Monthly Archive: August 2008

Countdown to Mallow Food Festival 0

Countdown to Mallow Food Festival

The pressure is on – only four days to go to this year’s Mallow Food Festival – and we’re hoping for sunshine! Last year, it was a glorious day, apparently, amidst the damp gloom that was the summer of 2007 (not very different at all from summer 2008) and the kids are due back to school so the weather is bound to perk up. The event takes place on the main street in Mallow on this Sunday, 31 August, from 12pm to 3.30pm and it’s looking like we’re getting at least 50 stalls to take place this year. Unfortunately, the fact that URRU will have a stall this year means that my purchasing power will be necessarily limited so I’ll have to send the Husband and the Cambridge Couple off on many buying trips. Now, we’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed for good weather…

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Summer salads for colder days: Warm Potato and Chorizo Salad with Poached Eggs

Warm Potato and Chorizo Salad with Poached EggsWe didn’t have very many new potatoes this year so those that made it into the pot were treated like gold. We planted them, as normal, on 17 March – the traditional time in Ireland for planting the spuds, as far as I know, especially when they’re earlies – but the weather was nasty after that so I think more than a few simply rotted in the ground. Between that, the terrible summer, the death of our cat and subsequent rise in the bunny population (we must not have been eating enough Rabbit Stew) it hasn’t been an entirely successful summer in the garden. At least we’ve the hens to keep us fed and entertained, although when the weather was absolutely appalling there, last month, they seemed to go through a bit of a depression, egg laying dropping to just one per day. Fortunately they’re now back up to a three-a-day average – making a lovely accompaniment to the few potatoes that we managed to salvage.

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Val’s Oatmeal Muffins

Oatmeal Muffins When I get time to surf the net – not so often these days with freelancing and URRU keeping me busy – I love to go through my list of favourite food bloggers and magazines, reading their entries, picking up tips for things to try, places to visit and recipes to make. I have a list of recipes continually on the go, an odd assortment of things that I’ve picked up in my internet wanderings – Olive Oil Cookies from Mark Bittman in The New York Times, Lemon Potatoes from Organically Cooked, Salt-Kissed Buttermilk Cake from 101 Cookbooks, Chow‘s Salted Caramel Frosting, Baked Celeriac with Rosemary, Parmesan & Marsala from Taste – all of which are still on my “must try” list.

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Homebrewing at Ballyvoddy 0

Homebrewing at Ballyvoddy

I’m the Sourdough aficionado, using natural yeasts to raise my bread. Now – and it’s been brewing for a while (pun very definitely intended) – the Husband is just after taking delivery of his own yeasts as he prepares to embark on a long-discussed, thought-over and well-researched foray into the world of making beer at home.After we were both spoiled for choice with microbrewery beers in NZ, it’s become more and more difficult to drink the rubbish that you can find on tap in most Irish pubs (with an honorary exception for Beamish, of course, and both the Franciscan Well Brewery and Bierhaus in Cork). So, this could be a whole new world. And, finally, there’s some good reason for the dozens of empty beer bottles stored in the spare room!

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Green Saffron in URRU 0

Green Saffron in URRU

If you’re in the Mallow vicinity tomorrow, Saturday 23 August, call in to URRU as Arun Kapil of Green Saffron will be in store between 11am and 3pm, talking about his range of fresh, intensely flavoured spice blends and Indian ingredients, offering plenty of tips and tricks for making the most of them.

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Baking bread with mud: Hendrik Lepel pizza oven building workshop 4

Baking bread with mud: Hendrik Lepel pizza oven building workshop

When the Husband and I stayed at Gort na Nain in May, I admired Ultan and Lucy’s recently built outdoor wood-fired oven. A sturdy stone-clad structure that they can use to bake pizza and bread, it sits in a magnificent location, on the then-sunny patio outside their kitchen, looking across the hills to the sparkling blue sea. My interest piqued, they put me in contact with the builder, Henrik Lepel, and I asked him to keep me updated about any future breadoven building workshops.

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Fresh vegetables at Mallow Farmers’ Market

Moriss' baby carrots Despite all the recent rain and bad weather, the range of vegetables available at the Mallow Farmers’ Market continues to expand. As well as his fantastic salad leaves, which I eat for lunch every day, Morris from Gairdín Eden has been selling huge bunches of rhubarb and carrots. I also picked up some parsnips this week, along with a jar of West Cork Eden Honey – perfect for Honey Flapjacks, if I can save some back from the Husband and his toast!

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