Posted in Recipes

Simple Salmon Supper, Emergency Sauce & the gist of it all.

Ras el hanout. It sounds exotic and it is. If you’d like to read more about this warming spice blend have a search in the ingredients box ->

You’ll also find it in Tesco or a spice store and possibly other supermarkets where I haven’t found it yet. You can also make it too, again if you’re interested search in the ingredients box of this blog ->

….but you’re probably just here for the recipe.

Simple Salmon Supper:

Ingredients :
Salmon Darnes
Drizzle oil
Good scattering of Ras el Hanout
Into hot oven for approx. 15 minutes

Emergency Sauce:

Philadelphia Cream Cheese
Tomato & Chill Relish
Ras el Hanout
Use your own excellent judgement to combine the above until you make enough sauce to dollop on your salmon. Check your fridge, other things that you can swap in to make great emergency sauce = yoghurt, creme fraiche, vinegars, lemon juice, sweet chilli sauce, hot sauce, mustard, pesto, capers etc.

When it comes to cooking you really don’t need to be spoon-fed line by line instructions, exact quantities and cooking temperatures. Trust your instinct, swap things in and out and your cooking experience will become simpler and faster. All you need is a rough idea of what ingredients work well together and the gist of the method. Gist, now there’s an underused and underrated word for you.

Trust yourself & cook!

Simple Salmon Supper – Ras el Hanout baked Salmon Darnes served with couscous, tenderstem broccoli & a dollop of emergency sauce

xo Sheila

Posted in Recipes

Easy Dinner & is Instagram no longer where to share?

More often than not when it comes to food and especially the main meal of the day I just want to eat something simple but super tasty. After a day of work it is very difficult to turn around and cook something at all and much easier to throw on a pizza or pick up some fast takeaway but you know and need to remind yourself that cooking can be as simple and fast as that too. You do need to have done the shopping at some stage though! An empty fridge will not yield a tempting meal. So do yourself a favour and get a food shop in : lots of veg, your preferred protein and stock up on those things that will bring flavour – garlic, lemon, chillies, spices, honey etc.

Think about the flavours you like and put those things together – I love a combination of bitter & sweet, hence the sugar and vinegar of the pickle served with the sweet chicken strips on leaves is my idea of a simple & tasty meal.

Red Onion Pickle

Slice Red onion, sprinkle with red wine vinegar & sugar
Leave to marinade while you cook the chicken strips
Tastes even better the next day

Is Instagram not for photos anymore?

So what’s that about then? I generally just pick up on mutterings and snippets of things as they filter through the ether and don’t have time to explore on detail however what I’m hearing is that the Insta moguls are leaning in preference more towards video content than still images. What does that actually mean? When you search for something you’re going to be returned with moving pictures rather than still images perhaps. I don’t see that it will really matter. If it’s only pictures you want to see that is the content you will seek out.

So here is one of my recent Insta dinners & Insta recipes. I think the visual along with limited text should be enough for the time pressed. Be inspired then make it your way.

Chicken Strips – Le Photo
Chicken Strips – Le Recipe

xo Sheila

Posted in Recipes

7 things that will make you feel good in January 2021

  • Delete the bad / duplicate photos on your phone
  • File 7 things (even if you just file them straight into the recycling bin)
  • Backup your photos [if it died or was robbed would you be able to access them somewhere – if not fix that!]
  • Back up your laptop / pc [if it died or was robbed would you be able to access the files you need somewhere – if not fix that!]
  • Check your utilities supplier is giving you the best deal and if not change it – if you are not the one who takes care of this kind of stuff check your phone network / deal is the best you could be on and if not change that
  • Cook or bake something that you have never cooked before
  • Take a long bubble bath

xo Sheila

Posted in Recipes

No clue what to cook for dinner? Eat Some Fish!

This is me today. We’d chicken yesterday, beef the day before and I’m not in the humour for pork so I’m thinking fish. Today I want quick, I want easy, and I want very little prep. so I’m going with the Tray Bake.

If you’re looking for some fishy ideas why not check some of these out (there are more fish recipes in the menu bar):

Links to the recipes pictured here are below each picture

First up is hake :

Tray Bake

Next a seafood paella


Or how about Salmon made tastier with some soy :

Salmon in Soy Sauce
Salmon in Soy

Finally a delicate beauty, Sea Bass

Sea Bass Parcel


xo Sheila

Posted in Recipes

What is Irish Cooking?

Irish Cooking, what does it mean to you? My daughter asked me recently for a recommendation of something Irish to cook for her French flatmates and what immediately sprung to mind was bacon & cabbage, then brown-bread and then scones.

I’ve heard it said before that Irish cooking is a celebration of Irish ingredients rather than a cuisine in itself. But if you’re in France you’re not about to go sourcing or importing Irish ingredients to impress the frenchies. You’ll shop in the markets and you’ll use the best of French ingredients but to cook up something with a bit of Irish flair. So wherever you are you can cook Irish too.

May I suggest….

  • Cinnamon and Apple Honeyed Porridge for breakfast and a snack of Apple and Raisin Wholemeal Breakfast Muffins.
  • Maybe you’d fancy some Caramelised Red Onion Soda Bread topped with a local cheese.
  • Lunch could be a Winter Warmer Peppered Parsnip, Potato and Leek Soup.
  • Take our love of Cauliflower to create a Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Curry
  • Does a Creamy Cheese and Onion Potato Bake sound tasty?
  • How about the humble spud – try out one of my Eight Ways with Baked Potatoes
  • Then there’s Parsley and Thyme Stuffed Chicken with Red Cabbage
  • Sticky Sweet Roast Skeaghanore Duck Breast
  • Beef and Onion Hotpot
  • Irish Angus Fillet Steaks with Portabello Mushrooms
  • Cheat’s Wellington with Jameson Jus
  • Cranberry Pork Chops
  • Honey-Glazed Rashers with Lemon and Vegetable Couscous
  • Bacon, Cheese and Chutney Quesadilla
  • Potato Farls with Crispy Rashers
  • White Pudding with Pea Purée and Champ
  • Carrot, Parsnip and Bramley Apple Mash
  • Mustardy Mash (yes, we love our spuds)
  • Parsley Stalk Potato Salad
  • Pea and Garlic Crostini
  • Blackberry and Apple Chutney
  • and to finish how about some Rhubarb Crumble with freshly whipped cream

So what else do you consider to be Irish Food? I’d love to know what you think or what else you would suggest. These are all from Irish recipes from my cookbook Enjoy!

[Currently on Special Offer at 4.99 – click the link to buy direct from my Irish Publisher – Mercier Press]

Well hopefully this provides ample for Ellie to chose from !
xo Sheila

Posted in Recipes

Irish Made Craft & Design

Here’s some of the finds from Irish businesses that I consider beautiful & worthwhile gifting. In order to make it even easier to find all these beautiful Irish brands when you’re doing your shopping online this year I’ve posted direct links to their sites & my suggested picks from them below the photo gallery:

(I’ll add more as I find them)

Here are the direct site links & my picks

Toris Totes – For a unique, one of a kind beautifully lined and expertly made tote bag – You’ll find Tori over on Instagram @toristotes

Ballyvolane House – The Great Indoors Box

St Tola – Irish Goat Cheese – Clare Brunch Box

Killenure Castle Dexter Leather – the black sliotar

Eddie Doherty Handwoven Tweed – the navy herringbone cap

Urban Fabric by Orla Healy – the Clock House, Mallow A4 Framed

Irish Pens – the Shannon Rollerball pen in Irish Elm bright crome

Grá Chocolates – the Grá Chocolate Baubles

Under the Willow – the prints

Eco Clothing – the Spring Hoodie in Sunset Orange & the Eco Tote Bag

Kopper Kreation – the Copper Letter Holder

Inner Island Jewellery – Namara Earring in 9ct Gold

Alan Meredith Studio – the Fumed Dearcàn

John Ryan Ceramics – the Water Carafe

Cristal na Rinne – the Ceo Decanter & ceo tumblers

Wild Atlantic Seaweed Baths – gift vouchers

Arran Street East – the Large Jug

Dunbeacon Pottery – the Coffee Cups

Peter Mahony Art – Wintering Creek

Caulfield Country Boards – the Oversized Oval server

Ballyshane – the Grange Large Cheeseboard

Fred O’Mahony Woodturning – the 15” Spalted Bowl

Waters And Wild – the sweet basil & bergamot way de parfum

Rathbornes – Dublin Dusk scented candle

Shangarry Potters- the classic cup mugs & the classic small pasta bowls http://

Kaiko Studio – concert decorative sphere

Lovato Candles – any candle with silver lid

Foxford – Grey, Bone & White Block Throw –

McNutt of Donegal – Linen Lambswool Scarf – CIA

Hushabye Farm Alpacas – the Alpaca pillows

Anchor and Bee – the Ultraviolet Knits book /

& lastly a bit of Self Promotion (currently on Special offer at 4.99) :
Mercier Press – my cookbook Enjoy!

Happy Shopping! xo Sheila

Posted in Recipes

9 Bog Standard Basic Dinners – It will all work out in the end.

The world has gone fecking bananas. 7 months on and I’m still not used to it. Last night for instance I was out with a group of friends for dinner and no matter what we spoke about it always came back to COVID-19. At one stage mid-conversation I asked one of them is this real, are we really having this conversation and she was exactly the same, none of us are used to this and I don’t think we ever can be.

It is a waiting game. Time will pass. Everything will change again and it will all work out in the end – ‘How?’… you ask…. ‘I don’t know it always does’ … and if you’re unsure about that then I recommend you take the time to watch or rewatch ‘Shakespeare in Love.’

In the meantime it’s good to ground yourself with familiar and comforting things like these 9 bog standard basic dinners.

1. Chilli Con Carne

2. Ratatouille Chicken

3. Pan fried whiting, carrot & parsnip mash, mashed potatoes & parsley sauce

4. Bangers & Mash with red onion gravy, swede & side of crispy potato skins

5. Baked paprika chicken & potatoes with super fast veg

6. Baked Salmon, Baked courgette topped with Parmesan & lemon & chilli couscous

7. Chicken & chickpea curry

8. Spaghetti Bolognese

9. Bacon & Cabbage with mash and parsley sauce


xo Sheila.

Posted in Recipes

How to make Basil Pesto

Home-made Basil Pesto.

The Italians know what they’re at when it comes to food.  They keep it simple and tasty.  Fresh crusty bread, some mozzarella, juicy ripe tomatoes generously drizzled with fresh basil pesto. Incredible.  A recipe that needs few words my one recommendation is that you use a food processor with a small bowl or a mini-chopper to combine the ingredients.

Ingredients for 350 ml of pesto
50g pine nuts
Large bunch of fresh basil leaves (25g)
50g Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves
200ml olive oil

Lightly toast the pine nuts in a dry heated frying pan over a medium heat until they begin to take on a golden colour, then remove from the heat. (Watch them carefully as they burn easily.)
Rinse and roughly chop the basil.
Finely grate the Parmesan and peel and crush the garlic.
Combine everything with the olive oil in a food processor or mini chopper, and blend until smooth.
Store in a sterilised old jam jar in the fridge.



Posted in Recipes

How to Make Pasta Carbonara – Remembering Paola Tullio

As the anniversary of Paola Tullio’s death approaches (5th June 2015) I’d like to celebrate and remember this wonderful man.  It was his voice, his manner and his presence.  All of that gently surfed and beautifully traversed the radio wavelengths into your kitchen or office or wherever it was that you happened to be when you had the pleasure to hear him.  For me that was frequently in the car.  Probably most often on my way to collect my kids from school I would catch Paola’s regular ‘Food’ slot with Sean Moncrieff on Newstalk.  Listening to Paola was therapeutic, the fact that he was an Italian talking about food was a bonus.

Paola’s was a very distinctive, mesmeric voice, he reminded me of a softer version of Albert Finney, another beautiful voice.

I never got to meet Paola but I had the absolute joy of hearing him say my name and review my first cookbook with Sean Moncrieff on his radio progamme.  Thankfully he liked it and declared ‘Gimme the Recipe’ a ‘very good book.’  Thrilled was a complete understatement at the time and now it is a very fond and cherished memory.

I don’t know if he had even seen my Carbonara recipe in that book but boy was I thankful that I had not included cream in mine, a complete no-no for Paola.

Paola you are missed and remembered and I will never put cream in my Carbonara.

How to make Carbonara

Pasta Carbonara

Having played around with a number of Carbonara recipes, some with cream, some with wine and then pared them back and chopped and changed quantities, I eventually came up with this recipe which is simple and scrumptious. Not being a huge fan of pasta, this is one meal that has surprised me by how much I enjoy it. The heat of the pasta cooks the eggs as you stir them in and the Parmesan forms a smooth sauce with a little of the cooking water. This meal can be on the table in 20 minutes.

Ingredients – serves 4–5

400g dried spaghetti or any pasta
1012 rashers or a packet of 10 slices of cooked ham* (approximately 300g)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
3 eggs
100g Parmesan
Black pepper
Small handful of fresh parsley to garnish


Boil a large saucepan full of water and once it is boiling put the pasta on to cook for 6-8 minutes (or according to pack instructions).
While the pasta is cooking, chop up the rashers or cooked ham and cook in a large frying pan with the olive oil for 5 minutes.
Next, peel and crush the garlic cloves and add them to the meat to cook for 1 minute.
Whisk the eggs in a bowl and grate in half of the Parmesan. Give this a good whisk together. Grate and reserve the other half of the Parmesan for later.
When the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving about a cupful of the cooking water.
Take the frying pan with the cooked rashers off the heat. Add the cooked pasta to the rashers and garlic and then pour the Parmesan and egg mixture over this with enough of the cooking water to moisten it and mix well. The heat of the pasta will cook the egg as you stir it through the pasta.
Season with freshly ground black pepper.
Serve with the remaining grated Parmesan sprinkled on top, garnished with freshly chopped parsley and some garlic bread on the side.

Tip: Home-made garlic bread can be made very easily by mashing some butter with a crushed clove of garlic and generously buttering a baguette or ciabatta with it and then grilling it until the garlic butter melts.

* If you are using pre-cooked ham, it could be ham that you have left over from a cooked joint or slices of packed cooked ham. Frying it up with the olive oil and then adding crushed garlic as above will heat it up and enhance the colour and flavour.

Enjoy xx,


Posted in Recipes

And the winner is……….. Seafood Paella

One of the kids suggested we do a Covid Come Dine with Me, Kiely style, and it was an outrageous success.  Night after night they presented different dishes all cooked to perfection.


The 6 contenders were :

  • Roast Fillet of Beef with a Mushroom Gravy, Mashed Potatoes & Veg
  • Roast Leg of Lamb (rosemary, garlic), Gravy, Roast Potatoes & Veg
  • Country Risotto with asparagus, courgette, peas, (Vegetarian)
  • Seafood Paella
  • Creamy Chicken & Pasta
  • Green Thai Curry (beef) with rice & naan bread

How’s that for a menu?  My husband also cooked on the 7th night so that was a whole week off from cooking for me and it was heavenly.

Seafood Paella

Back to the Seafood Paella.  Top marks for taste and presentation and also for deciphering my Paella notes that I had written on the back of an envelope.  Note: I use arborio rice (risotto rice), not true to Spanish Paella but a good substitute.

Paella ingredients

onion, rice, peppers

finish prawns with lemon juice

steam mussels

Paella in serving platter

For the Rice:
1 onion
1 tbsp olive oil
450g risotto rice (arborio)
3 cloves garlic
1 red, 1 yellow pepper
2 tsp hot paprika, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp thyme
150ml white wine
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 litre chicken stock
For the Seafood:
Garlic or garlic granules
White wine
Half Lemon
To Serve:
Lemon wedges & Chopped fresh parsley

Prepare the veg : finely chop onion, garlic, and chop the peppers.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in v large saucepan / hob proof casserole dish or pan (A paella pan would be amazing if you had one – I don’t)
Soften the chopped onion for 5 minutes over medium heat
Add the risotto rice to the onion and mix around with the onion to absorb oil and flavour (approx 3 mins)
Add the garlic and mix through (approx 1 min)
Add the chopped peppers and herbs/spices and mix well to colour the rice
Add the wine and raise heat until it bubbles then reduce heat to medium again
Add the tinned tomatoes, mix well
With heat at a simmer add two ladles of the chicken stock and mix well then allow to absorb and then add some more stock, stirring intermittently.  Continue until all stock is added, should take around 25 minutes in all
Put the rice on a low heat and prepare the seafood
Heat some oil and butter on a hot frying pan to quickly cook the prawns, add some garlic granules or crushed garlic if you like.  Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Wash the mussels in cold water, tap any that are open and discard any that remain open.
Heat oil and butter in a large saucepan on a high heat, add the washed mussels splash in some white wine and some crushed garlic or garlic granules , then put on a lid to steam the mussels quickly until all are open.  Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Serve the Paella rice topped with the Seafood and some chopped parsley and lemon wedges.


Note: when Eimear made hers she added more wine and stock than I had indicated so you may wish to do the same until you’re happy with the consistency of the rice.
The photographs above are from when I made it last summer and I will leave you with a photograph below of Eimear’s winning Seafood Paella – Covid Come Dine with Me, Kiely Style, 2020.

Eimear Kiely Winner 2020



Posted in Recipes

Salmon in Soy Sauce

Here’s one I made earlier.  A good 8 years earlier.  That’s how long since my first book ‘Gimme the Recipe’ was published.  In this recipe the salmon darnes are pan-fried.  If you prefer to do what I did this evening and bake the salmon fillets instead – then drizzle with a little oil, bake in a hot oven for 10 minutes, then baste in the marinade ingredients (blitzed together in a food processor) and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.  Delicious, simple, no fuss.

Salmon in Soy Sauce

Ingredients – serves 4
3 garlic cloves
3cm thumb-width piece of ginger
1 red chilli
2 spring onions
50ml dark or rich soy sauce
4 salmon darnes – approximately 480500g
1 tbsp olive oil

To marinate:
Peel and crush the garlic and grate the ginger.
Deseed and finely chop the red chilli and slice the spring onions.
Combine the garlic, ginger and chilli with the spring onions and soy sauce to make a marinade and pour it over the salmon. Leave to marinate (refrigerated) for an hour or two, or ideally overnight, covered with cling film. 

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan on a medium to high heat.
Add the salmon pieces skin-side down and cook for 2 minutes, reserving the marinade sauce.
Turn the salmon over and cook for a further 2 minutes, then add the marinade sauce and heat through for 1 minute before serving.
Great as a light lunch served with Asian dressed salad or green beans.

As mentioned in the introduction I did not want to stand over a frying pan when I cooked this earlier this evening.  So instead I baked the salmon darnes drizzled with the oil in a hot oven for 10 minutes, then blitzed the mardinade ingredients together in a food processor and basted this on top before returning the salmon to the hot oven to cook for a further 10 minutes.  I served with sweet potato wedges that will cook alongside in the oven in around 20 minutes too, so ideal use of your oven and no frying.

Salmon in Soy Sauce 2

Enjoy, xx Sheila.

Posted in Recipes

Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Pie

Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Pie

Looking back at this recipe from my first cookbook ‘Gimme the Recipe’ I spied an editing note that said suggesting rice as something to serve with it seems like ‘a strange combination.’  I stand by that suggestion though and for me it works.  You’re only going to get a small bit of pastry in proportion to the filling and while it is the good buttery stuff I for one definitely need another carb to go with it and I choose rice!  The filling works really well in vol au vent cases too which make for nice starter or lunch options maybe with a salad. I just made this pie again during the week and as a classic it will never go out of favour. I do hope you get a chance to try it out.

chicken leek and mushroom pie

Ingredients – serves 4–5
1 quantity shortcrust pastry (I have a recipe in the book to to make your own or buy frozen and thaw out – i usually do the latter.)
1 leek
50g unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
4 skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp thyme
8 large button mushrooms
2 tbsp flour
300ml milk mixed with 100ml water
1 egg and a splash of milk for egg wash on pastry

Prepare the pastry and leave it to rest (or defrost if shop bought).
Preheat the oven to 180oC/Gas Mark 6.
Prepare the leek by cutting off the root and discarding any darker outer leaves. Slice the leek in half lengthways and rinse, then finely slice the leek and rinse again in a colander (as the leek grows in layers, dirt can get trapped in between).
Melt the butter and olive oil together in a large frying pan over a low heat.
Add the leek to the oil and butter and leave to soften while you chop the chicken into bite-size chunks.
Add the chicken to the leek with the thyme and turn up the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, wash and slice the mushrooms.
Push the chicken out to the sides of the pan and cook the mushrooms for 2 minutes.
Add the flour, mix well and cook for 1 minute.
Gradually add the milk/water mix and stir well to thicken the sauce.
Simmer for 15 minutes.
Transfer the chicken and leek mixture to a large ovenproof baking dish and cover the top with the pastry.
Brush over the pastry with the beaten egg and milk and prick the top of the pastry with a fork or score with a knife to vent it in a few places.
Bake in the hot oven until the pastry is golden brown – this should take around 25 to 30 minutes.
Serve with boiled wholegrain rice.

xx Sheila.