Autumn Warmer Carrot, Cumin & Lentil Soup

Hi everyone, this week I would like to share one of my favourite soup recipes for these Autumn evenings when it’s getting chilly. After a busy day in the Cookery School, there is nothing nicer than a hot steaming bowl of soup and some fresh baked bread from the oven.

I hope you all have a lovely Halloween and it won’t be long before we all start planning for Christmas and this week we are all so excited here in Ballyknocken as we launched our brand new website, we would really love to hear how you are finding it, we  hope that is is easy to navigate and you can book everything online now including those all important Christmas Gift Vouchers with ease and comfort.

If you have any problems at all please do call the lovely Sharon Kelly or Debbie Gartland in the office and they will be delighted to help you out. 0404 44627

Take care and hopefully see you at one of our cookery classes soon, the full Winter calendar is on the website


soup pic

Carrot, Cumin and Lentil Soup

Serves 4 -5


2 tbsp butter

5 medium carrots, chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

3 potatoes, chopped

1tsp ground cumin or to taste

Salt and freshly ground pepper and sugar (good pinch)

1.2l chicken stock

4 tbsp red lentils

50ml milk

Cream for garnishing

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the chopped vegetables, cumin, salt, pepper and sugar. Cover with parchment paper to retain the steam and cover with saucepan lid.
  2. Leave to simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Remove lid, add the stock and simmer until the vegetables are soft.  Add the lentils and simmer for a further 6 minutes.
  3. Place the vegetables and liquid in a food processor and puree / blend until smooth. Check for seasoning and stir in the milk.
  4. Garnish with a swirl of cream and serve immediately.




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

Feeling the Love with Limoncello & Raspberry Loaf Cake

Well here at Ballyknocken House and Cookery School it’s all about ‘Feeling the Love’ at the moment in preparation for Valentines Day. It started off with some fantastic news early in the week that The Irish Independent named us as on of the THE top TEN destinations to visit with your loved one for Valentines Day. I was of course delighted and so proud to be included in the list. Here at Ballyknocken we really pull out all the stops for our guests, our groups and corporate clients and I take great pride in creating memories that will last a lifetime for anyone who visits us here.

We know that good strong relationships with friends, family and colleagues matters to people so, for the entire month of February we are promoting ‘feeling the love‘ with our wonderful Valentine Packages and Team Bonding Corporate Classes.  The cookery classes are such a fantastic way to inspire creativity, encourage team spirit and of course that all important sense of fun and laughter. I am so passionate about good food  so when you combine the love of cooking with the love of making people happy and bringing team spirit to the workplace  I know it’s a match made in culinary heaven.

Come and take a  look at  for more information on fun team days out.

This week, I also hit the road and to a room of over six hundred in the fabulous Athlone Springs Hotel I entertained the crowd with one of my popular cookery demonstrations. The atmosphere was amazing and it was a real privilege to be asked to do it. There really was a whole lot of love in the room that night too.:-)

Catherine Athlone

So have a really lovely weekend and  please keep an eye out on my website and my Facebook because I will be giving one lucky person a chance to win a signed copy of my latest cookbook ‘ Bake Like An Italian’ .

Here for your enjoyment is a much-loved recipe from the book, my delicious Limoncello & Raspberry Loaf Cake  …this is sure to get the mouth-watering.




Limoncello and raspberry tea loaf

Limoncello and Raspberry Loaf Cake


I’m a big fan of limoncello, though I tend to use it mostly in cakes, creams and desserts rather

than have it in a glass! It adds a zing that livens up everything. This loaf is lovely with a good

cuppa – try fennel tea for a change.

For the cake:

150g golden caster sugar

50ml extra virgin olive oil

4 eggs

200g plain flour, sifted

4 tbsp rice flour

125g raspberries

zest of 1 lemon

3 tbsp limoncello

11/2 tsp baking powder

For the topping:

100g icing sugar, sifted

60g butter, softened

100g mascarpone

zest of 1/2 lemon

10 raspberries, to decorate

edible flowers, to decorate

1 Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan 150°C/gas 3. Line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin with baking


2 Using an electric beater, whisk the sugar, olive oil and eggs together until light and fluffy.

Fold in the flours, raspberries, lemon zest, limoncello and baking powder.

3 Pour into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 30–35 minutes, until a skewer inserted into

the centre comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and remove from the loaf tin after

20 minutes to cool completely before decorating with the frosting.

4 To make the topping, use an electric mixer to beat together the icing sugar and butter

until pale and fluffy. Fold in the mascarpone and lemon zest.

5 When the cake is completely cool, spread over the topping. Arrange the raspberries and

edible flowers on top to decorate.

Easter eggs….only kidding :-) Tomato Focaccia

Well I did seem to cause a bit of stir this week when I posted a photo of Easter Eggs on my Facebook see .  I was just browsing the aisles of the local shop on an average mid-week hunt for some fresh veg for  a stir fry when I was nearly blinded by a brightly coloured tin foil  egg mountain. Dark ones, milk ones, white ones, kids eggs, eggs in cups, eggs, eggs everywhere.

I thought maybe I had imagined it, maybe I was just having a mid-week slump and it was a simply a mirage so I immediately took this photo as evidence and submitted to the social media test. Well yes all my lovely followers and friends all agreed that  I could believe my eyes,  Dear me I have only just gathered up the last of the tinsel and (almost) finished the Christmas tin of Roses while mentally preparing myself for Valentines Day and now it seems I better start shopping for Easter Eggs …and quick before they run out !

I did have a moment where I thought to myself, hang on did I just miss a month, I mean I am always busy… running  Ballyknocken or teaching in my Cookery School, or heading to a radio show to promote quality Irish Pork for  and looking after the family while generally enjoying my life, perhaps I skipped February altogether !!!:-)

easter eggsWell that’s my little rant over…I’ll move on to the a topic that I can get on board with anytime of the year… and that is baking or in my case teaching you all about how to Bake Like An Italian. As you all know whether it’s living, loving, fashion, or pasta Italians just know how to do it  right and baking is no exception. In my new book I travelled to Italy to research the very best authentic sweet and savory recipes. I really discovered how baking is in the blood of the Italians whether it’s a thin and crispy pizza slice you are after, or an Ameretti Crunch Cake I can tell you just how to bring the sounds, smells and tastes of la dolce vita into your kitchen. For all my recipes, hints and tips do visit my website or follow me on Twitter @cfulvio

I often get asked for recipes through my website or social media and this is a special request from a lovely guest that took one of my cookery classes .The recipe she requested is for my gorgeous homemade Tomato Focaccia, it is so simple and such a fav of mine. Best of luck and enjoy…..and remember don’t mention the E word x

Bake Like An Itaian Front Cover

Tomato Focaccia

Makes 1 tray

2 ½ tsp dried yeast (or 1 x 7g sachet)

1 tbsp sugar

425ml lukewarm water (more if required)

200g freshly mashed potato

600g Italian ‘00’ or strong white flour

2 tsp salt

1tbsp extra virgin olive oil

15 cherry tomatoes

5 to 6 small sprigs of rosemary or marjoram

Sea salt

Mix the yeast and sugar in the lukewarm water and allow the yeast to activate. When the yeast is frothy, it’s ready to use. Add the mashed potato to the yeast and stir.

Sieve the flour into a mixing bowl and add the salt, olive oil and yeast/potato mixture. Mix to a loose dough, adding more flour or water as required. Knead until the dough is very pliable, which should take about 7–10 minutes by hand. The dough may be a little sticky.

Leave the dough to rise in a well-oiled bowl covered with cling film until the dough has trebled in size and is springy to the touch, which will take 2–3 hours. This will rise best in a warm, draught-free place, e.g. a hot press or near a cooker or oven.

When it has risen, knock it back, gently knead it again on a lightly floured surface and place onto an oiled baking tray. Flatten the dough and push it into the corners of the tin. Brush with oil, cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, which will take about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6.

Indent the dough using your fingertips, then place the tomatoes in the indentations. Sprinkle with the rosemary or marjoram and some sea salt and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake for about 45 minutes. Allow to cool, then loosen from the pan and cut into squares.

Telling Porkies

Well it often seems like January is one of those non-descript months where all traces of holiday festivities vanish from our minds leaving us missing the fun and all that tasty food we had grown accustomed to for the magic month of December. So I am very excited to report I will be speaking on the John Murray Show on RTE Radio 1 tomorrow morning and promise to bring some food loving fun back into your first month of normality. The John Murray Show are running a fantastic competition all this week in association with Bord Bia and Quality Irish Pork inviting you to share with us the most outrageous ‘porkies’ you have ever told. I really hope to hear some brave confessions about some of the porkies you have told your boss, unsuspecting  partner or friends. I am really looking forward to the banter and I hope John is prepared because I intend to quiz him on one or two of his own !

I am also delighted Bord Bia are promoting Quality Irish Pork as I feel that people often forget that pork can be a fantastic everyday meal option. There are so many quick and versatile ways to cook pork; it’s a great and economical meal solution that will appeal to the whole family. I encourage people to visit the Bord Bia website for some excellent pork recipe ideas. I myself will be making a delicious winter dish for John bringing tasty pork to life  by cooking ‘ Pork Steak with Roasted Pepper’ and you can find this recipe at the following link to the Bord Bia website .

 John Murray show blog entry BB Pork Steak Roasted with Peppers (2)

Serves 5

Cooking time: 1 hour


  • 2 pork steaks/fillets, trimmed


  • 2 tablesp. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • ½ red chilli, deseeded and diced
  • 1 teasp. ground cumin
  • 1 teasp. smoked paprika
  • 1 teasp. fennel seeds
  • Juice of one lemon

Pepper Sauce

  • 2 tablesp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into strips
  • 2 yellow peppers, deseeded and cut into strips
  • ½ red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 4 fresh plum tomatoes skinned, deseeded and chopped or 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

To Serve:

  • Sauté potatoes
  • Fresh parsley to garnish

 To Cook

Mix all the marinade ingredients together. Place the pork in a freezer bag, add the marinade and leave in the fridge for as long as you can – overnight is perfect.

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4, 180˚C (350˚F).

To make the pepper sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the onion, peppers, chilli, garlic, paprika, a little salt, black pepper and sugar. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened. Add the chopped tomatoes then pour the mixture into an oven proof baking dish.

Heat a little more oil in the same frying pan. Remove the pork from the marinade, reserve the marinade. Add the pork to the hot pan and seal on all side. Place the pork on top of the peppers. Deglaze the pan with 2 tablespoons of water, add the reserved marinade and simmer for a minute or two. Then pour this over the pork. Cover with foil and place in the pre heated oven and cook for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Serving Suggestions

Slice the pork and serve with the peppers and sauteed potatoes. Garnish with a little fresh parsley.

So please do tune to the John Murray Show  on RTE Radio 1 to join in the fun and brighten up those January blues.

Catherine x

A Christmas Bombe from Ballyknocken!

Almost everyone loves a skinny slice of Christmas Pudding but we are all searching for the ideal alternative dessert that will keep everyone happy, younger and older generation.  I think I might just have the perfect dessert – in the form of a Mince Pie Bombe – it’s basically ice cream, flavoured with traditional mince meat flavourings (though not the suet!) and frozen in a pudding mould – so it looks the part too.  I have to say, we include this in our Christmas Cookery Class here at Ballyknocken (“Christmas all wrapped up!”) and its a true winner

I mentioned the recipe on the Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show on TodayFM recently so so many people asked me for the details, so being as it’s Christmas, I am happy to share – ha-ha

Merry Christmas

Catherine x

So exciting, getting ready for Christmas dinner!

So exciting, getting ready for Christmas dinner!

Christmas Mince Pie Bombe with Orange Salted Toffee Sauce

Serves 8 to 10 and makes about 300ml of sauce

For the bombe

200g mixed dried fruit (raisins, currants and sultanas)

80g soft brown dark sugar

3 tbsp orange juice

4 tbsp brandy

2 orange, zest and juice of 1

1200ml vanilla ice cream, softened

3 tbsp espresso coffee

1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the Orange Salted Caramel Sauce

180g caster sugar

100ml water

200ml double cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp sea salt

100g butter

1 orange, zest only

For the caramelise orange slices to decorate

1 orange, sliced

2 tbsp icing sugar

Bay leaves, to decorate

  1. Oil a 1.2 litre (2pint) pudding bowl and line with plastic wrap.
  2. Place the fruit, sugar, orange juice, brandy and orange juice and zest in a saucepan and gently simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Allow to cool.  Beat the ice cream lightly and fold in the espresso and cinnamon. Spoon the mixture into the pudding bowl and freeze overnight. Allow 20 minutes for the ice cream to soften before serving.
  4. In the meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4.  To prepare the orange slices for decorating, line a baking tray with parchment, arrange the orange slices on the parchment and dust with icing sugar. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, but keep an eye on them, turning after 10 minutes. Remove once golden and cool on a rack.
  5. To make the sauce, combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over a medium heat pan.  Bring to the boil and swirl around the pan – don’t stir while it is boiling! Boil until a light amber colour – this will take about 10 minutes or so.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat, pour in the cream, be careful, it may bubble. Give it a whisk, then add the butter and sea salt as well as the orange zest. Whisk again until smooth.
  7. Cool it in the pan and pour into a jug for easy pouring. The sauce must be kept in the fridge and it will stay fresh up to 2 weeks.
  8. To serve, unmould the ice cream onto a serving platter and remove the plastic wrap. Arrange the orange slices and bay leaves on top and carefully pour over the sauce. Serve immediately.