Clodagh McKenna on Wonder Foods, Eating Well and Entertaining Tips

The Irish food writer and chef talks to PENNY McCORMICK about entertaining and eating healthily


Remaining healthy is all about organisation. I’m a huge advocate of planning ahead and being in control of what you are going to eat. I’ll sit down with a cup of tea and plan my shopping for the week.

As I am surrounded by food all the time, it’s often a struggle to retain my weight or not bloat. How I feel is linked with my weight and how much I enjoy my time off. For instance, I was filming last week with John Torode and Lisa Falkner – I made eight different dishes in the studio in one day. To counteract this sort of excess I have some routines. I start the day with a hot water and a slice of ginger and lemon and last thing at night I’ll have a spoonful of cider vinegar.

I also eat a lot of raw celery and cucumber. Both are the new wonder foods and are good diuretics too. I try to eat fish three or four times a week – smoked salmon, crab, mackerel and prawn linguini. If I’m travelling I’ll often order room service and then deconstruct the menu – such as a Caesar salad – without the dressing and croutons, substituting smoked salmon for chicken.


I entertain a lot and get excited by it every time. The key is to plan ahead. I’ll set the table the night before and particularly enjoy picking flowers from my garden and creating a tablescape. This summer table is dressed with a soft, blush pink, washed linen cloth. Along the table I have single stems of peonies or tulips, which look so delicate and pretty. When it comes to the end of the summer and heritage tomatoes are available at farmers’ markets, I also love to use those for decorating the table. The different colours and varieties of tomatoes look so beautiful. Larger flat shells can also be used as butter, salt and salsa dishes.

As for the menu, I definitely recommend cooking ahead – that way flavours develop and also you’re not caught up in a last-minute stress. The new Unislim Delicious cookbook has fun, tasty and easy-to-make recipes, which I love. I endorse their holistic and balanced approach to living a healthier lifestyle, while still enjoying delicious food.

The Delicious cookbook is available now online and at Unislim classes nationwide. €12.99.

Penny McCormick

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