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I'm battling star chefs for book prize, but it's not spatulas at dawn

LAST weekend, myself and my girlfriend Sofie were down at a wedding in Clonabreany House in Co Meath and we had an amazing day.

The food was really nice, we had beef wellington and tarte tatin and a cheese plate for dessert, which was something a bit different.

The couple who got married were only 26 but they have been going out for ten years so it was probably about time! Myself and Sofie are together for six years but there's no thoughts of marriage yet, we're far too young. If I was doing it, I'd probably do something more low key and just go abroad.

It was a two-day wedding but I took it easy on Sunday night as I knew I was working on Monday. I'm now on to my fourth cookbook so I've been busy all this week putting that together.



Lobsters

It's a real family cookbook with loads of family favourites and recipes and the kind of food that people really cook. I want to include things that are inspiration and a little bit different, so I'm in the process of organising a whole load of stuff for it and am busy shooting all the recipes myself.

On Wednesday, I went down to a restaurant in Howth to shoot images for their website and, in return, they gave me some delicious lobsters. I reckon bartering is totally underrated these days, it's definitely the way forward.

Then we got into the whole spirit of Halloween with a visit to a friend's house and then home to see all the trick-or-treaters. We then sat down and watched Hocus Pocus which I know is a bit of a children's movie but my girlfriend's Swedish so hadn't seen it before.

Then on Thursday, it was back working on the new book and I'm just hoping it's as well received as my last one, Kitchen Hero. It was recently nominated for the Irish Book Awards and I was delighted.

When you go into the launch, you're in there with loads of other authors from all the different categories so I was there with people like Senator David Norris and Paul Howard. I'm in the same category as chefs like Rachel Allen, Catherine Fulvio and Neven Maguire so I reckon it's a hard one to call. And no, I don't think it will be spatulas at dawn!

As a group, we're all doing similar stuff and I didn't get the sense there was any real sense of competition between us. I've still been hounding all my friends and family to vote for me though.

I'm going to chill out this weekend as my girlfriend's dying of a flu so I've been making her all these homemade broths and hot lemon drinks to try and boost up her immune system.



Fringe

Next week's going to an exciting one for me. As well as showing Kitchen Hero on RTE, they're going to start airing Junior MasterChef on BBC.

I filmed that last August with John Torode, who was brilliant craic. He kept slagging me about my fringe during filming but I reckon he's secretly jealous and just had hair envy. It was an incredibly intense show to work on -- we filmed one programme a day -- but it was totally enjoyable. The programme gets super coverage over there, the last show was BAFTA-nominated so it will be interesting to see how this one goes down.

Donal Skehan has been nominated for the Cookbook of the Year in this year's Bord Gais Energy Irish book Awards


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