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Celebrity Diary: Rachel Allen

I'M really excited about cooking at the Taste of Dublin in the Iveagh Gardens.

I think it's my fourth year doing the festival and it's something I really look forward to and enjoy doing because it's such a celebration of the best of Irish food. It's something to be very proud of.

I've spent a lot of this week deciding what I'm going to cook there tomorrow. I've decided on two summery dishes; one is a sort of Asian noodle dish with crabmeat and the other will be a strawberry dessert.

Both dishes are cooked on-site in real time, so it's great that people are able to come and see exactly how things are prepared. One of my favourite things about the weekend is that I get to meet a lot of the people who watch my programmes and buy my books. It's really lovely and important for me to be able to do that and to get all important feedback from my fans.

I started out this week by running 9km of the Cork Marathon on Monday for Down Syndrome Ireland. It was so much fun and I was thrilled with how it went. I'm definitely going to do more running and longer distance races, but I don't think I'll ever do a full marathon.

On Thursday, I was back working in the Ballymaloe cookery school and then I went to watch my son's football match.

I've had a pretty hectic few months, going back and forth to London to film the series Market Kitchen, but I only had to go once this week on Wednesday.

I always try to make it over and back on the same day if I can because of the three children, so it's very important that I can get home to them. It can be a bit of a crazy juggling act at times, sometimes all of my balls stay in the air and sometimes they all fall, but my husband Isaac and family are very good and we manage quite well.

We have a new au pair joining us next week so it's always great to have an extra set of hands to help out.

It can be very tiring flying to London so regularly but it's actually amazing how many people do it and I always recognise the same people on my flights. I'm so glad there are direct flights from Cork because I just could not do it otherwise.

I love doing Market Kitchen. We had Gwyneth Paltrow on recently and I'm happy to say I didn't get star-struck. She was so down-to-earth and friendly, completely normal. The show worked out great and she was so lovely.

If I could pick any celebrity that I would love to cook with in the future, I would have to pick Bono. I'm a huge fan and although I've seen him a few times drinking in my parents' pub in Dalkey, I've never met him. But I'd say appearing on a cookery show is the last thing on his mind.

The programme is about to go through some big changes in the autumn. The details haven't been confirmed yet but there are plans to take it out on the road and tour Britain.


Obviously I wouldn't be able to do that but I'll still be involved with the show and do bits and pieces from the studio.

I start filming my own new series about food for entertaining next week, which means I'll just be finished at the same time my two boys Luka and Joshua get their summer holidays.

I pretty much try to take the whole time off once they get their school holidays. We have no big plans for the summer yet but we'll hopefully go to Cornwall to visit some friends. I have a bigger business trip to the US planned and we'll try to incorporate a holiday over there as well.

Two of my cookery series are currently being broadcast over there and I'm going over for a few meetings, so it's very exciting.

I'm very surprised by the whole thing because I never intended to try and crack that market, but I love going over there.

I'm in Birmingham next week for the BBC Summer Show, so I've another busy week coming up.

I'm planning to scale things back a bit over the next year because my daughter Scarlett will be going to playschool in about 18 months, so I want to enjoy as much time with her as possible. I'm going to take a bit more time with my next book in order to do that.

For me it's all about getting the balance right, like any working mum.

I'm a Libra so I like things to be very well balanced, there has to be time for everything and I get very unsettled if that doesn't happen.

I'm not going to say it's easy because sometimes it's mad but, thankfully, other times it's calmer, so I don't have any complaints.

Taste Of Dublin runs until Sunday -- 12-4pm and 5.30pm to 9.30pm