Bank Holiday, Roast Breast of Duck with Spiced Plums

Roast Breast of Duck with Spiced Plums Serves 4

Hi everyone, this is a marvellous recipe for when friends are visiting for the bank holiday. Everybody loves duck, so here’s atwist on the usual recipe. We have an abundance of plums in our garden in early autumn, but this is also delicious with apricots.

roast breast of duck with spiced plums (3)


4 x 170g duck breasts, skin on

1 tsp ground cumin

salt and freshly ground

black pepper

sunflower oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

2cm fresh root ginger, grated

3 oranges (juice of 3 oranges and zest of 1 orange)

100ml chicken stock

2 star anise

4 tbsp honey

1 tbsp soy sauce

1⁄2 tsp ground coriander

4 plums, stoned and quartered

egg noodles with a dash of soy sauce, to serve

orange zest thinly sliced into strips, to garnish

  1. Score each duck breast with a sharp knife and rub with the cumin, salt and pepper. Heat some oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a high heat and fry the duck, skin side down first, for 3 minutes. Turn over, reduce the heat and cook for about 7 minutes more, until tender. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
  2. To make the sauce, retain the duck fat in the pan, adding more oil if necessary. Gently cook the garlic and ginger until slightly golden, about 1 minute. Add the orange zest and juice, stock, star anise, honey, soy sauce and ground coriander. Bring to the boil and allow to reduce for 4–5 minutes. Add in the plums and simmer for a further 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Place the soy noodles on a platter. Slice the duck breasts and place on top of the noodles. Scatter over the orange zest. Spoon the sauce over the duck breasts and serve.

Halloween is fast approaching… Creepy Spider Cupcakes

Hi all, I hope you are all well and enjoying all the beautiful colours of autumn. Here at Ballyknocken Cookery School we are getting very excited about our Head Chef Junior Chef Halloween special class. It is always a hit every year with grown ups and kids alike.  All the classes I teach here at the school are great, but the Head Chef  Junior Chef is always extra special to us.

To celebrate fast approaching Halloween this week in my recipe blog, I would like to share a firm favourite of mine that I worked on as Brand Ambassador for Whirlpool Ireland. This is a recipe that is great fun to make with the kids at this time of year. I hope you all enjoy the class and remember we still have some availability in the house for anyone who would like to take a well deserved break that weekend.

In other news, I am delighted to see the videos I worked on with my friends in Mummy Pages, go live this week on their amazing site. Be sure to keep an eye out on my Facebook and Twitter for all the links to recipes such as, Slow Roasted Pork, or a healthy alternative to Fish & Chips, Coconut Fish Goujons & Lime Wedges with Mushy Peas.

Finally, I really do hope you are all enjoying The Taste of Success, Tuesday nights on RTE1 at 8.30, I know I am loving every minute and excited for the winner announcement and just to end on a high note I was absolutely thrilled to find out that Lords and Ladles, the series I worked on this year with Paul Clarke and Derry Quinn has been nominated for an IFTA award. I may get red carpet ready and soon.

So have a fantastic weekend and I will speak to you all very soon.


Spider Cupcakes

The children will love to make these and it will keep them busy for a good while, measuring, mixing and decorating. 

Creepy Spider Cupcakes

Makes 12 small cupcakes


For the cupcakes:

100g caster sugar

100g unsalted butter, softened

3 eggs, lightly beaten

100g self raising flour

3 tbsp cocoa powder

4 tbsp milk


For the vanilla butter cream:

90g butter, softened

180g icing sugar

4 tbsp cocoa, sifted

2 tbsp milk

12 cupcake cases

Black licorice strings or wheels

24 “smarties” for eyes

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/Gas 4. Line a muffin tray with cupcake cases.

To make the cupcakes, cream the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Whisk in the beaten eggs.

Fold in the flour, add the cocoa powder and carefully stir in the milk.

Spoon the mixture into the cases and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes or when a skewer is inserted into the centre it should come out clean. Allow to cool completely before decorating.

To make the butter cream, cream the butter, icing sugar and cocoa together until smooth.

When the cupcakes are cool, spread the cupcakes or pipe the chocolate butter cream over the top.

To decorate, cut the licorice into 8 x 4cm equal lengths and place 4 on each side and place 2smarties for “eyes”.


Tip: Add 2 tbsp chopped walnuts and 1 tbsp of white chocolate drops into the cupcake mixture. 


Whirlpool Recipe, Pasta treat….

Hi everyone,

Hope you are well today and enjoying this lovely September weather. It has been another busy but great week here at Ballyknocken Cookery School. I was in Cork on the RTE Today Show, Gorey for a Whirlpool Demo in Dominic Smith, we had our RTE photo shoot for the RTE Guide ……wow I am so glad I have my lovely Volkswagen Passat to get me to all these places in comfort and on time !!!

The recipe I would like to share with you this week is for a gorgeous simple pasta dish, one I demonstrated in Dominic Smith in Gorey this week. We had such a wonderful turn out and I enjoyed myself so much, I really love my role as brand ambassador for Whirlpool Ireland, so much so that my whole cookery school is kitted out with their amazing state of the art ovens.

Here I am here in full demo mode modelling my lovely ovens 🙂

Whirlpool CF

Here is one of the lovely recipes I did this week in Gorey for Whirlpool. Just to get the last bit of summer sunshine food into us 🙂

Summer Spaghetti with Prosciutto, Peppers, Lemon and Olives

Serves 4

This is a really tasty yet light pasta dish, ideal for the summer but I enjoy it all year round!

It’s very quick to prepare especially when you use the Whirlpool Induction hob  that is so fast to heat, and stops when you remove the saucepan, so also saving you on energy”

1 tbsp olive oil

4 sliced prosciutto, torn

1 red onion, very thinly sliced

1 red pepper, thinly sliced

1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely sliced

1 tsp chopped oregano

150ml double cream

½ lemon, zest and juice

50ml vegetable stock

A handful of baby spinach, washed and trimmed

6 black olives, sliced in half (optional)

300g spaghetti

Oregano sprigs, to garnish

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium to high heat. Add the torn prosciutto and sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes until crispy.  Remove from the pan and set aside on a clean plate. Add the onion and sauté for 4 minutes before adding the red and yellow pepper strips and sauté until softened.  Add the garlic cloves and oregano and cook for 2 minutes.

Return most of the prosciutto and stir in the cream, lemon juice, zest and stock. Simmer for 2 minutes. Retain a little prosciutto to use as garnish.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the package and drain.

Stir in the spinach and wilt, add the olives and check the seasoning, you may only need to add a little freshly ground black pepper.

Using a pair of tongs, lift the cooked spaghetti into the sauce and toss.

To serve, twist the spaghetti around a large fork and slide onto a serving plate, spoon some of the sauce into the centre of the nest and lightly over the top.

Place a piece of prosciutto on top and sprinkle a few sprigs of oregano and a drizzle the olive oil.

Tip: During the winter months, add some finely shredded kale – it’s good for you!

 Whirlpool pasta dish for Gorey


Pfizer Healthy Towns & Recipes

Hi everyone,

Well this was a busy and exciting week for us all here at Ballyknocken Cookery School and I for one am looking forward to our Southern Italian class taking place tomorrow the 19th of September. We will have the lovely winner of our latest competition joining us which will be great. Well done Emer McCudden !!

Another highlight of this week was the fantastic Pfizer Healthy Towns cookery demonstration I did in Athlone’s Sheraton Hotel which I was really delighted to be a part of .

This was the second week of the Irish Times and Pfizer Healthy Town programme ‘Eat Well, Live Well’ that launched on Monday 14 September. On Tuesday, 15th September, I along with the Irish Heart Foundation, hosted a free public nutrition event in Athlone. I was delighted to do a cookery demonstration with Janis Morrissey, dietitian with the Irish Heart Foundation who gave a talk on nutrition and how you can make positive changes to your diet. We hoped we shared plenty of tips and techniques for cooking healthy and nutritious food.

Recipes I prepared on the night include chargrilled summer courgettes and aubergines on a bed of Leaves with orange and radish salad, drizzled with a Lemon Thyme Dressing, Chicken and Spinach Lasagne made with healthier choices than traditional lasagne, fish parcels with oven baked sesame sweet potato chips, a healthier option than the traditional fish and chips and berry parfaits to demonstrate how easy it is to make a healthy dessert.

If you’re unsure where to start with healthy eating, the following 5 simple tips will put you on the right track[1]:

  • Shake the salt habit. Eighty per cent of the salt we eat is hidden in processed foods. Taste your food first before you add salt. Choose fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables over processed foods whenever possible.
  • The food pyramid. To eat a balanced diet you need to combine several different types of foods – from each of the main food groups – in the right amounts so your body gets all the nutrients it needs while maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Portion sizes. Eating an extra 100 calories a day can lead to weight gain of 4.5kg (10lb) a year. Keep portion sizes healthy by eating from a smaller plate or filling a third of your dinner plate with vegetables or salad.
  • Drink water. Get into the habit of always serving water, whether it’s with meals or as a daily thirst quencher. Carry a bottle of water with you to work. Remember that fizzy drinks contain a lot of sugar and can be very harmful to teeth so try not to drink them too often.
  • Eat together. Eating together as a family is both social and a great way to have some quality time as a family. There is also a strong and relationship between eating in front of the screen and an unhealthy diet and weight so try to eat at the table.

 A dedicated microsite and all the recipes I prepared for Healthy Town can be viewed at The site will be regularly updated with details of local events and activities taking place in Athlone Town. To register for any of the free public talks please email: or phone 01 669 0165

Chargrilled Summer Courgettes and Aubergines on a bed of Leaves, Orange and Radish salad drizzled with a Lemon Thyme Dressing


Chicken & Carrot Salad Baps…for kids lunch

Hi everyone, here is as promised my recipe from The Weekend Chef for all those healthy kids out there. These are so easy to make and delicious, the kids can get hands on with you with preparing them

Enjoy and have a great weekend

Chicken Carrot Baps

Chicken and Carrot salad Baps

Recipes form Catherine Fulvio’s “The Weekend Chef” book


1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for frying

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

2 chicken fillets, sliced into strips

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


For the salad:

2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into ribbons

½ cucumber, peeled and sliced into ribbons

¼ tsp caraway seeds, toasted and crushed (optional)

Juice of 1 lemon (reserve a little to drizzle over the avocado, as this prevents it from browning)

4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp honey

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


To serve:

1 ripe avocado, peeled, stone removed, thinly sliced and drizzled with lemon juice

4 bap rolls, sliced in half and toasted

75g rocket or any of your favourite salad leaves

Sour cream (optional)

To prepare the salad, place the carrot and cucumber ribbons into a bowl and add the caraway seeds. Whisk the lemon juice, oil and honey together and add in some salt and pepper. Pour over the salad and mix well.

Mix the oil, cumin and rosemary together and brush over the chicken, then season with salt and pepper. Allow to marinate for about 15 minutes. Heat some oil in a large frying pan or chargrill

pan over a medium heat. Add the chicken strips and cook for 2–3 minutes on each side, depending on their size, until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Arrange a few avocado slices in the bap rolls. Pack the chicken strips on top along with the carrot, cucumber salad and rocket leaves. Drizzle over a little sour cream if you are using it.



Back to School Healthy Lunches

Hi everyone,

It’s been a busy day for me, firstly I was delighted to go on Newstalk this morning to chat to the lovely Pat Kenny about healthy school lunches. For those of you that missed it, I had a number of suggestions that I believe work very well and with my own two children I have tried and tested many methods to get them to include some goodness into those lunchboxes.

Here are my top tips.

  • Watch portion size with children, the smaller the child the smaller the portion
  • Include finger friendly food and try to pre-peel the fruit etc and chop it up into bite size pieces
  • Substitute sugar for dried fruit snacks that are tasty and healthy
  • Have a designated shelf in the fridge for school lunches making it easy to prepare in a hurry
  • Always have shredded chicken, ham or cooked meat for sandwiches available as it’s s lot easier to manage
  • Get the children involved in the decision making process by including them in preparation
  • Use brightly coloured food with nice texture that looks appealing
  • Most schools are strict on treats anyway but ensure they are getting their nutrition balance correct
  • Watch for the sugar content in processed foods and avoid this by making homemade soups or sauce for pasta to use in a thermo lunchbox

So with that mind I will leave you with the link to the recipes I covered today with Pat that can be found on Newstalk along with the video that I appeared in that aired to many millions of Chinese earlier this week that was put together to highlight Ireland and all it’s fantastic tourist attractions and beauty spots, food and culture. I was proud and happy to showcase Irish food and chat to the fabulous film crew that visited us here at Ballyknocken Cookery School.

So have a lovely weekend and I will leave you with a photo of myself and the lovely Pat Kenny, thanks for having me on the show Pat.

Catherine & pat kenny

Beef Carpaccio Recipe for the Weekend

Hi guys, hope you are all enjoying our delayed summer, here at the cookery school it is non stop with public and private classes, group bookings and hen and corporate parties, the fun never stops. !

This week I would like to share a gorgeous recipe from my Italian Kitchen Cookbook…hope you all enjoy 

Of all the delicious things to come out of Harry’s Bar in Venice, including the Bellini cocktail, Carpaccio tops the list for me. Generally, Carpaccio refers to very thinly sliced raw beef, but nowadays the term is widely used, from swordfish Carpaccio to pineapple. It is so simple to make, healthy and tastes delicious. Enjoy the weekend sunshine and perhaps at long last we will get to take out the BBQ with this gorgeous starter option that can be prepared away from the coals as a tasty starter alternative 

Beef Carpaccio

Beef Carpaccio

Carpaccio di manzo

Serves six

300g fillet steak, cut into wafer-thin slices

extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

salt and freshly ground black pepper

rocket, to garnish

Parmesan shavings

  1. Spread the slices of steak on a serving platter. Drizzle with olive oil and the lemon juice. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Garnish with rocket, sprinkle over the Parmesan shavings and serve.

It’s possible to buy beef carpaccio precut and prepacked, but I always buy it fresh and ask my butcher to slice the beef. That way, I’m assured of freshness and provenance.

  1. Spread the slices of steak on a serving platter. Drizzle with olive oil and the lemon juice. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Garnish with rocket, sprinkle over the Parmesan shavings and serve.

It’s possible to buy beef carpaccio precut and prepacked, but I always buy it fresh and ask my butcher to slice the beef. That way, I’m assured of reshness and provenance.