Donegal’s top chef and star singer recently teamed up to bake a brilliant barmbrack and talk about days gone by.

Daniel O’Donnell’s famous tea party was revived once more for a special baking session with Inishowen Chef Brian McDermott. Daniel was the first person to cook a recipe from Brian’s new book, Brian McDermott’s Donegal Table, and the recording was shown on yesterday’s RTE Today Show.

The Donegal baking session was a nostalgic moment for Daniel, as he opened up about his late mother Julia, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 94.

Daniel welcomes Brian to Julia’s home in Kincasslagh, were his sister Kathleen and her family now live. The kitchen is filled with loving tributes in her memory, and the baking session brought back happy childhood memories for Daniel.

Daniel said, “My mother baked all the time. There was always a smell. She loved making pancakes, even up until her 90s.”

He recalled some lovely little habits of his mother’s, like licking the mixture when the work was all done. He does the same once the brambrack is prepared, saying “That takes me back. Mighty!”.

Brian and Daniel remembered Julia’s famous tea parties, which attracted queues of fans up to 2km long at times. The pair then sat down to a “private tea party” accompanied by Brian’s wife Brenda and daughters Niamh and Aoife.

Brian, Brenda, Daniel, Aoife and Niamh

Niamh was so impressed by the secret brambrack recipe that she joked about Daniel taking over Brian’s job!

Brian said this moment with Daniel was the best tea party he’d ever been to.

“I grew up with Daniel,” said Brian, “and it felt as if he was always in our living room because he was always on the television singing.

“I loved the fact that he was welcoming me into the house where he grew up, and you could tell there was such a connection between him and his mother.

“Daniel told me how he would be in the kitchen cooking with her and do things like lick the bowl.

“He said that was actually the last time he baked in the kitchen was with his mother.

“It really struck a chord with me, because it was the influence of my mother that made me want to become a chef.

“She was always cooking in our kitchen, either for the men on the farm or for all fourteen of us in our house, and still to this day she’s always cooking and baking.”

Brian and Daniel

“I’ve often described him the King of Donegal,” said Brian. “He’s a real ambassador for the county, and everywhere you go, when people hear you’re from Donegal they always ask you about Daniel O’Donnell.

“Either him or Michael Murphy, they’re the two iconic figures people associate with Donegal.

“To be able to sit with Daniel and celebrate Donegal food together was such a privilege.

“It was the best tea party I’ve ever been to!”

Brian McDermott’s new book, Brian McDermott’s Donegal Table, is available from bookshops nationwide now.

The above link is an affiliate link