Monthly Archive: May 2008

Cookery school call-out 0

Cookery school call-out

Just got an email from Cactus TV (home of Saturday Kitchen and Richard and Judy) looking for people who are interested in learning how to bake and who would like to participate in a new cookery series. It all kicks off in June so they need volunteers in the Cork area ASAP. More info below.- Do you love cooking but find the art of baking a bit of a mystery?- Does your bread fail to rise?- Do your cakes go soggy?- Maybe you loved baking as a child but have since lost the skill?Cactus TV are looking for people to learn to bake as part of a new cookery series – so if you’d like to pick up some top tips from a TV chef, are aged between 20-40, are available at weekends in June, and live in or around Cork, then email us with a photo ASAP at bake@cactustv.co.uk telling us your name, address, age, and why you’d love to be part of our baking school.

1

Make-ahead Caramel Cake for Saturday barbeques

Working Saturdays means that any weekend entertaining needs to be planned and organised well in advance, especially when it comes to Saturday night barbeques at the cottage. The Naas Cousin was coming to stay so I grabbed the opportunity to get a few of the cousins together. There wasn’t anything complex on offer: free-range chicken drumsticks marinaded for a little while in my thrown together barbeque sauce (mix enough tomato ketchup, wholegrain mustard, cider vinegar, soy sauce and seasonings to coat the chicken. Allow to stand. Throw on barbeque.), some decent meaty sausages, homemade mini-beef burgers and an assortment of roasted vegetables (red and yellow peppers, spring onions, large mushrooms with garlic butter and lemon, sweetcorn with smoked garlic salt). The Husband normally does the cooking outside while I look after the prep in the kitchen as there are always a couple of salads to assemble. This time it was a Pasta and Flageolet Bean Salad with Sundried Tomato Dressing alongside a Green Salad with Blue Cheese, Nectarines and Savoury Seeds, dressed with Sweet Blackberry Vinaigrette. Working Saturdays means that any weekend entertaining needs to be planned and organised well in advance, especially when it comes to Saturday night barbeques at the cottage. The Naas Cousin was coming to stay so I grabbed the opportunity to get a few of the cousins together. There wasn’t anything complex on offer: free-range chicken drumsticks marinaded for a little while in my thrown together barbeque sauce (mix enough tomato ketchup, wholegrain mustard, cider vinegar, soy sauce and seasonings to coat the chicken. Allow to stand. Throw on barbeque.), some decent meaty sausages, homemade mini-beef burgers and an assortment of roasted vegetables (red and yellow peppers, spring onions, large mushrooms with garlic butter and lemon, sweetcorn with smoked garlic salt). The Husband normally does the cooking outside while I look after the prep in the kitchen as there are always a couple of salads to assemble. This time it was a Pasta and Flageolet Bean Salad with Sundried Tomato Dressing alongside a Green Salad with Blue Cheese, Nectarines and Savoury Seeds, dressed with Sweet Blackberry Vinaigrette.

2

Piri Piri Starfish by Tessa Kiros

Inviting recipes Could Portugal be the new Spain? Reading Tessa Kiros’ Piri Piri Starfish and its references to petisco (tapas, Portuguese-style), chourico (substitute chorizo), port instead of sherry and salt cod (in Portugal – bacalhau, in Spain – bacalao) you could be forgiven for thinking things are moving that direction. This, the follow up to Kiros’ acclaimed parent-and-child-orientated Apples for Jam, is a more straightforward cookbook. As with Apples…, colour is very important, although the chapters are laid out in a more clear-cut way – Essential Recipes, Petisco Plates, Starters and Soups, Mains and Side Plates, Deserts and Cakes – than that book’s rainbow bright colour-coded sections. Here the tone is more grown up, with lots of muted blues and greys, beautifully designed page titles and a thick white and blue ribbon for marking your way through the book.

0

Rainy days and revisited recipes: Spicy Lentil Soup

Spicy Lentil Soup Although we had at least a week of summertime flip-flop days, May seems to have regressed to the cold and damp of early April. Weather like this – today it rained for the afternoon and just didn’t stop – means a return to cold weather soup recipes, warming comfort food for wintery-feeling evenings. This lentil soup recipe – for I believe that you can never have too many lentil recipes in your repertoire – is from Domini Kemp, of Itsabagel fame (all time favourite bagel? Definitely a Mountaineer), and was published in one of her Irish Times pieces a few weeks ago. I made it that very week and we loved it but then finer weather (and PSB) came on the scene so I put away my soup recipes – but not for too long, as it turned out.

Sunny birth days 0

Sunny birth days

The perfect birthday? Take a day off work – this is always nicest if done midweek! – and book a night away in Gort na Nain, a vegetarian guesthouse near Nohoval outside Cork city, run by the welcoming Lucy Stewart and Ultan Walsh, vegetable growers and suppliers of vegetables to Café Paradiso, amongst other Cork restaurants. Drive there after work the day before your birthday, picking up the Husband en route, and arrive just in time for your pre-booked three-course dinner. Relax and savour Lucy’s fabulous cooking, using fresh-picked vegetables and fruit grown by Ultan, with the other (very entertaining) couple that happen to be staying there that night. Take a long walk to see the sea before tucking yourself into a large, comfortable bed in an bright and spacious room.

0

Old china

My latest purchases One of the things I love about living in an old cottage is the excuse to furnish it in alternative ways. When I lived in New Zealand, I was an habitué of the op shops (charity shops) in Christchurch, always picking up old cake tins or nutcrackers, battered but usable cutlery, my old dining table and an odd assortment of small stools, used about the house as bedside tables, wee seats and useful steps. Space being limited in Ireland, I’ve avoided my worst NZ excesses, much to the Husband’s relief: there was once Words by the side of the street when one of my op shop chairs didn’t fit into the car. One thing I do watch out for, however, is old china. No trip to New Zealand is complete without a few items being secreted in the luggage for the journey home; last time I even managed to fit a collection of old fashioned spoons (to match the bone-handled knives and forks that I had picked up at the Bantry market last summer).

0

Just in season…

Irish strawberries There was great excitement in Urru, Mallow on Wednesday when the first of the Irish-grown strawberries arrived from Rosscarbery amidst glorious sunshine. We stacked boxes of ruddy fruit on the shelves of the fridge, inhaling their fragrance all the while, until it was decided that we needed to open one – just for quality testing, of course. That punnet wasn’t long in being devoured, and – before they all disappeared with customers – I grabbed one for myself, to sit in the evening sunshine and eat, all tumbled on great scoops of Murphy’s Vanilla Ice Cream. The first real taste of summer.


Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /var/www/vhosts/106/123832/webspace/siteapps/WordPress-61955/htdocs/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-social-media-icons/libs/controllers/sfsi_frontpopUp.php on line 63