Brid Dowling is one of the 51 kitchen-savvy pensioners who contributed recipes to the Nursing Home Bake Off publication
Kilkenny nursing home residents are flavour of the month after contributing to a new recipe book backed by celebrity chef Darina Allen.
Brid Dowling and Nancy Murphy are among the star chefs of the ‘Nursing Home Bake Off’ publication by Mowlam Healthcare, along with two other residents, Tom, 78, and Vera, all based in Archersrath Nursing Home.
The idea to gather a collection of residents’ favourite recipes was inspired by the trailblazing baking skills of a 91-year-old woman in Ennis Nursing Home, County Clare.
Ardent hurling fan and Liverpool FC supporter, Cissie Collins, bakes scones and apple cakes for fellow residents during baking demonstrations she hosts every Wednesday.
But it soon became evident that there was a large group of enthusiastic bakers throughout the countrywide group — sowing the seed of a book containing recipes from bygone days.
It led to four residents of Archersrath in Kilkenny chipping in with their own special recipes.
Former post office worker Brid, a mother-of-four, shared her Pineapple Upside Down Cake, hurling fan Nancy contributed a Victoria Sponge Cake, while former publican Tom, 78, shared his No-bake Lemon Cheesecake.
Finally, Vera, who spent much of her teenage years helping to raise her younger siblings and became a great baker, baked a Christmas Fruit Cake.
The 106-page book, which is not a commercial venture, transports readers into the heart of Irish kitchens to learn how to make simple, yet delicious, desserts.
It also tells the stories of the exceptional men and women who shared their recipes.
Top chef Darina Allen backed the venture and gifted two of her own recipes to the book.
“I am so happy to support this inspired project, especially in the year that’s in it. Many wonderful recipes and stories of traditional home baking, with skills lovingly passed from mother to child down through the generations,” she said.
“Bravo to all the inspirational residents who contributed to the Recipe Book. How brilliant is it to see them living well and keeping up their skills in nursing home care. Keep baking and carry on.”
Joe Hanrahan of Mowlam said the group was delighted to facilitate the compiling and production of ‘this beautiful book’.
“What a fitting way to mark the end of our 20th anniversary year enhancing the quality of life of older people in Ireland,” he said.
“This would not have been possible without the dedication of our Mowlam teams in all our locations, with a special mention for our activity co-ordinators and catering teams.
“This book was a way of documenting recipes from yesteryear, learning from residents as well as supporting them to fill their days with meaning and purpose.
“While it has been different for residents in nursing homes due to the pandemic and restrictions on visiting, life did go on as normal.
“We are very proud that the skills and traditions of our residents are now in print and copies of the recipe book are being distributed to all Mowlam Healthcare homes.”
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