Posted on: 15 August 2014 No comments

Such is the love and obsession with all things edible for today’s festival goers, that the Electric Picnic have had a whole tent dedicated to gastronomy for the last four years now. The perfectly titled “Theatre of Food” is a gathering of some of Ireland’s finest chefs, bakers, brewers and food and drink writers as they roll out a smorgasbord of cookery demos, heated discussions and serve up some excellent grub. One of this year’s highlights, is the renowned Michelin starred chef Kevin Thornton who will be hosting a demo on Ethiopian cuisine with special ingredients he just recently brought back from there.


But it aint just the food that Kevin is into, far from it. He is a very keen photographer and will actually be showing some of his work at the festival this year. As with many a chef, kicking back watching movies are a great way for him to unwind, his favourites being Tatie Danielle, Repo Man and Pulp Fiction. Quite an eclectic mix! But when it comes to music, it looks like he’s got a solid ear for the classics. His Top 3 acts are David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and Lou Reed. Who could possibly argue with those choices? And he doesn’t just listen to them at home. He cites Lou Reed at The National Stadium as one of his all time best gigs ever and it was at Slane Castle getting down to The Rolling Stones where he had his worst ever bit of festival food, a brutal excuse of a burger. The love of live music has trickled down to his offspring as it’s not just Kevin who will be in front of a mic at Electric Picnic in a couple of weeks, his son is playing there with his band VOXX.

It would obviously be a missed opportunity for Booking The Cooks not to feature a recipe from someone who is not just an actual cook, but one of the best in the country. So seeing as many of you will be hitting Stradbally very soon to indulge and go a little crazy, Kevin shares with us a very healthy meal that you can prepare before the festival that will keep for a good day or so. Balance after all, is not just for flavour in your meals, but in life too!


250g/9oz couscous

150ml/¼ pint hot mint tea (fresh mint leaves – infused for 10 minutes)

2 tbsp olive oil

250g/9oz green beans (trimmed, blanched and chopped)

2 fresh tomatoes (seeds removed and roughly chopped)

1 clove garlic (crushed)

1 lemon (juice only)

1 lime (zest only – finely chopped

2 tbsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley

Handful of Californian raisins

Handful of dried cranberries

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Place the couscous into a heatproof bowl, pour over the hot tea and olive oil and cover with cling film. Leave to stand for three to five minutes until the liquid is absorbed.  Add the beans, tomatoes, raisins, cranberries, lemon juice, lime zest, crushed garlic and parsley to the couscous. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir well.You can add crumbled feta cheese and/or baked sweet potato to add some extra healthy protein or carbs.

Theatre of Food runs at Electric Picnic all weekend. See you there!


Posted on: 21 July 2014 No comments

“They go on about Michelin stars

They can go and stick them up their arse

Forget Michelin squire, if you want a spare tyre

Try a coddle an’ a few bleedin’ jars”


Coddle, a rasher and sausage stew beloved of Dubs since time immemorial. Such is the devotion that The Hairy Bowsies have to this humble local dish, they’ve written a song about it. If you are not already familiar with this comedy duo’s outstanding musical repertoire and fervent nationalist beliefs, then you should make a date to see them at the upcoming Vodafone Comedy Festival. Set amongst the picturesque, grassy knolls of The Iveagh Gardens this is a place that the lads reckon should be used for other activities when it’s not filled with festivals, “I believe it is an Irish man’s right and duty to lug a crate of cider out to any of the former British pleasure gardens and reclaim what is rightfully ours.”

We should point out that it is great to see that The Hairy Bowsies will be back on stage again soon. For they were so depressed when their ballad “Spit on the Brits” didn’t get accepted to represent Ireland in the Eurovision, it didn’t look they could ever face the public again. But as band member Scribbler O’Donohoe explains, “while the song itself was very popular with the people, it was prohibited as a condition in the Good Friday Agreement.”  They took one for the team. Bowsies and Gents.

And while they still have an impassioned hatred against our former rulers, it wouldn’t be fair to say that they are equally vitriolic about its people. For instance, when they speak of their favourite Irish food dish, Coddle, they refer to it as, “the Oliver Reed of the food world.” To add greater depth to that statement, vocalist Ding Dong Denny O’Reilly also told me, “We would be a lot better off in Dublin today if we got rid of all this modern microwave rubbish and best before dates – a Coddle was best before it got cold and best after twenty five pints.” Just make sure you don’t put any carrots into your Coddle for as the Hairy Bowsies would advise, “anything orange doesn’t belong in a truly Irish dish.”

8 oz rashers
1lb Irish pork sausages
1 cup chicken stock
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into thick slices
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley


Start off by cutting the rashers into strips. Bring the stock up to the boil in a medium saucepan. Drop in the sausages and the bacon and let them simmer for 5 minutes so that they can cook and flavour the stock.

Remove the sausages and bacon with a slotted spoon and keep the liquid. Cut each sausage into four or five chunks. Lash in the spuds, onions, sausages and bacon into the pot.

Cover and simmer gently for about an hour. Add the parsley and some black pepper and serve in a bowl.

The Hairy Bowsies will be performing at The Vodafone Comedy Festival next week.

Little J’s Slow Cooked Ribs

Posted on: 30 May 2014 No comments

In decades past, parents would have perhaps taught their young daughters how to darn socks and bake scones. The highest degree of skill sharing that a mother would bestow upon her female child, would have been to reveal the secrets to her beef stew. Thanks be to God those days are over! To prove that point, say hello to Little J. The 12 year old DJ sensation whose father taught her everything he knew. Last year she played a blinding set at Body & Soul at her parent’s festival tent, MyHouse. And the good news is, her whole family are back to rock it all out again in Ballinlough this June.


Inspiration for her DJ sets comes from listening to the Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show on BBC Radio 6. When it comes to her favourite killer tracks to get hips shaking, she says, “I think my best floor fillers are “Highgrade” by Gentlemen’s Dub Club and “Devil in Disguise” by Elvis Presley.” Surely she must be gigging at school events and birthday parties? “I haven’t played at many because most of my friends aren’t into the same music as me and prefer more mainstream songs.” She’s just way ahead of the pack. Much respect.

Little J’s favourite food dish is slow cooked pork ribs and her folks have given us details on how to make them perfectly! As a special treat for all those attending Body & Soul this year, we’ve got a wee collaboration going on with Burger Republic.  They’re going to be selling Little J’s Slow Cooked Pork Ribs on Saturday at their revved up Airstream Van in the walled garden. These carnivorous delights will be on sale for just €10, while stocks last! Once you’ve wolfed them down, pop down to MyHouse to dance them off. Big shout out to Little J and her mammy and daddy. The family that djs and eats ribs together, stays together!


2 Whole racks of Babyback Pork Ribs
1 teacup of your favourite sweet& spicy BBQ sauce
For the dry spice mix: Combine the following together
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon mild chilli powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons of salt


Rub enough spice mix on the ribs so that they’re well covered.

Wrap them with a few layers of cellophane. Get it as airtight as you can.
Don’t be alarmed by this, but you now have to throw the ribs into your oven with the
cellophane still on but at an 80 degree heat. Don’t be scared. The
cellophane will not melt!

Leave the ribs in the oven for as long as you can. Feel free to lash
them in the oven before you go to bed and take them out 8 hours later, but definitely leave them in for a minimum of 6 hours.

After you’ve done that, remove the cellophane. Drain off any fat and
stick it into the sauce. Let the ribs sit for a while and then baste
them with the sauce. You can grill them on your barbie or just stick
them under your grill in the kitchen. Give them another basting with
the sauce if you can before you finish grilling them.

Little J is djing at MyHouse throughout the weekend at Body & Soul, Summer Solstice. This piece is also available to read in today’s issue of The Irish Times.


15 August 2014


21 July 2014


30 May 2014

Little J’s Slow Cooked Ribs

25 April 2014

Jason & Brenda Byrne’s Veggie Chilli

21 March 2014

Omar’s Jamaican Stew Chicken

21 February 2014