Counting down the days? I am! The Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food & Wine (and other good things!) is kicking off this day week, Friday 15 May, and running for that entire weekend. I’ll be there to listen and learn from many of my cookbook heroes. Best (and most intimidating!) of all, I’ll also be interviewing the legendary Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garrett Oliver on stage at the Drinks Theatre on Saturday 16 May. His 2004 book, The Brewmaster’s Table, has been a keystone of my beer and food education and was a real inspiration when Kristin and I were writing Sláinte. We’ll be sipping on some of Brooklyn Brewery’s Sorachi Ace while we talk about the worlds of American and Irish craft beer – Garrett has been working in the industry since 1989 – and the future of brewing along with a subject that’s very dear to my heart; the art and the science of beer and food pairing. Details for his Litfest events are below, tickets for each one are €16 and you can book them online here: www.eventbrite.ie 16 May: The Brewmaster Speaks | Garrett Oliver in conversation with Caroline Hennessy 17 May: Is Wine Going Out of Fashion? with John Wilson, Garrett Oliver, Dave Broom, Desmond...read more
Last shopping weekend before Christmas and if you’re looking for an Irish cookbook for someone special, here are a few ideas. Also check out my posts on books that came out earlier this year: Three Irish books for summer eating: No-Bake Baking, Wholesome, Where to Eat & Stay on the Wild Atlantic Way Chocolate Nut Swirls and Bread on the Table by Valerie O’Connor Surf Café Living by Jane and Myles Lamberth (Orca Publications) This is the cookbook that made me wangle a trip to Sligo. Not just to eat at Jane and Myles Lamberth’s Shells Café – the focus of their first Surf Café Cookbook – but for a brief slice of the Strandhill life that’s depicted in this book. With seasonal recipes to eat with friends, upcycling activities and a kitchen to die for, it’s enough to make you want to get on your board. Buy for: your surf-loving brother, anyone who lives in a cottage (for me, it’s been more inspiration for trying to persuade the Husband that we should transform our unfinished downstairs floors into poured concrete). Bake Knit Sew by Evin Bail O’Keeffe (Anchor and Bee) An American blogger based in Cork city,...read more
Summer holiday time is fine when the weather is good and we’re all outdoors with sun hats and shorts. But, when the wind changes, the showers arrive and a general air of grumpiness pervades a never-quite-big-enough cottage, it’s time to get cooking. I’ve been re-reading Jane Brocket’s Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer for inspiration. It’s a treasury of nostalgia, packed with a rainy summer’s worth of recipes from all your favourite children’s books: Swallows and Amazons’ Bunloaf, kaffee und kuchen from the Chalet School series, What Katy Did’s molasses paradise pies. I discovered it in a NZ library when Little Missy was a baby and the first thing I did when I returned home was get my very own copy, in readiness for the day that she would be old enough to read Milly-Molly-Mandy and Anne of Green Gables and The Story of the Treasure Seekers. Until then it lets me indulge in happy reminders of my own childhood book-wormery and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who, like me, grew up with Enid Blyton, E Nesbit, Mary Norton and other bookish treasures of a 20th century childhood. We’ve just started on ‘real’ books, Little Missy and I, with Roald Dahl’s Fantastic...read more
Three Irish books for summer eating: No-Bake Baking, Wholesome, Where to Eat & Stay on the Wild Atlantic Way
Summer’s here, kids – what are we going to eat? There are a few Irish books floating round at the moment which might help you to make some decisions in that regard. 1. The no-bake one This is the book that will make you swoon, whether it’s from a sugar coma or from the glorious cacophony of colours that food stylist extraordinaire Sharon Hearne-Smith has put together for her first cookbook. There are lots of lime greens and vivid pinks – sometimes in the same recipe, as in the uber-kitsch Watermelon Bombe – pastel coloured pages and pop-off-the page photographs, courtesy of one Donal Skehan. No-Bake Baking is a playful book with lots of great ideas for sweet summer treats that won’t get you hot and bothered in the kitchen. Make sure you clear plenty of space in the fridge and freezer, and stock up on ingredients like cornflakes, condensed milk, Oreo cookies – basically, all the nice things, to turn into even nicer things. Sharon’s decadent chocolate and cherry tartlets made a great Fathers’ Day treat, my version of her Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (using almond butter) had to be strictly rationed and Little Missy has taken to flicking...read more
I have measured out my life with homemade breads. From “helping” my mother make brown soda loaves on Saturday mornings, through to my teenaged attempts at yeast baking with orange and raisin scrolls, coming home from college to make Christmas stollen, adventures with my first bread machine in NZ and playing with sourdough at Ballymaloe and at home, bread ìs one of the most satisfying things that I pull together in the kitchen. It’s also about winning hearts and influencing people. While living in Christchurch, one of the loaves on high rotation was a brown soda bread that tasted of Ireland and never failed to impress our regular Kiwi visitors. That bread had longevity: it made it into Chch newspaper The Press and I was honoured to find it featured in an article on post-earthquake no-fuss comfort food to, as author Kate Fraser said, “cheer and warm and share.” Never underestimate the power of a simple loaf. Val O’Connor’s Bread on the Table is a collection of the kind of recipes that you can pull together with little effort and which leave your house smelling like that of the most domestic of domestic goddesses. This copy arrived from the publishers last week;...read more
Limerick is Val O’Connor’s hometown and she showcases its food to perfection on her Limerick Food Trails.
Early one Saturday morning in November I met herself and a collection of fellow food tourists at Cornstore at Home for a little pre-tour tasting – think Limerick vs Cork via two platters of breakfast meats, one from Caroline Rigney of Curraghcase Meats, the other from Kanturk butcher Sir Jack McCarthy.read more
Old school Irish publisher Gill & Mac has been taking cookbook production up a notch in the last few years and both of these hardbook books are lovely to look at as well as to cook from.
If every small town in Ireland had a Dream Deli selling fabulous brunch dishes like Fruit Tabbouleh, Weekend Waffles and Welsh Rarebit, we’d all eat out a lot more. Perhaps it’s best that this doesn’t happen – because instead you can have the fun of cooking your way through Lilly’s book, which includes (my favourite!) inventive devilled egg variations like beetroot and fennel, spiced coriander, wasabi and sesame seed. There are great salads (Mango and Shredded Chicken with Garam Masala Yoghurt, Quinoa with Pistachio and Pomegranate) and an assemble-on-the-spot Sicilian Wedding Cake that could set a new trend. lillyhiggins.ieread more
Anyone remember this booklet? Stork – yes, the Unilever margarine brand – has always been brilliant at putting together the kind of recipe collection that people return to again and again.
So many of us grew up baking and cooking our way through the Paula Daly series of McDonnell’s Good Food Cookbooks in the Seventies and Eighties. As far as I remember, you had to collect a certain amount of tokens from the marg packets – imagine opening the messy envelopes in Stork HQ! – and send them off with some money (probably that vintage thing, a postal order) to get the books.read more