An old favourite: McDonnell’s Good Food cookbooks and Sausage Plait


Food writer, broadcaster and author Caroline Hennessy has been focused on food and writing since editing Ireland’s first food website for RTÉ in 2000. Chair of the Irish Food Writers’ Guild, she established the award-winning Bibliocook: All About Food in 2005, is the author of two books about beer and food and has a column in the Irish Examiner in which she writes about small food producers and the ways in which they develop and maintain a sustainable local food system.

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106 Responses

  1. auds says:

    “I learned how to make choux pastry from the step-by-step photographs when I was about eleven and subsequently became famed for my Chocolate Éclairs.”Me too!They are fantastic. my mother won’t part with her originals, but the best of went on sale a few years ago and she has several copies to pass on when she feels like it.The Brown one is the best. By the time the 4th (the green one) Daly seems to have ran out of the staple recipes and turned to low fat foreign cooking.The thing about her is that every bakery item is perfect, regardless who makes them.

  2. Caroline says:

    Hi Auds – it’s great to hear from someone that actually remembers using these books! You’re right – the first brown one was the best. After looking out for my own copy for years, I was thrilled to come across both the first and second books in a local second-hand shop, complete with loads of handwritten notes and bookmarks which are recipes torn out of newspapers and magazines. My mum’s copy was so food stained and dog-eared that she eventually threw it away a few years ago, once I’d sourced her a replacement. But, as a result of learning cooking from these books, both myself and my 16-year-old little sister are much more comfortable with imperial rather than metric measurements…

  3. auds says:

    Me too, I’m always dividing recipes by 25/30 to get an idea of how many oz I’m using.Her pastry is flawless as is things like pavlova, victoria sponges and Hedgehog cakes – they are still my height of cake decorating. That and the swiss roll you could make in to a train.I remember once liking recipes (from the red one, I think) like fishfingers in bought soup – they were under the quick family tea section. My father brought them up recently while talking about the things we forced him to eat. They were his least favourite.That and a spectularly burnt batch of oatmeal biscuits that my sister said were “golden”!

  4. Caroline says:

    Ugg…those fish fingers sound awful – I can well understand your father not being impressed with that dinner! I think Paula must have run out of ideas as time went on but all of her best recipes are definitely in the first brown book. There’s lots of them that are totally seventies throwbacks, though, aren’t there? When was the last time you were offered Steak Diane? I think that was one of the first Sunday lunches that I cooked my parents – god bless my mother’s nerves!

  5. Marie says:

    Hi there,My mum is a big baker and was devastated to lose her Stork cookery book! It was a book she had in school and has been unable to source one anywhere at this stage.She loves making all sorts of cakes like coffee, chocolate and cheesecakes. Would it be possible at all to have a look through your books to look for a recipe for buttercream in the Paula Daly Stork books please?She has tried a number of other receipes but it just come out the same. Thanks!

  6. Caroline says:

    Sorry Marie – didn’t realise that you had left this comment until now. I’ll definitely take a look for that recipe.[Updated 22 Aug, 2007] Marie, would this be the recipe that you are looking for? It’s under Vanilla Icing in the first cookbookVanilla IcingMargarine – 75g (3oz)Icing sugar – 225g (8oz), sievedMilk – 2-3 tablespoonsVanilla extract – ½ teaspoonPlace all the ingredients in a bowl and beat well until smooth.

  7. Sally says:

    I also fondly remember Paula Daly’s cookbooks. Mine got burnt in a fire several years ago and I would love to have the recipe for the pizza with the scone mix as the base. It was a particular favourite of my children also if anyone knows where I could buy some of these books I would be very grateful

    • Marguerite Egan says:

      Sally, I stumbled upon your comment and I think I have the recipe you are looking for.
      Cheesy Pizzas
      Scone base
      1 oz./25g Outline ( not sure this is still available on the market)
      4 oz. /100g self-raising flour
      1/2 level teaspoon baking powder
      1/2 level teaspoon salt
      a pinch of mixed herbs
      1 standard egg
      i tablespoon skimmed milk
      1/2 oz. outline
      1 small onion, chopped
      4oz /100g mushrooms, wiped, trimmed and sliced
      1x 8 ox/225g tomatoes
      3 ox/75g Edam cheese, grated
      Salt & Pepper
      i level teaspoon oregano
      4 anchovies , halved
      1 oz/25g black olives, halved and stoned

      Oven Temp: Gas mark 6-400 degrees F or 200 degrees C
      Shelf second from top ( using Fan 180C any shelf)
      1.Place all ingredients for scone base in mixing bowl and mix well forming a soft dough
      2.Knead lightly on a floured surface, divide into 4 and with floured fingers for 4 x 5 inch/13cm rounds
      3.Melt the outline (!), gently fry the onion for 5 mins. Add mushroom and cook for a further 3 mins.
      4.Stir in the tomato, cheese and seasoning. Divide between the scone bases and decorate with anchovies and halved olives.
      5.Bake in pre heated oven for 20 mins .

      I have all 4 books and the Christmas leaflet if you would like any other recipes . Its easier to scan and email .

  8. Elizabeth Kavanagh says:

    I have just found this site after ‘Googling@ Paula’s name. Is their anyone out there in Ireland that has one of the Stork receipe leaflets that used to come out at Christmas, that contains the receipe for her chocolate cake containing ‘Golden Syrup and , l think, ground almonds. It was gorgeous. I have searched high and low, with no success to find my, by now, dog eared copy, and rue the day l never made a copy of it, or scanned it into my computer. I would be eternaly greatful and will pay postage or any costs incured. I think it must be at least 15 to 18 years a go it was printed.Many Thanks,Elizabeth Kavanagh,Waterford.

  9. Lillian says:

    Please help, I have lost my favorite recipe for Mc Donnells All-In-One Rich Sweet Pastry and was hoping to make my mince pies to share with my friends .

  10. Teresa Hanahoe says:

    I am trying to get a copy of Paula Daly’s christmas cake recepie from the early 1980’s. The recepie was for her all-in-one light christmas cake. The instructions were broken down to bake the cakes in three different sizes it is a great recepie. I have misplaced my copy of the Stork/McDonnell/Paula Daly booklet. It was free in the shop when you bought Stork marg. The front cover had a white cake with a red ribbon around it and a plastic santa on the top. I would really appreciate a copy of the recepie. I will gladly pay for copying and postage. Thanks Hana 1

  11. brian says:

    i am trying to find an old cookbook from the 80’s mcdonnells as far as i remember

  12. Christina says:

    Hello everyoneNot sure if anyone will be reading this, as the last post was some time ago. I had two Stork Christmas recipe leaflets of Paula Daly’s – I was living in Ireland in the 80s and have used the recipes ever since. I moved recently and can’t find the leaflets! My daughter and I intended to make the mincemeat, Christmas cake and pudding – and of course the recipe for shortcrust pastry was the best. Does anyone know where I may be able to track down the recipes – I’ve searched online but with no luck. It’s interesting to read above that Paula Daly produced cookbooks, but of course they are not on (I live in Canada now) nor help would be appreciated – those recipes are the best I have ever used for Christmas baking.

    • Marguerite Egan says:

      I have all 4 books and 1 of the 2 Christmas leaflets . Please send me your email and I can can the recipes to you it is easier than typing out in this comment section.

      • Kathleen says:

        Hi Marguerite I am wondering if you could take a photo of each page in each book and send to me I would be more than happy to pay your for this. I only have one of the books #2 and would love to have all the other recipes and make my own cookbook out of it. Do you think this would be something you would be interested in? Please let me know my email address is I am in Canada but maybe you could email me and we could work something out?

        Thank you so much for your time


      • Kathleen Jenkins says:

        Hi Marguerite I am wondering if you could take a photo of each page in each book and send to me I would be more than happy to pay your for this. I only have one of the books #2 and would love to have all the other recipes and make my own cookbook out of it. Do you think this would be something you would be interested in? Please let me know my email address is I am in Canada but maybe you could email me and we could work something out?

        Thank you so much for your time


  13. Christina says:

    A quick ps to my previous post. If I find the recipe leaflets (strange they were not with my other cookbooks) I will be happy to copy them out for everyone who has been searching for them.

  14. Caroline says:

    I am so sorry – my own copies got temporarily mislaid so it’s only now that I’m able to get looking for these! I’m going to do up a proper post with all the recipes I can find in it.@Elizabeth, Teresa and Christina – I don’t have the Christmas booklets but I’m going to go on a big search this weekend in my mother’s piles of old cookbooks and hopefully something will turn up. Fingers crossed!

  15. Linda Cheetham says:

    Hi, Please does anyone have a recipe for a McDonnell’s All in one Method for a Harvest Fruit Loaf.

  16. Peggy Dell says:

    I’m looking for this recipe tooooo

  17. mary mac nally says:

    I am desperately looking for the sweet pastry for my mince pies please help if you can.thanks, Mary

    • Ro says:

      All In One Rich Sweet Pastry

      8 oz/225g plain flour
      2 oz/50g icing sugar
      5 oz/150g Stork Margarine at room temp
      Beaten Together
      1 egg yolk
      1 tablespoon ice cold water
      1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

      To Make Pastry
      1. Sieve flour and icing sugar together
      2. Place half the flour mixture in a bowl together with the Stork and beaten egg mixture.
      3. Cream with a fork until well mixed
      4. Add the remaining flour and mix to a firm dough
      5. Knead lightly until smooth. Place in polythene bag or wrap in cling film and leave in refrigerator for 1 hour.

      • Caroline says:

        You’re a star!

      • edel says:

        oh …. i was all ready to make mince pies, an annual job here,when i took down my stork leaflet that iv been using for over 20 years,,,,,i discovered the pasry page is missing……
        oh what to do…….
        thatks for posting this… back to baking now…….

        • Caroline says:

          Nothing worse than losing a much-loved and well-used recipe. Happy baking and a big thanks to Ro for posting the pastry one above.

  18. Patricia Lysaght says:

    Harvest Fruit Loaf (I’ve been baking it for 38 years. Got the Stork recipe from my mother)4ozs Stork marg. (room temp.)4ozs Caster Sugar2 large Eggs8ozs Self Raising flour1 level teaspn mixed spice (I sometimes add ginger also)1oz cherries10ozs Mixed dried fruitquarter pt milk less 3 tablespoons.Place all ingredients in mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until well mixed (2 – 3 mins.). Place in loaf tin lined with baking parchment. Bake at Gas 3 for 40 – 50 mins (until a wooden skewar comes out clean when inserted into cake). Leave in tin for 10 mins. Turn out and cool. Enjoy!

  19. SusanMcDonnell says:

    Bought the book on Maarktplaats (Dutch ebay) because of the name McDonnell!….also happens to be my family name!

  20. Sinead says:

    I am looking to buy all four of the McDonnell’s Good Food Cook Book’s. Does anyone know where I can try in Ireland? All I have is the Dundee cake receipe from one of the books (its very nice for a Christmas cake!) I have tried the usual, Ebay, Amazon etc but no joy… Does anyone know the authors name?
    Any help is much appriciated!!

  21. Ro says:

    Hi All, like many others it seems, I came to this site after a search online for Paul Dalys/Mc Donnells Good Food Cook Books. I had the first book, the brown one, when doing Home Economics in school, and thanks to my mum who kept it, I still have it. I also have a full Christmas Leaflet and a partial photo copy of another Christmas Leaflet. The contents of the Full Leaflet are:

    Stork Christmas Cake
    White Christmas Cake
    Small Christmas Cake
    Rich Christmas Cake
    Oxford Lunch
    Christmas Fruit Loaf
    Childrens Choice:
    Walnut and Cherry Cake
    Santa’s Buttons
    Crunchy Christmas Pudding
    Choclate Ice Cream Crunch
    Banoffi Pie
    Christmas Pudding (Steamed or Baked)
    Festive Mince Pies
    Roast Turkey
    Glazed Ham/Baked Ham

    This Leaflet is called Christmas Baking with Stork and shows a fireplace, stocking and tree on the front along with some pictures of plum pudding, santa buttons, banoffi, and mince pies.

    The partial photo copy that I have seems to have much the same recipes but adds

    Light Christmas Cake
    Whiskey Ring Cake
    Brandied Mincemeat Flan

    I would be happy to share any of these recipes or any from the brown book. If anyone knows where I can get copies of the other books in the series, I would appreciate it. Wouldn’t it be great if they republished it 🙂 Anyway, with Christmas baking just around the corner, I hope this helps.

  22. Doris says:

    Hi Caroline
    I have just found your blog, it is so interesting, you are definitely being added to my favourites list. The article on the Mc Donnells Good Food Cookbooks brings back many memories. I have all four copies and would have used them regularly when my children were young, the chocolate house cake was made for birthdays on several occasions, and I always used them for the Yorkshire pudding recipe as I could never remember the correct amounts without checking the book.

  23. Jessica says:

    For those looking for Mc Donnell’s good food cook book, I just saw the Brown and green books in Chapters, Parnell St, Dublin 1.

  24. Rachael says:

    This post just made me smile…as my mother had this brown recipe book…which i acquired when she died and the best thing about it was the shortcrust pastry recipe ratio…it made the best pastry ever and every time i made an apple pie it was just like my mum had made it….true comfort..unfortunately i have mislaid this book somewhere in the house but i have just messaged my cousin in Ireland to find my Aunts copy…it seems every woman in Ireland owned one, and they all had bits of magazine recipes shoved into it ha ha ha….brilliant recipe book and so lovely to see that so many of you also have it or are searching for one because of the sentimental attachment.

  25. sheila says:

    I have the book if anybody wants a recipe I will be delighted to give it I love the book I am looking for a copy of all in the cooking book 1 and book 2

    • Deirdre Cooper says:

      hello sheila

      not sure if you will get this message but i stumbled across this while looking for a recipe. My mother used the GOod Food Cook Book all through our childhood and for each of our birthdays made us the rabbit cake in that book. My younger brother turns 50 on saturday and I went to look for that cookbook that my mother had given me but I cant find it. I really want to make Conor that cake on Saturday. Do you have a copy of it?????

      thanks so much!

  26. pauline says:

    I have three of these books the green blue an brown best books every use them all the time Would love to get the red one

  27. Anne says:

    Where can I get these books please?

  28. marie flynn says:

    I have all of Paula Dalys books I love them and they are still contemporary can they not be reprinted they really are a cookery book for all age’s and I don’t think Paula Daly got the credit she deserved

  29. Patricia says:

    Hi, I hope someone can help me in my search for a Stork chocolate truffle recipe. It was in one of the Christmas booklets many years ago. It had chocolate, ground almonds, butter, icing sugar and, of course, Stork. I can’t remember the quantities though. Would be so grateful if anyone can help.

  30. Helen coyne says:

    really enjoyed all the comments on Paula dalys cooking recipes I have just I book going back to the seventies it is brown and cream now I’m after coming to Brussels for my grandsons birthday and intended to make the train cake with all sorts and smarties have most of recipe but have forgot how to make the coconut with the green colouring as I did not bring book with me suppose I will have to work something out.

    • Caroline says:

      There are actually no instructions for that green coconut in that recipe, Helen. All you need do is mix some dessicated coconut and green colouring together until you have the desired shade. Hope your grandson enjoys the cake!

      • Roisin says:

        Hi was hoping you might have the train cake recipe?!!!! I want to make it for my son’s birthday! I remember begging my mum to make it for me, I used state at it in awe every time she’d take the books out.bthanks a million

  31. Grainne says:

    Hi everyone,

    I know this is an old post but wondered if anyone had the recipe for the whiskey ring cake its mentioned here but no recipe Id really appreciate it if anyone is still checking out this post.

  32. margaret says:

    hi everyone.I still have the set of 4 MCDonnells cookbooks from all those years and I have used them so many times.They have been wonderful.margaret

  33. Siobhan says:

    So wonderful to read the comments
    They were wonderful books I’d love to make the rabbit cake for my grandchild…. as I did for her mother years ago but I don’t have it
    Or the hedgehog
    Anyone help me?

  34. Brendan Mohan says:

    I have all four books photographed and uploaded to my google drive. Send me an email if you want them.

  35. Tara says:

    Hi Brendan – can you send them to me?

  36. Belinda says:

    Hi Brendan could you send me a copy of the Christmas cake and pudding from the brown book if you have them please.

  37. Lorraine says:

    All, someone has loaded all recipes on Twitter. Search by mcdonnells good food cookbook.

  38. Elizabeth Butler says:

    How can I buy this cook book, my daughter really wants it and I would love to surprise her.

  39. I lost my McDonnells cook book (brown) which I had for over 30 yrs.Would some kind person please email me the recipe for the Boiled Fruit Cake.Many thanks.

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