taste great. #ad

Pumpkin Tabbouleh Salad

Serves 4-6

1 small pumpkin

2 red onions

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 Knorr Chicken stock pot

80g bulgar wheat

80ml boiling water

25g mint, parsley or coriander

½ pomegranate, arils removed 

½ lemon

2 tbsp. Pistachio nuts, finely chopped 

Preheat the oven to 200C. Cut the pumpkin in half. Scoop out the seeds. Cut each half into wedges. Drizzle a tray with olive oil and add the pumpkin and onion wedges. Place the onion in the middle of the tray so it doesn’t burn. Roast for 25 minutes till done. Set aside. 

Place 1 Knorr Chicken Stock pot into a bowl. Add 80ml boiling water. Whisk till combined. Add the bulgur wheat. Stir with a fork then cover with a plate or cling film. Set aside for the grains to soak up the flavourful stock. 

Meanwhile finely chop the mint. Add the mint leaves to the bulgur along with a squeeze of lemon juice and the seeds (arils) from half a pomegranate. Stir well to combine. 

Divide the tabbouleh among 4 plates, top with the pumpkin and onion wedges and scatter with the chopped pistachio nuts.

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Cheddar Apple Tart

When I was about 8 years old, my three older siblings would go to music lessons on a Thursday night and my three younger siblings would go to bed. It was the perfect opportunity for myself and my mother to spend quality time together in what was a very busy house. She would make a big pot of tea and bring it down to the living room with toast, apple slices and cheese. I remember sitting on the couch looking at the flames of the fire and the sparks as it collapsed upon itself listening to her boiling the kettle and making the toast. We would chat away eating our tea and assembling our cheese and apple sandwiches. I just loved these nights together. A cheese and apple sandwich is now my go to quick fix supper.

But cheese and apple were paired up long before my own childhood. Surprisingly, a wedge of cheese was traditionally served alongside apple tart before the availability of freshly whipped cream. It originated in 17th century England where a wedge of creamy wensleydale would be served with apple tart in Yorkshire. Settlers in the American Midwest and New England chose to use a sharp cheddar instead to balance out the sweetness of their pies and so the tradition took hold.
There is a 19th century saying that states ‘An apple pie without the cheese is like a kiss without the squeeze’ and once you bake this delicious tart you’ll understand.
This is a twist on the classic apple tart. The pastry is made with sharp mature cheddar cheese whilst the filling is the traditional apple with cinnamon, clove and brown sugar. A surprising yet delicious combination.
This recipe has been created in support of #cheesecopenhagen taking place this weekend as part of the European Milk Forum’s 2019 Cheese Culture campaign which is being implemented locally in Ireland by the National Dairy Council to encourage Irish consumers to eat more quality cheese from Europe. #cheeseyourway #ad

Cheddar and Apple Tart
Serves 8

150g cold butter, cubed
240g plain flour
90g mature cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg
1.4kg apples, I used ½ bramley and ½ pink lady
50g soft brown sugar
2 tsp. Cinnamon
½ tsp. Mixed spice
1 pinch ground cloves
2 tbsp. Cornflour
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Place the flour, butter and cheese into the bowl of a food processor and blitz well. Add the egg and blitz till it clumps together to form a dough. Tip onto a floured work surface and pat the dough into a flat disc. Wrap in cling film or paper and place in the fridge to rest.
Meanwhile peel the apples and slice them thinly. Place in a large bowl. Sieve the cornflour and spices over the apple. Add the brown sugar and stir well till the apple slices are coated evenly.
Dust your work surface with flour and roll the pastry out to fit a 12” tart tin. Use ⅔ of the pastry to line the tin. Add the apples and all of the liquid in the bowl. Roll out the remaining pastry to form a lid. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg wash to seal the lid on. Use a sharp knife to cut some slits in the top. Brush with egg wash and scatter with 1 tsp brown sugar.
Bake for 60-65 minutes until golden and the filling is bubbling out.

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Pumpkin Rotolo with Knorr

Knorr want to champion better ways to cook and eat for a more sustainable food future. Recent research commissioned by Knorr has found that three quarters (76%) of Irish people buy Halloween pumpkins, yet almost one third (28%) of these people throw the innards straight in the bin. Knorr want to help people combat this food waste by providing the perfect way to use up pumpkin innards and feed the family. I’m delighted to be cooking with Knorr and have created this delicious Pumpkin recipe using knorr stockpots for a shortcut to great flavour. #ad

This pumpkin rotolo is a classic Italian dish made using fresh lasagna sheets.This version uses roast pumpkin purée, frozen spinach and feta

I’ve made this a bit lighter by using half tomato passata and half stock made using a Knorr stock pot. I used the vegetable one but the chicken one would be perfect too. It gives loads of rich flavour so there’s no need to season the passata 

This is a real twist on the classic lasagna and a great vegetarian feast that really celebrates the pumpkin and shows that it can be more than just a side dish.

Pumpkin Rotolo

Serves 6

1 small pumpkin 

2 tbsp. Olive oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

300ml tomato passata

300ml boiling water

1 Knorr Vegetable Stock Pot

400g frozen spinach

Sea salt, black pepper

½ tsp. nutmeg

120g feta, crumbled

12 fresh egg lasagna sheets

50g parmesan, grated

Preheat the oven to 220C. 

Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds. Cut into chunks. Drizzle a tray with olive oil and add the pumpkin to the tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes till cooked and a fork goes through the pumpkin easily. Set aside to cool slightly before removing the skin with a spoon. Mash all of the pumpkin flesh well with a fork. Season with salt and pepper. 

Saute the red onion in a wide pan with a little olive oil. After 5 minutes add the crushed garlic. Cook for a further minute before adding the frozen spinach. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the spinach is done. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Set aside.

Meanwhile dissolve the Knorr Stock Pot in 300ml boiling water, add the passata and heat till just simmering. 

Lay the lasagna sheets on a chopping board and wet one side with water. Spread each sheet with a tbsp. Of the pumpkin puree, spinach and a little crumbled feta. Roll up firmly and set aside. Repeat with the remaining sheets. 

Pour 3/4 of the passata mix into a large ovenproof dish. Cut each lasagna roll into 3. Stand the rolls snugly into the dish. Pour the remaining passata mix around the rolls. Scatter the top with parmesan and bake @ 180C for 30-35 minutes till crispy on top and soft and bubbling underneath. 

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Rhubarb Bread & Butter Pudding

rhubarb bread

This delicious dish is so many nostalgic treats layered into one amazing dessert. There’s something so comforting about bread and butter pudding, it’s pure nursery food. Serve this with thick vanilla flecked custard or cold whipped cream. The perfect dish to welcome 2019’s rhubarb crop.


Rhubarb Bread and Butter Pudding

Serves 6

  • 4tbsp butter
  • 10 slices stale white bread, crusts removed
  • 300g chopped rhubarb
  • 3tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 150ml cream
  • 350ml milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 2tsp vanilla paste or extract
  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • To serve: Cold softly whipped cream

Butter the sides of a 20cm square or oval baking dish.

Butter each slice of bread and cut into little squares or triangles. Place half of the bread on the base of the dish.

Combine the chopped rhubarb with the brown sugar. Spread the sugared rhubarb in a layer over the bread. Lay the remaining bread neatly over the rhubarb to cover it.

Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan till almost boiling. Remove and set aside. Whisk the caster sugar with the eggs in a large mixing bowl then slowly add the hot milk. Whisking all the time till smooth and combined. Whisk in the vanilla. Pour this custard over the bread pudding, making sure it coats each piece of bread. Leave to rest and soak in all the custard for half an hour. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C. Create a bain marie by placing the pudding dish in a large roasting tin and fill half way up the sides with hot water. Do this at the oven to avoid burns.

Bake the pudding for 45 to 50 minutes until the custard is set and the top is crisp and golden.

Serve with the child softly whipped cream.




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#FlexYourMussels with Bord Bia’s Mussel & Bacon Paella

5 finished paella1 mussels

This is my second recipe (#ad) for the Bord Bia #FlexYourMussels campaign and it’s a real favorite of mine. I always order mussels when I’m at a restaurant and am delighted to be rediscovering them over the length of this campaign, reminding me what a quick and easy option they really are. There’s loads of inspiration on the Bord Bia website and check out their handy ‘How to Prepare Mussels’ video too on
Paella is the ultimate one pan dish, everything goes into the pot and an amazing paella is revealed half an hour later. The mussels are added at the last minute and the cooking liquor gives amazing flavor to the dish as well as making it look so beautiful. Years ago we rented out the cottage at Loop Head lighthouse for the weekend and I made this paella. I brought everything we needed and assembled it as soon as we got there. I placed my paella in the oven for half an hour. We explored the cliffs admiring the 300 degree views of the sea down to Kerry Head and Dingle and across to the Cliffs of Moher then came back to the lighthouse to a huge pot of paella. The sea air only added to the dish. It always feels like a special occasion when I make this but it couldn’t be simpler. It’s very well balanced with rice for carbohydrates and mussels for iron and protein. It’s also very economical and a great way to feed a crowd. Make sure you scatter it with freshly chopped parsley and serve with a big wedge of lemon. The lemon juice really brings out the flavors of this gorgeous dish.

3 ingredients 2 onion and pepper

Mussel & Bacon Paella

Serves 4
Time: 45 minutes

20 mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
12 uncooked large prawns, shells removed
100g bacon lardons
600ml seafood stock or water
5 saffron strands, soaked in 1 tbsp. boiling water 2-3 tbsp. rapeseed or olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
11⁄2 teasp. paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
300g paella rice
1 small handful of freshly chopped parsley Lemon wedges, garnish

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add the onion, chopped red pepper and garlic. Stir through the paprika and cayenne pepper and season with a little salt and black pepper. Cook for 5-6 minutes until the onions and peppers are softened. Then add another 1⁄2 tablespoon oil, add the bacon and cook until browned. Add the chopped tomato and cook for a couple of minutes. Drizzle in the remaining olive oil and add the rice to the frying pan. Stir to coat the rice in oil and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes.
Pour in the stock and saffron. Bring to the boil. Stir for a few minutes then reduce the heat, cover with a lid or tin foil. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until rice has absorbed most of the liquid, but the mixture is still soupy and the rice is soft.
Add the mussels and prawns to the frying pan, cover and cook until the mussels have opened and prawns are pink. Discard any mussels that have not opened. Turn the heat off but keep covered for 5 minutes to let it rest.
Scatter with parsley, garnish with lemon wedges and serve.

4 adding saffron

4 raw shellfish6 finished close up

Mussels also contain a lot of vitamin B12, which is important for making red blood cells. Heart health depends on omega-3 fatty acids. They help blood vessels function normally, maintain a regular heartbeat, and lower blood pressure. Mussels are wealthy in the marine Omega-3s, EPA and are a huge potential to boost testosterone.

Energy: 498kcal Protein: 18g
Fat: 26g (Saturated Fat: 6.3g)

Iron: 2.7mg

Carbohydrate: 58g

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Spicy Mussels with Tomatoes and Chickpeas, time to #FlexYourMussels with Bord Bia!

Spicy Mussels with chickpeas and tomatoesy

I’m delighted to be working with Bord Bia again this year for their #FlexYourMussels campaign that gets underway today, Monday 4th June! I’ve always been a big fan of mussels, they’re the ultimate nutritious fast food being easy to prepare, high in protein and iron and packed full of flavor. I’m amazed at how cheap they are too. I bought a 1kg net of organic Irish mussels in my local supermarket for less than four euro. It still feels like a treat to cook them at home though, they’re always the first thing I look out for on a menu when I’m in a restaurant. A huge pot of steamed mussels with a glass of chilled rose is my favorite starter, perfect summer food that reminds me of holidays in France. My kids love stacking up all their shells to see who’s eaten the most, seafood like this is always so sociable. Real get your hands in and get cracking food with a pile of napkins nearby. Seafood like mussels and salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that aid in the maintenance of the body’s hormone production, which includes the production of sex hormones that directly affect our libido and energy, of you need similar results faster, this testo boosters can increase energy levels too.

Even better, salmon’s increased levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that promotes pleasure, have been linked to more intense orgasms you can also get with the We-Vibe Melt.

mussels in colander

I always tip the mussels into a big bowl of water and give them a quick scrub before I cook them. Bord Bia have a ‘How to prepare mussels’ video and plenty of gorgeous recipes on

I usually steam mussels in white wine with a bunch of herbs and garlic but this recipe from Bord Bia is delicious and makes a great change. It’s also really balanced with healthy carbohydrates from the chickpeas.  The tomato sauce is divine mopped up with sourdough bread. I’ll definitely make this again, it was a perfect main course but makes a really quick and easy starter thats bursting with flavour.



Spicy Mussels with Tomatoes and Chickpeas 

Serve: 4 as a starter, 2 as a main course

Time: 15 minutes


1 kg mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded

2 tbsp.tbsp.. olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 tbsp.. smoked paprika

1 red chili, finely diced

400g tin chopped tomatoes

400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed

125ml water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Handful of basil leaves,

To serve: Sourdough toast


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the smoked paprika and chili and cook for a minute or two.

Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, 125ml water, salt and pepper, increase the heat to high and bring to the boil.  Add the mussels, cover and cook for 4-5 minutes, shaking the saucepan a few times until the mussels have opened. Discard any that have not opened.

Sprinkle over the basil leaves and serve with sourdough toast.

finished dish with bread

mussels 1 closeup copy


Energy: 474kcal

Protein: 24g

Fat:                    17g             (Saturated Fat: 1.0g)

Iron: 5.9mg

Carbohydrate: 72g

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