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.


Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Chinese Chicken, Peppers & Black Bean Sauce – Slow Cooker Recipe

31st January & I hope you’re keeping well.  Time is nigh to celebrate with Recipe No. 1 of 2020.  Welcome to the real beginning of the New Year because January was complete and utter drudge now wasn’t it?  I’ve been expanding my repertoire of Slow Cooker recipes and have worked on perfecting this Chinese one, it was good before, and now it’s better.  Next I have to work on the Chicken Curry one as it’s been constructively critiqued as a little bland and a little watery!

First up are the photos and then if you’d like to try it out the ingredients and method are below.

Chinese Chicken, Peppers & Black Bean Sauce.

You will need:
1kg chicken breast – cut into chunks
1 onion
3 red chillies
2 peppers (i used 1 red, 1 green)
2 tins black beans
1 tsp cornflour
100ml water
4 tbsp grated ginger or ginger puree
2 tbsp garlic puree or 3 crushed garlic cloves
12 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp golden syrup
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar or red/white wine vinegar
1 tbsp chilli flakes
peanuts & spring onion to garnish
suggest boiled rice to serve
Place chicken chunks in the base of the Slow Cooker
Next add in chopped onion chunks, 3 finely chopped red chillies, 2 sliced peppers
Drain the black beans and add these next
In a jug mix together the 1 tsp cornflour and 100ml cold water
Into the jug add the remaining ingredients : ginger, garlic, soy sauce, golden syrup, vinegar, chilli flakes
Mix well
Cook on high in the slow cooker for 4 hours
Chop up spring onion and scatter on top along with peanuts before serving with some boiled rice.
xx Sheila

Posted in Recipes

Chicken & Wedges

6 ingredient Chicken Marinade. And whether you choose to give it any time to marinate or not is entirely up to you. Does it make a difference? If you think about it really, all it means is that the marinade has been in contact with the chicken for a bit of time but does it penetrate through the skin and get absorbed any more than it does when it’s cooking? i’m not convinced that it really makes all that much of a difference. The advantage of marinating in advance is that bit of prep. is out of the way so from that point of view it would prove worthwhile.

You will need:
Chicken pieces skin-on (I used breast on bone ‘supremes’ & thighs)
1 tbsp oil (plus a little to drizzle over potato wedges)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp chilli puree (or chopped chilli)
1 tbsp garlic puree (or crushed garlic)
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp smoked paprika
Potatoes for wedges

In the baking dish mix together the 6 marinade ingredients : 1 tbsp each of oil, balsamic vinegar, chilli puree, garlic puree, dark brown sugar, smoked paprika
Note : I use a silicone pastry brush to mix the ingredients (less to wash)
Baste the chicken pieces with the mixed marinade using a pastry brush
Leave to marinate in the fridge for an hour or so (could also prep. the night before)
When ready to cook heat the oven to 200C
Cook the chicken for 45 minutes
Slice the potatoes into wedges, place in an ovenproof baking dish, drizzle with some oil and put into the oven to cook
AFTER 20 minutes of chicken cooking time, remove both chicken and wedges from the oven, carefully pour all the cooking juices from the chicken onto the potatoes, mix well, then return both dishes to the oven to continue cooking for a further 25 minutes until the chicken is nicely browned and cooked through and the potatoes are tender.
[works well with berbere roast cauliflower & crumbled cauliflower cheese – 2 new recipes that will be posted after this one]


Posted in Recipes

Aubergine Parmigiana

Simple, satisfying and healthy. This is a tasty vegetarian dish which I would serve with an easy rocket, cucumber & olive salad in the summer or a good helping of warm wilted garlic buttery spinach in the winter. Some crusty bread on the side wouldn’t go astray either.

Serves 3 to 4

You will need:
1 large Aubergine
1 onion
6 mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp oregano
1 tin lentils
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Some oil
50g+ parmesan

Preheat Oven to 180C
Chop onion and soften in a saucepan with a little oil for 5 minutes over medium heat
Chop mushrooms to bitesize pieces, add to onion and cook 5 more minutes
Crush 2 cloves of garlic, add into onion and mushrooms and cook further 2 minutes
Add Oregano and stir well
Add drained lentils and tin of chopped tomatoes, stir to combine, bring to the boil until bubbling then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes
Meanwhile slice the Aubergine into rounds and fry ob both sides in a little oil until turning brown
Grate approx half a wedge of parmesan (50/75g)
Layer half of the lentil sauce into an oven proof baking dish, then layer half of the sliced aubergines and top with half of the grated cheese.
Repeat layer : sauce, aubergine, parmesan
Bake in the hot oven for 25 to 30 mins until aubergines are nice and soft.

Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Brie Stuffed Chicken Breast

This is one of my recipes of the summer but so robust and hearty it will fare well at any time of the year. It was enjoyed a deux with my husband in beautiful West Cork in mid-August. The photos below the ingredients and method will show you how this came together. A side of paprika baby roast potatoes would be excellent with this or keep it light with a side of dressed mixed leaves. Here I’ve simply served with some pan-fried courgette and a side of garlic bread.

brie stuffed chicken

Ingredients: (to serve 2)
2 chicken breasts & a little oil to pan-fry
3 garlic cloves
2 tbsp chopped parsley (reserve 1 to garnish)
1 tbsp chopped sundried tomatoes
2 slices brie
Pre-heat the oven to 200
Heat some oil in a frying pan
Slice each chicken breast lenghtways along one side but leave closed
Pan-fry the chicken breasts until golden on each side
Meanwhile chop the garlic, parsley & sundried tomatoes and mix together (keep back 1 tbsp of the parsley for garnish)
Open out the chicken breast (see pics below) and top with the tomato mix
Oven cook for 5 minutes
Place a slice of brie on each chicken breast and sandwich it closed
Return to the oven to cook for a further 5 minutes
Ready to serve with whatever you fancy

brie stuffed chicken

A new favourite for me, so simple & tasty.
xx Sheila

Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Baked Chicken & Bulghar Wheat (or is it bulgur or bulgar?!)

Really the spelling doesn’t matter now does it? The thing I want to share with you is the fact that you can bake it. Yes you can bake bulgur wheat!!! Baking it in a dish like this alongside chicken, onions and garlic means the flavour enhancement is huge.

This dish is for a day that you don’t really feel like cooking but are in need of something decent and comforting. There is only a tiny bit of prep to this and it then more or less looks after itself over the course of an hour which will give you time to do a few bits – like put the bins out and unload the dishwasher because the last few people who encountered the FULL to overflowing bins and dishwasher chose to ignore them, didn’t they?

I’ll show you a few pictures here first of how the dish came together and you’ll find the written ingredients list and method below them….

A packet of frozen veg, patiently defrosting for the first 30 mins of cooking time……..
Bulgar gets added AFTER chicken has cooked for 30 minutes first
This goes back in the oven for a further 30 minutes

You will need / Ingredients:
Chicken pieces – skin on – I used thighs
A little oil
2 onions
6 garlic cloves
1 tin chickpeas
Hot paprika
Tomato passata – 500g
Bulgar Wheat – 250g
Frozen Veg – 450g
Chicken Stock – 500ml – from cube is fine
1 lemon
1 tbsp chopped parsley
4 tbsp greek yoghurt
Half cucumber
Pre-heat the oven to 200C
Open the frozen veg onto a plate and leave to semi-defrost
Peel and chop the two onions into wedges, peel and slice each garlic clove in two
Arrange the chicken pieces in the base of large oven proof casserole dish
Place the onion, garlic and drained chickpeas in between the chicken pieces
Pour a little oil onto the chicken and pour the tomato passata in between the chicken pieces
Sprinkle hot paprika on top
Bake in the hot oven for 30 minutes
Prepare a raita (sauce/dressing) by combining the juice of 1 lemon, 1 tbsp chopped parsley, 4 tbsp greek yoghurt and half a cucumber cut into small cubes
After the chicken has cooked for 30 minutes remove from the oven and scatter the bulgur on top – in between the chicken pieces, then scatter the semi-defrosted vegetables on top and press down with a fork so everything is touching some tomato
Lastly pour over the hot chicken stock and continue to bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
Serve dressed with some raita.

xx Sheila