"If you can cook, you’ll never be short of friends," Darina Allen told Sean O’Rourke, and with her new book, Simply Delicious, The Classic Collection, you’ll never be short of recipes. 

The book is a reworking of her original recipes, a hundred of them to be exact, with a couple of modern twists and tweaks but certainly no low-fat options.

"It’s beyond proven scientifically that low fat is actually, at the very least, not good for us and probably detrimental to our health," Darina told Sean, so no sugar substitutes, no half-fat butter and if possible, keep things organic – that’s "incredibly important".

She continued: "What we need is nutrient-dense food, you know, that’s going to keep us healthy and give us energy, vitality and help us to concentrate."

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Speaking of concentrating, something Darina is very passionate about is young people learning the basics of cooking in school as early on as possible.

"Hopefully I will see a time when we properly educate our children and teach them how to cook…  I really want to do 25 recipes that no child should be allowed to leave school without…  

"Why is it not as important as sort of Maths and Geography and a language or something, the very thing we need to feed ourselves? I think we’re failing our children by not educating them, giving them the practical skills to feed themselves properly." 

What about those who just can’t cook, though? Darina has no time for that. "Of course you can flippin’ cook!" said Darina, so that’s that then. It’s all about simple recipes and good, wholesome ingredients.

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On turning 70 recently, Darina says she "can’t understand" how it happened – "It just sneaks up on you!"  She reckons the secret of her youthfulness lies in doing what she loves.

"I think that’s part of the secret.  I feel so fortunate to be actually doing something every day that I can’t wait to get out and do."

Click on the video above to listen back to Today with Sean O’Rourke.