Sheila Kiely's Gimme the Recipe (Mercier Press, paperback ?19.99)Anyone who has six children and runs a business with her husband must have a pretty down to earth take on feeding family and friends, and countless mums all over Ireland will relate to the daily ‘what’s for dinner mum’ dilemma, and the challenge of family gatherings and having friends in for a bite described in Sheila Kiely’s Gimme the Recipe (Mercier Press, paperback €19.99).

Like the phenomenally successful Donal Skehan, Sheila has come to mainstream publishing via the ‘foodie blogosophere’, specifically the popular blog, which this Cork-based food lover started after attending a food writing course at Ballymaloe in 2010.

How she has time to do that as well as all the things listed in her Introduction each day is a mystery, but her approach is supremely practical and down to earth and, like the blog, the book will doubtless become a trusted companion in family kitchens all over Ireland.

Most of the content will be familiar to regular cooks. But the aim was not to come up with a whole lot of original ideas but “…to pull together all my everyday recipes so I would have a stockpile of easily accessible solutions to the perennial problem of what to make for the hungry family.

Then I realised there are probably lots of people out there in the same boat as Deirdre [her running companion - yes, she runs too!] and myself, so I decided to compile my recipes into a book, with the aim of helping other busy parents who need something straightforward to cook that is healthy, filling and made from readily available ingredients.”

All that is spot-on thinking, and any possible lack of originality is not an issue. One of the golden rules given by Maeve Binchy to aspiring short story writers recently is ‘write about what you know’, and the same can be said of cookery books – this one will do well.

Creamy Chilli ChickenOne of about 15 recipes in the ‘Chicken Dinners’ chapter, this CREAMY CHILLI CHICKEN is a good example of Sheila Kieley’s practical approach: “I love the simplicity of using crème fraiche to quickly make a sauce for this zingy fresh-tasting dish. Full of crunchy vegetables that are briskly cooked, this highly nutritious, yet creamily comforting dish is quick and easy to prepare.”

Ingredients: - serves 4-5

1 tbsp olive oil
4 skinless chicken breasts
1 garlic clove
1 red chilli
1 red pepper
1 medium red onion
½ head of broccoli (approx. 200g)
Small bunch of fresh coriander
Handful of whole baby sweetcorn
1 lemon
Handful of cashew nuts
200g crème fraiche


• Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and brown the chicken on one side for 4 minutes.

• Meanwhile, peel and crush the garlic, deseed and finely chop the chilli and slice the red pepper.

• Turn the chicken breasts over and slice them lengthways into three or four strips to speed up the cooking on the second side for 2 minutes.

• Push the chicken to the sides of the pan, add the garlic, chilli and red pepper to the middle of the pan and cook for 1 minute.

• Peel, halve and finely slice the red onion.

• Chop the broccoli into florets and roughly chop the coriander.

• Add the broccoli, red onion and baby sweetcorn to the pan and cook for 2 minutes.

• Use a fine grater or a zester to zest the rind of the lemon. Add it to the pan with the juice of half the lemon.

• Add the cashew nuts and chopped coriander and mix well.

• Stir in the crème fraiche, heat through and serve with boiled baby potatoes or boiled rice.

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