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  • I've been over @drinkstube in London making up a brew of very refreshing and zingy Ginger Beer! Head over and check it out! :)
  • Yeehaw @jamiesfoodtube has just hit the big 1 million subscribers! So proud to be part of the #foodtube family! Congrats @jamieoliver! :)
  • Max couldn't get enough of the water this morning! Half the beach is now in our hall! :) #maxthedog #howth #ireland
  • Having just spent the whole morning here! Such a beautiful day out there- great sunshine! Happy Sunday folks! :) #howth #ireland
  • Nutella cheesecake squares! New recipe video on my youtube channel feat. Romina from @thechiappas! Head over and subscribe! :)
  • Called in to my grandparents this morning- Caught my granny in the middle of making Irish soda bread...
  • Mega fudge chocolate cupcake kinda day? Tag a friend who would like one! :)
  • My ice bucket challenge! Check out the full video on youtube! :) DONATE by texting MND to 50300 x
  • What a morning out there! Nearly the WEEKEND! Woohoo- have a great day everyone! :) #ireland #howth
  • Horrible day out there but guess doesn't care! WALK! :) #maxthedog
  • Have seriously missed hanging out with this little fella! So good to be back home! :) #maxthedog
  • My favourite recipe from filming today: these tasty Thai Fishcakes- incredibly easy to make and bloomin delish to boot! :) #thailand #streetfood #love
  • Beer batter fish and crispy hasselback potatoes on set today! Coming to my youtube channel soon- hands up who wants some! :)
  • Gone fishing... #howth #ireland
  • Properly epic morning out there! Happy weekend folks! :) #ireland #howth
  • Tandoori chicken using bloody brilliant spices from @greensaffron served with aged basmati rice! Loving being back in my kitchen! :)
  • Oh boy! It is good to be home! #ireland #howth #love
  • Beer and candied bacon cookies! Sounds a bit mad but so delicious! :) #bacon #cookies
  • Spent the afternoon cooking in @jamieoliver's kitchen with Jonny from the Craft @beerchannel! Don't worry Jamie we didn't make too much mess! :)
  • I am in cheesecake heaven! Check out @eric_lanlard's epic red velvet cheesecake! :) #love
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Al Fresco Eating with Little Piggy…

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Last year, our FEAST team were very lucky to be able to collaborate with the very talented Cathy of Little Piggy Vintage Hire. She worked alongside us, styling our Summer Feast on the grounds of Howth Castle. Boy oh boy did Cathy blow us away with her beautiful outdoor dining creations so with a few weeks left of summer to enjoy, I thought no better woman then herself to share her hints and tips for stylish al fresco entertaining.

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When it comes to styling my garden for summer or any time of year for that matter, I am an absolute maximalist at heart. The term “less is more” hurts my ears! Spending time in the garden and dining al fresco doesn’t have to mean acrylic tables & chairs, plastic cutlery and paper napkins – get out there and explore the hidden treasures that comes from hunting at car boot sales, flea markets, auctions rooms and charity shops. I insist on collecting pieces from many different eras and mixing them all together for a very different heirloom look and feel. So now that the smell of freshly cut grass is in the air mixed with the delicious scent trails of sizzling bbqs… it’s time to take yourself outdoors!

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1. Bounties of Bunting…

Yes I’m obsessed and have a pattern for every occasion. Nothing shout’s cottage garden and summer fete quite like some cheery bunting. Drape it from trees,fences, bushes and you’ll transform your garden instantly!

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The Irish Kitchen: Rediscovered…

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It’s the very last episode of Rediscovering the Irish Kitchen on RTÉ One this evening.  It has been such a lovely run during the summer and I’ve had wonderful feedback from people who have thoroughly enjoyed the glimpse back at traditional Irish cooking methods and recipes.  Throughout the series we have covered lots of great Irish traditional recipes and some super retro ones to, you can check them all out here.

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In the final episode of the series I meet Patricia Quinn who worked in Ireland grand houses as a cook.  Up to the 1960s, many people were employed in ‘domestic service’, as cooks, housekeepers and gardeners. Patricia started working in ‘the big house’ aged 16 and the training she received there enabled her to become a professional cook in later life. Patricia spoke to me about her memories of the food she cooked and makes for me, her mothers Blind Stew which recently featured in Darina Allen’s Traditional Irish Cooking book.

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Also on the menu, a traditional Irish sweet treat, the Gur Cake which was incredibly popular, an Irish style omlette using potatoes, bacon and black pudding and I also get the opportunity to learn how to make traditional Irish soda bread cooked over an open fire at Muckross Traditional Farms.  Make sure to tune in tonight at 8.30pm on RTÉ One for the very last episode in the series!

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How to make Swedish Meatballs…

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Every year I travel to Sweden at least a handful of times a year.  Sofie’s family live in Gothenburg which gives us good reason.  More recently since I’ve started presenting Mitt Kok on Saturday mornings our visits have become more business orientated but always culminate in some family time. When we visit, a trip to Sofie’s grandparents is always a big part of the experience and Gunvor, Sofie’s granny is permanently about 15 minutes away from putting food on the table.

Considering the recent series Grandma’s Boy I shot in Italy, we thought it would be great fun to shoot a mini episode, Swedish style for my YouTube channel. Gunvor reluctantly agreed, and we decided to make that Swedish classic, meatballs served with mashed potatoes, gravy and lingonberry jam.  It was so lovely to shoot and even better to eat- you can check out the recipe below and make sure to check out the video above!

Continue to the recipe for Swedish Meatballs…

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Irish Food & Retro Recipes…

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We’re coming close to the end of my RTÉ One series which finishes up next week.  I’ve had such lovely feedback on twitter and facebook and I am so thrilled to hear it has brought back some wonderful food memories for many.  In last week’s episode I learned the traditional Irish method of planting potatoes and I got to cook surprisingly delicious cheddar yeast rolls with mashed potato as a key ingredient, in a bastible over an open fire.  While, Marie O’Toole a lifelong member of the Irish Country Women’s Association, spoke about the electrification of Ireland, it’s effects on the Irish home kitchen and the great work of the ICA who continue to promote cooking skills throughout their nationwide network of members.

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In this week’s episode I meet former politician and English teacher, Mary O’Rourke, who shared her memories of Theodora FitzGibbon, whose food writing she often used in her classes.  Mary shared fond memories of learning how to cook and in particular a recipe for éclairs from Irish food writer Maura Laverty.  I also try my hand at two wonderful retro recipes, a braised Rabbit Pie and a moist and creamy Black Forest Gateaux.  Make sure to tune in to RTÉ One at 8.30pm on Tuesday nights for more.  Check out the recipes from last weeks and tonights episode below.

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{ Potato Yeast Rolls… }

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Irish Food Folk: The Herb Garden…

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Cooking in the summer means lots of fresh and vibrant herbs from the garden.  Last summer I got the chance to shoot a piece for FEAST: A Dinner Journal all about summer herbs and one lady in the know is Denise Dunne who invited me to her sweet little cottage in North County Dublin.  In the run up to our next High Summer issue of FEAST: A Dinner Journal in a couple of weeks, I wanted to introduce you to Denise…

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Denise Dunne grew up in suburban Dublin in Santry in the 1960s but unlike the urban gardens of other homes her parents filled their’s with every imaginable edible plant and some animals too, creating a home-grown paradise in a quiet cul-de-sac. Good food was important to her family and they were practically self- sufficient long before it was fashionable.

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The Pleasures of Theodora…

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Between the reprint of Theodora FitzGibbon’s recipes in The Pleasures of the Table, and cooking through her recipes on my RTÉ One show, it has been so wonderful to hear from those with fond memories of one of Ireland’s most important food writers.  Last weekend John Bowman’s Radio One show, focused on radio archives of interviews with Theodora.  A superb insight into her eccentric life and personality.  It makes for brilliant listening and you can find the full piece here at about 12 minutes in.

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Theodora’s recipes were the focus of another great Irish food writer’s regular Irish Examiner column last weekend also.  Darina Allen gave a wonderful write up of Theodora’s life and included recipes from the new book which you can find over here.  I’ll be cooking many more Theodora’s recipes in the upcoming episodes of Rediscovering The Irish Kitchen, so make sure to tune in on RTÉ One at 8.30pm on Tuesday nights.

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Jamie Oliver’s FoodTube Family…

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WE ARE FAMILY! I GOT ALL MY SISTERS WITH ME! Sing it with me now! Sorry I’m a little excited this morning as I’ve just signed up to Mr. Jamie Oliver’s fantastic FoodTube family! Jamie’s FoodTube is Europe’s largest and fastest growing YouTube channel with nearly one million subscribers in just over a year.  My youtube cooking channel will now be a part of the network which is home to Hugh Fearnley-Whitingstall’s River Cottage Food Tube, My Virgin Kitchen’s Barry Lewis, spandex clad DJ BBQ & baking sensation Cupcake Jemma to name just a few.

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Since my channel launched 3 months ago I’ve had such great support so a massive thank you to the 60,000 subscribers who have been liking and sharing my recipe videos and spreading the word.  There’s lots coming up on the channel with an extra special collaboration with Jamie’s mentor Gennaro Contaldo this Sunday and great recipes all lined up, so make sure to head over and subscribe! :)

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Top 5 tips for the Perfect Burger…

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Time for another edition of top tips! If you missed the first two posts in the series, you can check them out here and here.  The idea behind this series is to get the best of the best in their fields, to share their tips and tricks of the trade. From flower arranging to setting the perfect dinner party table, I want to tap into the knowledge of the some of the most passionate producers. With BBQ season in full swing, I thought no better time than the present for our next installment.  Bunsen Burger blasted on to the Dublin restaurant scene last year offering real burgers done right!  With a business card sized menu, Tom Gleeson, founder of Bunsen Burger on Wexford St, is passionate about keeping it simple and creating quality American style burgers.  Tom agreed to share his tips on creating the perfect burger.

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1. Know your meat…

It’s got to be freshly ground! We mince our burgers fresh every morning in our cold room. We use three specific fore-quarter cuts minced to a precise secret blend. Don’t have your own cold room?  Just ask your butcher to grind some fresh…. chuck steak is a good cut to start with! Alternatively pop in to us and we’ll sort you out with some fresh meat/buns.

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Video Recipe: Summer Berry Pavlova…

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This week’s youtube video features a super dessert for summer entertaining- a summer berry pavlova!  It has crisp, chewy, marshmallow meringue layers, stacked together with perfect soft whipped cream and sweet, summer berries. It’s a showstopper that really celebrates all things summer but can be adapted for any time of the year by swapping in different toppings.

This recipe for meringues is one I use all the time and rather than using caster sugar added gradually to the frothy egg whites, you place icing sugar in with them at the start and whisk on high until you are left with stiff white peaks.  It’s a fool proof method and can be used to make pavlova bases and normal meringues also.  We’re coming close to hitting the 60k subscriber mark on youtube so don’t forget to head over and ask a question on my Q&A and make sure to tune in this Sunday as I will be cooking with the godfather of Italian cooking, Mr. Gennaro Contaldo!

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Continue to the recipe for Summer Berry Layered Pavlova…

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Black pudding & Holy Buns…

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Black pudding is serious business here in Ireland and as a result we have some of the finest blood pudding in the world.  A traditional addition to the famous Full Irish Breakfast, black pudding has been made in Ireland for hundreds of years.  It was traditionally made in small farmhouses in rural Ireland as part of the process of slaughtering a pig.  Meat from the animal would be divided out and cured or eaten fresh while the blood would be collected and saved to make black pudding.

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Neighbors were often involved in the work and in return for helping out, they would get a share of the fresh and cured meat and puddings.  This was an important part of the process as it meant fresh meat would be available more regularly.  Often to subsidise the modest farmhouse income black pudding would be sold to village shops along with eggs, butter and milk.  Nowadays quality Irish black pudding is readily available and butchers like McCarthy’s of Kanturk and Kelly’s of Newport make some of the best you can buy.

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Despite eating copious amounts of the black stuff, I have never made it.  It’s a tricky process (gruesome for some!) involving fresh blood and intestines, so as you can imagine, not the type of ingredients most of us have in our kitchens.  I got the opportunity to make some with Mary, the Bean An Tí from Muckross Traditional Farms when we filmed for this week’s episode of Rediscovering The Irish Kitchen.  She gave me a first hand demonstration, which turned out to be a lot easier than I imagined.  The blood is mixed with oats, onion, salt and spices and then loosely stuffed into the intestines, tied in rings and then boiled in a large pot of water.  A brilliant Irish ingredient that can be used in so many different ways.

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Another highlight of filming was a trip to Kylemore Abbey to cook with the Benedictine nuns.  The Benedictine order has resided at the abbey since 1919 and in that time for many years it was run as a boarding school with many of the nuns teaching there.  It is now one of Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations with its rich history and dramatic setting in the heart of the Connemara, Co. Galway.  

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Dinner’s On with Barry Lewis…

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Barry Lewis is one of the many rising food stars on YouTube and a few weeks back I got hang out with him at the BBC Bristol Food Connections festival in Bristol.  We chatted food, YouTube and he mentioned he had his first cookbook coming out.  I’ve finally got my hands on it and it’s a super book filled with inspirational and quirky everyday dinner ideas, perfect for families.  If you watch Barry’s channel on YouTube you will know he has two young daughters and his passion for feeding his family great quality food comes shining through in his debut cookbook.

*This competition is now closed.* To celebrate the release of Barry’s new book, I have three copies of Dinner’s On to giveaway! To be in with a chance of winning a copy of this brilliant book, leave a comment below telling me your ‘go to’ dinner dish, and make sure you subscribe to my newsletter here. Entries close on Friday 18th of July 2014. The winner will be chosen at random that day- Good luck!  I’ve also got just some of the brilliant recipes from Barry’s new book below to whet your appetite…

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Piri Piri Chicken Wings… }

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