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Ella's lucky dinner guests get to pig out

RTE star Ella McSweeney gave her Christmas dinner guests a special surprise.

The Ear To The Ground presenter (32), who famously reared and killed her own pigs earlier this year, is still getting use out of her leftovers.

And family and friends who attended dinner in her Blackrock home got a taste of her very hands-on approach to cooking. Ella served a special pancetta dish made from the belly of her pigs.

"It's so easy and it's so gorgeous. You just use a dry cure pancetta, put it in the fridge, hang it for three weeks, and then you have a beautiful pancetta."

The broadcaster's star is on the rise in Montrose as she has been unveiled as the stand-in host for Damien O'Reilly on RTE Radio One's Countrywide programme.

Although she is no stranger to the airwaves, having hosted a series of shows over the years, she says she is thrilled to get back to her radio roots.


"I did a series on the Pat Kenny Show over the last few months, it went really well and I'm so pleased with the response.

"I'll be travelling all around Ireland and recording with farmers and discuss their food traditions.

"Radio is what I love and I'm so thrilled to be doing Countrywide."

The eco-friendly presenter predicts next year will see an increase in farming and more people opting for a more organic diet.

"I think 2011 is going to be the year of food and farming in Ireland.

"The reality is that it's the one sector that's still going really well. The projections in terms of export are really positive."

She is even in the process of setting up a new website, www.yourfieldmyfork.com, to cater to the growing demand.

"At the moment, I'm setting up a website connecting members of the general public with farmers around Ireland to sell directly to them.

"There are loads of people everywhere, even around Dublin, asking for contact information."