This book is dedicated to my mum Shelagh and my dad Tim.

You are both the best.


With tonnes of love,




Title page





What’s Wow Now!



Spiced Parsnip and Carrot Soup

Turkey and Smoky Bacon Salad

Chicken with Parma Ham, Mozzarella and Roast Leeks

Apple and Pecan Crumble Pie

Roasted Red Pepper, Carrot and Feta Dip

Pork Chops with Apples and Mustard Mash


Sirloin Steak with Chilli Butter and Roasted Baby Potatoes



Pasta Amatriciana

Chorizo, Bean and Cabbage Stew

Dark Chocolate and Orange Cookies

Baked Apples

Spicy Chicken Thighs with Cannellini Beans

Herb-Crusted Cod with Pepper Ratatouille and Rosemary Chips

Lucinda’s Lemon Drizzle Cake

Tomato and Chilli Soup with Crunchy Croutons



Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Butterscotch Bananas with Vanilla Ice Cream

Classic Tagliatelle Ragù

Chicken Balti

My Favourite Carrot Cake

Mango Lassi

Creamy Mushroom Crostini

Lemony Chicken and Chilli Pasta



Easy Kofta Curry

MaltEaster Rocky Road

Lamb Chops with Mint Sauce and Roast Vegetable Couscous

Warm Chocolate Fudge Sundae with Honeycomb

Sweet and Spicy Stir-Fry Chicken with Fluffy Rice

Healthy Fruit and Oat Snack Bars

Thai Green Curry

Rhubarb Fool with Almond Biscuits



Sirloin Steak Salad with Asian Greens

Mum’s Epic Chocolate Mousse

Roast Asparagus in Parma Ham

Lemon Crunch

Chicken and Broccoli Gratin

Fish Goujons with Quick Tartare Sauce and Minty Pea Purée


Lemon and Garlic Lamb Chops with Peanut Pesto and Chilli Potato Salad



Roast Asparagus and Tomatoes with Baked Potatoes

Caramel, Peach and Almond Cake

Strawberry Shortbread Stacks

Chicken Noodle Stir-fry with Peanut Sauce

Roast Stuffed Mushrooms with Cherry Tomatoes

Plaice Parcels with Parsley Butter, and Avocado and Tomato Salad

Roast Salmon Salad with Broad Beans, Peppers and Avocado

Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes



Classic Carbonara

Cherry Clafoutis

Best-Ever Steak Sandwich

Meringue Nests with Raspberry Cream Filling

Crispy Caramelised Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Coriander Rice

Quick Banoffee Pie

Lamb Burgers with Tomato and Coriander Raita

Raspberry Smoothies



Crunchy BLT Salad

Italian Tomato and Bread Salad

Lemony Plum Cake

Baked Lamb with Tomatoes and Aubergine

Sticky, Tangy Chicken Wings

Almond Baked Peaches with White Chocolate Sauce

Homemade Thin-Crust Pizzas

Blueberry Crumble Cakes



Dad’s Chinese Beef

Grilled Pineapple with Lemon and Vanilla Mascarpone

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin wrapped in Parma Ham with Buttered Leeks

Asian Mango Salad

Chicken Laksa

Sausage, Mushroom and Tomato Pasta


Grilled Courgette and Feta Salad



Grandpa’s Famous Fish Cakes

Hazelnut Swirl Cookies

Chicken, Leek and Butter Bean Soup

Oaty Blackberry and Apple Crumble

Spicy Hummus with Pitta

Curried Lamb with Coriander and Sweet Potato Mash

Wholegrain Mustard Salmon with Pea Couscous

Crêpes with Orange Butter Sauce



Beef and Thyme Cobbler

Banana Bread

Chicken Tikka Masala with Garlic and Coriander Naans

Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce and Toasted Hazelnuts

Baked Eggs with Parma Ham and Cheese

Spanish Tapas of Paprika Chicken, Patatas Bravas and Chorizo in Red Wine

Pasta with Butternut Squash, Sage and Smoky Bacon

Easy-Peasy Sticky Toffee Pudding



Sausages and Lentils with Baby Leaf Salad and Honey Mustard Dressing

Cranberry and Coconut Florentines

Christmassy Red Velvet Cupcakes

Pan-Fried Fillet Steak with Spinach and Potato Gratin

Throw-it-all-in Frittata

Jessie’s Gooey Hot Choc Pud

Honey-Roasted Duck with Creamy Parsnips and Gravy

Guard’s Pudding




About the Author

About Gill & Macmillan



Hello! I’m Sophie, owner of Irish food company Kooky Dough. Before starting Kooky Dough with my business partner Graham in 2009, I had no experience of working in the food industry at all, but it had been my dream for a long time to have a food business.


My interest in food began as a young girl, watching my mum buzz about frantically in the kitchen. It amazed me every time, after all her fretting, she would produce incredibly beautiful food. I guess she just didn’t know how good a cook she was. I wanted to be like her – minus the frantic part, of course. So I started to cook a lot during college when I moved out of home. I became obsessed with trying new things and I loved cooking for friends. My eagerness to learn more led me to the Ballymaloe Cookery School in 2008. I adored the experience and it was then that I started to really think about having my own food business one day.


Of course, I have to admit that I chickened out completely when I moved back to Dublin! I took a financial services job based on my college qualifications. I knew I’d done the wrong thing as soon as I started, but it was 2008 – a scary time to be looking for a job in Ireland. Despite this (and despite numerous people telling me I was crazy), I quit the job quite quickly to pursue a career in food. Before long, Graham and I were standing behind a fold-up table in the farmers’ market in Stillorgan selling rolls of cookie dough that we’d made in my tiny mixer at home. And the rest, as they say, is history...


We’re incredibly fortunate that Kooky Dough has gone so well for us so far and although it’s extremely hard work running a young business, it’s still very exciting and full of surprises! One thing I’ve always been adamant about throughout all the crazy, long working days we’ve had, is to eat well every night and to keep cooking from scratch. I really do believe it’s the key to staying on top of a hectic life! Not only does cooking help me unwind in the evening time, it keeps me healthy and I’m also positive it keeps my concentration and energy levels up.


I have a lot of friends who work crazy hours and have lives just as hectic as mine, but they’re at a loss in the evenings as to what to cook. They want something that won’t take too long or too much effort, so they end up having things like beans on toast – not very inspiring five days a week… This is how I got the idea for the book. I wanted to write down all the things that I manage to cook during my manic week; things that aren’t too tiring or complicated. With some very basic store cupboard essentials and a weekly fresh food shop, you’ll be laughing!


The book is broken into chapters by month, so dip into the book at whatever month you’re in and you’ll find lots of ideas for what to cook. Of course, feel free to break the rules and try any recipe that takes your fancy whatever the time of year. And the most important thing is to have fun cooking!


I hope you all enjoy the recipes as much as I do.



Sophie x





Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t throw in a load of recipes for yummy baked goodies and desserts. Life would be no fun if we didn’t treat ourselves!





After all the indulgence at Christmas, soup can be a welcome relief. This particular soup can make a wonderful meal to calm the tummy after too much turkey and all the trimmings. It’s also a great way to use up leftover winter vegetables, so feel free to experiment! Serves 4–6



1 leek, finely sliced

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 large parsnips, scrubbed and cubed

2 large carrots, scrubbed and cubed

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon plain flour

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock, simmering

100 ml milk or cream (optional)



1 Melt a knob of butter in a large saucepan and add the leek, garlic, parsnips and carrots. Season and stir well. Cover and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes, until soft.


2 Stir in the flour and curry powder and gradually incorporate the stock, stirring all the time. Simmer uncovered for 10–15 minutes, until the vegetables are fully cooked.


3 Purée with a hand blender until completely smooth. Add the milk or cream, if using. Gently heat through and season to taste. To serve, ladle into warmed bowls.



My family cooks such a huge turkey at Christmas that we often have leftovers a week later. This salad is great for those days when you don’t feel like spending a lot of time cooking and you want something quick and easy. It’s a great way to use up turkey leftovers, but it also works really well with cooked chicken. Serves 4


balsamic vinegar (minimum 1 cup, but you can use more to make a larger quantity of syrup)

olive oil

6 slices smoky bacon, cut into thin strips

2 red onions, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces

a handful of pine nuts (optional)

a few handfuls of cooked turkey or chicken, cut into thin strips

4 handfuls of rocket or other nice salad leaves

Parmesan shavings (optional)



1 Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan. Simmer over a low heat, until it has reduced by half. It should be thick and syrupy, but be careful not to reduce it too much. You can make a big batch of syrup, as it will keep well in a bottle or jam jar in the fridge. It will last a few months and can be really handy for drizzling over salads or grilled meats.


2 Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the bacon strips. When they’re crisp and golden, remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the onions and pine nuts to the bacon fat in the pan. Fry for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until the onions are caramelised. Add the turkey to the pan and toss around to warm through. Put the bacon back into the pan and mix well.


3 Pour everything from the pan into a large mixing bowl, add the rocket and toss well to combine. Divide the salad onto serving plates, giving each portion a generous drizzle of balsamic syrup. You can use a potato peeler to make Parmesan shavings to put on top of the salad. Serve immediately.



This is a really nice way to liven up some chicken breasts with minimal effort. The leeks are a great accompaniment and can be used in lots of other meals.


I find this dish filling enough just as it is, but when I’m feeling in need of some carbs, I serve it with steamed baby potatoes and butter. Serves 4


For the leeks

4 leeks, washed, trimmed and sliced into 1 cm rounds

1 teaspoon thyme leaves, fresh or dried

½ glass white wine (optional)


salt and freshly ground pepper


4 chicken breasts

4 slices Parma ham

4 slices mozzarella (preferably buffalo)



1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Put the leeks in an ovenproof dish and scatter the thyme leaves on top. Pour in the wine, if using. Dot a few knobs of butter over the leeks and season. Cover the dish with tin foil and bake for 25–30 minutes, until the leeks are soft and tender.


2 As soon as the leeks are in the oven, you can prepare the chicken for roasting. Wrap each chicken breast with a slice of Parma ham and arrange in another ovenproof dish. Once the leeks have had about 5 minutes in the oven, place the chicken breasts in the oven also.


3 Roast the chicken breasts for 15 minutes, then take them out of the oven and top each breast with a slice of mozzarella. Return the chicken to the oven for a further 7 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the mozzarella is nicely melted.


4 To serve, arrange each chicken breast on a warmed plate with a nice helping of soft leeks.



I love the comfort of pies and crumbles during the winter months and they can be so simple to make. When time is limited, ready-made pastry offers a great shortcut. The pecan crumble topping in this pie is a nice twist on tradition. The pie keeps for 4–5 days, so it can be enjoyed after dinner throughout the week. Serves 8


500 g ready-made shortcrust pastry, thawed if frozen

6 eating apples, preferably Golden delicious

85 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

85 g butter, cold, plus extra for greasing

170 g brown or granulated sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

85 g pecan nuts, roughly chopped



1 Preheat the oven to l80°C/350°F/gas 4.


2 Roll out the pastry to 5 mm thickness on a lightly floured board and use it to line a buttered 25.5 cm (10 inch) tart tin with removable base. Prick the pastry with a fork. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill to the top with baking beans or dried pulses. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven. Carefully remove the beans and greaseproof paper. Brush the pastry case with some beaten egg and return it to the oven to bake for a further 5 minutes, until golden.


3 Meanwhile, peel and chop the apples into 2 cm cubes. For the crumble, simply place the flour, butter, sugar and cinnamon in a food processor and blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs. Then add the pecans and blitz again, until they are quite finely chopped but still have a few chunky pieces left.


4 Fill the baked pastry shell with the apples and sprinkle the crumble over the top, ensuring the apples are completely covered. Increase the oven temperature to 190°C/375°F/gas 5 and bake the pie for 35–40 minutes, until the topping is golden and the apple feels soft when a skewer is inserted.


5 Serve warm or cold with cream or vanilla ice cream.



This is a favourite amongst my friends and is often requested when I’m having them over for chats and nibbles. This recipe makes quite a large batch and any leftovers will last in the fridge for about a week, which is great for snacks – although it’s so addictive it never lasts that long in my fridge!


It’s yummy with toasted pitta bread, crackers, carrot sticks or red pepper strips.


3 red peppers, whole

5 carrots, scrubbed and left whole

200 g feta, cubed

50–100 ml olive oil, plus more for roasting the vegetables

salt and freshly ground pepper



1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Rub the red peppers and carrots lightly with olive oil and place them in an ovenproof dish. Roast for 30–45 minutes, until the carrots are tender when pierced with a knife and the skins of the peppers are blackened.


2 Put the peppers in a bowl, cover the bowl with cling film and leave them to cool. The steam in the bowl will help to make the peppers easier to peel. After 15 minutes, carefully peel the skin off the peppers using your fingers. Ensure that you do not rinse the peppers or discard any of the lovely juices that have formed at the bottom of the bowl – this will add great flavour to the dip. Remove the stalks, cores and seeds from the peppers.


3 Roughly chop the carrots and tip them into a food processor along with the peppers, their juices, and the feta. Turn on the processor and, while everything is blending, slowly pour in the olive oil. Check the mixture as you go – and stop adding the olive oil when you’re happy with the consistency. Season to taste. If you feel the dip is too thick, you can always add more olive oil.


4 Serve in a nice big bowl, alongside carrot sticks, pitta bread or anything else that takes your fancy. Best served chilled.



This dish is a really simple way of serving pork and apples, a classic combination! I like mustard mash with the chops but you can make whatever potatoes you like as an accompaniment. Serves 4


For the mash

1.2 kg floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper, peeled and halved

50 g butter

50 ml milk

2–3 tablespoons wholegrain mustard, according to your liking


4–6 pork chops, depending on their size and how hungry you are

salt and freshly ground black pepper

olive oil

2–4 eating apples, each cut into 10 slices




1 Place the potatoes in a large saucepan with just enough cold water to cover them. Add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Boil for 15–20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and easily broken with a fork. Drain them in a colander and leave for 2–3 minutes, until the steam has evaporated. (Always drain potatoes really well or you’ll end up with watery mash.) Put the drained potatoes back into the dry saucepan and mash thoroughly with a potato masher. The harder you work the mash, the fluffier it will become! Once the lumps are gone, add the butter and mash again. Add the milk and mustard, stirring until combined. Season to taste.


2 While the potatoes are boiling, prepare the pork chops. Lay them on a chopping board and make shallow cuts at 1 cm intervals along the fat side of the chops. This will ensure they crisp up nicely when cooked. Season both sides of each chop.


3 Heat a few lugs of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Cook the chops for 3 minutes on each side, until golden. Remove the chops from the pan and set aside. Add the apple slices and a knob of butter to the pan and fry for 2–3 minutes, until golden. Return the chops to the pan and cook them with the apples, turning them once, for another 2–3 minutes, until fully cooked.


4 To serve, place a chop (or two) on each plate, pour over the golden apples and their juices, and add a portion of mustard mash to the side.



My mum taught me how to bake when I was very young – and it was one of my favourite things to do in the afternoon after school. Flapjacks are a great intro to the world of baking because they’re so simple. They were among the first things I learned to make; and I continue to make them because I just can’t resist their buttery, oaty crunchiness with a huge mug of tea for added comfort!


Flapjacks provide a nice bit of sweetness after dinner and they’re also good to snack on during the day. They will last well in a biscuit tin for about 5 days. Makes 12–16 flapjacks


250 g butter, plus extra for greasing

120 g Demerara or dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons honey

500 g porridge oats

1 teaspoon salt



1 Preheat the oven to l80°C/350°F/gas 4. Grease a 27 ½ cm x 18 cm (11 inch x 7 inch) shallow baking tin.


2 Melt the butter, sugar and honey in a saucepan over a medium heat. Pour the melted ingredients into a large mixing bowl and add the oats and salt. Mix until fully combined.


3 Spoon the mixture evenly into the baking tin, smoothing the surface with the back of the spoon. Bake for 20 minutes, until nicely golden.


4 Cut into squares straight away and then leave to cool in the tin. Serve warm or cold with a huge mug of tea.



There’s nothing better than a good steak – and they can be so quick to prepare. I love flavoured butters to smear onto grilled meat before serving; and this chilli butter is especially good on steak. Serves 4


For the chilli butter

75 g butter

½ teaspoons chilli powder

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard


1 kg new baby potatoes, halved

olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 x 200 g sirloin steaks (about 2 cm thick), removed from the fridge 15 minutes before cooking



1 Beat the butter, chilli powder and mustard in a bowl, until smooth. Form the butter into a log shape, wrap in cling film and refrigerate until ready to use. Flavoured butter will keep in the fridge for a few weeks and it’s a handy thing to have.


2 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Cook the potatoes in a large pan of boiling salted water for 5–7 minutes. Drain in a colander and allow them to dry completely. Place the dry potatoes in a roasting dish. Pour in a lug of olive oil and shake the pan to coat the potatoes evenly. (Don’t use too much oil or the potatoes won’t crisp well in the oven.) Season and place in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are brown and crisp at the edges.