Monthly Archive: July 2009

The Wine Geese: Part Three 0

The Wine Geese: Part Three

The third part of The Wine Geese radio documentary is on Lyric FM tomorrow morning at 8.30am. In this show, Tomas Clancy meets the far-seeing Francis Mahoney, devotee of Pinot Noir and the man who pioneered it in California 35 years ago. You can read more about Mahoney here and the programme will be online after broadcast on the Lyric FM Features page.


Blackcurrant Almond Cake

Blackcurrant Almond Cake

When I was small, picking blackcurrants was a big job. My Nana had several large, old bushes in the orchard under her apple trees. Every year, little fingers were pressed into service to strip the bushes of their black bounty so that she could make, or supervise the making, of the pots and pots of blackcurrant jam that were to see the household through the winter.


Playing gooseberry


Seventeen gooseberries does not a summer make. I have a pair of bushes that were planted out next to the blackcurrant bushes last summer – one that should produce green berries, the other red. But this year, between the two of them, I could only hunt down a total of seventeen gooseberries. I think that they may be too sheltered where they are. There is a ditch behind them and the sycamores growing there tend, despite much cutting back, to hang over the fruit bushes. Come this winter, it may be time to move them to our developing mini-orchard at the back of the garden. The apple and pear trees wouldn’t give too much shelter at this stage.


How does your garden grow…organically?

Wet garlic

Last summer, when we had the Mallow Farmers’ Market running outside Urru, we saw a lot of Patrick Frankel, a local organic vegetable grower. When he started coming to the market he had just started producing vegetables on his family farm near Doneraile and customers were delighted with the early fruit of his labours: spring onions, yellow and green courgettes, an assortment of tomatoes, new potatoes, peas and, my favourite, mangetout. I bumped into him a few times at the Killavullen Farmers’ Market, always making sure to stock up on the mangetout – great shredded and tossed raw into salads or briefly steamed and served as a side – but hadn’t seen him around for a while so I was delighted to see that the North Cork Organic Group had organised a farm visit.


Strawberries for not so sunny days: Strawberry and Peach Sundae

Strawberry and Peach Sundae

Here’s a desert that’s perfect eaten outside in the late evening sunshine – or to cheer up a rainy day. There’s no real need for quantities as the amounts depend on how many people you are trying to make the strawberries stretch between, how big the glasses are and how greedy your audience!Chop up the fruit before dinner and toss with the sugar so that the juices start to run then assemble the sundaes just before eating so that the biscuits don’t get soggy. With each mouthful of sweet fruit, fragrant juice, cool yoghurt and almond crunch you could be almost forgiven for thinking that it’s summertime.

Wine online 4

Wine online

If – like me! – you didn’t make it up early enough to catch The Wine Geese, the first part of the series is online here (I can’t seem to find it on the Lyric podcasts page) and there’s more information about the documentary on the Lyric FM website here. Well worth a listen.


Loitering in the Lakes

Jane Grigson's English Food

Five days in the Lake District didn’t give me as many opportunities to try local food as I would have liked but I did manage to eat vicariously after picking up Jane Grigson‘s authoritative English Food in a second hand book shop in Cockermouth. Reading it with the help of an English map helped me to properly place its regional references so, after a few days, I was getting much better at understanding where dishes like Dartmouth Pie, Cumbrian Tatie Pot and Grasmere Gingerbread came from.