Westmeath GAA star John Heslin, rugby’s Robbie Henshaw and chef Neven Maguire all share their favourite recipes in Templelicious – a fundraising cookbook for An Grianán national school in Mount Temple, Co Westmeath – but the pupils who produced it are the stars of the kitchen.
Featuring over 100 recipes, the school children were involved every step of the way, from submitting their favourite recipes, choosing the title of the book, styling and photographing the food photos; and of course, the all important taste testing.
“Templelicious is so much more than just a recipe book, it’s a glance into moments the school children hold close to their hearts, while also being reflective of our community as a whole,” says food writer Nessa Robins, who was also involved in the project. “Speckled through the book are dishes we’ve tasted in the parish hall, sampled at a station mass or enjoyed in the clubhouse after a football win. The valuable bond within our families is clearly evident and intertwined between these recipes, tips and quotes.”
To order a copy of Templelicious €15, contact An Grianán national school on 090-648-1085.
Granny’s Chocolate Cake by Dara Shortall, 4th Class
This recipe comes from my granny. It was a much loved favourite of my mammy’s when she was growing up and now it’s a firm favourite of mine. My brothers and I request this cake for our birthdays, Christmas and any other family occasion.
1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas mark six. Line an 8in round tin with greaseproof paper.
2 Rub together the sugar, flour, butter and cocoa powder until they look like breadcrumbs.
3 Lightly whisk together the eggs, evaporated milk, water and vanilla essence in another bowl. Add the liquid ingredients into the breadcrumb mixture. Beat with an electric mixer until you see the mixture becoming a paler colour and looks smooth in appearance. When ingredients are fully combined, put them into your lined cake tin.
4 Cover the top of the cake tin with foil and bake it in the oven for 55 minutes. Remove the foil at this stage and turn the oven temperature down to 180°C/ fan 160°C / Gas mark 4 for the next five to10 minutes until fully cooked.
5 To check if the cake is ready, press lightly on the top of the cake and the cake should spring back. Allow cake to cool slightly in the cake tin and then transfer to a wire tray.
6 When the cake is fully cooled, cut the cake in half, through the middle, so that you have a top and bottom half.
7 Now for the fun part. Mix all of the icing ingredients together, using an electric mixer, until you have a smooth consistency. Spread some icing on the bottom half of the cake and place the top half back on top. Cover the cake completely, top and sides, with the remaining icing. Decorate as you wish. Smarties, M&M’s and Buttons are all favourites in our house.
John Heslin’s Spelt Bread
Twenty-three-year old John Heslin is one of the top scorers with the Westmeath GAA football team. John is also a farmer and has completed his agricultural science degree in UCD. He is currently doing a PhD in heifer puberty with Teagasc’s research centre at Grange, Co Meath. He shares details of his pre-match meal plans in Templelicious – and his favourite spelt bread.
“The night before a game, I’ll always have a roast dinner, something like chicken and vegetables – maybe sweet potato but no spuds. The morning of a game, I’ll have three to four eggs, bacon and spinach along with homemade spelt bread that I make myself. Even though my father has the typical farmer’s attitude and thinks I should have spuds all the time, after a game is the only time I’ll have spuds or white carbs, but, again, with meat and plenty of vegetables. After a game there is always access to some biscuits or a homemade dessert too.”
500g spelt flour
1 tsp bread soda
A pinch of salt
50g pinhead oats
1 Preheat the oven to 220°C/ fan 200°C / Gas mark seven. Grease and lightly flour a 2lb loaf tin.
2 Sieve the flour, bread soda and salt into a large bowl. Stir through the oats.
3 Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the buttermilk.
4 Either with your hands like a claw, or using a fork, mix well bringing the dough together into a ball.
5 Transfer to a floured surface, dust your hands with flour and gently shape the bread a little. Place the dough in the prepared loaf tin, and then cut a cross into it.
6 Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes. When the bread is cooked it will be risen well, golden brown in colour and will make a hollow sound when tapped.