Majella O'Donnell spelts it out
with ancient grain
by Linda McGrory
MAJELLA O'Donnell has turned to the health benefits
of an ancient grain to build herself up ahead of
major breast cancer surgery next month.
Singer husband Daniel revealed that his wife has
been baking with spelt flour as she prepares for a
double mastectomy in the coming weeks.
The couple are
currently enjoying a new year break at their holiday
villa in Tenerife after a tough year that brought
Majella's devastating diagnosis and the death of her
beloved father Tom Roche.
"It has been a difficult, difficult time but every
family gets things that you have to deal with and
this was, I suppose, our turn," said the singer.
And he revealed that Majella (53) has been trying
out spelt flour as a healthy alternative in the
Spelt is an ancient
species of wheat dating back to the Neolithic period
that has been making a comeback in recent years
among the wholefood community.
It is said to be rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre
and protein and is regarded by many as a superfood
that aids digestion, circulation and the immune
It is also believed to boost the body's production
of the mood-enhancing hormone serotonin.
"She's baking a lemon drizzle cake. We're waiting to
see if it rises or not because she's making it with
spelt flour to be all healthy," Daniel told BBC
“We are waiting for it to come out (of the oven) and
she’s thinking it’s not going to rise. We’ll see how
it comes out – it might not pass the test,” he
The Donegal hitmaker (52), whose own favourite foods
are mince and potatoes and some Chinese dishes, was
promoting two rescheduled concerts in Croydon and
Eastbourne next week. He was forced to cancel the
gigs last October when his father-in-law passed
away. The bestselling crooner will kick off a
month-long tour of Australia and New Zealand on
Brave Majella raised more than €600,000 for the
Irish Cancer Society after having her head shaved
live on the 'Late, Late Show' in September.
Daniel said his wife
was currently "doing good" but would not accompany
him on tour in the earlier part of this year due to
her upcoming operation.
"She is going to have a double mastectomy in
February and that will mean quite a long recovery
period," he added.
Meanwhile, he said he was touched by the loyalty of
fans who have supported him throughout his 30-year
"We have been very fortunate through the years and
it's amazing to think it's been so long since I
started doing the shows.
"People are tremendous
really, the people who have followed me down through
the years to the shows. They are always there
waiting to welcome us."
Why not enjoy Daniel's
crooner cake:- A recipe similar to the one Majella
followed for her tasty bake:
Spelt Lemon Drizzle
7oz butter, softened
7oz caster sugar
3 large eggs
2oz white spelt flour
4½ oz ground almonds
2 lemons (juiced and zested)
Juice of one lemon
5-6 tbsp icing sugar
1. Preheat oven to 180C
2. Grease 8" cake tin and line with baking
3. Cream together the butter and sugar until light
4. Slowly beat in the eggs.
5. Fold in flour, almond and lemon zest.
6. Gently pour mixture into tin and tap sides to
7. Bake for 35-40 minutes until sponge is light
Spelt Lemon Drizzle Cake.
8. While still hot in
the tin, prick about 20 holes in cake.
9. Generously drizzle the lemon juice into the holes
and leave to cool.
10. Mix lemon juice into icing sugar to make a
11. Remove cake from tin and smooth icing over the
12. Simply serve.