Lifestyle Health

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Harpist on song with hearty fare

Nancy Previs

A love of cooking means this Celtic Woman performer is at home in the kitchen and she believes in spending that little bit extra on quality ingredients, fresh from the farmer’s market or local butcher, to keep her in tune

7.45am

I put on my tracksuit and runners and take a brisk 60-minute walk. I find walking is the perfect way to keep fit for my singing and is something I like to do.

Afterwards, I drink a pint of warm water mixed with the juice of half a freshly squeezed organic lemon.

9am

I eat an organic scrambled egg and stewed apples, cinnamon and organic natural yogurt while flicking through a magazine and listening to the radio. After, I check my emails.

9.45am

Time to begin my daily singing exercises with the tape that my late teacher Evelyn Dowling made.

10.15am

I move to the music room where I practise my harp. Although Celtic Woman is off tour at the moment I am still busy each day with singing and practice.

I cannot tolerate tea of any sort but I drink numerous mugs of warm water with slices of fresh root ginger. Over the next two hours I drink more of my ginger tea.

12.15pm

I go out to the garden where I do a bit of work. I grow herbs to use in cooking and love my rosemary and thyme with homemade honey-roasted carrots. Two hours quickly pass before I go in and get some lunch.

2.15pm

Today I make a toasted sandwich using Monk's Head cheese, a dash of Worcester sauce and white bread. I eat an apple and have a glass of warm water.

After lunch I do some work before I begin to prepare tonight's dinner. I follow the old-fashioned beef stew recipe in the Avoca cookbook using round steak, onions, carrots, celery, tinned tomatoes and a little Worcester sauce.

I probably eat too much red meat but I love Irish beef.

I love to cook and when I'm not on tour I prepare a nice meal each night for my husband John and me.

If I'm touring, my diet is different and what keeps me going is hummus, cheese and avocado toasted sandwiches!

When I cook, I regularly consult my Avoca and Rachel Allen cookbooks and I always try to use ingredients that are in season, buying most of my vegetables and cheeses from a local farmer's market, and sourcing my meat from a butcher's here in Carlow.

I think it's important to spend money on quality ingredients because I do believe we are what we eat.

7.30pm

When John arrives home we sit down to eat the stew with some mashed potatoes on the side and enjoy a couple of glasses of lovely red wine.

8.30pm

We each have another glass of red wine while watching a bit of television.

10.30pm

I go to bed and read for about an hour before turning out the light.

Orla Fallon is a member of Celtic Woman, who recently released their CD and DVD The Greatest Journey: Essential Collection

> FAVE MEAL

Striploin roast cooked rare, caramelised onions, potatoes roasted in duck fat and a glass of red wine, then Bleu D’Auvergne on Duchy oat biscuits

> LOVES

Irish beef, cheese, homegrown apples stewed with cinnamon and yogurt, vegetables seasoned with herbs

> DISLIKES

Ready-meals, tea, butter on bread, lamb

How does Orla’s diet rate?

Orla starts the day off with a brisk walk. Walking is a great form of exercise and an hour a day is ideal for keeping fit.

Breakfast is a very healthy meal of scrambled eggs and stewed apples with natural yogurt. Eggs are a good source of protein, vitamin D, A and B2 as well as the mineral iodine.

Eggs do contain cholesterol and high cholesterol levels in our blood increases our risk of heart disease, but the cholesterol we get from our food — and this includes eggs — has less effect on the amount of cholesterol in our blood than the amount of saturated fat we eat. So, if you are eating a balanced diet you only need to watch your egg intake if you have been told to do so by your GP or dietitian.

Stewed apples are a great way to reach your five a day — all fresh, frozen, tinned, dried or juiced fruit and veg count towards your daily intake.

For lunch Orla has a toasted cheese sandwich. It would be good to have this on wholemeal bread. She also has an apple with the meal.

For dinner, Orla has a beef stew that she has bulked up with plenty of vegetables. Meat is a good source of protein and vitamins and minerals, such as iron, selenium, zinc, and B vitamins. It is one of the main sources of vitamin B12, which is only found in foods from animals, such as meat and milk.

If you are watching your fat intake, it is a good idea to opt for lean cuts and trim any excess fat off. When cooking, grill meat rather than frying and try not to add extra fat or oil when cooking meat.

Like Orla, you could also try using smaller quantities of meat and more vegetables, pulses and starchy foods. Orla loves cooking and enjoys her food. Overall she makes very healthy choices.

Dr Patricia Heavey, consultant nutritionist, Wilson Hartnell Public Relations

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