Hi folks,

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year celebration. Ours was really special as we had both events in our little house for the first time. On New Years Day we braved the Irish Sea and took a dip to mark the start of a brand new year.  Out with the old and in with the new!

The start of any year is always exciting, plans are made and lots of possibilities lie ahead.  For me, I was thrilled to finally put the last touches to my next book which I had been working on, full time, all the way up to Christmas.  As with all my books to date, I again got the opportunity to shoot the recipe images myself, which can be quite a nerve wracking experience but I had lots of help from Sofie my partner, the wonderful Sharon Hearne Smith and a few extra special helping hands who gave up their time to help during our shoot days.

I’m thrilled with the outcome and the book has now been sent off for editing and design.  Now comes the really exciting part of seeing everything come together.  Kitchen Hero: Home Cooked will be released later this year and I’ll make sure to keep you posted all about before then.

I don’t think you can ignore the fact that January is a month where all over the blogosphere, beautiful images of cakes and sweet treats make way for juices, healthy salads and soups while people make plans to get fit and healthy for the year ahead.  Considering the proper feast we had over Christmas, I think it’s a bit of a case of, if you can’t beat ‘em, join em’!  So with that in mind I’ve put together some of my favourite healthy recipes to keep you on the straight and narrow.

In this month’s update, two rather special food blogs, a beautiful cookbook from Anna and Fanny Bergenstrom, a great book for new food writers, lots of healthy recipes and some kitchen garden planning

Have fun!

Donal x

Garlic and Rosemary Chicken with Roast Cherry Tomato Salad

Garlic and Rosemary Chicken with Roast Cherry Tomato Salad

Long-life Noodles


Long-life Noodles

Mediterranean Mackerel with a Tomato Panzanella Salad

Mediterranean Mackerel with a Tomato Panzanella Salad
Spicy Sichuan Chicken Salad

Spicy Sichuan Chicken Salad

Spicy Chicken and Avocado Salad

Spicy Chicken and Avocado Salad

Zingy Beetroot, Feta Cheese, Cous cous Salad

Zingy Beetroot, Feta Cheese, Cous cous Salad

Manger

mimithorisson.com

Mimi Thorisson shares her dark and delicious recipes from her French countryside kitchen on her dream-like blog, Manger.  Mimi manages to capture the effortlessly beautiful sides of a typical life in the French countryside, all stunningly photographed by her Icelandic photographer, husband, Oddur Thorisson.  Think shopping for cheese and wine with a wicker basket at the local market, visiting a snail farm, hanging out in vineyards and hunting for cepes in the forest, they do it all.  Rustic and stylish French recipes like gougéres, Old-fashioned French onion soup with Comté tartines, and Roasted foie gras with Chasselas grapes and cognac, are what caught my attention and will have me coming back for more.

Must try recipe: Xérès vinegar chicken à la Lyonnaise & Icelandic Fish Soup

Whole Larder Love

wholelarderlove.com

Rohan Anderson, is the real deal when it comes to locally sourced and seasonal food, living entirely off the land around his home in Victoria, Australia.  His beautifully illustrated blog documents his adventures in cooking, hunting, fishing and harvesting all inspired by his childhood growing up on a small Gippsland farm.  His self sufficient lifestyle has caught the attention of people across the world and after the success of his blog, he recently released a cookbook, also entitled Whole Larder Love.  From curing his own meat, growing his own vegetables, to foraging for wild mushrooms and shooting game, Rohan’s attitude to food is a lesson in simplicity and one that should certainly be taken note of by anyone with an interest in food sustainability.

Must try recipe: Rocket pesto with gnocchi

Under the Walnut Tree
Anna & Fanny Bergenstrom

Two of my favourite Swedish food writers are mother and daughter duo Anna and Fanny Bergenstrom.  I first came across them after receiving a copy of their book Love, Olives and Thyme in Swedish, full of exciting and different recipes.  I was thrilled to see their latest book get an English translation.  Their style is instantly unique in both the way the book is illustrated, with simple and elegant table settings and in their choice of recipes, drawing on inspiration from foreign ingredients and of course from their native Sweden.  The books 300 strong recipe collection is divided into chapters by ingredients, like avocado, chilli, citrus and cardamom.  Recipes like Carribean mango glazed chicken, coconut lime prawns and one pot chicken with fragrant saffron rice will have you reaching for it time and time again.

Available here…

How To Write About Food

Ross Golden Bannon

Entering the world of food writing can be an exciting and also quite daunting journey.  One of the first people I received advice from was Food & Wine Magazine editor and Sunday Business Post restaurant critic, Ross Golden Bannon, who regularly gives talks on the subject.  Ross has recently published How To Write About Food, a book divided into two parts, the first outlining some of the major themes and difficulties of writing for gainful employment in the food world. The second covers the top fifty issues, mistakes and problems which have crossed his desk over the previous ten years.  For anyone starting out in the food world this book is the perfect first step!

Available here…

 

It might be dark, gloomy and grey this month and the thought of last summers big beautiful tomatoes and fresh garden peas might be a distant memory but now is the time to start planning this years kitchen garden.  Over the last few years I’ve had great success growing my own fruit and vegetables and when we moved to our little cottage two years ago, the first thing on my to do list was to get raised vegetable beds for the back garden which was covered in weeds.  We’ve since transformed our back garden into a really productive little patch filled with potatoes, beans, peas, beetroot and lots more all through the summer months.

Check out a few of the links listed here to help you get prepared for the growing season ahead.

Brown Envelope Seeds

http://www.brownenvelopeseeds.com/

Last year I ordered all my seeds from Brown Envelope Seeds an organic seed company run by Madeline McKeever in Skibereen, Co. Cork.  They have a wonderful selection of interesting varieties of vegetables and salad leaves.  My particular favourite was the oak fire mustard salad leaf which we have been eating pretty much all year round.

Patchwork Veg Raised Beds

http://www.patchworkveg.com/

The great raised vegetable boxes I have in my garden are from Patchwork Veg run by Sean Gallagher who will make and install the beds to your specifications.

GIY Ireland

http://www.giyireland.com/

Last year I was part of a great campaign with GIY Ireland to get young children growing their own vegetables at school.  GIY, an online and real life community to share and encourage people to grow their own vegetables, was set up by Michael Kelly in 2008 and has since gone from strength to strength and now boasts over 12,000 members in Ireland with plans to expand worldwide.  The GIY website is a great resource for anyone thinking of starting their own vegetable garden and you can even sign up to attend meetings in your local area.