Often vegetables are a last-minute addition to a meal, but with a little imagination they can be a main course in their own right. Photograph: Thinkstock

Take inspiration from around the world – you can even create a Sunday roast

The ability to cook for oneself and one’s family is the single most enduring skill that every school-leaver should have mastered confidently before heading off to college or into the job market. Photograph: Thinkstock

In a world of distractions, cooking helps us to engage fully with the world

Katie Sanderson and Aisling Rogerson at the Fumbally Cafe in Dublin 8. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

People have made lacto-fermented drinks for centuries, because they knew of the enormous good these drinks can do for our intesti(...)

Stewed courgettes with basil, a dish from April Bloomfield’s new recipe book.

April Bloomfield is obsessive about the tiny aspects of cooking that turn everyday meals into joy on a plate

Claire Davey, of America Village Apothecary Company, with a bottle of her tonic syrup, which makes the best gin and tonic ever.

Having the full kaleidoscope of tastes in our diet is important, and the resurgence of bitter is good for our health

There is a factory in the UK producing 10 tons of chicken tikka a day.Photograph: Thinkstock

Joanna Blythman’s new book, “Swallow This”, is packed with insights that make for salutary reading

Making carbonara is difficult. Because there is little or nothing to it, the potential for failure is huge. Photograph: Thinkstock

The way to a child’s stomach is not culinary osmosis; it’s through explaining and teaching, says John McKenna

Derval O’Rourke: Without the right lifestyle of eating well and sleeping well she knew she was going to keep coming in in seventh place.  Photograph: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Think about the food you’re eating a little more, while you wait for your Road to Damascus moment

A sign at the Spanish Arch in Galway city urging people not to feed the swans.

White bread – or, rather, ‘water standing up’ – can kill swans. So should we be eating it?

The White Hag stand at the Irish Craft Beer and Cider Festival in the RDS

Ireland is getting crafty as it rethinks its attitude to drinking, from quantity to quality and local culture

When you sat down at the table in that lovely restaurant, did you check your messages or switch off?  Photograph: Thinkstock

When it comes to cooking and eating, you need to switch your brain off to get all the benefits

Organically produced foods offer us more antioxidants which, it can be argued, are of key importance for our health

If you get lucky with the rod and catch some mackerel, gut, wash and rinse them in seawater before bringing them home. Photograph: Thinkstcok

Swimming in the ocean is akin to immersing ourselves in a bath of the fundamental elements of our universe

Sarah Roarty of N17 Brewery in Tuam, Co Galway. Photograph: Fotissima

Sarah Roarty’s brewing philosophy blends sustainability with opportunity

Asylum seekers queue for their meals in a direct provision facility. Photograph: Frank Miller

Not allowing asylum seekers to cook their natural ethnic foods is cruel and degrading

Dietary guidelines from industry professionals and university nutritionists emphasise the fact that people should eat ‘real food’. Photograph: Getty Images

Trust your granny when it comes to advice on healthy eating for you and your family

Factory farmed cows and chickens: ‘The intensification of animal farming has virtually destroyed the nutritional quality of our food,’ says Prof Michael Crawford, of London’s Institute of Brain Chemistry and Nutrition.  Photographs: Getty Images

Factory farming is based on cost – the animals do not count, and nor do the people in or near the factories

People have had life-altering experiences with food during the crucial teenage years

Worth more than a hill of beans: bean video makes us ask ourselves if we have been showing enough respect to the most humble things that we grow. Photograph: Getty Images

A video and an article about beans in ‘The New Yorker’ entitled ‘The intelligent plant’ made my mind boggle

You can eat and drink what you like over the Christmas period, so long as you exercise every day. A walk, run or a cycle will cancel out all the extra indulgence. Photograph: Getty Images

Don’t abandon the gym or walking circuit and you can truly enjoy the little luxuries of the festive season


Pleasant kitchen smells can contribute as much to our happiness as the hearty meal it heralds

Irish cows are grass-fed which means their beef is as lean as a skinless chicken breast. Photograph: Joanne Murphy

After a half-century of listening to nutritional advice that made us fatter, it’s time to reassess our attitude to red meat

Are you eating a rainbow of colours to make your tummy happy and your head healthy? Photograph: Getty Images

We need to garden our health, our food, our gut. Think colour, variety, texture, seasonality, taste and fun

Even the simple ritual of setting a table enables us to taste food better and focus more on taste. Photograph: Getty Images

Make your dining experience, wherever you are, a beautiful one with a nicely set table, candles and gleaming glasses

A new book helps you take food out of the cellophane-clad chill cabinet and straight into your garden – and onto your barbecue

The link between cooking and mindfulness was brought into focus by the work of sushi master Yoshimi Hayakawa of Wa cafe

We need to get mighty and moral when it comes to processed foods

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