The marketing for Father's Day gifts has really upped its game in recent years. Gone are the days when socks, cufflinks or gardening shears were the only available options for Dads around the country. Nowadays you needn't worry about what gift to get Dad, as each big store has worked out a present to suit every taste. If you are still searching for that perfect gift, one I would wholeheartedly recommend for Dads, but really for all beer and cider enthusiast alike, is an Irish published book called Sláinte. It gives the most wonderful introduced to the world of Irish craft beer and cider, and it is beautiful produced and extremely informative. As well as being the ultimate guide to choosing what beers and ciders to enjoy, Sláinte goes behind the brands and shares the stories of the hard working small brewers around the country. For anyone who has the slightest interest in craft beer or cider, then this is the ideal book for them.

The authors of Sláinte are two well-known food writers, Caroline Hennessy and Kristin Jensen. Through the book they use their expertise to include the most scrumptious recipes, each of which benefit from being cooked with either beer or cider. One of my favourite recipes from the book, which I've made countless times, is the Baked Irish Brie with Red Ale Caramel and Pecans. It's a must when having a little feast with a movie! I'm thrilled to say that one of the included recipes in Sláinte is from my own book, Apron Strings. My original recipe is a chocolate cola cake but, of course, for this version the cola is substituted with porter. However, feel free to use either cola or porter, whichever you prefer. This easy-to-make cake would make the most delicious treat for celebrating Father's Day.

Sláinte is available to buy Nationwide, in most bookstores and also directly from the publisher, New Island.

Chocolate Porter Cake with Strawberries & Cream


250g chocolate, 60% - 70% cocoa solids
150g butter
150ml porter or stout
6 eggs
175g caster sugar

To Serve
200mls cream 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1tbsp icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp cocoa powder


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/ fan 180°C/gas mark 6. Prepare a 26cm baking tin by lightly greasing the sides and placing a disk of parchment on the base.
  2. Place the chocolate, butter and porter into a medium-sized saucepan over a low heat. Stir continuously until the butter and chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth and silky. Remove from the heat.
  3. Using an electric mixer and a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together for 5-7 minutes until the mixture is light and foamy.
  4. Slowly pour in the chocolate mixture and gently fold through. Pour into the prepared tin. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes. The outside will be crisp with some moistness in the centre.
  5. Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool completely in its tin on a wire rack.
  6. Softly whip the cream and then gently fold in the vanilla extract and icing sugar.
  7. Once the cake is cold, remove from the tin and place onto a serving plate. The cake may collapse in the centre or crack a little, so simply smother over the vanilla whipped cream and top with plenty of berries. Before serving dust with a little icing sugar and cocoa powder.


In other news

My latest 'Home Nurse' column, is in this week's Irish Country Living {Farmers Journal}. I'm discussing hayfever.
Also, in this month's Easy Parenting my column and recipes are focused on family-friendly summer dishes. It's in shops now.
Apron Strings is available to buy in shops nationwide, but it is currently for sale for €15 from New Island

Have a great weekend.

Nessa x