Today’s recipes are ones that are easy to make and will last you a lifetime. Teaching children to cook is very much on my mind these days, as I have been delighted to be involved in the Bord Bia Zoom Cookalong – a competition for children aged eight to 14 (with a parent or guardian).

You can check out “Learn to Cook with Neven” on the Bord Bia website. When I last looked, we already had over 1,000 entries and it is running until June. That is a lot of cooks-in-the-making and I am thrilled. We will be focusing on local in-season produce and on learning what I see as an important life skill – cooking.

My mother taught me and I am so glad she did.

The honey parsnip & carrot soup is a delicious lunch. I made the porridge bread recently and I had almost forgotten how good it is. This is a recipe given to me by my friend and colleague, Orla Broderick, who has worked with me on lots of my books and TV shows. Thank you, Orla. I particularly like Killowen Farm yoghurt and for oats, you won’t ever do better than Flahavan’s.

Happy cooking,



Honey, parsnip & carrot soup. \ Photography: Claire Nash. Food styling: Janine Kennedy

Honey, parsnip & carrot soup

Serves four to six

2 large carrots

2 parsnips

2 small leeks

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 tbsp butter

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1 tsp honey

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

900ml (1 ½ pints) vegetable stock (from cubes is fine)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

porridge bread, to serve (see the following recipe)

  • 1 Peel the carrots and parsnips and cut into even-sized chunks. Trim the leeks and finely chop.
  • 2 Heat a saucepan over a medium to high heat. Add the oil and butter and swirl until the butter has melted. Tip in the leeks and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until softened.
  • 3 Add the carrots and parsnips, then season with salt and pepper and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the thyme, honey and vinegar, stirring to combine, then pour in the stock. Cover with a piece of parchment and then a lid. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook the vegetables for 20 minutes, until tender.
  • 4 Carefully remove the lid and parchment and using a hand blender blitz the soup until smooth.
  • 5 Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Ladle into bowls and serve with some porridge bread, if liked.
  • Porridge bread

    Makes two loaves

    500ml (½ litre) carton natural yoghurt

    1 large egg

    2 tbsp rapeseed oil, plus little extra to grease

    2 x 500ml (½ litre) cartons porridge oats (375g/13oz)

    2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

    1 tsp sea salt

    1 tbsp porridge oats (for sprinkling on top)

    butter, for spreading

  • 1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.
  • 2 Put the yoghurt in a bowl, scraping it all out, then rinse out the yoghurt carton.
  • 3 Make a well in the centre of the yoghurt and add the egg and oil. Stir until mixed.
  • 4 Use the carton to measure out two cartons of the oats and mix them in with the bicarbonate of soda and salt until evenly combined.
  • 5 Lightly oil 2 x 1lb loaf tins and divide the oat mixture between them.
  • 6 Sprinkle some additional porridge oats on top, if desired.
  • 7 Bake in the centre of the oven for 40-45 minutes until golden brown.
  • 8 Remove from the oven and go around the sides with a table knife to loosen out the bread and tip out on to the work surface.
  • 9 Return the loaf to the oven and put straight on the oven shelf without any tin or baking sheet for another 3-5 minutes to dry the crust out.
  • 10 Leave the cooked loaf to cool down on a wire rack and then cut into slices.
  • 11 Spread with a little butter to serve, if liked.