Being back in Ireland now, I nearly forgot all about Anzac Day this year on 25 April and it wasn’t until a few days later that I got round to making the traditional batch of Anzac Biscuits for the Boyfriend. Although late for the day itself, this baking stint was perfectly timed for the weekend as we’re about to embark on a camping trip – the first one of the year (we hope to remember the sleeping bags this time!) – and it’s good to have some oaty biscuits to stave off starvation, or “for morale,” as the Boyfriend puts it.
Monthly Archive: April 2006
With the unfamiliar sun putting on a show this past Sunday, it wasn’t a day to be spent indoors so the Boyfriend and I headed out to Dún Laoghaire for a walk. As we wandered along the seafront, I had to make the inevitable detour to the People’s Park for the Sunday market (check out Caitriona’s photos of a market in February here).
Nothing strikes more terror into the heart of a cook than being told that a guest is allergic or intolerant to certain foods. I find that it tends to concentrate the mind, not – as you may think – on what you can cook but, rather, what you can’t. Told that I need to avoid spicy foods, my brain invariably starts wandering through all my Indian and Moroccan favourites. For vegetarians, I start musing over soups with meat bases or, perhaps, Mexican Beans – cooked with bacon!
If you’re interested in learning about cooking, last week’s final RTÉ Winter Food radio programme focused on cookery schools in Ireland and abroad. I haven’t yet embarked on any cookery classes here but I very much enjoyed the few that I did in New Zealand at the Mediterranean Food Company and with cookery teacher extraordinaire Judith Cullen.
Ever since I’ve discovered the glories of butternut squash, there’s rarely a week goes by without it being added to a dish or several. As with pumpkin, I tend to use more Middle Eastern or Indian flavours in my squash dishes – cumin and coriander seeds are particular favourites – but, as it’s been a while since we’ve had a curry, I turned to the January edition of delicious. magazine for a recipe with more Asian leanings.
If there’s one thing nicer than Murphy’s Seacláid (chocolate) Ice Cream, eaten straight from the tub beside the fire (yep, it’s still cold in Ireland!), then it’s got to be that self same cold, intensely flavoured ice cream topped with great generous spoonfuls of creamy sweet/salty confiture de lait. Perfect for an Easter treat! Literally translated as milk jam, confiture de lait is a truly luxurious, indulgent toffee caramel sauce, similar to the Argentinean dulce de leche, and often used as a spread for bread, or even to sandwich cookies together.
In London there is a wonderful shop called Books for Cooks. A bookshop, filled with – what else – cookbooks, it is situated at 4 Blenheim Crescent in Notting Hill and is the kind of place that Sunday supplements wax lyrical about. As does anyone who visits the shop. It is small, not so very wide, and has bookshelves from floor to ceiling, crammed with hundreds upon hundreds books of amazing dishes, foods, ingredients, people. There is a cosy, albeit battered, couch in the middle of the floor, right between a piled-high table and a low shelf – just the place to sit and leaf through one of the many books that will take you on a journey to far off lands or reveal more about your own culinary surroundings. All this, and I haven’t yet got to the best bit.