‘We cook, we freeze, we deliver, all you have to do is reheat’

Handmade frozen meals with a difference, Brother Hubbard does vegan and Ireland’s top eateries

Moroccan chickpea and lentil from Kayla’s Kitchen ready meal delivery service

Moroccan chickpea and lentil from Kayla’s Kitchen ready meal delivery service

 

“We cook, we freeze, we deliver, all you have to do is reheat.” Kayla’s Kitchen, based in Ballycullen, Dublin 24, offers a wide range of meals made from scratch with seasonal, local ingredients, blast-frozen and ready to heat and eat.

Emmett Harten has been the carer for his nine-year-old daughter Kayla, who suffers from the neuro-developmental disorder Rett syndrome, for the past six years. During that time, he developed a variety of what he describes as “varied and stimulating” meals for Kayla, working with nutritionists and dieticians at The National Children’s Hospital in Tallaght.

The dishes and side dishes proved popular with family and friends, as well as Kayla and her younger sister Jamie, and Harten now has more than 60 regular customers ordering from his menu of family favourites, along with vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Kayla’s Kitchen penne Bolognese
Kayla’s Kitchen penne Bolognese
Thai yellow chicken curry from Kayla’s Kitchen ready meal delivery service
Thai yellow chicken curry from Kayla’s Kitchen ready meal delivery service

Kayla’s Kitchen meals are cooked by Harten at a commercial kitchen he renovated himself (he formerly worked in construction). “We are doing two dishes a day, three days a week, between 100 and 150 portions of each dish.” The finished dishes are blast frozen and stored in a walk-in freezer.

The meals are made with Wicklow lamb and beef, free-range chicken and pork, and “spice blends and pastes by hand in our own kitchen, using fresh herbs and spices”.

Beef Bourguignon from Kayla’s Kitchen ready meal delivery service
Beef Bourguignon from Kayla’s Kitchen ready meal delivery service

No shortcuts are taken, and the recipes are ones Harten has developed himself, such as his chilli beef, made with “minced beef from Doyle’s of Bray and premium coffee grinds. We slow cook them together for hours to let them develop into a deep beefy, slightly chocolatey stew, then we add organic kidney beans to make a proper meal of it”.

Many meals can be ordered in small (suitable for a child), medium (for two children, or an adult with a smaller appetite), and large (for an adult with a healthy appetite, or two smaller adult portions). Most meals are in the €4.75/€5.95/€6.95 price range, for a large portion. Orders can be made online and gift coupons are available. The minimum order is €20.

Delivery in the Dublin area costs €5.50, with nationwide courier delivery available for €10.95. Nationwide deliveries are transported in a thermal box, guaranteed to keep the meals frozen for 36 hours. See kaylaskitchen.ie.

Georgina Campbell's book chooses the top Irish places to eat, drink and stay
Georgina Campbell's book chooses the top Irish places to eat, drink and stay

The Best of the Best is a new, personal selection of Georgina Campbell’s top places to eat, drink and stay on the island of Ireland. There is a huge variety of experiences to choose from, from luxurious to quirky. “We have endeavoured to pick the very best of their type,” Campbell says. It is in bookshops now and available online from Ireland-guide.com (€20).

Delicious food that just happens to be vegan has come to amount for more than half of the dinner menu on offer at Brother Hubbard North, on Capel Street in Dublin 1.

“We realised early last year that there was huge demand for vegan food when two of our vegan evenings sold out within hours of their launch,” says Brother Hubbard’s Garrett Fitzgerald.

Garrett Fitzgerald (right) and James Boland, co-owners of the Brother Hubbard cafes
Garrett Fitzgerald (right) and James Boland, co-owners of the Brother Hubbard cafes

“Such was the demand, early last year we made our dinner menu over 50 per cent vegan. It has been a very significant success for us as we set about trying to be a great choice for people to dine together, whether you are vegan or meat-eating (or somewhere in-between).

“We are finding more and more customers are choosing vegan dishes even if they are not vegan. We present the menu in a not very overt way whereby people choose, not by being pigeon-holed, but rather simply because something sounds appealing.”

Vegan is the theme for the venue’s next Supper Club, which takes place on February 27th at 7pm. Tickets for “Back with a Vegance”, a five-course vegan feast with a welcome drink, are on sale at Eventbrite (€37.95).

“We will be seating people at big long-tables in our lovely new space on Capel Street,” says Fitzgerald of the recently expanded premises which migrated from its opening site into the adjacent former Gary Rhodes restaurant.

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