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Local Chef ‘Clara Cooks’ Shares Summer Citrus Recipes

Local Chef ‘Clara Cooks’ Shares Summer Citrus Recipes

This week in The Carrigdhoun, we profile local chef Clara Cooney (AKA Clara Cooks) who has just launched her own business. Clara shares her story so far and some fun, Summer citrus recipes for us to enjoy.

Clara Cooney was brought up in a family surrounded by food. Her great grandfather owned an organic vegetable farm in Raffeen and used to do door to door deliveries with fresh produce with his horse and trap. Clara’s mum often recalls her days going out with her grandfather on the deliveries. In addition, her grandfather was head baker at a bakery in Carrigaline until the 1980s. From an early age, Clara and her sisters were taught by their mum, everything they needed to know about cooking and baking using local produce.

Clara worked in the HR/Recruitment world but was always drawn to the kitchen. Dining at Clara’s home became a regular occurrence for her family and friends. After living abroad for many years and experiencing the amazing cuisine of many different cultures she always knew that she wanted to share her love of cooking with everyone who wanted to learn!

Last year Clara took the plunge and quit the corporate life and headed to Ballymaloe Cookery school for an intensive 12-week course. After this she was offered the opportunity to work with Darina Allen and her team to get an insight into the running of the school and be hands on teaching the new students.

Clara’s business has a few different facets, although it is all about educating and encouraging people to cook simply and thoughtfully with love, while understanding where the food comes from. She tailors her business to suit the needs of her clients.

You can get anything from 3 day intensive courses in your home to coming to Clara’s home for a dinner demo, from food tours around Cork to hiring Clara as a personal chef at your home. There are many elements to her business and through it all you will see her passion for local food and cooking.

Clara will be doing a monthly page for us here at The Carrigdhoun Newspaper, celebrating seasonal food with some fabulous recipes.

You can see all of Clara’s recipes on her Instagram @claracooks_ and FB page (Claracooks) or you can contact her directly at

Here, we're sharing just one of Clara's fabulous recipes, so make sure to pick up your coy of The Carrigdhoun in shops or online here to enjoy all 4 recipes:

Whole Sea Bass on the BBQ

Whole Sea Bass On The BBQ
Whole Sea Bass On The BBQ

A whole sea bass barbecued to perfection makes a great summertime dish. The bones help to add flavour and moisture to the flesh, while the striking grill lines on the glistening skin make the fish wonderfully presentable. You can wrap the whole sea bass in foil prior to cooking - this helps to steam the fish, which keeps the flesh moist, but keep in mind that this method will not produce crispy skin or as much smokiness from the barbecue. We had 8 adults and 3 children and used 4 sea bass. I got mine at The Good Fish Company, it's a popular fish so you are better off calling and pre-ordering a few days prior. They will gut it, descale it and remove the fins. Before preparing it for the BBQ run the fish under cold water and make sure all scales are fully removed.


Whole Sea bass (Ask your fishmonger how many you need for the amount of people eating)

3 or 4 Lemons

Fresh Thyme

Olive oil

Sea Salt


Rub some oil and salt on the fish. Slash the flesh about 3-6 times down one side of the body - depending on the size of the fish and insert lemon slices and fresh thyme. Stuff the fish with the same to give it that fabulous citrus fresh flavour!

To ensure the fish did not stick to the BBQ, I placed slices of lemon and orange on the BBQ and placed the fish on them. This also added extra flavour!

Cook the fish for 6-7 minutes on each side, the fish is cooked when the flesh comes easily away from the bone.

Simply delicious!

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