Food files: Five minutes with Catherine Fulvio
The TV chef, cookbook author and proprietor at Ballyknocken House & Cookery School is passionate about the ingredients she uses and her motto is 'eat well, be well'.
The three ingredients I couldn't live without
Good quality chocolate at 70pc, Italian coffee and more recently, pumpkin oil. I am absolutely in love with pumpkin oil - it's a speciality oil from Austria and the star of the future… just a couple of drops drizzled over salad, it's delicious.
My tips for cooking Italian
Use the best quality ingredients you can lay your hands on, especially when it comes to tomatoes - think seasonal and build layers of flavour by using herbs and really nice extra virgin olive oil.
My favourite autumnal dinner recipe
A Roast Breast of Duck with Spiced Plums - it's a great recipe for friends as everyone loves duck and with an abundance of plums in our garden at this time of the year, it is a great way of using up the surplus.
The mistakes Irish people make when cooking Italian
It is surprisingly an acquired skill. The most common mistakes I come across are overcooked pasta - it's important that pasta is always cooked al dente - and adding oil to the water of anything other than egg pasta. It's also really important that the sauce is cooked into the pasta.
Why pasta being unhealthy is a misconception
If we were going to "eat like Italians" we would have a smaller portion of pasta followed by a healthy main course (eg fish). Also, the vast majority of Italian pasta sauces are vegetable-based.
See catherine fulvio.com for Catherine's recipes and follow her on Twitter, @cfulvio
This month we're...
If you're trying to avoid snacks laden with refined sugar, gluten or chemicals, Joanne Davey's Absolute Nutrition range is the delicious alternative. The mum-of-four started her business a year ago after finding herself unable to find 'clean' treats. Now her Paleo and protein nibbles, including chocolate protein fudge bars and nut roast brownies, are stocked in speciality and SuperValu stores as well as cafés.
October is the month of cheese and to mark this there are over 200 farmhouse cheese events around the country. Farmers' markets and farm shops, restaurants and pubs will all be encouraging cheese-lovers to try the wide range available. You can also book a free farm visit to see how cheese is made. See discoverfarmhousecheese.ie
Galway is the location for Ireland's biggest baking festival taking place October 17-18. The two-day event in Leisureland includes demonstrations, classes and workshops. The theme this year is Irish Baking. Odlums' Catherine Leydon and Natasha Czopor of Natasha's Raw & Living Foods will be in situ. Adult day tickets cost €5 or a weekend pass costs €8. See bakefestgalway.com
Bring an eclectic, boho element to your kitchen with this vintage-style set of tea/sugar/coffee tins from Marks & Spencer's new autumn/winter homeware range. If you're tiring of Scandi-influenced minimalism, this is the perfect colour pop antidote. €17 for a set of three tins.