This week for Wonky Meets, I caught up with Sinéad Delahunty, who has learned many life lessons on the football field. Most importantly, she has mastered how to fuel her body healthily. Now, she shares her recipes that are bursting with
flavour and nutritional value to keep you ready for whatever life may throw at you. It was a pleasure to sit down with her and if you haven’t already checked out her cookbook ORDER TODAY from Easons!
Congratulations on your cookbook, it’s super! Tell us, how did you get into healthy eating and recipe creation?
Launching a cookbook is possibly the most exciting and terrifying thing that I have ever done but I am just thrilled with the final result and can’t wait to see people cooking from it. As a sportsperson and health professional, I work as a team every day within the hospital or on the GAA field. With blogging, it’s very much an individual pursuit and requires lots of self-confidence and motivation. The community of Delalicious followers are my team and I am so grateful for their constant support, encouragement and love of my food creations.
Growing up as a farmers daughter in rural Tipperary, I was always outside exploring nature, playing sport or else helping my Mam tend to our fruit, veg and hens or cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Eating meals made from scratch using real food is all I know and all I think anyone should know.
For as long as I can remember, I have been cooking and creating in the kitchen. One of my earliest memories is packing a little lunchbox of homegrown vine tomatoes and heading off down the farm to help my Dad. In primary school, I even sold chocolate chip cookies in third class for a few weeks until I finally realised the profit margins didn’t add up.
As I developed as a Gaelic footballer, the importance of a healthy diet really become evident for me. Whilst studying and working as a Physiotherapist, I gained an insight into the importance of how you nourish and move your body. It wasn’t until my older brother, Eoin, encouraged or more so pestered me constantly to start sharing my kitchen creations with the world did I even think of starting a blog. February 2015 was when I first posted and it has been quite a rollercoaster since.
Where do you get inspiration for your recipes?
Inspiration comes from everywhere really. I’m always interested in what others are eating so I constantly spy on my work colleagues lunchboxes or housemates dinners. I particularly love the weekend newspaper supplements and literally devour the cookery sections, saving cutouts in a big folder for later experimentation. Eating out is a real passion of mine when I can afford the luxury and I love to recreate and twist ideas for future blog recipes. Sometimes I’m even in work or out exploring the great outdoors and an idea will just come to me. The seasons and colour are two other major areas that always inspire me to integrate into my recipes and push my creativity.
What is your best advice for someone trying to eat better to increase their performance in sport?
Before even looking at your diet, I would review your hydration and sleep. Both have huge influences on your preparation, recovery and concentration for sport.
Regarding food for sport, I believe it really is simple – eat real food and create a balanced varied plate of carbohydrates, fat, protein and vegetables. The Athlete Plate devised by a team of American dieticians is a really useful visual aid. I regularly use this as a guide for portion sizes of each food group depending on my activity levels for each day.
Who do you admire most in the Irish food industry?
The Irish food industry has always been incredible but has really exploded over the last five years. I admire lots of people for lots of different reasons but in particular the following:
Farming – Kylie Magner of Magner’s Farm. Kylie tends to pasture-raised laying hens on a small farm not far from my home in Fethard, Co. Tipperary. She epitomises all that is good about country life and is extremely passionate about the land, soil, welfare of animals, environment and everything that farming should be.
Cooking – growing up Darina Allen was a bit of an icon since my Mam was a big fan and regaled me numerous times of her cookery demonstrations in Ballymaloe. Jess Murphy of Kai Café in Galway always wows me with her creative use of ingredients and empowerment for female culinary creatives.
Creativity – if you haven’t tasted the magic of Scéal Bakery sourdough bread then you have to put it on your list! The care and attention for each handcrafted loaf is unmistaken with each mouthful of bread. Not only do they care about the crafting of each loaf but also the flour and ingredients that they use.
What’s your go-to easy midweek meal?
A frittata! All you need are eggs and whatever meat or vegetables you have lying around in the fridge. I often just combine tinned fish with some Feta cheese for a super easy meal in minutes. You will also more than likely have some leftovers for lunch the next day!
What plans do you have for the future of Delalicious?
Delalicious and food is a true passion for me! I plan on always staying true to me and my beliefs on how food should be enjoyed, explored and discovered by tasting, trialling and sharing with others through my weekly real food creations on the blog.
I would love to extend my ability to teach the importance of cooking and understanding where food comes from by starting food confidence courses in schools, clubs and organisations. I am self-trained and believe food doesn’t need to be exclusive or elitist. It’s just needs practice, patience and perseverance!
5 quick-fire questions at the end for a little bit of fun!
What is your coffee order?
Awful boring, a polite no as I don’t like coffee or tea!
If you were a fruit or vegetable what would you be?
A homegrown apple – the taste and flavour just can’t be beaten.
What is the one thing you can’t live without?
Nature – I get a bit antsy if I can’t get out and explore. Every day on my way to and from work, I drive through the Phoenix Park specifically for my fill of nature!
Who is your biggest inspiration?
My family. In each way they have all forged and continue to forge incredible careers through individual passion.
Where is your favourite place on earth?
The view from my bedroom window at home in Fethard.
Keep up with Sinéad over on her buzzing social media channels, she’s always running around doing something exciting and cooking up a storm! Instagram: @delaliciousfood Twitter: @delaliciousfoo Facebook: @delaliciousfood
Keep an eye out for the next instalment of Wonky Meets in 2 weeks time!