I've had a rather busy couple of weeks. I had a few cookery demonstrations, some book signings, a couple of talks and generally lots of Apron Strings-related business to keep me on my toes. Tomorrow I'm heading to Dublin for Bloom, in the park. The boys and I are looking forward to getting a few gardening tips while nibbling on some goodies from the always impressive food village.

Today I'd like to share with you a recipe from the book, that would make for a decadent yet simple dessert. It's one that both young and old enjoy in my house. If you are planning on partaking in a little entertaining over the bank holiday weekend, or maybe you would just like to treat yourself to something nice. Well then, this dessert is for you.

225g raspberries, fresh or frozen
100g caster sugar
150ml whipped cream
75ml Greek yogurt
4 meringue nests
150g raspberries, chopped, plus a few for decorating
Mint leaves, optional

1. Place the raspberries out flat on a large dish. Evenly sprinkle over the caster sugar. Leave for an hour, or until the sugar has been well absorbed by the raspberries.
2. Place the raspberry and sugar mixture into a liquidiser or blender and purée until smooth. Pass the puréed raspberries through a sieve to remove the seeds.
3. In a bowl, combine the cream with the Greek yogurt and gently fold in the raspberry purée.
4. Crumble the meringues into the raspberry cream and add the chopped raspberries. Gently fold all the ingredients together.
5. Spoon into 4 individual glasses, and either serve straight away or refrigerate for a
couple of hours. Before serving, decorate with some raspberries and a sprig of mint.

Apron Strings is filtering into shops and should be available nationwide within the next few days. Already I've received some really lovely feedback and to my absolute delight Mr. John McKenna gave Apron Strings the most beautiful review imaginable. Have a little read of it here - {http://www.guides.ie/megabites/book-review-apron-stings-john-mckenna}

To celebrate the release of the book my eleven year old son, Jack, has made a very nice new site, to give an idea of what the book is all about. While my husband shot and edited a short promotional video. Check it out here - ApronStrings.ie

Book Giveaway
Since we are in the mood for celebrating, I'd like to offer three readers of the blog the opportunity to win a copy each of Apron Strings. All you have to do, to be in with a chance of winning, is leave a comment in the box below. All names will be put in the hat and the winner will be picked at random on Tuesday the 4th of June 2013.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS: you must be a resident of Ireland (north or south); you must be over 18; no cash alternative is possible, the competition will close at 6pm on Tuesday 4th JuneAll entered names will be put in the hat and the winners will be picked at random and will be contacted via email {please ensure that I'll be able to contact you}. I will post the winners' names in the next blog post.

Best of luck and have a great weekend!

I could barely contain my excitement as the postman handed me a parcel with a “New Island” sticker on the front. Within was my book, that for many months I had greatly anticipated holding in my hands.  I know many of the recipes by heart, I had spent long hours carefully taking and picking photographs to include, and the content is all so familiar to me, yet on unwrapping the brown paper before me was something so new.  A shiver went down my spine as I flicked through the pages, inhaling that distinctive new book smell, seeing for the first time all my recipes, writing and photos together in book form.  It has finally happened; my book “Apron Strings” is published. The feeling of accomplishment and excitement is unbelievable. On Thursday evening last we celebrated the book’s launch in Dún Na Sí, Moate.  A wonderful evening with family and friends was enjoyed. I’d truly like to thank anyone who called by and helped to make the evening so special. If you do buy the book I hope you enjoy reading and cooking your way through it.

Photo courtesy of John Murphy

Photo courtesy of Fiona Egan

Photo courtesy of Fiona Egan 

My eldest boy, Jack, also recorded a short video of the launch. Have a look!

BOOKLAUNCH from Nessa Robins on Vimeo.

Apron Strings - Recipes from a Family Kitchen is now available to buy in book stores nationwide. If you would like it to be delivered to your doorstep, with free postage & packaging, you can order directly from New Island's website for €22.99.

My love affair with crisps started at a very young age. Out of the many childhood goodie cravings I may have possessed, crisps were always superior to any other possible treat. My Dad too was a keen crisp fan, as well as being partial to an odd glass of Guinness in his local at the weekend. Never would he return home without two packets of crisps, one in each jacket pocket; one for me and one for my mother, who was never too fond of the pub scene. Some nights the thoughts of diving into a bag of fresh crisps would keep me awake well past my bedtime. I'd carefully listen for the sound of car tyres crunching against the gravel. Then, knowing that my dad would have turned the corner of the house, I would sneak to the back door. Without fail I would be met by an over-exaggerated shocked Dad, who would of course be expecting me yet would like me to believe that I had frightened the life out of him. As the kettle would boil, for my father's night-time cuppa, I'd enjoy my bag of crisps, while he would divulge almost word for word all of the conversations that took place in the pub bar that evening. Sometimes the whistle from the kettle would draw my mother from her bedroom, to join us for a cup of tea and a nibble of a few crisps. This was the routine for many Saturday nights for many years. It can sometimes be the simplest of situations where we find our happiest of memories, and Saturday night's tea and crisps, with my parents, at the kitchen table is one of mine. I think my love of crisps will always stand the test of time. Every now and again I will have a bag of crisps with my own night-time cup of tea. I think those flavours together will always conjure up very strong and special memories for me.

When there is much focus on how our food is produced it is ever important to choose with care what we place in our supermarket trolley. While I don't find it too difficult to refrain from including biscuits and chocolates in the weekly shop, crisps are a different kettle of fish. I do however like to choose the somewhat "healthier" option; ones that are free from additives and as naturally produced as possible. For any regular blog readers you will be well aware that I am a huge fan of the Irish-made crisps, Keogh's. As well as having high quality delicious products, their potatoes are grown and the crisps are cooked on the family farm. This week they are introducing a new variety to the market, Keogh’s Irish Atlantic Sea Salt Crisps. Keogh's decided to use Irish Atlantic Sea Salt in their new flavour crisps as it is in keeping with the strong tradition Keogh’s have for producing only the best Irish produce, using locally sourced fresh ingredients. O’Neill’s Irish Atlantic Sea Salt are the only producers in Ireland to harvest gourmet, dried sea salt that is extracted directly from the Irish Atlantic Sea, and now using just a pinch of sea salt these new crisps from Keogh’s are actually the only lightly salted crisp product made in Ireland. They are also gluten-free which is another wonderful addition. 
Keogh’s Irish Atlantic Sea Salt Crisps are available in Superquinn and Dunnes Stores nationwide, as well as select independent food retailers. For more information about Keogh’s hand cooked crisps visit: www.keoghs.ie or find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/keoghsfarm.

Just a reminder that my launch for "Apron Strings" will be taking place at 6pm, Thursday, 16th May in Dún na Sí, Moate, Co. Westmeath. If you are about, pop by. All are welcome. There may even be some crisps there. 

Just like a child on Christmas week I am giddy and bubbling with excitement. As I type this post, my book Apron Strings is being printed and bound and very soon it will be making its way to bookshops nationwide. To celebrate the release of my new book I'm proud to announce that the official launch will be held in my home-town of Moate, Co. Westmeath, on Thursday the 16th of May, from 6-8pm. The venue is a mere stone's throw away from my home, in the very beautiful heritage centre Dun na Si.

As for the special guests of the evening, the choice for me was easy. I've received much advice and support from my fellow food bloggers. A great resource for any of us bloggers is the Irish Food Bloggers Association. The two ladies who had the initiative to set up this organisation are Kristin Jensen and Caroline Hennessy. They are both wonderfully supportive to the IFBA members and are always on hand when advice on blog posts, recipes, photos and even grammar is needed. Apart from all of these attributes both Kristin and Caroline have become good friends of mine, over the past few years,  so I was over-joyed when they both agreed to travel to Moate to launch my book.

On the evening, cheese and wine will be served as well as a few cakes, the recipes of which are featured in the book. I'd like to extent an open invite to anyone who would like to come and celebrate the evening with me. I have a tendency to go overboard with baked goods, for any event, so you are all more than welcome to come along, relax and enjoy some cake. The official publication date for Apron Strings is May 22nd, but advanced copies of the book will be available to buy at the launch. There may even be little goodie bags to accompany any copies bought on the evening. I hope to see you there!