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Interview with Donegal Chef Brian McDermott

Donegal chef Brian McDermott from Donegal has recently published his fantastic cookbook “Donegal Table,” we caught up for a chat all about Brian and why this book, and his home county, are so important to him. 1. Tell me about yourself and your background in food? I have been a chef for 25 years and went to college Killybegs Catering College. I’m passionate about good, honest food cooked simply and sourced locally. I’m from a family of 12, my Mum was a cook on her Dad’s potato farm so she taught me a lot about cooking and eating what could be grown on the farm. 2. Who inspired you to get into food? “Harrys” Restaurant in Bridgend , Co. Donegal. I was an early school leaver and got a job as a kitchen porter in “Harrys” and within a year they talked me into going to catering college. I’m forever grateful to Mr Harry Leo Doherty. 3. How did the diagnosis of your heart condition affect you, and your career choices? When I was diagnosed …

Recipe – Coffee cake

One of my favourite things is a cup of scalding hot, delicious coffee, the type you could inhale all day, and a slice of buttery, indulgent coffee cake. This recipe is one I make based on two of my favourites from the queens of baking, Darina Allen in Ballymaloe and Mary Berry. I leave out walnuts because I can’t bear them, but like to decorate with pecans. Coffee cake with mascarpone icing Ingredients 250g real butter, softened 300g self-raising flour 4 eggs, beaten 250g light soft brown sugar (Or I like to use 100g dark muscovado sugar and 150g caster sugar) 1 tsp real vanilla extract 200ml of very strong coffee, (real or instant) cooled For the mascarpone icing  250g mascarpone 500g icing sugar Cooled, sweetened coffee to taste Cocoa powder to decorate Pecan nuts to decorate (optional) Method Preheat oven to 180C or Gas mark 4. Butter 2 x 20cm sandwich tins and line the bottoms with greaseproof paper. Beat the butter and sugar together until light, pale and creamy. Add the vanilla extract. …

Florrie-Jane’s Vintage – Donegal woman’s online vintage store success

Laura Doherty returned home to Ireland in 2014 after a few years in Australia and New Zealand, and like many others, she had no plan for what was next. All she did know was that her collection of vintage clothing had grown so big, even her boyfriend was concerned. ‘I’ve always loved vintage clothing and would have sold bits and pieces over the years on eBay. While I was travelling in Australia and New Zealand I collected so many bits and pieces of vintage I had to ship a lot of it home.’ Laura (28) started her online vintage store ‘Florrie-Janes’ Vintage’ just over a year ago and she is now listed as a boutique with one of the world’s biggest online stores Asos.com and cannot keep up with the demand for her vintage pieces. She operates her store from her home in Dunfanaghy in north west Donegal. Surprisingly, the majority of her clothing goes to the UK and she’s only sold around 10 pieces in Ireland so far. She trained as a hairdresser initially and then worked for a …

Summertime can only mean it’s time to barbecue

Tis’ the season to grill and be glorious. While it might not be a scorcher every day, it’s important to make the most of those snatches of sunshine with good friends, good food and as little blackened banana in tin foil as possible. I was lucky enough to attend the Prime by Aldi restaurant at Taste of Dublin this year where Gary O’Hanlon was chef. I fell in love with this meltingly delicious lamb cutlet dish which is absolutely perfect for your Summer barbecue. Spring Lamb Rack Chops, Roast Spiced Sweet Potato, Bok Choy, BBQ Molasses 6 Spring Lamb Rack Cutlets Marinade ingredients 100g thyme 3 garlic cloves crushed 100ml olive oil Blend the marinade ingredients together and toss the lamb cutlets through   For the Spiced Sweet Potato Ingredients 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced 4tsp brown sugar 4tsp chilli powder 100ml olive oil few knobs of butter   BBQ Molasses Ingredients 200g brown sugar 2 punnets cherry tomatoes 100ml balsamic vinegar salt and pepper to tatse 2 red onions, sliced water to cover …

A few things I wish I knew about boys when I was 16 (and 22……and 29)

1. It’s ok to be YOU You are you, in all your glorious good, bad and ugly. And it’s not only ok to be you, it’s bloody wonderful. The person you’re with should adore and cherish you for all your quirks and habits, madness and loveliness. The kind of person you want to be with will want to be with all of you. And that’s the kind of person who deserves you. 2. If they make you feel bad about your body/face/feet/humour/nose/teeth FORGET them Your partner should make you feel good about yourself. If he’s pointing out flaws that damage your self-esteem, do yourself a favour and say goodbye. 3. Take your own time It’s ok to wait six days, six weeks or six months to be a girlfriend, to have sex, to hold hands, to say yes or say no. You can be Dawson and Joey, or pawing at each other like wild animals, just as long as you feel happy and comfortable with the pace, forget everyone and everything else. 4. If you …