Food & Drink

Thursday 10 July 2014

Cookery book icing on the cake for jobless plasterer

Claire Gorman

Published 06/01/2014|02:30

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A FORMER plasterer who lost his business in the recession has turned his life around by penning a cookery book.

Paul Callaghan, who is from Armagh but now lives in Clarecastle, Co Clare, battled with depression after his company folded in 2008.

See Claire Gorman story

January 6, 2014
Paul Callaghan, former plasterer who penned a cookery book

A plasterer who lost his business in the recession has turned his life around by penning a cookery book.

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Paul Callaghan (34) battled with depression after his firm folded in 2008, but then found comfort in food. He turned his back on a diet of breakfast rolls and began growing his own produce.

He changed his life by adapting a healthy lifestyle after borrowing books on gardening from his local library.

His debut cookery book, 'Calso Cooks: Real Food Made Easy', hits the country's shelves today.

"In the years leading up to the recession I had a very successful plastering business," he said. "I had my brother and a few guys working for me and had to turn down work on a weekly basis because demand was so high.

"But in 2008 the phone literally stopped ringing overnight and eight months later the work had ended. I had to make the difficult decision to wind up my business. I moved to Co Clare for a fresh start but I was swamped with debts."

Struggling to cope after losing his livelihood, Paul, who is originally from Armagh but now lives in Clarecastle, slipped into depression.

"I tried to set up a handyman business but discovered that people just didn't have the money to be getting odd jobs done. As a result of that, I got into a lot of debt and fell into depression. I was in a very dark place for about 18 months -- the bills and debt letters were mounting."

Paul then found a reason to get up in the mornings when he began growing his own food. "The house I had moved into had a good-sized garden, so I decided to start growing my own. I'd always watched the likes of 'River Cottage'.

"I went to the local library and for €5 a year I was able to get books out to teach myself how to grow my own."

He added that it "really brought out a brighter side in me and it became a reason to get out of bed in the mornings.

"I found I'd a huge passion for cooking and created my blog, 'Sustainable Larder', where I share tips and info about growing your own and the recipes that come from it". Paul now sells his cakes to customers throughout the country.

Irish Independent

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